Looking Behind, Looking Ahead

BEHIND

While Disney has had ownership of Lucasfilm for a few years now, I’m left feeling like The Force Awakens is truly the beginning of the new era. Sure, we’ve had new novels, the comic book license was moved to Marvel, and we’ve seen a season or two of the Rebels animated series. However, nothing can quite compare to the launch of a new trilogy of live action films. This is now the point at which Star Wars truly becomes Disney’s baby…. without George Lucas.

When I first heard about the Disney acquisition I was upset and a little fearful. One thing that made Lucas a filmmaker to be admired was that he wasn’t a “big studio” man. He was an artist and wanted to keep control of his own vision. To see him sell his studio to one of the biggest commercial entities in the world seemed wrong. It was giving in, selling out. How could you George?! Disney will take your vision and everything else and simply turn it into a money printing operation.

Then the ax started to fall. Lucas Arts was shut down. Then the much loved Clone Wars animated show was cancelled. The comic license was taken from Dark Horse which many felt had been good stewards of the franchise. Even though we were told a new trilogy was on the horizon, many of us felt as if more was being taken away than given.

When looking on the bright side we realized that some of this was growing pains. Lucas Arts hadn’t been the best thing for Star Wars gaming for a long time. Although we’d miss the Clone Wars, we were getting an unexplored era with Rebels, and while it may have seemed to be a long way off we were getting new films. Also, many would point towards the relatively hands off approach Disney had taken with its other money machine property, Marvel.

 

NOW

So before we know it, there’s a new Star Wars film in the theater. It’s making ridiculous amounts of money and breaking records everywhere. It didn’t take long before click bait articles everywhere started popping up with some person bashing the film while probably holding their head high that they aren’t one of the mindless masses who actually enjoy the film. It’s like the distasteful dish the prequel haters have been serving for years, only now with social media allowing it to be served up quickly, microwave TV dinner style.

I don’t mind criticism. I saw plenty of faults with the prequels and I found plenty with The Force Awakens as well. You can debate the merits and problems of a film and still ENJOY THE MOVIE. So perhaps we can maybe view this film for what it is: a popcorn flick. Just remember you don’t have to like or dislike something at 100%. It’s alright to groan at one part and cheer at another. If you really want to write about a film’s faults, give good thoughtful reasons. Otherwise all people will hear is something that sounds like “Blah, Blah, Blah, Jar Jar”. At that point, you’re just adding to the noise and no one’s really listening.

I said before that Star Wars is no longer George Lucas’s baby. Some would say that’s for the best and in some ways I can agree. Personally I hope we hear more of what could’ve been Lucas’s sequel trilogy, if only out of curiosity. After seeing the Force Awakens I thought that indeed, it may have been missing a little bit of George. Would Lucas have made a better film? We’ll never know.

 

AHEAD

If ever the phrase “faster, more intense” had meaning, it’s now. We will be getting a live action Star Wars film in the theaters from here until… the foreseeable future. A trilogy film every other year with a standalone film in between, the Rebels animated series will likely run for a couple more years, and even a dedicated Star Wars land at Disney parks. Add to that comic books, novels, and videogames, there is more Star Wars content on the horizon than ever.

Some would argue that it’s too much of a good thing. That Star Wars needs breathing room. While it hasn’t been too much yet, I can certainly see the concern. The amount of merchandising for The Force Awakens alone is almost nausea inducing. While the superhero juggernaut is still going strong, how long can it last? I feel like we are at a saturation level that can’t be sustained forever. Can Star Wars ever reach a level where even the biggest fans say “I need a break!”?

I look back to the late 80s and early 90s. Often referred to as The Dark Times, there had been little Star Wars to be found whether content or merchandise. Everything became precious. When action figures returned to shelfs it was exciting and new. While I think a year between films isn’t all that much, when you include all the merchandise tied to them, will it be a little too in our faces all the time?

Only the future will tell. And you can bet that we’ll certainly have lots of Star Wars in it.

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