Disney v Star Wars: 7 Ways To Avoid Killing The Franchise Forever

Benedict Cumberbatch has been linked to Star Wars Ep VII, continuing his relationship with JJ Abrams. Here's how they can make it good...
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The announcement of Disney buying Lucasfilm and planning to make Star Wars Episode VII for 2015 apparently "instantly surpasses Sandy as the biggest disaster of the week" wrote one Star Wars fanboy on Twitter. Earlier in the week I wrote a reaction piece asking for fans to relax; this could be the best thing to happen to Star Wars in a long time.

Disney are planning to have Episode VII out for 2015 with Episodes XII & IX to follow in 2017 and 2019 respectively before saying they'll "see how it goes after that." This is big. This is easily the biggest announcement in the world of science fiction in over a decade. If we're being brutally honest, Episode VI Return of The Jedi wasn't quite the ending the original trilogy "deserved" (Lucas should have just gone the whole hog and had Wookies instead of Ewoks is one humble suggestion), the prequels wasted a very interesting premise of  showing us the story of how Darth Vader came about for ham fisted political allegory. Neither of the current Star Wars film trilogies are without their flaws. Done right, Disney can make a trilogy that potentially surpasses them. Here are my tips to help Disney achieve what many believe to be impossible.

If the thought of Pixar animating a Millennium Falcon flying through space doesn’t excite you then you are dead inside.

Be bold with the story

This is the number one thing. If an announcement went up tomorrow that Episode 7 was about Luke, Leia and Han  rebuilding the Republic with their children but while facing a new threat from another galaxy that's led by a Boba Fett back from the Sarlacc pit (I just made that up on a energy drink high, don’t worry it’s not kosher) the internet would... well it would have the same reaction it had to initial reaction. The plot of this new trilogy needs to be something bold, entertaining youngsters while having something for the diehards. And this needs to be a trilogy. One over arching epic story told in three instalments.  I think Disney is the perfect house to perform such a feat, some of Pixar’s recent entries are evidence as to how the House of Mouse has creatives capable of creating stories for all ages.

Respect the Expanded Universe, but don’t be restricted by it

This goes in hand with my previous point. As I keep banging on, the Expanded Star Wars Universe is a unique example of collaborative scale. No other fictitious universe has so many different people contributing to canon storyline be it in comics, TV shows, games or books. The Star Wars universe has moved well on from the original trilogy and some of the best Star Wars tales we have are not those on offer in the 6 films we currently have. While this is all well and good, this can also provide a stumbling point for hardcore fans that have already read or seen versions of the Universe that follow on from Episode VI. My tip would be to create an all new original story that cherry picks some of the best parts of the expanded Universe. Lucasfilm has already gone on record to say that this trilogy will be an original plot not seen before in the Star Wars Universe and I’m confident they’ll pull off something special. I don’t want to see something from the previous films; so no new Death Stars and no clone of pre-existing characters please. Instead, take pre-existing expanding Universe things and spin them in new ways to keep all fans amazed.

Done right, Disney can make a trilogy that potentially surpasses previous installments.

Wookies with lightsabers


Fill the creative team with Star Wars diehards

There are hundreds, probably thousands of people in their current walks of life who owe something to Star Wars. Film directors, screenwriters, book authors, actors, SFX people, who all at some point in their life saw Star Wars and thought “Wow, that’s really cool, I’d like to do something like that one day.” Get them on the team. Get the Knights of the Old Republic people at Bioware discussing with Star Wars comics people at Dark Horse. Hollywood is probably littered with dozens of talented people who know the ins and outs of Star Wars. Get them in, get them collaborating and watch the magic flow.

Use Pixar

If the thought of Pixar animating a Millennium Falcon flying through space doesn’t excite you then you are dead inside.

Respect the fans

If Disney went off and released the original theatrical versions of the Original Star Wars trilogy on DVD, it would go a long way to getting a lot of fans bums on seats for Episode VII. Disney should source fan opinion, use social network and Star Wars fan sites to gauge opinion and ideas, perhaps even get some people in for their two cents on ideas. Star Wars fans have felt neglected for years, with some feeling as if George Lucas was on a personal mission to ruin our collective childhoods through relentless merchandising (Han Solo dancing to Jason Derulo in the Star Wars Kinect game made me barf from my eyeballs). Disney should look to repair that relationship with the fans, both for cynical commercial reasons and to help improve possible elements for the trilogy’s look and feel.

Hollywood is probably littered with dozens of talented people who know the ins and outs of Star Wars. Get them in, get them collaborating and watch the magic flow.

Get Joss Whedon to do ANYTHING

Even if he was just on set for one day to make tea, knowing that geek god Joss Whedon was involved in this new trilogy in some way would help allay a lot of fan fears. While he’ll be busy directing Avengers 2 at the time, with Disney owning both Marvel and Lucasfilm, I’m sure they’ll be able to give him a ring from time to time and ask for his opinion.

Those are my suggestions, I’m sure you have yours and I think that’s what makes the prospect of a new trilogy so exciting. There’s so much that Disney could be using here we could get the best batch of Star Wars films ever. Also, I should probably mention that the Lucasfilm deal also means that Disney has access to Indiana Jones now, but that’s for another blog post....

You can follow Carl Anka on Twitter @Bubblegum616

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