The force is strong with this mouse

In Arts & Life /

Editorial by Daniel Rosen

On Wednesday, the Star Wars franchise got a new lease on life courtesy of Disney. After buying Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion, they announced Star Wars Episode VII, the first Star Wars movie to be released since 2005.

The creator George Lucas has announced he’ll be taking a handsoff approach to the new trilogy as only the “creative consultant.” Thank goodness.

The original movies were space westerns: simple dramas of good vs. evil with a black-and-white morality.

The world was cool, the action was fun, and it was easy to root for the good guys.

But Lucas’ prequels tried to introduce so many ideas into the films that they couldn’t appease the old fans, and could barely rope in any new ones.

Instead of a space opera, he made a soap opera. Instead of simplicity, we got Darth Vader’s Degrassi years, full of teen drama. Action was replaced with political debates, and relatable characters were supplanted by aliens with racist stereotypes instead of personalities.

George Zotti, owner of the Silver Snail comic book shop, says the movies were originally the result of group work.

“Lucas didn’t necessarily have the final say in things,” Zotti says. “But somewhere along the line, that just got muddled, probably with money.”

“I’m of two minds about [this],” he says. “Maybe they’ll get creative people who love old Star Wars to take it back to what it should be. On the other hand, Disney could put Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay in charge of it. And I would rather have no Star Wars than bad Star Wars.”

Kate Perez, a member of the Association of Ryerson Roleplayers and Gamers, is also anticipating the new film.

“I’m shocked… but at least he’s leaving it in good hands,” she says.

Disney’s a great curator of properties they buy. They bought Marvel, then produced The Avengers, one of the best superhero movies ever made.

Thanks to director Joss Whedon, The Avengers went back to an older style with less melodrama and more wit, and replaced brooding with action.

It didn’t want to be The Dark Knight, and it never needed to.

Disney can turn this spaceship around and make Star Wars a good franchise again – especially now that Lucas is staying away from it.

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