Star Wars is about to make a big comeback. The question is: will it be worth the wait?

In 2005, when Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was released, fans thought that it was the end of Star Wars films forever. Though the hope remained that George Lucas would film the ever-rumored third trilogy, it was clear that he had no plans to do so. Fans DID receive a new movie, in the form of Star Wars: The Clone Wars in 2008, but it was a computer-animated, children-targeted affair, and captured little of the feel of the previous films.

Since then, fans have received The Clone Wars television show on Cartoon Network, which continues the computer-animated work begun in the film. The knowledge that there is a Star Wars television show that’s been written but not filmed, also tantalizes fans, but that project is not expected until sometime in the future when the costs come down enough to make the show feasible.

Enter Disney. On October 30, 2012, Disney announced that they were acquiring Lucasfilm, and the Star Wars and Indiana Jones brands.They also announced plans to release Star Wars: Episode VII in 2015, with at least two additional films, and possibly more. The third Trilogy! The most interesting aspect of the announced acquisition, however, is not that Disney is the buyer, but that Lucas will act only as a “creative consultant”. It was immensely surprising that Lucas sold the entire franchise, considering his pension for exercising absolute control over his films.

As someone clever said, “Star Wars has a new hope.”

The announcement raises far more questions than answers however:

  • What will Episodes VII, VIII and IX be about?
  • Will they continue the story of Luke Skywalker, Leia and Han?
  • What timeframe will the movies take place in?
  • If set not long after Return of the Jedi, who will play the parts? Surely not the original actors?
  • Who is writing the films, and who will direct?

In addition to the immediate questions about Episode VII, the announcement also raises additional questions:

  • How will this affect the Expanded Universe? Star Wars has a rich and enormous expanded universe, in the form of novels, and comic books, and the universe was designed to tell a single unified story, more or less considered canon. Will Disney continue this tradition? More importantly, will they use the expanded universe in the films?
  • Will we get the Original Trilogy back the way it was? Lucas has re-released the films so many times, with so many changes, it’s difficult to remember just what Star Wars looked like when it first came out in theaters. Purists want the Blu-ray version of those original films. Knowing the demand is there, will Disney accede and release them?
  • Will we ever see the live-action Star Wars television series? Now that the movie franchise is being brought out of retirement, will Disney scrap the plans for the television series altogether? They likely will not want to dilute the power of the franchise. It’s difficult to draw comparisons with Star Trek, as it made the transition from television to the big screen, not vice versa, and experienced mixed success.
The idea of future Star Wars films without George Lucas directing them is exciting. With good writers, good directing, and today’s technology available, the future of Star Wars may be very bright indeed. It will certainly be interesting to follow the developments over the next few years.

The Future of Star Wars

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