Published on April 20th, 2013 | by Clint Davis
Will Disney Run ‘Star Wars’ Into the Ground?
“Ah, Star Wars! Nothing but Star Wars!”
When oily lounge singer Nick Winters crooned that line, the nation was firmly in George Lucas’s iron grip–with his epic sci-fi western quickly becoming the original summer blockbuster. Fast forward to 2013 and his pet project has spawned a 6-film saga, several television specials and series, and over $30 billion in estimated revenue. Sure, the prequel films mostly blew, but if The Phantom Menace were re-introduced in theaters today, legions of people would line up to see it (and be pissed off) all over again.
When it was announced that Lucas had sold the ‘Star Wars’ franchise to Disney in late-2012, jaws dropped across the world with most people wondering what this meant for the legendary franchise’s future. News of Episode VII hitting pre-production with J.J. Abrams signed on to direct and Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher returning to their original roles soon followed. The real stunner came this week though, when Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn announced that not only would Episode VII hit theaters in 2015, but a new ‘Star Wars’ film would drop every summer through 2019.
This means new episodes in 2015, 2017, and 2019, with spin-off films coming in 2016 and 2018. After six total live-action ‘Star Wars’ films in 28 years, we’re going to be hit with five new ones in five years. Even for the most die-hard fan of the franchise, this screams of overkill.
But then again, Disney is the undisputed king of beating a dead horse.
We all love Disney originals like The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and 101 Dalmations but we’ve also seen the studio take their beloved characters and squeeze them for every last breath of originality in their animated lungs. I can vividly remember wearing out my VHS copy of Aladdin, then doing the same with the straight-to-video The Return of Jafar, but when I popped in 1996’s Aladdin and the King of Thieves as an eight-year old boy and couldn’t even finish it–I had my first feeling of being conned by a movie studio.
Disney will certainly throw tons of money and production values at the new ‘Star Wars’ films, but it’s hard to trust the studio that’s done not one, but TWO(!) sequels to Cinderella that they’ve got the franchise’s integrity in mind. As long as they keep Hayden Christensen at least 500-feet from filming at all times, it can’t be all bad, though.
As a ‘Star Wars’ fan, I’ll certainly be in line to see Episode VII in 2015, but I make no guarantees for the spin-offs. For now, I’ll agree with Winters when he sang, “If they should bar wars, please let these Star Wars………STA-A-A-AY.”
Photoshops: Clint Davis / Overdue Review