There are lots of rumors floating around about Disney’s plans for Star Wars. Fans seem to be particularly excited about the potential for sequels and origin-story films. Disney’s decision to release one film annually starting with “Episode: VII” in May 2015 opens the door for this possibility.
I run into Star Wars fans who can be filed into two categories based on a few criteria. If they have some things to say about the “Star Wars Expanded Universe,” which are events taking place 25,000 years before “Episode: I,” and 140 years after “Episode: VI” they are hardcore fans. Followers who aren’t really sure if they subscribe to the EU, but definitely wish to forget “Ewok Adventure,” I’m going to refer to as casual fans. For the most part I am a casual fan.
The fans excited about the plethora of new Star Wars films are hoping to see all the EU content they know and love put into movies. While I might like the idea of going into Yoda’s origin and seeing what his mentor was like, hardcore fans are looking for secondary characters like King Empatojayos Brand, whom Yoda trained sometime in the EU.
I’m worried about the future of Star Wars though. Did you know a Star Wars movie hasn’t won an Oscar since 1983? “Episode: IV A New Hope” (1977) is a perfectly crafted movie. It has every element a good adventure flick needs: good story, actors, visual effects, and a killer soundtrack. That film won seven Oscars. I think it is the best of all the films standalone, and the series started to go downhill from there.
Most casual fans have a favorite movie in the original trilogy. The prequels had lots of special effects, but lacked the plot to drive the award-winning franchise forward. When the original trilogy was being adapted for special digital editions, George Lucas changed elements of the film and updated visual effects. This was much to the dismay of fans, many of whom were specifically outraged at a Tattooine Cantina scene that was edited to show main character Han Solo shooting his weapon in self-defense. Fans arguing for his character felt it was better for Hans’ image that he be the initiator of the engagement, as he exists as an outlaw prior to his involvement with any Skywalkers.
Hopefully the problems the franchise has experienced in the last 30 years left with Lucas. The new writers and science fiction veteran director J. J. Abrams may reinvigorate the franchise. Casting hasn’t been fully announced but with rumors that original cast members Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher are on board for sequels, the future seems promising. We’ll know for sure Post-Production.