I had a post ready to publish, praising the “Machete Order” for viewing the Star Wars films having just tried it out (Episodes IV, V, II, III and VI — it has a host of benefits fully outlined in the link, including maintaining the reveals of Luke’s parentage and the identity of Darth Sidious, a better reveal of Luke’s sibling, removal of the irrelevant characters in Episode I while the key ones are all reintroduced in the sequel, and making sense of teenage Anakin appearing at the end of Episode VI*), only to discover that it was already redundant. Because Disney have just bought Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise for a reported $4.05 billion, and Episode VII is in production for a 2015 release.
Naturally fans went crazy, in a suitably disproportionate fashion. It is understandable, with Star Wars being so close to the hearts of millions, but it is hardly as though Lucas has been a doting caretaker over the past decade and a half. Further films were an inevitability — Star Wars is Lucas’s legacy and was always destined to outlive him — but I never expected this to occur before his death. The most likely scenario in my mind had been his heirs approving remakes of Episodes I-III (an intriguing prospect with a strong director at the helm).
Fan reaction stems largely from surprise at the buyer. Remember how Disney bought Marvel out of the blue and then drove it into the ground? Except they didn’t. Whilst people discuss the inevitable Star Wars theme park (Star Tours was clearly just the beginning), if Lucasfilm remains a relatively independent entity under Disney’s new portfolio of properties, there is plenty of space for it to grow. In a similar way to the Marvel Avengers approach, I can see definite merit in the Expanded Universe being brought to the big and small screens in a coordinated fashion (anyone feel like greenlighting a Rogue Squadron series, please?). Let’s just get a contract in front of Joss Whedon sharpish. He truly will be our master then.
And in the end, as Morgan pointed out, “the franchise already featured white knight heroes, sassy princesses, and furry side kicks”.
*Yes, purists will still argue there is no reason to acknowledge anything outside the original trilogy at all. For them there are Harmy’s “Despecialized Editions”, a painstaking fan-made HD reconstruction as close as possible to the original theatrical releases using the best quality sources available. The cover art alone makes it worth having a copy.