- 31 October 2012
- By John Howell
If you haven't already heard, George Lucas has just sold the rights to his Star Wars films to the Disney Studio for US$4 billion and a seventh Star Wars film produced by Disney will hit theatres 2015. Episode 7, following on from Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi, will continue the story of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Hans Solo. Episodes 8 and 9 will follow every two years from then on. Of course, if they're successful, no doubt Disney will continue to release more as a continuing franchise.
According to The Age, one of the reasons for the sale is that George Lucas is "sick of being yelled out", no doubt alluding to the poor reception of the last three prequel films from hard core Star Wars fans.
"Why would I make any more when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?" Lucas told the Times after the release of the prequels.
Actually, apart from the yelling, I can sympathise with the die hard fans on this one. Who can forget the travesty of Jar Jar Binks, the most unconvincing love story in cinema history, and Lucas giving "the force" a biological origin with "midi-chlorians" in Star Wars: Episode I -The Phantom Menace?
While Lucas will serve as a creative consultant on the new movies, with the rights out of his hands, any final creative decisions belong to Disney and the directors and writers they hire.
"For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next," said Lucas.
"It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I've always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime."
Disney CEO Bob Iger said Episode 7 was already in early-stage development based on a detailed story outline from Lucasfilm.
Disney's Star Wars deal includes Lucasfilm's Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, as well as rights to the Indiana Jones franchise.
After lame scripts and the awful characters introduced (or re-introduced) in the last three prequels, I believe this is great news for any fan of the Star Wars series. While I'd love to continue to explore the Star Wars universe, I would find it almost impossible to be enthusiastic about any new films created by George Lucas. The last three were too much.
If quality writers and directors can be hired to continue the journey, I'm more than happy to let Disney try their hand at relaunching the franchise. Perhaps the new Star Wars films can recover their iconic nature and style, without the excessive toy merchandising, endless, unrealistic special effects and dialogue that makes your skin crawl. Here's to more Star Wars in 2015.
Watch George Lucas discuss the Disney sale on youTube below.
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