Disney has bought Lucasfilm for $4.06 billion, according to news reports.
If money is all you love, then that’s what you’ll receive, as someone wise once said.
No, I have a horrible feeling about this. It is as though millions of voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.
I fear something terrible has happened.
Did no one learn anything from the past 35 years?
Look, I am not opposed to the commercialization of Star Wars. Star Wars has always been commercialized. That is half its charm. I have a full shelf of Star Wars Pepsi cans, butter dishes with C-3PO sprawling sensually over them, cardboard standees, framed posters, and Original Trilogy bedsheets that will back me up on this. One of the joys of Star Wars was that you could get action figures and toys and junk to wear around the house emblazoned with your favorite characters and quotations. You could eat Star Wars cereal if you put your mind to it. My first Star Wars possession was a beach towel with Darth Vader on it. I have no objection to commercialization.
But Star Wars, Episode 7? And, according to the press release, 8 and 9 to follow?
As Darth Vader never said.
It’s like someone just destroyed the planet where I grew up.
Leaving aside the idea of all my beloved Star Wars characters in thrall to Disney’s bizarre malformed pantsless duck-people, this shall not pass.
Look, did you notice how Star Wars fans responded when Han stopped shooting first? When “Noooooo” was erroneously inserted? When someone slightly moved a boom mic to the left for about three seconds in the extended DVD features of one film?
We are a rabid bunch, is all I’m saying. We like our mythology left intact.
Star Wars, at its core, is a multigenerational modern-day myth.
C-3PO does not answer to Wall-E. Minnie Mouse is just creepy, and I don’t want her fraternizing with any of the giant menagerie of characters I’ve come to know and love. And get those dopey pre-feminist Princesses away from Leia.
After the prequels, one of the best things you could say about the Star Wars series was that it was well ended. The original trilogy held up. The ending held up. You could joke about it in YouTube videos, but it was all right.
But more movies?
This could conceivably go well. I will console myself by thinking about this.
But overconfidence tends to be a weakness.
I would shave a year off my life to prevent this from happening. This is not a reckless pronouncement. If it does happen, I will shave a year off my life by drinking to forget that it did. I might as well make the offer up-front.
I understand that the impulse to make money and the impulse to tell stories well often are at odds. The original Star Wars trilogy was a great story, set in an enthralling world. It followed Joseph Campbell’s mythological principles. It was a story of heroism and friendship, on an epic scale, steeped in film-lore, in a world we hadn’t seen before that felt instantly familiar. There was so much to fall in love with.
The world remains fascinating. One of the saddest parts of the conclusion of the prequel trilogy was the thought that I wouldn’t get to spend more time in this world on the big screen.
So it could be all right.
But any seventh episode needs to do something the Star Wars franchise has had some difficulty doing lately on the big screen: Create characters we fall in love with, and tell a great story. That was where all this came from, all these lines of rabid fans waving our plastic light sabers. It wasn’t clever marketing. It wasn’t slick special effects and big stars and good promos. It was the story. It was a great story. We wanted to hear it again and again.
If they can do that, I won’t begrudge them a single trademarked beach towel. If they can’t, the good franchise that was Star Wars may be destroyed. And three movies is a tall order.
Then again, it couldn’t be much worse than Jar Jar.
But in conclusion, it’s a trap.