On Monday, for a mere $4.05 billion, Disney purchased the hearts and souls of millions of rabid middle-aged nerds with the promise of more Star Wars movies. Three more in fact … a whole new trilogy … which means nearly a decade of speculation and squeamish anticipation, followed by eventual disappointment, confusion, and regret.
The sequel trilogy has been confirmed by Disney, the proud new owners of Lucasfilm Ltd. and thereby the full rights to the Star Wars franchise. According to Disney’s chief executive, Robert Iger, the three films … Episodes 7, 8, and 9 … will be released every few years beginning in 2015. Disney’s Kathleen Kennedy will executive produce, and Star Wars creator, George Lucas, will remain involved, acting as a “creative consultant” on the new movies. He will not be involved in the day-to-day operations, however, which should give him plenty of spare time to finally grow his beard to cover his double chin.
Regarding the sale, Lucas said with charming courtliness: “It’s now time for me to pass ‘Star Wars’ on to a new generation of filmmakers.” That statement was undoubtedly met with a shudder of ecstatic relief from the aforementioned nerds, considering what a horrible disaster Lucas’ prequel trilogy was. Sure, he can take credit for the transcendent glory of the originals, but unfortunately it’s their very awesomeness that throws the cataclysmic crappiness of Episodes One through Three into such stark relief.
Lucas was decidely less sentimental and much pissier when interviewed by the New York Times earlier this year. When asked if he intended to make any more Star Wars episodes, he said: “Why would I make any more, when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?” The bitter edge in his voice suggests to me that this sale was good for him, because he needs a break.
A break from the scathing hatred true Star Wars fans radiate whenever Jar Jar Binks is even mentioned, and a break from the pressure he must have struggled with for so long as the one holding the key to both the orgasmic elation and crushing disappointment of so many legions of huge sci-fi geeks.
Disney has acquired and had enormous success with both Pixar Animation and Marvel Entertainment in the past ten years. Hopefully, as the world waits with baited breath, it will manage to find similar success in that familiar galaxy, far far away.