Published on October 31st, 2012 | by PJ Montgomery6
A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away…
The news has come through that Disney have bought Lucasfilm for a not insubstantial sum of money, and the company have already announced that they are planning to release Star Wars episode VII in 2015. Naturally, the Internet is pretty divided on this matter, with some screaming and wailing about how this is a terrible idea, and some of them being quite excited about the prospect.
The reality should lie somewhere in the middle. At this point, we have absolutely no idea what form episode VII will take, who will be writing, who will be directing or who will be starring. Lucas himself will almost certainly not be involved, though he has stated that he always saw Star Wars as something which would carry on without him, under the direction of other creators.He’s also always said that his original plan for Star Wars was a nine film series, so a third trilogy is hardly a new idea.
There’s also the small matter of who Disney might hire to take Star Wars on. There are plenty of talented writers and directors out there who could probably do something with the Star Wars franchise, and whose take on the universe would be very interesting indeed. Of course, the optimum scenario is that Joss Whedon be brought in to give us his vision of Star Wars, but with Avengers 2 (Disney’s other big live action hitter) also due in 2015, this is unlikely. Still, until announcements are made, getting prematurely annoyed or excited seems a little foolish. Lets just go with cautious optimism for now.
What’s more interesting is how this deal will affect the Star Wars spin-off media. Star Wars is unique when it comes to the novels and comics which are based on the saga, since they are, for the most part, considered canon. Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire trilogy of novels, set five years after Return of the Jedi, really kicked things off, and is still regarded as a real high point for the Star Wars saga. The books, telling the story of the former rebels battling against the remnants of the Empire and Grand Admiral Thrawn, as well as Han and Leia becoming parents, is very fondly thought of by fans, and many will be hoping that Disney simply adapts these books for the screen. This is unlikely, however, since the cast have aged a little more than the required five years, and does anyone really think Harrison Ford will return to the part of Han Solo anyway? Regardless, we’ll still have the books to read. However, their status as canon to the movies could be a little more complex. Chances are, Disney won’t really pay much attention to the events of the novels in their new movies, and contradictions are almost bound to put in an appearance. In that case, the movies are very much going to be the official version of events, no matter how much fans may object. In that case, the Star Wars novels will simply become just another tie-in series which has no bearing on canon, and that would be a real shame.
Likewise, the comics published by Dark Horse are currently considered canon, but their potential lack of canonicity isn’t the real problem here. Disney already own their very own comic book publisher, a little company by the name of Marvel Comics. Chances are, Dark Horse will soon be losing the Star Wars licence, which will then pass to Marvel. While Marvel aren’t unfamiliar with Star Wars comics (they had the licence in the seventies and early eighties), Dark Horse have held the licence for a long time now, and published hundreds of comics set in different eras of the Star Wars universe. They publish a number of Star Wars comics every month, and they clearly care about the universe. Big a Marvel fan as I am, I just can’t see them putting the same amount of care and effort into the Star Wars brand as Dark Horse have, and they certainly won’t publish as many Star Wars comics a month as Dark Horse.
The new Disney / Lucasfilm deal may be a good thing for the films, but the spin-off situation is currently a little fuzzier.
Of course, Star Wars isn’t the only property tied into this. It also gives Disney Indiana Jones, Labyrinth and Willow. Wether anything will happen with these or not remains to be seen, but Disney would be foolish to simply leave it at Star Wars when Lucasfilm has so many other properties ripe for investing time in. And, of course, with Disney now owning both Lucasfilm and Marvel, can another Howard the Duck film really be that far off?