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Star Wars Episode 7 will officially bastardize the franchise

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On Tuesday, George Lucas got $4.05 billion dollars richer. The legendary filmmaker sold his company LucasFilm to Disney. Shortly after the announcement, it was revealed that not only will a new Star Wars film (Episode VII) will be released in 2015, but a new film will be made every two to three years.Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, and George Lucas, Founder/CEO of Lucasfilm. (Image credit: Disney)
 
Seriously? I realize Disney wants to experiment with their brand new, turn-key franchised golden goose. I get it. There’s decades of books worth of material and the possibilities are endless, but they’re all at the expense of the Star Wars name. And hasn’t Lucas milked that for all it’s worth- and then some?
 
It all started with the re-releases of the original trilogy in 1997. Then came the second parts of the trilogy, which launched with the release of Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 1999.  Long time fans of the series drooled with anticipation that they could see the origin of Darth Vader on screen for the first time. While it was great to have Star Wars back on the big screen, the results were vastly underwhelming, and don’t even get me started on Jar Jar Binks.

I was not intimidated by Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker. As a matter of fact, I thought he was nothing more than a whiny punk in those films. Furthermore, the love scenes between Christensen and Natalie Portman in Episode II: Attack of The Clones were even uncomfortable for sci-fi geeks who had never seen the naked anatomy of the opposite sex. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was mainly considered solid because it looked like ‘Gone With the Wind’ when compared to the previous installments (although I’ve heard some actually say they prefer it over Return of the Jedi). To be fair, these films had to live up to expectations that could never possibly be met when you compare them to episodes IV, V, and VI, which were three of the highest grossing films of all time upon their original release. Photo: starwarsaficionado.blogspot.com

Then came the release of the special edition original trilogy on DVD. However, Lucas didn’t get the memo that fans didn’t really want these. They wanted the non-tinkered versions, which haven’t been seen in their original format since the days of VHS and LaserDisc (remember those?). I really don’t want to see Christensen’s ghost at the end of Jedi.

Then came the disappointing Clone Wars in 2008, followed by the Blu-Ray releases in 2011, along with a gazillion action figures, t-shirts and other merchandise to boot (although that's been going on since the late 1970's). While the Blu-Ray editions contain some very nice features and hours of bonus material, it’s not the originals, and fans were starting to get the impression that Lucas was destroying those movies and just recycling old material at their expense. Yes, they are Lucas’ movies and he can do what he wants, but there comes a time where you begin to insult the intelligence of your fans.

In May, Lucas vowed to never make another Star Wars movie.   However, he now states that it doesn’t mean LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy cannot. The fact that Lucas is turning over the reigns makes it possible we’ll get a better product than the recent trilogy, but who or what would even be featured in Episode VII?  We know it would take place after Jedi, but you can’t replace Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, or Carrie Fisher!  

Who knows? I could be way off base here. Maybe the next three Star Wars films will be the best ones yet. But coming from a long time Star Wars fan, I personally think the franchise is getting watered down no matter whose hands it falls into, and it’s about time to leave well enough alone.

 

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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Photos:

George Lucas: Disney

Episode 2: starwarsaficionado.blogspot.com