The New Star Wars Dynasty
Ever since George Lucas famously sold off his billion dollar empire, speculation has been mounting on just what the new owners, Disney, would in fact do with the cornucopia of options possible through Lucas Films characters.
The Art of the Deal
Late last year, in December 2012, the unfathomable happened. Walt Disney Company, home of Mickey Mouse, Tinkerbell, Mulan, and a slew of other fictional characters that people all over the world have grown up with for generations merged with arguably the largest producer of science fiction and adventure in Lucasfilm. The acquisition immediately merged the two entities into one, covering a multitude of platforms, businesses, and potential franchises that not even the most renown fiction writer could theorize about. The price tag for all of this paraphernalia and clout and big time pop culture appeal was staggering. Disney shelled out reportedly $4.06 billion dollars to own the rights to LucasFilm, which includes his special effects company Industrial Light & Magic, Skywalker Sound, and of course the Star Wars franchise.
Blockbusters Forth, They Cometh
Quickly on the heels of the news that the two powerhouse companies had merged, sci-fi and animation lovers rejoiced. Immediately after that news, Disney announced plans to released plans to premiere a new Star Wars movie every summer after Episode VII (helmed by J.J. Abrams) hits theatres in 2015. This move is seen by many as similar to the Marvel plan to release movies that tie into one another every year. Now that this news has been put out into the universe, fans are eager to find out which characters in the deeply connected Star Wars universe will get their own starring roles. Luke and Leia’s children? Han Solo, A young Boba Fett? C-3PO? Who is primed to hit the big screen as a stand-alone feature film? No word on that yet, but one thing is for certain. There’s sure to be billions of dollars raked in from these films over the next few generations by even the most conservative estimates.
Episode VII Sets The Course
J.J. Abrams at first declined directing the next edition of Star Wars. He even tweeted that he had turned down the offer. But after meeting with George Lucas and receiving his blessing, the acclaimed director (also of rebooted Star Trek fame) changed his mind and accepted the offer to bring the series to yet another generation of fans. Details on the upcoming feature are being guarded diligently but early reports are that it will cover the tales of Luke and Leia and her children with Han Solo. Possibly reprising their roles from the original films are Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford. Whatever happens or whoever appears, it is a guarantee that the movie will make upwards of a billion dollars once released, setting the stage for a slew of sequels and spin-offs.
That Previous Speculation
Almost as soon as Disney announced plans to not announce plans, they did a complete 180 and caved in to fan demands by confirming what many had suspected: spin-offs concentrating on two of the most popular characters in the world of all things Lucasfilm, Han Solo and Boba Fett. Details on the Han Solo project will follow around the young smuggler in an origin story before his encounters with the Jedi, while a movie on Boba Fett will feature one of his adventures as a bounty hunter in a galaxy far, far away. The movie featuring Han Solo is slated to take place between the time period of Revenge of the Sith and Episode I, while Boba Fett’s sand-alone film would occur between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Also possibly on hand for these two movies? None other than Darth Vader, who could return as a villain and lend a heavy hand to the franchise and beef up the movie’s presence.
Ready for Young Yoda, You Are?
There can be no real movement in any Star Wars universe without the presence of the all-knowing Yoda and there have been leaks in Disney that the character will in fact have his own spin-off that follows a younger Yoda leading Jedis through a series of adventures. Reportedly, the movie is under development now, although further details are being kept under wraps. As for who may direct this movie? Names being bandied about include Robert Rodriguez (for either a Han Solo film or Yoda-centric film) and Zack Snyder. The character of Yoda would be akin to Samuel L. Jackson’s character in the Marvel Universe, possibly tying all of the films together and setting the stage for the next upcoming feature to come.
George Lucas Says…
The former owner of LucasFilm himself has his own two cents to add when it comes to the franchises that made him a household name the world over, as well as one of the richest men in the world. Now in the beginning stages of retirement, Lucas is still a consultant on the upcoming films and has hinted that Fisher, Ford, and Hamill are already onboard. And then, in an effort to retain an air of mystery, the famous producer/director changed his comments to reflect only the possibility of the stars returning to the franchise that changed their lives forever. So what power does Lucas have over the future of the films? That is not quite certain, but considering that fans look to him for all things Star Wars-esque, it is a good bet that he is still in control of more than he is letting on.
A lot of people are speculating about other characters in the LucaFilm universe. Indiana Jones, for example? What happens to him? Are there going to be more theme parks In the Disneylands and DisneyWorlds that feature a Boba Fett or Princess Leia? Is the universe of LucasFilm headed back to television? The possibilities of all of these things happening are certainly worth pondering, considering what Disney has just acquired. They have already canvassed a new trail with the purchase of Marvel. The success of those characters has only led many to believe that George Lucas’ characters and themes and screenplays will find homes in similar places. The man behind this huge deal, Disney’s Robert Iger, steps down as CEO around the time of the release of Episode VII, and so there are no expectations that Disney will be looking to buy any other large projects. No, the next five to ten years will more than likely consist of Disney mining the vast property of Lucas characters and turning as many of them as possible into viable hits on the big screen, small screen, and in parks all over the globe.