Disney Star Wars – we debate the movie sell-off of the decade

Vincent (manning the Droid Control Ship):
As a Star Wars fanboy, I was deeply disappointed with the prequels. The shoddy script, the awful plot points and the utter pandering to popular demand (Jango Fett, anyone?) meant that you just couldn’t take Star Wars seriously anymore. Although I will always love the original Star Wars trilogy, irreparable damage was done to the integrity of the franchise, and I just don’t feel as protective as I once may have felt about the brand. The purchase of the Star Wars rights by Disney can only be a good thing in my opinion. Although I would have preferred just a remake of the prequels under a less incompetent pair of hands than George Lucas’, Episode VII might just be good. With George Lucas where he belongs (giving a rough story and staying the fuck away from the script) I hold out hope that a film might finally be made worthy of the name Star Wars.


Papa Neish (sheltering inside a slaughtered tauntaun):
This is not the franchise you are looking for. Seriously, Disney, back the duck off. After three ground-breaking science fiction films, and three perfectly serviceable slices of children’s entertainment, Star Wars has ditched the Fox fanfare, creator control and central Skywalker storyline in order to climb into bed with the House of Mouse, a studio that can’t even be trusted with a series based on one of its own theme park rides. Who wants to watch a Star Wars film that begins with a pan across the Sleeping Beauty castle, the High School Musical flag and Jack Sparrow’s Black Pearl? No-one. Perhaps it’s time we formed a human shield around J.K. Rowling, lest Disney buy up Harry Potter too.


Magda (meditating on the mysteries of the Force):
Right, so, this thing happened. The Death Star got nearly finished, then it got pulverised by excessive reliance on red light sabres and the endless sniping of diehard fans, I mean, rebel fighters. Then I think another Death Star got built and that one got ransacked with all its inhabitants touched in a bad way, because the rebel fighters were pretty cheesed off by then, and now a third Death Star is being built and it’s got two cute little ears. Or two satellite fake-moons that look a bit like ears. Or something. Deary me. So one creative zaibatsu got swapped for another? It’s all just franchise. The F-word.
At the end of the day, this is MARVELLOUS, because George Lucas has announced he is going to go back to film school and will retire like a ninja to make chilled little shorts about clouds passing and, and, oh, I don’t know. Ants looking up at chairs. I thrilled the poor man’s going to have a happy retirement full of ants and chairs and clouds, and Disney won’t do a worse or better job of it, because it’s a long time since Star Wars fed the soul of anyone over six anyway.


Alex (facing off against the Yuuzhan Vong):
Could there be anything scarier than waking up on Hallowe’en morning to find out that one of your actual nightmares has come true? There are going to be more Star Wars films. After the last time, I’m not sure I can go through it again. I even revisited The Phantom Menace recently, on its 3D remastered re-release, in the vain hope that maybe we were all wrong; that looking back, it was actually a great film, and we just missed it amid the hype. We weren’t wrong. It’s fucking awful. So, so awful.
Still, I was also worried when Disney bought Marvel a few years back, and look how that turned out! If George Lucas can keep his paws off this as much as possible – and surely he’ll be too busy rubbing his hands in glee at his $4 billion cheque to meddle – then this could work. The Star Wars universe is great, and the possibilities are pretty endless. Animated series The Clone Wars proved that, and if the new films can take their cues from that and other decent examples of the extended universe (the Knights of the Old Republic games, etc), then maybe… just maybe…
Ultimately, it’s probably best to just try and think of these are three new sci-fi films, rather than Star Wars films. Whenever the films are set, they would be wise to distance themselves from most (or all) of the existing characters, and give us something new. The series shouldn’t be bound by tying itself in with previous entries or characters, although doubtless a few references/locales are necessary/inevitable. It’s a big universe; let’s move on and explore more of it; create new legends! Just, for the love of GOD, no fucking Jar Jars this time.


Kayleigh (polishing her gold bikini):
You’d think I’d be happy today. Ecstatic, even. Two of my most favourite things in the world – Disney and Star Wars – are coming together and creating a brand-new Disneyfied adventure in a galaxy far, far away. But you know what? I love custard and roast potatoes too – and you don’t see me happily noshing on a fusion of the two. Disney needs to back the Walt away from this venture. Oh sure, they did wonderful things with Marvel. And, yes, they make beautiful timeless classics all the time. But what Mickey doesn’t seem to realise is that Star Wars died a long time ago. The moment Jar Jar Binks gungan’d his way onto our screens, actually. To resurrect the franchise now is like plugging electrical charges into a corpse and bringing it back to life. We’ve all SEEN Frankenstein’s Monster. We know how that shit turns out.
Sure, Darth Lucas has sold Mickey Star Wars – but he’s thrown millions of incensed fans into the bargain too. No matter how hard they try, I don’t think Disney can wangle a happy-ever-after outta this horrible situation. But, of course, if anyone can save Star Wars from the pit of blinking Ewoks and Gungans and Greedo shooting first, then it’s the happiest production studio on earth. They just need a little faith, trust and pixie dust first… and some credible writers.


Eli (selling Cloud City down the river for a really good cape):
This morning I was rudely awakened by the news that LucasFilm had been purchased for a cool $4 billy by the House of Mouse, Disney. Rudely, because I was dreaming of some really gorgeous-looking food. Truth be told, I barely stirred. So an artistically bankrupt film company has been assimilated into a bigger, even more artistically bankrupt company. Star Wars went off the deep end when Jabba’s sail barge bit the dust in 1983. The news that Disney has plans for a seventh installment and more besides has predictably sent the internet into another teary strop over having their collective childhood raped, or something to that effect. Why is Star Wars still considered a sacred text? Don’t tell me the prequels didn’t happen, or that they weren’t actually that bad. Or that the series wasn’t made to sell toys, costumes and tat. As a franchise, it couldn’t have found a more suitable home than Disney. Yes, they’re evil, but if we want to get riled up about something truly special being put through the meat grinder, you need only look to Pixar. Since becoming just another department in Mickey’s empire, what have we been blessed with? The pitiful Cars 2, the regurgitated princess story of Brave, and forthcoming sequels to Monsters Inc and Finding Nemo. Sure, let’s all get our pitchforks and torches together, and burn Disneyland to the ground. But let’s at least do it for the right reasons.


DVB (gambling everything on the Boonta Eve Classic):
Let’s be real here. Lucas has been doing precisely fuck all of worth with Lucasfilm. What’ve we lost now that it’s been wrestled from his grasp? Nah-thing. And so what if Star Wars Episode 7 is shit? You weren’t getting one at all before. And if it’s terrible, don’t see it.
Now think of the potential. A Star Wars film written by a writer who can write. A Mos Eisley high school series under the supervision of Joss Whedon. A Grim Fandango movie made by Pixar. THOR HAMMER EWOK BASEBALL.
Look, it’s as simple as this: either we’ve lost nothing to gain nothing, or we’ve lost nothing to gain EVERYTHING. The fun we’re having thinking about the potential is the most Lucasfilm has given us in years.


John (stepping into the path of the Death Star’s superlaser):
For three, maybe four years back in the late nineties and early noughties, Star Wars was the centre of my whole world – I read the books (any Mara Jade fans in the house?), I played the games (even after being freaked out by how Qui-Gon’s head went hollow when you walked backwards in the Episode I 3PS) and I watched the films until all the tape in my special edition VHS boxset wore out. Then I discovered a) alcohol, b) breasts and c) how incredibly fucking awful the new trilogy actually is, and got over myself. I’m genuinely afraid that when the House of Mouse rolls out Episode VII it’s going to be like 1999 all over again; in other words, that I’m going to demand to see it three times in the Community Centre Cinema and then beg for a really crap lightsaber toy for Christmas. From my dad. Who is now dead. Hear me now, Disney – if you make a new Star Wars film, you may very well force me into necromancy in order to fulfil my need for entirely accurate déjà vu. And I’m pretty sure that’s illegal.


We make that four writers for and four against, although the BFF team’s opinions are anything but clear-cut. Where do you stand? Let us know below, and may the Mouse be with you…

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