Come back Luke Skywalker...let’s pretend Jar Jar never happened

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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, George Lucas created a franchise which would capture the imaginations of millions.

Star Wars would spawn generations of devoted fans and create a part of the internet universe where grown men can comfortably discuss the ins and outs of mythical creatures and characters and share Photoshop-ped images of Princess Leia and a big lightsaber.

The first three movies became the stuff of legend – the more recent prequels, in truth, the stuff of ridicule.

Yet Star Wars remains a brand which can make grown men go weak at the knees and reveal that senior management may struggle to understand phrases of modern day youth, but do in fact know just about enough language to get on should they meet a hooded little Jawa strolling down Maidstone High Street.

Play anyone over 35 the 20th Century fanfare and they will crave the opening bars of the majestic Star Wars theme.

George Lucas was, apparently, so hurt by the criticism of the prequels he vowed never to make any more movies – instead just allowing some mediocre animated movies to hoover up a few more kids on the off-chance they had not yet purchased at least one action figure associated with the series.

So news that Disney has splashed out more than $4bn on buying up Lucas Films and with it the rights to the movies will have sent a shiver of excitement down many a spine.

But the big question is whether this is the beginning of the end of the beginning of a reinvigorated series?

For many of those who grew up hooked on the original movies of the Seventies and Eighties, Disney was a by-word for movies where sentiment was not so much poured as shovelled on, along with mounds of sickly sweet treacle. And then packaged up and sold in a way which rather than inducing pleasure was more likely to trigger vomit.

Even given Luke Skywalker’s fundamental weedy nature, in a fight he could have had Mickey Mouse without even breaking sweat. Blimey, even C3PO would have been able to claim a scalp.

As a result, there is a concern Disney’s involvement in Star Wars could possibly usher in a schmaltz fest which could leave the devoted fan boys begging for mercy and craving George Lucas’ appalling inability to write tender moments in a script.

But Disney has been better in recent decades. It grew up a bit and realised a healthy cynicism about life was sometimes needed – and it grew a bit of a sense of humour.

It is also very aware of the strength of a powerful franchise so the force could be strong with this one.

The fear, of course, is that Disney goo-up Star Wars in a way previously only hinted at by the likes of Jar-Jar Binks and spoil it forever.

Right now, most of us first bitten all those years ago by the Star Wars bug are getting a little light-headed at the prospect of more films – the first in 2015 and then a new one every two to three years.

Not only does it mean we could take our children to see a new Star Wars movie, but it now realistically opens the prospect of taking our grandchildren to a new one too.

Only Mark Hamill’s agent, who probably spent the night popping Champagne corks and talking business, could be happier.

1 comment

  • You only have to see the comments left by fans on the Star Wars facebook fan page to see that this news is not well received. Is nothing sacred these days ? I'm surprised that Lucas has sold his baby to the likes of Disney, who seem to be intent on growing into a vast corporate monster, already swallowing up Pixar and Marvel, and now Lucasfilm. At the moment this news fills me with shock & horror, even with Lucas working as creative advisor on any future films, it is inevitable that Disney will want to stamp its identity all over it and therefore ruin Star Wars forever. Also, Lucasfilm isnt just about Star Wars. What I want to know is how this deal now affects the next Indiana Jones film ?

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    Wednesday, October 31, 2012

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