MOTW: How Will Disney Affect "Star Wars?"

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Directed by George Lucas, this film revolves around the galaxy which is in a state of civil war. Spies for the Rebel Alliance have stolen plans to the Galactic Empire's Death Star, but when Rebel leader Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) has possession of the plans, her ship is captured by Imperial forces under the command of the evil lord Darth Vader (David Prowse, voiced by James Earl Jones).
Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
July 30th, 2013

MOTW: How Will Disney Affect "Star Wars?"

Disney recently announced its decision to purchase the rights to the "Star Wars" franchise from creator George Lucas' film company Lucasfilm. The purchase amount is an impressive $4 billion, which marks Disney's largest acquisition since it purchased Marvel comics. The decision has caused quite a stir in the science fiction fan community, with most of the buzz being positive. New and devoted fans alike are eager to see what the media giant will do to reimagine one of the most beloved and iconic science fiction series of all time.

Disney is currently scheduled to produce what is being called the third "Star Wars" trilogy, beginning with episodes VII through IX. The next three films will directly follow the last film of the original trilogy, and the most recent chronological film of the entire franchise, "Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi." "Return of the Jedi" left off after Luke and Darth Vader had their final face off. The films were followed by three prequels years later, each of which delved further into the world of "Star Wars" long before young Luke Skywalker was a Jedi. The prequels focused on Luke's father, Anakin Skywalker, who would become the primary villain of the original series, known as the iconic Darth Vader. Contrary to popular belief, the newest trilogy is not merely an addition made by Disney to extend the series. George Lucas originally conceived of a third trilogy to the "Star Wars" franchise, but he ultimately decided against the move. Disney will merely be putting its own spin on the trilogy that was always meant to exist as part of the series.

While Disney is keeping tight reins on any information about the plot of the next three films, George Lucas has shared a good deal of information over the years. If Disney sticks to Lucas' original plans, fans can expect a love interest for Luke, cameo appearances by iconic stars of the original films, and plenty of exposition on Luke's journey toward becoming the most famous Jedi knight in the universe. It has also been rumored that Disney may draw from the storylines of the widely popular "Star Wars" novel and the comic series, which have found a huge audience among younger readers of science fiction.

It should come as no surprise that there has been plenty of buzz around casting decisions for the franchise. While much is still unknown about the direction the new films will take or even who will be directing them, that hasn't stopped the rumors from spreading. Many fans are eagerly awaiting the casting decisions for the film's major characters, including Luke, Princess Leia, and any love interests Disney decides to add. Zach Efron is a fan favorite for the role of Luke Skywalker since the original actor, Mark Hamill, is now in his 60s. Disney will either have to completely revamp the casting to keep the film's main characters at a younger age or decide to follow a new set of related characters. Either decision is sure to lead to its share of controversy, but fans are optimistic that Disney can pull it off while keeping everyone happy.

Following the third trilogy, Disney has plans to work on several stand-alone films for the franchise. Fans are looking forward to this due to the prevalence of recent novels that focus on stand-alone characters in the "Star Wars" universe. The Jedi premise and various worlds give movie writers access to numerous potential plots and storylines that are all within the same world, making "Star Wars" an ideal vehicle for Disney to unleash its imagination.

One of the biggest changes to come from Disney's acquisition of "Star Wars" is that Princess Leia is now officially considered a Disney Princess. Princess Leia is expected to have her own line of promotional merchandise and will begin to make appearances at Disney theme parks. This is exciting news for Disney and "Star Wars" fans alike, since Leia is known as one of the strongest and most positive fictional female role models in the science fiction genre.

There are plenty of exciting changes to look forward to now that Disney owns the rights to the "Star Wars" franchise. Not only will the massive media enterprise be able to invest plenty of money into creating new films that feature the latest CGI and the best costumes, but fans will get to experience the third "Star Wars" trilogy as originally planned. A new cast and updated stories could be just the facelift "Star Wars" needs to connect with new science fiction fans. Disney's purchase of "Star Wars" is exciting news for the classic franchise's massive following as well as younger fans that may be experiencing the older films for the first time.