In movie news, Disney has just bought the Star Wars franchise, and announced that they will release a new film “Star Wars 7” in 2015. Hmmm. It was just a matter of time until the Disney Giant Cash Cow ended up inextricably linked to the Star Wars Giant Cash Cow. Don’t get me wrong…I am a long-time Star Wars fan (a certain annoying Jar Jar creature and the disappointing Episode 1 not withstanding). And I’m still a Disney fan after all these years. Sometimes I have a little vague guilt about this, especially when they strike me as piling on the shlock a bit too thick, but still, I have a soft spot for it all. If I were to be handed a trip to Disney World or Land right now, I would be thrilled and not have a bit of hesitation in packing my bags and counting my money for one of those ice creams with the ears. And, when I don’t feel well, there’s few things as comforting as curling up on the couch with some 7-Up and “Cinderella,” “Lady and the Tramp” or “Fantasia” in the VCR.
But, as Han Solo said about Lea: “Still,” … I still am not sure what to think. I don’t think more Star Wars movies are necessarily a bad thing. They could keep telling stories in that world for a long time if they do it well. That’s been the thing about Star Wars: in spite of the toys and mass-market tie-in crud, they were still good movies with exciting plots and fun characters. Especially the first ones (Episodes 4-6). They sort of lost their way in fart jokes and Jar Jar in Episode 1, but found it again in the love story of Aniken and Padme and the darkening mood of Episode 2. “Revenge of the Sith (Episode 3),” and “The Empire Strikes Back (Episode 5)” show what the heart of the matter is here: Star Wars is at its best when it is darkest.
Will Disney understand this and take Episodes 7-9 in a thoughtful and intriguing direction? Perhaps Luke will face the challenges of rebuilding the Jedi order while battling a remaining Sith Lord or two? Or will we get a whiny child of Lea and Han who will endlessly pod race with a fuzzy, farting Jabba-baby side-kick. It’s hard to say. But, I admit, either way, I’ll probably be ready to buy a ticket to it in 2015. And now I want a fuzzy, farting Jabba baby stuffed toy.