Unless you’ve been living in a cave on Hoth for the last week, you’ve no doubt heard the news that Disney purchased the rights to Star Wars, among other things, from George Lucas. Indeed, we here at PoP! have have already talked about it a bit, from Mary’s fangirl squees to Ben’s suggestions of directors. It’s time I threw my lightsaber into the ring as well. After all, I am the guy who took it upon himself to defend the prequels. Specifically, this is what I personally think will be covered in the new movies and the fate of the Expanded Universe (hereafter referred to as the EU).
First off, I don’t understand the fanboy rage of the purchase as anything other than a knee-jerk reaction. Disney and Star Wars have a long history together, after all. Frankly, I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner. The Mouse has shown to be a fair caretaker, as is evident by their “hands off” approach to their other recent major acquisition, Marvel Comics. Who they teamed with to produce some great films, by the way. Second, as much as I love Lucas and the universe he’s given us, the fact that he won’t be directing the upcoming movies is a relief. I love the guy, but he’s a terrible director when it comes to actors. The idea of a Star Wars film helmed by Brad Bird or Guillermo del Toro makes me positively giddy with anticipation.
Just what will be in these new installments? Plot-wise I have no idea, but I have a feeling (and not a bad one) about when they’ll be set. Mark Hamill, Luke Skywalker himself, said in an interview that Lucas told he and Carrie Fisher about the deal before it was publicly announced. To me, this means that current plans are for the two of them to return as Luke and Leia. It’s telling that Harrison Ford was not included. Ford’s never made it a secret that he’s not a fan of Star Wars, going on record about how he wanted Han Solo to die in the finale of Return of the Jedi. To me, this says we should expect the Skywalkers but not Han. By 2015, the supposed release date of Episode VII, it will have been a little over 30 years since Jedi was released, and my theory is that’s roughly how many years will have passed in the story. This allows Hamill and Fisher to return at their natural ages, be it in major parts, supporting ones, or cameos.
So, 30 years after Jedi. In the EU this would be immediately following the end of the Yuuzhan Vong invasion but before the Legacy era. As much as I would love to see characters like Mara Jade, Grand Admiral Thrawn and Corran Horn on the big screen, my gut says that’s not going to happen. I have a feeling that most everything in the EU set following Jedi will be tossed right out the airlock. I’m not saying that’s what I want to happen, or what should happen, just what I think will happen. Does this suck? Yeah, it kinda does. Does it make sense? Yeah, it kinda does. Disney isn’t, and shouldn’t, be making films to appeal specifically to the millions of fans of the EU. They should be making films that appeal to the hundreds of millions of casual fans who are completely ignorant of it. I know, it’s a bitch. There are some fantastic works that have been created that will probably be erased in the reboot, but that route seems the most logical choice. And it’s possible that some elements will be retained. Mara seems like a likely candidate to possibly be included, as she’s a great character with a huge fan base and the potential for mainstream appeal. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be thrilled for whoever makes these films to mine the greatness of the Thrawn trilogy or the Rogue Squadron or Wraith Squadron series. I just don’t see that happening. This approach also leaves the door open for brand new novels and comics set in this “new” EU, with writers free to contribute to a brand new continuity.
So there you have it. That’s what I think is going to happen to Star Wars. I’ve never claimed to possess an aptitude for the Force, so it’s very possible I’ll be wrong on all accounts. Some part of me hopes so. Only time will tell.