I read a few hours ago about Disney buying Lucasfilm and planning for a “Star Wars 7” in 2015. I was going to post immediately about it, but all I could manage was a series of shocked, monosyllabic questions. Then came a sense of overwhelming dread and some bigger questions that led to cautious optimism and finally, a new, small feeling of hope.
You have to understand a little about me and Star Wars. I was 10 in the early 90s. After I discovered my dad’s old, dubbed VHS tapes and fell in love with the original trilogy, I wanted more. Naturally, I visited the local library, immediately found Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy and was even more hooked. I loved the movies, I loved the books, I devoured any behind-the-scenes information about the cast and the crew and all the makings-of I could find. I was a yearslong subscriber to The Star Wars Insider and even found a random issue hiding out in a box when I moved last year.
In middle school, all the art projects I could manage were Star Wars themed. I met my best friend over Assault at Selonia while waiting for the teacher-sponsor to show up at the Science Fiction Theater Club. One of my most loved books is a three-in-one hardback of The Correllian Trilogy that my cousin bought and quietly left on my bookshelf with a note inside for me to find one day. I cannot tell you how much merchandise I had. I CAN tell you how many times my family played Star Wars Trivial Pursuit with me: once.
And don’t get me started on the theater re-releases of the OT. The original trilogy on the big screen? Sure, “Greedo fired first” but it was Star Wars! On the big screen! I wasn’t even alive when the first two films were originally in theaters, so this was a huge deal for me.
Star Wars and I go way back. I may not have grown up with the original release, but I grew up with the universe and loved every minute of it for about 12 years. Parts of it I still love, and I think I’ll always love the *idea* of it. But as I got older, looked at the prequels (and really, even the OT) with a much more critical eye and hit that one New Jedi Order book I could never quite get past, I began to drift away to other things. Sure, I detoured from Harry Potter, Stargate and The West Wing for some Knights of the Old Republic videogaming, and Battlefront is still one of my go-to games. But somewhere along the line my disinterest became disappointment.
So when I heard that Disney had bought Lucasfilm and was planning a new movie for ’15, and after I got through a few rounds of “What? How? What?” I was immediately reminded of the fight to get anything on DVD. Then the fight for a boxed set of the trilogy, the fight for a boxed set of the saga. The Blu-rays, the prequels coming back to the theater in 3-D (which will sadly do nothing for the dialogue) and all the other ways fans have felt nickeled and dimed into double-dipping for this franchise and…you know that scene in ET? (Bear with me as a tangent over to Spielberg.) The one where ET and Elliot are in their plastic tents and Elliot is throwing a fit all “Leave him alone! Please, just leave him alone! YOU’RE KILLING HIM!!!”
That’s kind of how I felt.
But then I thought about it a little more. See, I generally try not to crap all over George Lucas, being that he’s the father of this specific universe that I’ve gotten so much enjoyment out of…but there’s a reason The Empire Strikes Back is widely seen as the best of the bunch. George Lucas didn’t write it, and he didn’t direct it. He’s a great idea man and lord knows this journey he started has led to great and amazing things. He laid the first brick for the juggernaut that brought Industrial Light and Magic, Skywalker Sound and so many things. And then he gave direction like “Faster and more intense,” and dialogue like “I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough…not like here.” (Granted, he also gave us “You don’t want to sell me deathsticks…you want to go home and rethink your life,” but everyone hits a double every now and again.)
So, you know, maybe this isn’t such a bad thing. Disney owns Marvel, after all. I seem to remember The Avengers doing quite well.
And now I’m just curious about what a Star Wars 7 would be. I remember in 1997, Mark Hamill was on an Oprah 20th Anniversary of Star Wars special joking about how *sequels* would be ridiculous, and he could just see Luke and Han rolling around in their old-man wheelchairs bickering at each other. But, you know, characters getting downright old hasn’t stopped the books from coming up with new stories for them — not that I believe for a second that Hamill, Harrison Ford or Carrie Fisher will ever be back in Star Wars (well, I could maybe see Hamill or Fisher doing some voice-over work if SW7 went in an animated direction).
So, my questions become: Will SW7 relate to any aspect of the expanded universe we know? Will it bring the New Republic’s infancy to the big screen with new actors for Luke, Leia and Han? Will it skip way down the line and focus on the Solo children, Ben Skywalker — or even go waaaay down the line and pick up Cade Skywalker? (It should probably be noted that I last was really paying attention around NJO: Hero’s Trial, also known as “The One Where Han is Drunk All the Time,” so I really only know that Cade exists and at one point wasn’t too thrilled about about lineage.)
Or will Star Wars 7 drop the Skywalkers and Solos entirely, choosing instead to focus on a new group of heroes with brand new stories? And of course, the biggest question of all, will any of it actually happen, or will Disney owning Lucasfilm just be a recipe for Jedi Mickey and Indiana Jones cartoons (or, dare to dream, a return to Willow)?
I don’t know, but for now — though I’m keeping my enthusiasm firmly in check — I’m kind of eager to find out.