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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Star Wars: Episode VII? I'm willing to listen...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

(Photo)
Now in the hands of Disney, what does the future of the "Star Wars" franchise hold? Let's hope it's better than this.
For years, fans of George Lucas' sci-fi fantasy saga have been hoping and trying to urge the director to give them Episodes VII, VIII and IX, which would round out the franchise. Lucas tantalized fans early on by saying he knew the stories for the continued series, but years took a toll and he proclaimed they would never be made.

Enter Mickey Mouse.

When it was announced that Disney purchased Lucasfilm, and in doing so got the rights to "Star Wars" as well as the "Indiana Jones" franchise, that was enough to make fanboys take notice.

But it was the almost throwaway line as the story broke that Episode VII of the franchise would hit theaters in 2015 that really caused a stir.

After years of hoping to see the completion of Lucas' vision and visualizing just what the film might be, we're finally going to see if the films will live up to our imaginations.

I've been fan of the saga since I was a child and it's never wavered. I have a garage filled with "Star Wars" items as well as a Master Replicas lightsaber hilt and enough copies of the movies to build a home with.

If there's a version of the film, I own it. VHS copies of the original movies -- check. DVD copies of the Special Editions -- check. The infamous "Star Wars Holiday Special" -- double check.

So when it was announced, you might think I would be the first person to defend the move and calm the fears of those who fear for the fate of our holy saga. However, I found myself as one of those who raised the alarm, professing that the end was near.

But after calming down from my initial shock, I'm finding myself coming around.

I mean, we're talking about the same place that purchased the rights to Pixar and Marvel and have seen both entities thrive. My biggest concern with the announcement was with the films.

I've always envisioned Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo playing a pivotal role. And while I think Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher would be on board, I can't say the same for Harrison Ford.

Ford has publicly expressed his obvious disdain for the franchise that made him a superstar -- or at least that's the way it appears. From time to time he will sing its praises, but the films seem more like a burden than a blessing in his eyes.

If Ford refused to be involved, I don't see how the movies could continue on their logical trajectory. For me, the logical path is to finishes Lucas' vision and then ease into the Expanded Universe that focuses on the Solo twins Jacen and Jana. For those who are unaware, Han and Leia get hitched and have twins and another son named Anakin.

No kidding, folks, but it works. Trust me.

Those are the adventures I want to see. A condensed version of the New Jedi Order series of books would be awesome and I would even be up for a few other stories that don't feature major characters.

But the most crucial aspect for the films is the involvement of Hamill, Ford and Fisher. They have to be there to usher the films, as George would say, into the hands of a new generation of filmmakers.

We need the torch passed and it must come from them.

Even more intriguing to me is what are Disney's plans outside of the films. Could we see an entire Star Wars themed amusement park? Books that are opened up to authors beyond the usual suspects we have producing now?

No matter what they give us, I just pray to the Force that it's high quality. Don't take a franchise, water it down and try to extend its life that way.

Take it full power, unleash it on the masses and let the fun begin.

Disney is betting $4.05 billion, that's right BILLION, that Star Wars still has some gas left in the tank. From the response from Star Wars fans thus far, the answer is yes, but we want the cruise control taken off and want to see the series go forward at light speed.

If you have a bad feeling about this, then go take a Trek someplace else. The "Star Wars" franchise has aimed its thrusters at the cosmos and there's no looking back.

Disney is the most logical place for the saga to land and I think will take care in preserving what fans love and giving us what we hope for.