Though it’s definitely the biggest and most immediate piece of news, there’s more going on with Disney’s acquisition of LucasFilm than just the release of Episode 7. For starters…
5. According to Disney, We’re Getting Episode 7, 8, 9 10, 11…
Something most people seem to be missing about the announcement is that Disney isn’t just talking about completing the Star Wars Ennealogy. The exact words from the announcement are:
“…that will be followed by episodes 8 and 9. And our long term plan is to release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years.”
The most famous existing franchise to use that model to success is James Bond, which will release their 23rd installment in just over a week. But given Disney’s most recent film exploration with the Marvel Universe and the rich and complicated canon that exists in the Extended Universe, it seems far more likely that Disney will be using the same strategy they used to build up to The Avengers — that is, telling multiple stories that happen concurrently but only occasionally intersect.
Will we also get an eventual intergalactic team up, like The Avengers? Imagine the first Star Wars trilogy, only instead Luke, Han, and Admiral Akbar all got their own full-length theatrical release first. We got to see Luke moisture farming and whining a lot, Han stealing things and Akbar warning people about traps. Okay, fine, in that instance only Han’s sounds remotely interesting, but the new stuff could still turn out cool.
4. This is Probably The End of the Expanded Universe
This is by far the nerdiest example on this list, so if you don’t like pulp sci-fi or obscure video games you can probably just skip on down to number 3.
The Star Wars Expanded Universe (or EU) is pretty polarizing to the people who know about it — people seem to loathe it, love it, or be completely oblivious as to its existence. So, you’re likely to be either exuberant, rageful, or completely nonplussed when you realize that Disney is notoriously stringent with control of their trademarks, it seems unlikely that writers in the EU will be given the freedom they’ve had in the past.
And if you’re more of a gamer than a reader, this is gonna affect you to: given Disney’s recent purposeful shift away from console gaming and more towards the mobile market, as well as the recent failure of The Old Republic MMO, it’s unlikely that BioWare will continue the franchises it’s created, and that the coffin really is nailed shut on poor Lucasarts — meaning we’ll never see the likes of Monkey Island again.
3. If You Think Star Wars Merchandise is Everywhere Now…
In the past, people have made fun of George Lucas for creating and selling tons of crappy Star Wars toys and merchandise — even wearing the Han Shot First T-Shirt. It seemed like such a perfect example of an arrogant ideologue, who apparently created Star Wars just so he could slowly and methodically destroy it by dragging the childhood memories of his entire fanbase through the corporate mud of shameless commercialization.
But if you think that’s bad, you have no idea how bad it’s gonna get. As much crappy Star Wars merchandise exists now, the fact is that Lucasfilm has always been an independent venture by a man who was, believe it or not, once a bit of a rogue filmmaker. The biggest corporate movie company in the world buying him out means that people with a lot more experience in the business of selling-stuff-with-other-stuff-printed-on-it are going to be in charge of creating Star Wars brand merchandise. “Ubiquitous” doesn’t even begin to cover the future of the brand. I’d compare it to religion, but Star Wars already is a religion, so I guess we’ll have to come up with a new word.
2. Wooo Special Effects!!
In addition to the intellectual property, Disney gained control of Industrial Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound, to houses renowned as some of the best in the post-production business. ILM in particular has played a major role in hundreds of films, from Who Framed Roger Rabbit to Jurassic Park, to Terminator 2, even to Avatar. Basically, this is a huge purchase for Disney, and puts their fingers in, somehow, even more pies, and have reached an almost supervillain level of control over the movie industry.
1. This Doesn’t Mean We’re Getting the Uncut Original Trilogy
Sorry to end on a downer, but this means literally nothing for the likelihood of us seeing the uncut original trilogy because the full distribution rights to all six currently existing Star Wars movies still reside with Fox through 2020. So unless we get a major upset, it’s looking like at least eight more years before Han can shoot first again.