At the beginning of November of last year, George Lucas pretty much stunned any and everyone by selling off his beloved franchise. The thing that he built from the ground up, that made him a household name across the world.The series of movies that would go on to influence, inspire and spark many an imagination for generations to come, was now gone and the property of Disney. And just like that, what was once all Star Wars fans had to look forward too were new episodes of The Clone Wars cartoon on the cartoon network, the 3D re-releases of the entire saga, the occasional video game and book, now had a lot more on their plate. There was renewed life in the Star Wars universe. Disney waisted no time announcing that new movies would be produced, continuing that story that takes place in a galaxy far far away. Fast forward a couple of months later and J.J. Abrams, he who hath breathed life into a dwindling Star Trek franchise, has now been tasked with doing the same with Star Wars.
Abrams, who essentially infused the last Star Trek movie with a healthy dose of Star Wars life force, is more than capable of bringing Star Wars back from the mediocrity brought on by the wilting prequel trilogy. Star Wars is certainly in good hands with him at the helm. Add to that the return of Lawrence Kasdan, who co-wrote the stories for two of the original trilogy movies,The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, using the writing talents of Michael Arndt, who penned Toy Story 3 and Little Miss Sunshine, bringing back (or at least trying to) the cast members of the original trilogy, and its clear Disney is trying its best to make Star Wars cool and relevant again.
Now anyone who knows me knows how big of a Star Wars fan I am. I essentially grew up with that, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica (the original series) and Buck Rogers. While I’m sad to see J.J. leave the Star Trek franchise (I’d be amazed if paramount lets him continue to direct one of their flagship franchises now that’s he jumped to the, ahem, dark side so to speak) I am happy to see him Take the reins of Star Wars. I’m not worried about Mr. Abrams talents, nor does the cemented possibility of a new Star Wars movie make me nervous. It’s what Disney is doing by trying to milk as much as they possibly can from Star Wars that makes me a little wary. Just today it was announced that Disney plans to make spin-off movies featuring popular characters that were just co-stars or little used in the movies before. On top of that, they plan on making a television show, and I’m sure tons more things will be coming.
And this is where as a fan you have to walk the fine line between being excited and becoming extremely jaded. I get Star Wars is beloved the world over, and a majority of fans will buy almost anything that has the Star Wars brand on it, but how much is too much? How much Star Wars can anyone take, rabid fan or casual, until it becomes, “ENOUGH ALREADY!” Lucas was guilty of getting the fans to empty their pockets from time to time, but I have a feeling that Disney will make what Lucas did look amateurish compared to Disney’s ability to send the fans bank accounts crashing down. My biggest question in all of this isn’t what will the new movies be like, but rather will it get to the point where people won’t even care because of Star Wars fatigue? Can Disney pull this off without having people’s love for this franchise turn to hate or irritation or just plain old ambivalence? Or can they do the hard thing, and keep something we’re all going to be seeing a lot of, fresh, new and captivating, even after we’ll have been bombarded with more Star Wars the next six years (that’s Disney’s supposed plan starting in 2015) than we’ve ever had? Time will tell,but ultimately, if these next films live up to, or even, as unimaginable as it may be, surpass those first three films that captured the hearts, minds and imaginations of some untold millions, (or billions at this point) then Disney will have proved the force is truly with them.