It is hard not to be excited about the news of a new Star Wars movie. Yet I find that my excitement is tempered by two factors.
It is absolutely fabulous that Lawrence Kasdan is back as screenwriter and that so many of the original cast are back. John Williams ensures musical continuity. And Kathleen Kennedy has been the producer of some fantastic movies. Yet Star Wars is now owned by Disney and J.J. Abrams is directing and George Lucas is not involved. Those all pull down my excitement.
Yet, if the truth be told, George Lucas did a fantastic job, but fans have increasingly been critical of his choices since the Ewoks. The best movie was Empire with story by Lucas, but screenplay by Kasdan, and Irvin Kershner directing. Reputedly they are going from story notes Lucas made. Abrams has done a smashing job directing, he just has a horrible track record of writing stories.
Which brings us to Disney. A lot of people think that Star Wars will automatically be less because it is now owned by Disney. But is that a valid fear? When you look at Lucas's storytelling and Disney's storytelling, there are some striking similarities. Lucas followed a pattern for how he ended each movie in each trilogy. Over the six movie saga he has quite a few upbeat endings. He even managed to hit the up note in Revenge of the Sith by showing Luke and Leia placed with their foster families. Disney's been accused of much the same thing, yet they have their fair share of dark stories. Bambi isn't always known for its cuteness because the death of Bambi's mother really hit a lot of people hard and they remember. Disney's villains are very much like Vader and Palpatine. Their answer to Star Wars - The Black Hole - was a dark movie. They have a habit of having characters who are orphans, or suffered some tragedy. And the fairy tales that most of their animated films are based on have similar archetypes to what Campbell described that Lucas used so successfully. So is Star Wars now being in then hands of Disney something to be feared? Well, when it comes to the movie, probably not.
So is their really anything to be apprehensive about? I'd have to answer yes to that one. The prequels didn't turn out so well and the fear is that these might be even worse. And the 6 extant movies make a nice arc. What will happen when there are 9?
As much as I want to see more Star Wars, I want them to do it right and we won't know that until Episode VII is released and we hear from the fans what they think. This fan is likely to enjoy it, but it is by no means certain. I boycotted Star Trek Into Darkness because of choices Abrams made in writing and casting the film. So I will wait and see. I intend to give it a chance, but I can't shake the fears, however much I try to explain them away.