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Monday, November 5, 2012

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.....

As many of you know (or maybe don't know) Disney has purchased Lucasfilm from George Lucas (the sole shareholder) for 4.05 billion (with a "b") dollars, and have announced Star Wars Ep. 7 for release in 2015.  

Initiate nerd-rage.

When I first read the news that this transaction had gone down I was at a loss for words...I stared at the screen but my brain wouldn't register what it was reading.  "George Lucas sells Disney...for 4 billion dollars...Disney plans Episode 7 for 2015 release..." I re-read the lines multiple times, not really knowing how to feel.  Then the emotions started.  I was angry.  DISNEY?!  DISNEY bought the rights to the entire Star Wars franchise AND they're already planning another Star Wars film?!!???  GAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!! How dare they?  I grew up with Star Wars!  I remember the exact moment I first learned of the existence of Star Wars with perfect clarity.  I was sitting in front of the TV watching some nonsense (it doesn't even matter anymore) with my younger sister, when my dad walked through the front door.  I don't know what prompted him to do this, but wherever he was, he had purchased the original remastered trilogy on VHS.  I remember walking over to him, curious what this exotic box of tapes could possibly be, looking up at him as he just...handed them to me.  He said, "This is the Star Wars series...wanna watch it?"  It was as simple as that...I became, immediately obsessed with Star Wars.  It's one of my fondest memories, and one which will always be burned into my recollection.  Since then, I've accumulated the DVDs, action figures, vehicles, posters, clothing, etc.  (I'm only slightly nerdy...)I couldn't get enough.  I lived and breathed Star Wars.  I learned from my father that he had seen the films in theatre...when they were released, starting in 1977.  He spoke about the films with such a wonder...he said no one had ever seen anything like that in film before, it had a reality that was beyond it's time (effects-wise).  When that Star Destroyer comes over the screen at the beginning of Star Wars, you're powerless, you have no choice but to stare in awe of it.

This memory popped into my mind as I read the distressing headline...then I let myself think.  I've lived through the prequels.  I've lived through the endless, atrocious, changes Lucas has made to the original trilogy, the films from my childhood.  I've watched this man (Lucas) do absolutely NOTHING worthwhile with this beloved series, but ruin it time and again, and I thought, "You know what....good.  This might be the best thing to happen to Star Wars since 1980 (with the release of The Empire Strikes Back, a film that, thankfully, Lucas neither wrote, nor directed)."  Disney has recently purchased the rights to Marvel as well, and so far, has done nothing but good with it (in my opinion.  Sure, all the films aren't gold, but they're pretty good).  I now see this as an opportunity for competent writers and directors to get involved with an established story I already love, and make something good.  Disney has the money to make anything they want, and if they play their cards right, they might just make something good, possibly even great.

If I could request one thing, JUST ONE thing from Disney, as a fan, I would ask them to release the original trilogy on Blu Ray, unaltered and unscathed.  I'm talking Han shot first, no worm Sarlacc, no digital Jaba, regular Obi-Wan Krayt Dragon call, no digital, inexplicable rocks in front of R2-D2 while hiding from the Sand People, no Darth Vader "NOOOOOOOOO", ORIGINAL Star Wars films.  The films the loyal fans deserve.  The films George Lucas denied us.

In short...This is a big change.  This is a lot of new revenue for Disney (which also gained rights to ILM, Skywalker Sound, and LucasArts games).  This is also a new opportunity.  An opportunity to do something that hasn't been done in nearly 30 years:  Make a good Star Wars film.  So, I'm optimistic...I'm looking forward to seeing what Disney does with this newly obtained goldmine, hoping that they give the series the respect it deserves but hasn't had in a long time.  I'm hoping they honor the originality and wonder that made Star Wars so appealing to begin with.  I'm hoping, with a 2015 release date already planned, they don't rush this next film and ruin it. I'm hoping they make a return of some practical effects, rather than ONLY green screen effects (seriously guys, practical effects look AMAZING, trust me).

I look forward to returning to that galaxy far, far away, and the wonder that grabbed me and wouldn't let go.

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