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A New Era: Fans talk about Disney acquiring Lucasfilm
Many fans are anxiously awaiting the end result after learning that Walt Disney Co. entered into an agreement to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. from George Lucas to continue on with the Star Wars movie saga — not to mention that J.J. Abrams will direct the upcoming “Star Wars: Episode VII” targeted for release in 2015.
Abrams is directing the first in what is a new series of Star Wars films, which will be followed by Episodes VIII and IX, under the leadership of film producer and studio executive Kathleen Kennedy, co-chairman of Lucasfilm. Abrams and Academy Award-winning writer Michael Arndt will write the screenplay.
“It's very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new Star Wars movie,” said Kennedy, in a story on the Star Wars website (www.starwars.com). “J.J. is the perfect director to helm this. Beyond having such great instincts as a filmmaker, he has an intuitive understanding of this franchise. He understands the essence of the Star Wars experience, and will bring that talent to create an unforgettable motion picture.”
Looking into the future — far, far away — additional feature films are expected to further continue the saga.
“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said Lucas in another story on the Star Wars website. “It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I've always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I'm confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney's strength gives Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment and consumer products.”
Local Star Wars buffs from Yuma shared their thoughts on the recent announcements.
Zebadiah Ohland said that his first thought, on hearing that Disney had acquired Lucasfilm, was that the Star Wars movies would end up as a terrible cross between Disney tween shows like “Good Luck Charlie” and “Jessie,” of which his daughters are a fan.
He added that the news also concerned him in regards to the Extended Universe (EU) games, novels, etc., that have formed themselves around the core “canon” of the movies.
Ohland said he wonders if Disney will still allow LucasArts to continue development of the upcoming “1313” game with its projected “Mature” rating or if they put an end to more grown-up adventure. He added that he is also curious as to whether the new movies will go along with the EU plot lines of the novels that take place after Episode VI.
“I am more skeptical now that I have found out that J.J. Abrams will direct, and that Timothy Zahn, who wrote what are arguably the best Star Wars novels to date, will have nothing to do with new movies,” he said. “...But with J.J. at the helm well, what he did for Star Trek, to me personally, was awesome. But I'm not much of a Trekkie, so rebooting the Star Trek canon and basically erasing everything that has ever happened in any previous show, movie, game or novel ... well, I wouldn't want that to happen to Star Wars.”
However, he noted that regardless of his current concerns, he is eagerly looking forward to release of the upcoming film.
“I will be as excited to see them when they come out as I was when I was 5 and saw ‘Return of the Jedi' in the theater for the first time, or as excited as my son Luke was when he was 5 and saw ‘Revenge of the Sith' on the big screen,” he said.
When looking forward to the upcoming films, avid fan Sam Cervantes Jr. — who remembers seeing the original “Star Wars” in 1977 at age 5 at what was then Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on opening week, then watching “Return of the Jedi” after waiting in line for six hours at 11 — says that one word comes to mind: “trepidation.”
“I'm all for continuing the Star Wars saga. I'm just not sure where they will go with so many books out and alternate storylines,” said Cervantes. “Will some sort of conclave of the leading science fiction writers be held to decide a direction for future movie storylines? I would love to see the Thrawn trilogy and Bounty Hunter books go to film, but I think that's more because those are the first expansion books I read. There's also the whole X-Wing/Rouge Squadron series of books and a ton of other storylines I haven't read that other fans would love to see on screen, not to mention graphic novels and comics as well. It's a big responsibility to take on, even for Disney. They will have to put the right people on it to do it any justice.”
He said that he has purposely not researched a lot about the new movie buzz.
“I have seen that certain key actors have signed on to return and that's pretty cool to see. I'm one of those moviegoers who tries to enjoy even the most bashed movies that have been released. I figure if I can't do a better job, then I have no business bad-mouthing someone else's creative efforts. I have no doubt that Disney will turn out a quality films and it will introduce Star Wars to a new generation. I hope they stay true to the essence of what Lucas set out to do and they don't get too mired in multiple plotlines. Basically, pick a direction and hope there aren't too many potholes along that path.”
Another Star Wars fan, Royen Springer — a father to twins, one of whom shares a name with a more obscure Star Wars character named Revan — said that when he heard the news, he became worried that Disney would change too much of what fans have come to love, in order to appeal to everyone.
“At this point I'm trying not to get my hopes up for the films,” he said. “I'm excited to see what they do, but we don't know what the future hold for Star Wars fans. May the force be with Disney if they screw it up.”