Four Billion Dollars and No Hope Left: How George Lucas has sold his soul

I think everyone remembers when they first saw A New Hope. At that time it wasn’t Episode IV, it was simply a masterpiece. Call me a nerd, but when the suns rose on some alien planet with Luke Skywalker gazing at the horizon to the rousing music of the series, everyone just sensed they were seeing movie magic, a classic, a masterpiece of sci-fi like no other. All hail George Lucas many cried, as he followed it up with two of the most perfect sequels ever, the beautifully moody The Empire Strikes Back and the necessary epic finale, Return of the Jedi (We will ignore the inclusion of Ewoks). No one could ruin this fantastic series. But George Lucas, it’s creator, gave it a bloody good go.

Before I get on to my main point, I need to give a bit of a backstory that leads up to current events. These tragedies took the form of The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, Episodes I, II and III. I’m struggling to sum these up for people who haven’t seen them yet. A travesty. A farce. Shit. Form them into a legitimate sentence, with a few more adjectives and perhaps you will comprehend what these films meant for the series. Basically created for George Lucas to steal nerd’s money (he claimed it was to explain how Anakin became Darth Vadar, which became uninteresting after Jar Jar Binks was introduced), they were three of the worst films I’ve ever seen, with dodgy CGI, terrible plots, the worst actor ever in Hayden Christiensen, and the lack of any soul. It felt like something that was designed to laugh in your face while it stole your money, not something that was supposed to please the fans, or even entertain. The series died the day Return of the Sith was released, a finale so ludicrous and cringe worthy it could have been mistaken as a decent parody effort. No interest could be retained, no drama was upheld, it was dull, boring, lifeless and criminally, painstakingly bad. It’s hard to really sum up how to put the disappointment of loving the original trilogy with Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford, to staring at horror of the ‘adventures’ of a bearded Ewan Mcgregor (because he is wise, so he must have a beard!) and a plank of wood labelled ‘Hayden Christiensen’, learning a new emotion for each film (two). Such a contrast of quality undoubtedly prompted more then a few angry letters to the Lucas household, piling up as he stroked his beard with money and laughed in our faces. Now that those dire topics are over, I can procede to my main point. Which take the form of Episodes VII, VIII and IX.

On the 31st of October 2012, Lucasfilms announced they had sold the rights for the Star Wars series to none other then Disney, who then swiftly announced their plans to continue the series, with Episode VII (presumably a direct sequel to Return of the Jedi) to be released in 2015. For the small sum of $4.05 BILLION. The devil offered, and George Lucas rubbed his hands and signed on the dotted line.

I feel as if I may be being slightly over dramatic, but this is diabolically bad news. I don’t think it is any exaggeration that George Lucas has sold the series out, nor do I think that any continuation of the series is a good idea. Perhaps I would be more accepting if it was a standalone series, something new, fresh and maybe even good? But the news that it will be a direct sequel to Return of the Jedi runs shivers down my spine. What does that mean? The original trio of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford are now 61, 56 and 70 years old respectively, a disaster waiting too happen if they are to be reintroduced. The only way this incredibly stupid plan is going to work is if a new cast are introduced, a cast that can rival the original trio (pressure is well and truly on guys). However, this cosy reality looks unlikely, as of course, Disney just won’t be able to help yourselves. Any company, if given the power to make sequels to such incredible classics would bring back some of the original cast. No doubt one/two of the three will return (although I think Ford can be ruled out, 70 years old and at the end of the day, a cocky supporting character), you cannot believe Disney would not jump at the chance to dress Mark Hamill up in a beard and make him a wise mentor. Maybe make Carrie Fisher as a quite fun old lady (how they explain that without Ford is anyone’s guess, saying they broke up would enrage the fans even more). Can you imagine it? Of course you can, smaller series being continued have these kind of farcical cameos, but never before has it been attempted on this scale. Disney have their work cut out in returning the faith and passion to the series, one stupid slip up or an addition the fans don’t like and you may as well write the whole project off as a disaster.

So here comes the crucial question; is there any chance that it won’t be awful? Does anyone have any faith in Disney? I could be being too harsh, not strong enough to accept this could be a turning point in the series. The reason I just can’t accept this is anything but bad is because of the prequels; the lifeless slumps of movies that completely destroyed my confidence and faith in the series. It should of been left where it was, it should have been preserved and untouched after Episode VI (what should have been the true Episode III) but George Lucas tampered his masterpiece and turned the Star Wars saga from sci-fi classics into a laughing stock. George Lucas is clearly confident that Disney will do a good job. But if it doesn’t work out, and the saga takes another ludicrous turn, will he look at what his once great creation has become and think it was worth it? Four billion dollars can’t buy you respect. And God knows he needs that now.