Life is just plain weird and crazy sometimes, surprises coming out of nowhere. Ridley Scott shooting a new Alien movie, or Ridley Scott making a Blade Runner sequel. A simple children’s story like the Hobbit being turned into a bloated trilogy, Arnie mooted for a new Conan movie when he’s about due a bus-pass. But nothing could prepare us for this….
Late last night I was browsing the web and came across just-posted news pages stating that George Lucas had sold his company Lucasfilm ( including the Star Wars films, ILM, Indiana Jones etc), to Disney for a whopping $4.05 billion. I’ll be honest, I didn’t believe it- I looked at the screen with utter disbelief. Was it April 1st or something, had the site been hacked by a clan of hi-tech Star Wars Activists? Checking other news sites the reports seemed to be backed up with press releases from Disney. I texted a few friends the news and went to bed. One of my work colleagues, Steve, texted me back bemused queries regards what was going on, likely thinking I’d been drinking too much.
Woke up this morning to a news report on Radio 4 confirming it all (if Simon on the Finance section of the Beeb’s Today programme says its true, its true). Disney have announced an intention to have Star Wars: Episode 7 ready for 2015 release followed by Episodes 8 & 9 every two/three years after, with further films beyond even that.
Well, first things first, a slap on the back for all us oldies who yelled foul at George Lucas assertions that he never intended to make a 9-film saga, contrary to what we fans read back when TESB was being made pre-1980. Here we go, its now rightfully back to a nine-film saga (although to be fair Disney may well take it beyond that- will there be an Episode 10 or will it spin off into separate sagas/trilogies?). Mind you, that ‘The Complete Saga’ Blu-ray box that sits on its shelf behind me is looking decidedly incomplete right now. (I still, even after owning that box for a year now, haven’t watched the Attack of The Clones or Revenge of The Sith discs yet. Trying to watch the Blu-ray of The Phantom Menace really messed me up and ruined any interest in getting any further. And yes, I’d started with Episodes 4-6 first.)
You know, some months ago I was sitting in my office at work talking with one of my colleagues, and I complained that Lucas should have loosened the reins of the Star Wars franchise years ago and let other guys write/shoot spin-off movies. That we should have had all sorts of wild and different films in the Star Wars universe, good, bad, average… low-budget character films, big action films. As long as they all stayed true to the franchise lore, why not? Lucas had always championed independent film-making that took risks, why not go with projects like that in the Star Wars universe as well as the huge blockbuster spectacles? Lucas showed no such interest in furthering the franchise in cinemas, preferring to make the Clone Wars cartoons and work on a live-action tv series that, well, may not even see the light of day now that movies are back on the agenda. I’d shake my head sadly and rue the cruel twists of fate that gave us those damn prequels. But here we are. The gates have been opened. I doubt Disney are any more likely to go wild with all sorts of daring projects than Lucas ever did or would, but you never know.
A few more thoughts- do Disney now have the rights, as they own Star Wars now, to dig out the original OT versions and restore them for Blu-ray release one day? Do they have the rights, if they choose, to simply do a reboot and remake the whole lot? Is Spielberg too old to have a go at directing a Star Wars film, something he always wanted to do but Lucas would not allow? Could Pixar have a crack at an animated Star Wars project? What the hell can we do to make sure that Nicholas Cage gets nowhere near this?
Considering how lousy and predictable most Hollywood scripts are these days, who the hell gets a shot at writing the next Star Wars movie? Do the guys behind the execrable Pirates of the Caribbean films have a shot at showing just how good Lucas prequel scripts really are?
Do we get a Darth Vader movie one day, with our fave Dark Lord kicking Jedi ass between ROTS and ANH?
Its enough to make you dizzy. It’ll never live up to the possibilities.
So more Star Wars movies. Well who’d have thought it? Colour me cautiously excited (whatever colour that is); this is the biggest game in tinsel town and will likely eclipse all the hype and rumours we experienced back when Lucas announced he was making The Phantom Menace. The world has gone crazy and can only get crazier as further news filters out of the House of the Mouse during 2013. God, just writing that makes me worried. Disney. What was Lucas thinking? (Oh yeah, he was thinking $4.05 BILLION).
But maybe for us Star Wars fans, Christmas came early. Merry Christmas folks, we may have got Star Wars back.