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New ‘Star Wars’ trilogy cause for celebration

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, at 9:14 a.m.

A new “Star Wars” trilogy of movies that take place after the original trilogy? I now am waiting for pigs to fly.

But it’s true! And that sends “Star Wars” geeks like me into hyperspace.

Earlier this week, it was announced that George Lucas, the 68-year-old creator of the series and sole owner of Lucasfilm, had sold his production company and the “Star Wars” universe to Disney.

It’s not like the Mouse House is strapped for cash, either. According to the Associated Press, the Walt Disney Co. bought the whole package for $4.05 billion. Chump change!

The seventh “Star Wars” movie, with the ingenious working title of “Episode 7,” is set for release in 2015. Episodes 8 and 9 will follow.

The films supposedly will continue the story of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia beyond “Return of the Jedi,” the third film released in the original trilogy and the sixth in the saga.

No word yet if any of the original stars will return. The news of the deal apparently was a big surprise to them, as well.

Mark Hamill, who played Luke in the original three films, told Entertainment Weekly that he was shocked.

“I had no idea that George was going to sell to Disney until I read it online like everybody else,” he told the mag.

He also told Entertainment Weekly that Lucas had informed him and actress Carrie Fisher, who played Leia, last August that there indeed were plans for a new trilogy. Hamill didn’t divulge any other details, though, and didn’t know if he would be involved in any of the new films.

After the new trilogy is completed, sometime around the new millennium, Disney plans a new “Star Wars” movie every two or three years. It could go on to infinity! “Star Wars Episode 30: Jedi Nursing Home.”

Lucas will not write or direct the new films, but will still serve as creative consultant.

“I’m doing this so that the films will have a longer life,” Lucas said in an interview posted on YouTube. “I get to be a fan now … I sort of look forward to it. It’s a lot more fun actually, than actually having to go out into the mud and snow.”

The deal also includes Lucasfilm’s very successful production companies, Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, as well as rights to the “Indiana Jones” franchise.

Now that Lucas is handing over the reins (and the Wookies and the light sabers) to Disney, there are tons of questions about the deal. Here are some of the most-mentioned ones I’ve seen on the Internet:

•  With “Star Wars” under its wings, will Disney mess with the mythology?

Insiders say no, that we won’t see Jiminy Cricket pop up in future “Star Wars” movies singing “When you wish upon a Death Star.”

The Walt Disney Co. seems to know to leave established franchises alone and let the creatives behind them do their thing (for instance, Disney also owns Marvel Entertainment, the Muppets and Pixar).

•  What will happen to the live-action TV series that was rumored to be in the works?

Unknown, but it looks like that won’t happen. Instead, the website Deadline reports that Disney is exploring the possibility of a new animated “Star Wars” TV series for its Disney XD channel.

•  Who will direct “Episode 7”?

Unknown. But the blogosphere has been buzzing with people suggesting who they think should do it (David Fincher, J.J. Abrams, Joss Whedon, Christopher Nolan). Logical thinking would suggest that it will be a director of known stature.

Regardless, I’m breaking out my “Star Wars” sheets! This is cause for celebration!

Contributing: Associated Press

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