When the news recently hit that George Lucas was selling his empire to Disney for a cool $4.05 billion, and that there would be more Star Wars films, the reaction predictably ran the gamut from fans everywhere.
While it’s great that Lucas now has his “retirement fund” set up (I know, you were worried about him too), and he’s finally handing over the keys to the Millennium Falcon, the big elephant in the room is do we really need any more Star Wars movies? Can’t they just give it a rest? Won’t the world and the money-men be satisfied with cartoons, theme park rides and video games?
The report on Foxnews was appropriately headlined with the classic Han Solo line, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” but you knew the Lucas haters were going to be all over the sale STAT. One fan wrote on Tumblr, “I’m litteraly [sic] crying about this Disney Star Wars thing guys,” while another wrote, “F**K YOU DISNEY,” and yet another wrote, “To quote James Earl Jones, ‘NOOOOOOOOOOO!’ George Lucas, you are now officially the biggest sell out in the universe.”
At the same time, Lucas did get big brownie points from fans for pledging the majority of the money to help improve education, and whatever you think about the recent Star Wars films, you can’t knock the fact that the money is indeed going to a good cause. As Lucas said in a statement, “As long as I have the resources at my disposal, I will seek to raise the bar for future generations of students of all ages.”
Interestingly enough, two people from the mists of Lucas’s past came forward to comment on the Disney deal, Mark Hamill and Lucas’s biographer Dale Pollock. Entertainment Weekly tracked down Hamill for his reaction, and Luke Skywalker himself said, “I had no idea that George was going to sell to Disney until I read it like everybody else. He did tell us last summer about wanting to go on and do [episodes] VII, VIII, and IX…He seems to be in a really good place.”
Hamill admitted that when Lucas told him he wanted to do three more movies, “I was just gobsmacked. ‘What? Are you nuts?!’ [laughs] I can see both sides of it. Its great that people have fond memories…But on the other hand, there’s this ravenous desire on the part of the true believers to have more and more and more material.” With the sale to Disney, Hamill said he had mixed feelings, “but they haven’t done badly by Marvel, the Muppets and Pixar.”
Dale Pollock, who wrote the Lucas biography Skywalking, also told The Wrap he’d seen the outlines for the other three Star Wars flicks when he was interviewing Lucas over thirty years ago, and he claimed, “The three most exciting stories were 7, 8 and 9. They had propulsive action, really interesting new world, new characters. I remember thinking, ‘I want to see these 3 movies.’”
Whoever’s going to take over the Star Wars movies, I don’t envy them in a million years because they’ll have the same impossible task Lucas himself had to face. The original series was so beloved, the expectations were way too high, and the prequels certainly fell very short of the mark.
But if the series can be reinvented somehow, I’ll be as curious as anybody to check it out and give it a shot. Even without Lucas at the helm, Star Wars will certainly continue to be a sticking point of controversy with the fanboys, but this will also always be a reminder of how much the series will always mean to those who grew up with it and loved it, myself included.