For more than three decades, the "Star Wars" franchise changed the way we have viewed movies forever. Now that eternal franchise has the opportunity to live on and touch the imaginations of an entirely new generation: ours.
Late last year, George Lucas officially stepped down from the franchise and gave the rights to "Star Wars" to The Walt Disney Company for a $4 billion deal. Soon after making the deal, Disney declared that they would make Episode VII, VII, AND IV; Episode VII would come to theaters in 2015.
Disney purchasing Star Wars? This couldn't be a worse idea. Disney's track record since the late '90s (excluding Pixar and "Pirates of the Caribbean," of course) has been less than enthusiastic. It seems like a cheap ploy for Disney to take advantage of the billions upon billions that owning "Star Wars" would mean for merchandise. When adding up the toys, video games, lunch boxes, and random paraphernalia, it almost doesn't matter if these "Star Wars" films tank - Disney will forever be rolling in mountains of good old green Benjamin.
Disney is by far the least capable studio in the industry to take on such a huge task that requires an equal supply of fanaticism and imagination. But this dark image of the future of Star Wars is far from assured - the saving grace is the heavenly chorus of that which is ... J.J. Abrams.
In January, it was broadcasted that J.J. Abrams, the mastermind behind NBC's "Lost" and the "Star Trek" reboot, which opened this week, was taking the reins. So what does that mean for the famous science fiction fantasy franchise? Are we looking at a powerful rebirth of imaginative cinema for a whole new generation? Or will Disney turn this glorious opportunity into nothing more than "The Adventures of Jar-Jar Binks and His Ewok Friends?" Can our generation appreciate what we're looking at in seeing a sequel "Star Wars" film that longtime, hardcore fans have been waiting nearly two decades for? (We shall ignore the prequels).
Abrams is completely breathtaking in his perfect balancing act between full-out geekiness and hardcore efficiency. Other than perhaps Joss Whedon, there's no one better who could be directing the next evolution of "Star Wars." Abrams invented the televised drama serial in "Lost," perhaps one of the top 5 greatest shows in the last 10 years. In spring of 2009, he resuscitated the "Star Trek" franchise and turned it into a clever and mesmerizing blockbuster - which now has its sequel being released this month. The man is god among geeks. His enthusiasm for cinema and his nostalgia for the source material only brightens the future of the franchise.
Rumors have been flying since the Disney's purchase of "Star Wars" on what these films plot could be about and who will star in them. What we do know is that George Lucas has had a hand in outlining the course of the franchise.
No solid information is known at this time, except that Harrison Ford is the first of the original actors to have definitely signed on. But all major members of the original cast (including Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher) have shown interest at the prospect of returning.
This all depends on whether or not these films wish to continue right after the events of "Return of the Jedi" or if they're willing to make the jarring jump of 30 years into the future.
As long as Disney does not mess with Abrams' sure-to-be-dynamite vision for this world and instead lets him seep in his own creative juices, we just might get a Star Wars that our parents will find themselves proud to watch and experience with us.
Make it so, Abrams. Make it so. And yes, I understand the crossover reference. Sue me.
Emily Marino is homeschooled.