Getting excited for the new Star Wars movie The Force Awakens? You’re not alone. Disney, the new owners of the Star Wars brand, is already expecting over $1 billion in sales. If so, this will be the biggest film ever in the franchise. It will also be the first non-George Lucas Star Wars film in history. But is losing Lucas really a bad thing for the future of Star Wars? No. Here’s why.
01) Disney Has Demonstrated Quality Control
George Lucas sold off the Star Wars brand in 2012 to Disney for $4.05 billion dollars. Since then, Disney has not involved Lucas in any major creative decisions and only asked for some of his help during the early production stages with director JJ Abrams.
Many people on the Internet expressed concern after Lucas sold his stake in Star Wars to Disney. But there’s not much evidence that fans should be worried. Disney has shown incredible quality control after their acquisition of the Marvel franchise in 2009. They’ve taken Marvel movies from mostly low-grade one-offs to epic franchises that evolve both individual characters as well as crossovers, like The Avengers. The Marvel films that Disney has created so far, including Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and The Avengers, have all been both critically and commercially successful.
02) Lucas Jumped The Shark in the 1980s
To be honest, Lucas jumped the shark a long time ago. I love Star Wars. Lucas made lots of awesome movies. I even think Willow (1988) is a fantastic film. But the George Lucas Star Wars prequel films were awful.
In 1999, my coworkers and I all set up an overnight download of a QuickTime movie of the trailer for Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace and gathered around an Apple PowerMac 8600 the next morning to watch it. The trailer was a large movie file and these were the days before YouTube. All of us gathered in an office and turned off the lights to watch the trailer. We were so excited. But after seeing the film, I couldn’t have been more let down. The story was sloppy and the abuse of CGI was obscene. The next two films, Star Wars II: Attack of The Clones and Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith were equally as disappointing.
In hindsight, after seeing the changes Lucas made when he re-released the original three Star Wars movies, aka the “Special Edition” versions, it should have been obvious that Lucas had lost his golden touch. The “Special Edition” versions of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of The Jedi were terrible and still are generally hated by the Star Wars community.
03) Lucas Abuses Special Effects
Special effects are a tool, not a means to an end. Michael Bay still hasn’t figured that one out yet, but Lucas should know better. Lucas lost perspective of what makes a great story. The Star Wars prequels had too many characters, too many confusing battle scenes, too many unnecessary special effects, and too little character development. I remember as a child being in the theater for Return of the Jedi and seeing both parents and children crying when the Ewoks died. But with the prequels, people watch attentively, but emotionless.
Will A JJ Abrams Star Wars Franchise Be Successful?
If anyone can rescue the Star Wars franchise, it’s Disney. Director of The Force Awakens, JJ Abrams, has already shown his ability to breathe new life into struggling brands like Mission Impossible and Star Trek. Our fingers are crossed for Star Wars. What do you think?