"Is that what I think it is?"
That's what I said I first heard the news. And I was just looking at the part which said they are making another Star Wars movie.
I wasn't looking at the far bigger news. Neither my eyes nor my mind had caught up with that.
Disney had bought Lucasfilm for the tune of 4.05 billion dollars (for some reason I expect I expected the Empire to cost more).
Since then, my mind has still been catching up. When Disney bought Marvel, it at least made sense. At the time, Marvel was a long-time comic book company who had just made waves with hit movies like "Iron Man". By comparison, Lucasfilm is a juggernaut in the areas of not only film, but also television, video games, books, and through Industrial Light & Magic, special effects. The announcement was no less left-field since George Lucas almost five months earlier.
So far, here's a breakdown of my thoughts on the House of the Mouse buying the Empire of Dreams.
The Light Side
Honestly, this is probably the best way the next Star Wars trilogy could be made. To put it bluntly, the move puts George Lucas exactly where you want him when shooting another "Star Wars" - at arm's length. George Lucas has written a treatment for the next three movies, and he will be consulting during the production, but by and large, their conceptualization will require new writers and new directors to bring forth the creative vision. If sounds worrisome to fans, they should remember George Lucas shared credit on "The Empire Strikes Back" - widely considered to be the best of the "Star Wars" trilogy - with the director Irvin Kershner and screenwriting giants Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan. The best parts of Star Wars have never been a one man show. But lest with we forget, George Lucas will be consulting to keep the new trilogy on track, and with stock options, he will be able to make his voice heard if necessary.
The Dark Side
Whatever your feelings on the prequels (I personally don't like them), it is sad to see George Lucas hand off the reins of LucasFilm, if only because it was his baby. You have to admit George Lucas' story is one of the most inspiring in film - having taken a fantastic story entire companies wrote off as a box office bomb and turned it into a multimedia giant, and the first of its kind no less. While fans have a well-documented love/hate relationship with Lucas, all of them agree Lucas is an iconic figure in the company's history. Yes, Disney is nothing if not a worthy successor, having done well with Marvel and Pixar, but all the same, it's sad to see Lucas go, and his retirement doesn't soften the blow all that much either. Face it: whether you him, hate him or both, George Lucas is part of what made Star Wars so appealing, and even in such capable hands, it's very sad to see him go.
The Jar Jar
The biggest unresolved question - aside from who will direct, and probably star, in the next "Star Wars" - is what will happen to the current "Star Wars" properties. It seems likely that "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" will leave Dark Horse Comics to return to Marvel, which Disney now owns. Likewise, all video games are now being published under Disney's arm (which could make the next "Kingdom Hearts" very interesting), though the in-production "Star Wars 1313" is said to be unaffected by the move.
Beyond this, what does will happen to "Star Wars: The Clone Wars", the CGI prime-time series running on Cartoon Network. Entering into its fifth season, the series might be wrapping up, as it approaches what looks to be the Sith Elephant in the room - Order 66 - so maybe no major changes will be made. But what about the long-in-production "Star Wars" live-action series? Will Disney still continue this gritty prequel series, said to be described as "Deadwood in Space".
There's also the question of the "Expanded Universe", which the next trilogy will almost certainly overwrite. Will Disney consult with writers like Timothy Zahn and Michael Stackpole, whom have already written about the continuing adventures of Luke, Han and Leia?
Overall, I'm generally optimistic about this news. While there are many questions left unanswered, I can't help but feel this move gives the "Star Wars" a much-needed fresh start after years of continuity building through books, movies and media.
As Lord Vader himself would say, "The Force is strong in this one."
(That's it for this rant. Check out a new Blue Yonder next week)