When the news broke yesterday that George Lucas was passing off the Star Wars baton (or should I say, lightsaber) to Disney, I didn’t know what to think. I still don’t.
Allow me to clarify: I do know this is a big deal. I do not know if I should be happy about it.
On the one hand, it’s something of a relief to know that Lucas won’t be running his grubby fingers all over the franchise anymore. The guy did well with the first three films, but his handling of the prequels was so criminally poor it blew our minds in all the wrong ways. As a friend of mine put it, “If I ever met George Lucas, I would pat him on the back for the excellent original trilogy, and then I would shoot him in the kneecap for Jar-Jar Binks and The Phantom Menace.”
Some say there’s a new hope on the horizon now that Lucasfilm is in different (and presumably better) hands. I’m not yet convinced. This change could result in a needle-punch of adrenaline for the sluggish franchise. Or it could mean more intergalactic buffoonery. A pair of mouse ears for Darth Maul or something equally egregious.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not dead set against more Star Wars films. I wish Disney luck with their newly acquired treasures. But if Episode 7 really does make an appearance, then good filmmaking had better make an appearance with it. No more Jar-Jar Binks. No more mindless dependency on special effects. No more undermining of the mythos that made the original movies so great. Give us a story worth telling and characters worth our time.
And give us actors who know their stuff better than Hayden Christenson knows his.
If the folks at Disney somehow manage pull these things off, the new film may turn out just fine. I’d like to believe it will. But the cynic in me still sides with Luke: “I’ve got a very bad feeling about this.”