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    Star Wars: Episode VII, Disney buys LucasFilm



    Star Wars Episode VII arrives in 2015 from Disney, the new owners of LucasFilm. George Lucas is making his long-promised transition out of the company.


    http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-disney-lucasfilm-20121030,0,3821750.story


    We've all seen how good Disney has been for Marvel and Pixar.


    I say this is a good thing. This could be the Lucas-free reboot that Star Wars deserves for a last romp at the long-hoped for post-Episode VI trilogy. Without the previous stories to manage and without Lucas, this has room for tons of imagination and ambition. They can expand the universe in a beautifully faithful way.


    As many know, Star Wars was rumored to be formatted as a three-trilogy universe ever since the original trilogy, and even more as the prequel trilogy arose. The layout for the new trilogy is supposedly related to a long-existing outline for the sequel trilogy that Lucas himself was once considering making with his team (which would have included a minor role for an aged Mark Hamill as jedi Luke Skywalker, therefore accounting for the actor's age).


    Disney says it will not be centered on the same characters as Episode VI. It is expected to draw large budgets and successful writers and directors as the new trilogy enters production soon.


    How do you all feel about a Lucas-free attempt at Star Wars? Could this be the Casino Royale or Batman Begins for Star Wars, which is already a film legend?


    I'm giving it the chance.


    #2


    Wow. Wow. That was my childhood dream! More real Star Wars movies. I'm going to not get my hopes up too much, but Disney does not kill everything it touches like it used to.


    Here's hoping they extend the first trilogy with source material from the Thrawn books by Timothy Zahn. Can I get an amen?

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      #3


      George Lucas has been dragging down the Star Wars franchise for a long time. To me, it's no coincidence that The Empire Strikes back was the strongest of the original trilogy, and also the movie in which Lucas had the least direct control.


      Anyone who's played Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2 knows the Star Wars universe is an incredibly rich environment for compelling stories and characters. But the prequel trilogy was ruined by bad writing, bad acting, and an over-emphasis on special effects and melodramatic, grandiose "ideas" instead of real character development and story.


      While I cringe at the (very real) possibility that this development could lead to some serious Star Wars fatigue/overexposure, I'm also cautiously optimistic that Star Wars still holds storytelling potential in more subtle and capable hands than Lucas's.

      Ben

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        #4


        I get the feeling that it's going to be, at least, good until it isn't.


        There's just a whole lotta hurdles that they have to get past. For instance, the fact that much of the expanded universe involves the main characters from the original trilogy at roughly the same ages as they were at the end of Jedi. Are they going to cast new actors? Are they going to make the originals younger?


        I liked Star Wars a lot more once I read the vast majority of the expanded universe. And frankly that's where the heart and soul of Star Wars is for me (though Kotor is admittedly in there too).


        One side note to this though: by purchasing LucasFilm, Disney also now has the rights to Indiana Jones....which frankly scares me far, far more.

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          #5


          @Longshanks - I think Marvel is a pretty goo example that Disney ownership isn't bad. It's actually pretty good in more than one case. I don't like Marvel movies, but I can objectively see that Disney boosted them as a film brand and it has usually pleased fans these days. And the Disney stamp isn't even creatively visible because Disney doesn't put their names on most of their owned companies' films (Touchstone Pictures by Disney has released numerous adult R films, including the home releases of Pulp Fiction).


          Disney knows that branding is important to good entertainment. If an adult or non-family film is a potential hit for them, they leave the Disney name out of it so it can reach its potential and just put it under one of its more free-reign brands like Touchstone, Marvel, and now Lucasfilm.


          And, as mentioned above, Disney has said that the new trilogy does not center on the characters of the original trilogy. Chances are they are sticking to letting the films be written as the films and separate fiction stays separate (if all the Star Wars books, games, and TV shows had to work with the same story consistencies then there would be a hell of a lot of restriction on this new trilogy and those works).


          My guess is that the new trilogy will be mostly original and not rely on the book sequels.

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            #6


            Maybe I'm sentimental, but I enjoy the idea of being able to reminisce about the "good ol' days" of Star Wars and Indiana Jones. When there weren't Lego Star Wars video games and Lego Indiana Jones video games, etc. Part of the reason why George Lucas lost support for, especially, Star Wars was that he commercialized them waaaay too much in the eyes of a lot of long time fans. I can't see Disney doing anything different (or better).


            Will I see these movies at some point? Probably.

            Will I rush down the street skipping for joy, with glee in my heart, the day they come out?

            Certainly not.


            Maybe Star Wars and (possibly) Indiana Jones will benefit from a Disney revival. But I'm far more inclined to let them be done and stand for what they were and are.


            On a humorous note, here's an idea I ran across on Facebook: "Does this mean Leia is now a Disney princess?"

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              #7


              @Longsharks - Well, Lucas actually started producing toys and commercial merchandise as soon as possible for Star Wars. He planned it all along. In addition to working with James Campbell to formulate a commercial and critical hit as a modern myth, Lucas insisted that he be given ownership rights to do sequels and toys if the first film was a success (something had never been in a director's major contract before Star Wars). In this time, sequels and toys were not the norm for summer blockbusters.


              Many credit Lucas with the change in the studios that made them almost always look to base their green lights on sequel and merchandising potential.


              I don't think Disney can do any more damage to Star Wars and I doubt they'll pass on the chance to negotiate a release of the Theatrical versions of the original trilogy on Blu Ray (which would be the best thing to happen to Star Wars in the last several years).


              I really find it hard to believe that Disney won't do an admirable and better attempt at Star Wars and Indiana Jones than Lucas did with the prequel trilogy and Indiana Jones 4 (I don't really mind those, but I certainly see how they pale in comparison to their predecessors).

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                #8


                It's a really a difference of personality. I can live with the fact that Disney can do whatever they want with Star Wars and Indiana Jones. I just prefer the old and the dead. There's a reason one of the degrees I'm currently working on is in anthropology with a concentration in archaeology and I'd be lying like a fox if I said Indiana Jones had nothing to do with it.

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                  #9


                  I think I get where you are coming from. With many entertainment works and franchises that an individual comes to love, of course a disappointing entry and a growing attempt at commercial appeal (along with that attitude) makes it easy to wish that the creators had kept their mindset from the originally brilliant entries and stopped before the disappointing growth. At least, that's how I feel about several movie and game franchises.

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                    #10


                    Yeah that's a good way to sum it up Cannon. We all have things we hold dear, that we identify with on a personal level. And the personal is far harder to see change.

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                      #11


                      @Moses - I completely hoppe they source from the Thrawn books! I read this news yesterday and immediately looked up at the Thrawn books on my bookcase.


                      As long as these are light on Jar Jar Binks and mediglorians I will be optimistic. Disney has allowed Pixar to continue their work and hopefully they do the same with Lucasfilm.

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                        #12


                        @moses - Zahn's Thrawn books are the best in the SW universe. I saw them at my local Goodwill a few months back and snapped them up instantly. While it would be nice to have them as the source for the new movies, I am saddened by the buyout and do not hold high hopes for anything good coming from it. I hope they prove me wrong.

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                          #13


                          Disney knows what they're doing. When they bought Pixar we saw a major bump in the quality of their films (Toy Story 3 being one of the most amazing films I've ever seen), without the 'Disneyificatoin' that was being thrown around as a worry. They'll pump a huge amount of money and talent into the franchise to get the base excited and then monetize the hell out of it with integration into the theme parks and merchandising. There are far more reasons to hope for this being amazing than for expecting it to be terrible:


                          1) Star Wars Episode 7 Directed and co-written by Joss Whedon/Peter Jackson/Steven Spielberg/Name your fav director.


                          2) "Star Wars: The Universe" at Disney, like "Harry Potter World" at Universal. Imagine being able to walk around the Millenium Falcon, or have a 3D lightsaber duel


                          3) Know how great The Clone Wars is? That's the quality of product we're going to be getting in the future.

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                            #14


                            I'm pretty confused as to why this deal is getting hate and so much skepticism. Many are open to it, but I'm also hearing masses of people that are saying, "Star Wars is officially dead," and "No longer a Star Wars fan."


                            I would think this is far better news to be open to than another George Lucas trilogy or years more of him licensing out cartoons and tacky merchandising.


                            Where did Disney go so wrong with their production companies that it is making people so dismissive of the possibilities? Does the average person just forget all the great films and projects that have come from both the Disney brand and the companies it owns?


                            It seems like people have forgotten already how pleased the masses and skeptics were with The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man. Both considered among the best production moves in Marvel film history.


                            There was a lot of success under them through Miramax. There's still Touchstone. Then, as mentioned before, Pixar is an obvious mega-success thanks to Disney's resources.


                            Is it right to assume Disney is simply going to beat up Star Wars more, instead of possibly improve the status of the franchise over its dragged-down reputation caused by Lucas?

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                              #15


                              Film industry isn't the same anymore. They might come up with something of artistic merit, but people shouldn't expect it to be the same.


                              All of Lucas' influences came together at a time when there was an opportunity to turn the public back on to adventure sci-fi.


                              They were always commercialized. The new trilogy (and revisions to the original trilogy, and THX) was just evidence that Lucas peaked a long time ago as an auteur. It happens.


                              The story is the most important aspect of any film or comic or book. There have been great works of hard sci-fi that have pushed the boundaries of imagination but were horribly boring stories. The problem with 'universes' like this is they become the crutch to support a weak story. Everybody loves Star Wars, right? So we'll throw some stupid characters in and nobody will notice! Even Return of the Jedi had that problem.


                              The real beauty of art is sometimes knowing that it might never be matched again. If they hand it over to someone like Spielberg I imagine it will just be a tacked-on by-the-books blockbuster yawnfest like War Horse was. I dislike Abrams, but Super 8 was more of a Spielberg movie than Spielberg can direct. I'd hope they would give a new director a shot like Rian Johnson was given for Looper. Someone that grew up reading Zahn, who loves Star Wars but loves good story telling more.


                              I get the same feeling I got when I heard Starship Troopers was going to be made again. That it'll wind up like some Michael Bay garbage.

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