Earlier today I posted a long and rambling mess of an article looking at my thoughts and gut feelings on what the Big News means for the Expanded Universe as a whole. Originally, this post was going to be part of that article but for the sake of readability, I had to break things up. In any case, here’s the second part of me trying to figure out just what the heck all this news means and how I feel about it all.
A new movie? New ownership? What in the world does this mean for publishing contracts? Is Disney going to put a flourish on Star Wars? Head over to the jump and watch me try to process all of this.
Things That Suddenly Make A Ton of Sense
The aggressive 3D re-release schedule suddenly makes a lot more sense. When it was announced at Celebration VI that there were only a few months between the Episode II and Episode III theatrical 3D releases, eyebrows were raised. It was a tight window for an ambitious project and we all were wondering if the original trilogy would be fast on its heels. If Episode VII is going to hit in 2015, it certainly seems like Lucasfilm is going to have to be even more aggressive.
Speaking of raised eyebrows, a lot of us were surprised when Cartoon Network only renewed The Clone Wars for a single season. I’d expect that show is going to wind up on some Disney affiliate before too long.
Star Wars Weekends and revamping Star Tours at Disney World? You have to wonder how long Lucasfilm and Disney have been talking about this if they’ve been doing more stuff like this.
Future of Publishing Contracts
This is a topic Nanci, Dunc, and I addressed specifically on last night’s emergency podcast recording. I’m pretty much in agreement with Dunc. As far as adult novels go, it’s probably safe with Del Rey. Disney doesn’t really have a publishing arm that handles that stuff. Children’s books may go under Disney’s control.
The only real loser in this deal, however, is probably Dark Horse. Disney now owns both Lucasfilm and Marvel. Connect the dots. For what it’s worth, it doesn’t sound like Dark Horse is particularly optimistic about the future.
But as numerous people have pointed out and like I said in the previous post, you should probably expect the Expanded Universe and canon levels to change moving forward.
Just What Will Episode VII be?
Short answer right now is: who the hell knows?
Supposedly E!Online talked to an unnamed Lucasfilm insider that claims Episode VII will be an original story, so don’t get your hopes up for a direct port of Heir to the Empire (not that was EVER a realistic possibility even before Episode VII somehow became reality). Of course, whenever “unnamed insider” is thrown around, take things with a grain of salt. We’re not going to know for a while what the film is going to look like and heck, even an original story could borrow some characters and themes from EU material. Heck, The Clone Wars has done that multiple times.
Now this is where you’re going to find nothing but fan speculation. Disney has said they’ve got a desire to do some television projects with the Star Wars IP. Presumably, that means more than just The Clone Wars and Detours. Maybe the live-action TV series set between III and IV finally becomes reality. Maybe that means something else entirely.
Presented for your consideration: X-Wing the TV series airing right after S.H.I.E.L.D the TV Series.
One of my first thoughts when I heard about this deal going down was that Disney’s finally got their answer to Universal making money hand-over-fist with Wizarding World of Harry Potter. At least in Florida, Disney has the land available to do something remarkably special with the Star Wars IP in their parks. Imagine a carved out section of Hollywood Studios designed to mimic a starport with a few new Star Wars themed rides. You have to think there are some Imagineers salivating over what they could do with this IP in Disney Parks.
Maybe Disney will open the vault and release the original theatrical releases of the films for purchase. I understand that it was well within Lucas’ rights to alter the films as he saw fit, and frankly I agree that he should have the right to. That said, I do think fans should have the opportunity to purchase the version that resonates with them most, so I do hope Disney gives us the opportunity to see the original versions again.
I think we’re all in agreement right now that it’s an exciting time to be a Star Wars fan. New movies, new ownership, a whole lot of unknowns on the horizon.
Boil it all down, though, and we’re witnessing the rebirth of Star Wars in a manner that’s more dramatic, terrifying, and thrilling than any of us could have ever imagined. We said it on the podcast, the one constant in the fandom was that Episodes VII, VIII, and IX were never going to happen. And here we are, confronted with the reality that the impossible is not only possible, but definitely going to happen. It’s exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time.
There’s reason for optimism and there’s reason to be wary. Lots of ammunition for both sides and I know I’m feeling both sides of the spectrum simultaneously. If I could make a personal plea, it’s that you shouldn’t begrudge someone else for being more/less excited or more/less concerned than you are. Fandom is a strange and volatile thing, and good grief, this fandom has never been in a more strange and volatile time. But for me, I keep coming back to one simple thought that keeps rendering me dumbfounded: In three years, I’m going to be watching Episode VII.