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Unless you’ve spent the last 4 months under a rock you may be aware that recently, The Walt Disney Company bought George Lucas’s studio, Lucasfilm, for the not-unimpressive sum of $4.05 billion. It’s a small, family run film company, who made a few movies you may have heard of – Howard the Duck, Willow, Labyrinth, and a little film series called FUCKING STAR WARS. Ok, so it’s actually only called Star Wars, no fucking, although I would bet my right leg (and the Star Wars tattoo it bears) that a low-budget porn version exists somewhere in cyberspace. But I digress. Part of Disney’s huge acquisition announcement was the revelation that they would be making new Star Wars movies, namely Episodes VII, VIII & IX, with the first instalment due out in 2015. This sequel trilogy had been consigned to mere myth by millions of Jar Jar Binks-hating fanboys for decades, yet here it was, finally happening.
Other than the fact that Matthew Arndt, who wrote Toy Story 3, will be developing the Episode VII screenplay, details about the new films are still sketchy, i.e. non-existent. However, the important thing to remember is that the Star Wars franchise was never just made up of the films- there’s a whole Expanded Universe out there, kids. There are the video games for one. I’ve already waxed lyrical about the classic Knights of the Old Republic elsewhere, and hopefully future gaming efforts from the galaxy far, far away will match up to some of the existing gems in the franchise’s crown. A dark, gritty-looking underworld adventure called Star Wars: 1313 is due, in theory, sometime later this year, and the trailers are keeping fans happier than a Gamorrean in mud (which is pretty happy, just so you know). Disney’s Chief Executive Robert Iger revealed that Disney’s plans for Star Wars games are twofold – internally they will concentrate on social and mobile gaming, and then they will license third party developers to create console games. Everyone, imagine the Skyrim-esque Star Wars open-world sandbox RPG awesomefest we could have if Bethesda got their shit together and made a Star Wars game. I’d never play another game ever again. I mean, I would, but maybe not for a few months.
When Disney bought Marvel Entertainment back in 2009, there were rumblings that it would be the end of the franchise for good – but they’ve done incredibly well together. Star Wars certainly seems to be in safe hands with Disney, and it even seems like they may take a similar approach to the franchise as they have with the Marvel Movie Universe. Episode VII, set some time after the end of Return of the Jedi, will be followed by a new Star Wars movie “every two to three years”, seemingly implying that there will be more films even after this sequel trilogy is completed. These films “could turn into official ‘Episodes’ in the main Skywalker storyline, or they could form the basis for spin-offs focusing on side characters”.
On Monday, an intriguing nugget of information leaked online regarding 300 director Zack Snyder supposedly developing one of these stand-alone movies;
“an as-yet-untitled Jedi epic loosely based on Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic Seven Samurai, with the ronin and katana being replaced by the Force-wielding knights and their iconic lightsabers.”
Can you even begin to comprehend how incredible this would be? Can you?! Sadly, a Snyder representative has since denied his supposed involvement with this project, crushing the dreams of millions of nerds all over the world. However, when you recall that for the best part of 3 decades, George Lucas vowed that they’d never make a Star Wars sequel trilogy, maybe it’s not completely delusional to hold out hope for Snyder’s Jedi samurai epic even in the face of vehement denial.
Then there’s the long-rumoured live-action Star Wars TV show, wallowing in development hell for years. Written in part by Battlestar Galactica’s Ron Moore, the show will allegedly be a gritty, seedy underworld sci-fi crime thriller set in between the original and prequel trilogies. The issue, as always, was funding, and especially so with a series where each episode was expected to cost $5 million. However, the ABC network’s entertainment president Paul Lee was recently quoted as saying that now the acquisition of Lucasfilm by their parent company Disney was completed, they are considering finally getting the series off the ground. It’s literally like all my Christmases, birthdays and Life Days (Wookiepedia is your friend) have come at once. That said, this week also saw the sad announcement that the White House has shat all over our dreams for a real-life Death Star. You win some, you lose some.
I first saw Star Wars when I was 7. I have an extensive collection of Star Wars toys from my childhood. I’ve seen all the movies more times than I can remember. I’ve played a hell of a lot of Star Wars video games and I’ve read a hell of a lot of Star Wars novels. After the release of Episode III back in 2005, I thought we’d see the franchise slowly fizzle away into nostalgia over the coming decades, apart from perhaps the inevitable 3D movie re-releases. It turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong. Over the next few years we can expect to see new games, a new TV series and, most importantly, new Star Wars movies, and lots of them. Now we can accept the Disney acquisition is basically a good thing we can start concentrating on the big questions; namely, is Leia now a Disney Princess?