Why the Disney Star Wars deal is exciting.

02:34, Oct 31 2012

The prospect of new Star Wars films is exciting, but slightly worrying.

Disney announced today that it has bought Lucasfilm for $4 billion and will make three new Star Wars movies, with the first released in 2015.

It's the kind of news that makes you go "whaaa?" and then dash to Twitter. It seems everyone I follow on Twitter is a secret Star Wars nerd, aren't we all these days, as my stream was clogged with people cracking wise about the news.

The general tone on Twitter was not positive. It was along the lines of: "Just when we thought it was safe to go back in the water, new Star Wars movies are being sprung on us. Have we not suffered enough?"

But, I think this is a good thing. And here's why...


Star Wars is bigger than George Lucas. This deal means his creation has finally been wrested free of his troublesome mitts.

There is no doubting what Lucas achieved, against all the odds, to create the Star Wars universe. He wrote and directed one of my favourite films of all time, created a universe that ruled my childhood and then, in his spare time, came up with Indiana Jones. The guy was clearly a genius. But, there's an operative word in that last sentence - was.

The new trilogy firmly cemented Lucas' reputation as an ex-genius. Let's not ever forget how abysmal the new films were. Reflect for a moment on those interminable 'romance' scenes in Attack of the Clones, the tax disputes in Phantom Menace, Yoda hopping about like an athletic fraud and, two words, Jar Jar. Go on, just think about those things for a moment. Done? Ok, welcome back. Sorry to bring back those memories.

Now, with Lucas retired safely off to Skywalker Ranch, some really talented and interesting directors should be allowed to play in the Star Wars universe.

Isn't this what we wanted? Exciting new Star Wars films without the dead hand of Lucas hovering over events like a phantom menace.

"Thanks for Star Wars, Mr Lucas, but we got this now,'' we could say as we present him his carriage clock.

"So long and thanks for all the Sith.''

Think of the way Marvel has carefully husbanded its properties onto screen, choosing interesting and unexpected directors like Joss Whedon, Kenneth Brannagh and Jon Favreau to inject new life into ageing titles.

Wouldn't you like to see directors like Guillermo del Toro, Peter Jackson, David Fincher, Joss Whedon, James Cameron, Gareth Edwards, Alfonso Cuaron, Duncan Jones or Neill Blomkamp letting rip on Star Wars? I would.

Just to be clear, I don't think the new movies should retell or continue the classic, canon story. I have no desire to see Shia LaBeouf's Han Solo or Mila Kunis as Princess Leia. Please spare us a reboot or a reimagining. Instead, they should let interesting directors tell off-canon stories from the Star Wars universe.

They could play around in the background of the classic trilogy, a bit like Rozencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, or tell the story of how the Bothan spies got the Death Star plans or set some kind of noir murder mystery on Coruscant. Think of how each Star Trek movie dablles in a different genre. Star Trek 2 was revenge, Star Trek 4 was a fish-out-of-water comedy and Star Trek 6 was a political conspiracy thriller. New Star Wars films could do the same.

So, there you go. I'm excited at the possibilities of this deal. If it's handled right, it could mean some pretty cool new Star Wars movies. That's cool, right? What can I say, I like spending time in that universe and I want to return there.

What do you think of the news? Who would you like to see take on the Star Wars empire? What do you think of the prospect of new films?

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