I was 3 when Star Wars was first released. I don’t remember exactly how many months after the May release it was that my parents took my brother and I to the drive-in, but I’m guessing it was the next summer when I was 4. Regardless, Star Wars was one of the defining influences of my youth. I played with the toys until I grew out of them. Then, during high school, I became a fan of every book and game that was released, from Heir to the Empire and the West End Games RPG to Decipher’s CCG and every video game released for my Mac (or my brother’s PC). The Phantom Menace marked my first year of full-time employment, and my eldest daughter’s first Halloween costume, as a baby, was a Jedi robe. I attended midnight premieres of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. These days, I watch Star Wars: The Clone Wars with my kids, and I listen to The ForceCast every week. I have always been, and will likely always be, a die-hard Star Wars fan. George Lucas and John Williams are two of my heroes, to whom I give partial credit for my creative pursuits, career and otherwise.
I was shocked to read first on Twitter, then Facebook, and finally the official Star Wars Blog, that George Lucas has sold Lucasfilm to Disney. Not only that, but they are working on the oft rumored episodes VII, VIII, and IX, the first of which will be in theaters in 2015! I admit, my initial gut reaction was a sinking feeling. “Oh no! How could George turn it over to someone else? They’ll ruin it!” But that feeling didn’t last long.
I probably shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was. The writing was on the wall. Earlier this year, Kathleen Kennedy was brought on board to take over Lucasfilm as George went into retirement. I didn’t know anything about her at the time, but just a glance at her IMDB page shows that she is a force to be reckoned with. She has produced no less than 86 films including the Back to the Future trilogy, all but the first Indiana Jones film, and much of Steven Spielberg’s filmography. At the time she was hired, there was speculation as to why she would come on board, if not to make more Star Wars movies.
And for the acquisition by Disney, well, George has always had a good relationship with the studio, working with them on Star Wars and Indiana Jones attractions in their theme parks. I’ve always imagined he would have the attitude that Star Wars was his, and he wouldn’t let anyone else make further films. However, in recent years, he has been grooming Dave Filoni, Director of The Clone Wars animated series to do just that. George’s daughter, Katie Lucas, has been a writer for several episodes. It makes sense, then, that George has decided to ensure a vibrant future for the franchise, and I can’t think of a better company to care for it than Disney. They have the resources, and they have a track record of respecting acquired properties, such as The Muppets and Pixar.
The prequel haters have always said that George should let someone else take over the franchise, considering him to be a washed-up has-been. I’ve never agreed with that sentiment, and I was relieved to hear that he will be involved with the third trilogy. But we are going to have the chance to see what happens when some other people are invited into the sandbox. More importantly, Star Wars will likely remain an inspiration for many generations to come.