When he sold the rights to his historic “Star Wars” film franchise to Disney, George Lucas signaled to the world he was ready to let go of one of his most important achievements as a filmmaker, and to let a new generation shepherd it into its next era. For almost forty years, Lucas had held the reins very tightly, allowing some expansion of the story’s universe in the form of books and television shows, but when it came to what audiences saw in the theaters, it was all Lucas. The last three films, all prequels to his original trilogy, were written and directed by George.
As the sale of the rights to “Star Wars” was announced, Disney also let the world know they were working on a new film in the franchise, and that it would be released in 2015. Rumors on the Internet flared up as to who would write or direct the film, and how much of a hand Lucas would have in the new trilogy. The man himself has answered that question, saying to Access Hollywood that he doesn’t ” really have much to do” on the next film. Apparently the baton really has been passed, and it’s up to Disney and their creative team to take care of the galaxy far, far away.
The decision for Lucas to take a smaller role is the right one, in our estimation, and here’s why.
“The Empire Strikes Back” – At first it might seem that not having George play a large role might be a mistake, after all he did create the characters and worlds that they inhabit. However, as “Empire” proved, that may not be the case. Widely held as the best film in the franchise, the film that revealed to us who Darth Vader really was and that introduced us to Yoda for the first time, also happens to be the film that Lucas has had the least to do with. He neither wrote nor directed it, and yet the film packed a wallop both in terms of the story and the acting performances.
The Passing of the Baton – The simple fact is that the story and the franchise are getting older. If George’s instincts were to let a younger generation take a stab at creating “Star Wars” magic, he may have been onto something. J.J. Abrams’ reboot of the “Star Trek” franchise was a huge success. Lastly, there are a lot of established writers directors that have huge hits in the sci-fi and fantasy genres that could do wonderful things with Han, Luke, Leia, Chewie and the droids.
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