The force is strong with Disney

Walt Disney is taking over the world. In addition to ESPN, ABC, Pixar and Marvel Comics, Disney now owns Lucasfilm, George Lucas’s film company responsible for the Indiana Jones and Star Wars film series. For $4.05 billion, the Force is now very strong with Disney.

Now that Disney owns Star Wars, they plan on releasing a new trilogy of films starting with Episode VII in 2015. While this may seem like an elaborate prank, especially since it’s happening so soon, both Lucas and Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed it.

Lucas will serve as producer and creative consultant on the new films, but he is largely retiring from his company and handing the reins to frequent collaborator Kathleen Kennedy, who produced many of Lucas’s and Stephen Spielberg’s films.

Disney buying out Star Wars, one of the most popular film franchises in history, is shocking but also promising. Under the Mouse House, Star Wars has an opportunity to move away from the infamous prequels and become a great film series once more.

What many people may not realize is that George Lucas is the one responsible for the downfall of the prequels. When the originals came out, he surrounded himself with top-notch talent to ensure his movies were the best they could possibly be.

When he realized how large the fanbase for the series was, Lucas began making special editions of the originals before following them up with the prequels. What should be taken away from this news is not so much that a new Star Wars film is being made, but that it’s being made without Lucas as director or screenwriter.

With Lucas stepping down, Disney can now hire quality directors and screenwriters to shepherd the next era of the Star Wars franchise. Since Disney also created the “Star Tours” rides for their theme parks, they clearly know what they have and what makes it popular.

People doubted Disney buying Marvel until they proved their worth with The Avengers. That film’s success was largely because director Joss Whedon was passionate about the material he was working with. If Disney brings in someone who is as passionate about Star Wars as Joss Whedon was with Avengers, there’s a chance this new set of films will honor the first trilogy and provide an entertaining experience.

While it’s unlikely we’ll see Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo appear in this new trilogy given the actors’ ages, we’ll probably get a much better product than what the prequel trilogy turned into. Mistakes like Jar-Jar probably won’t be repeated.

While there’s no guarantee that the films will be any good, I’m willing to give Disney the benefit of the doubt to see if they put the same care into Star Wars that they did with Marvel.

Only time will tell if this deal turns out alright, but for now the Star Wars franchise is ensured a life beyond its creator. At least the Disney/Marvel/Star Wars crossovers will be fun.