A New Hope Or Beating a Dead Tauntaun?


By Aaron Ortega

Opinions Editor


Over the years, I, and I’m sure many other “Star Wars” fans, have had a falling out with filmmaker/producer/director George Lucas, although I certainly did my best to hang in there and support him, as any good friend should. But with each of Lucas’ cinematic failures, CGI buffoonery, and oversaturation of Jedi merchandise in every facet of pop culture consumerism, I just kept telling myself: “It’s okay, just hang in there. Nobody’s perfect. He’ll come through in the end.”
Like a friend who always borrows money and never pays it back, or sleeps over too often on your couch and invites his friend Jar Jar over to collectively raid your fridge — a friend who never shows up to your social gatherings, or always forgets your birthday, I choose to stick with him through thick and thin (mostly thin). Because in the end, he managed to create one of the most beloved sci-fi sagas of all time, which made an earth-shattering impact on my beloved cinematic childhood memories.
With my “Star Wars” and Lucasfilm fan appreciation on the decline, however, I became accustomed to responding to whatever headline featured Lucas’ latest project with the subtlety of a gut-wrenching, knee-jerk reaction. As for his latest announcement three weeks ago, selling off his entire Star Wars legacy to Disney, I admit my initial reaction was, for lack of a better word, betrayal. “That’s the last straw, my friend. It’s time to get off my couch or start paying rent,” I thought.
However, after the dust of my initial rage began to settle, I started to see this ultimate stroke of betrayal in a new light. Granted, it took me a little longer to see it. Much like Anakin Skywalker, Lucas seemed to have overcome and defeated the dark side within him. He perhaps knew he alone could not keep the imagination of one of the greatest galactic stories ever told all to himself.
Shedding off his own Darth Vader visage, made up of years of creative tampering with his galactic saga, Lucas has handed off the baton, or light saber, as it were. His beloved “Star Wars” empire will be passed on to the next generation of filmmakers and creative minds, to explore and expand the next generation of films, thus bringing about Lucas’ own self-redemption. Okay, I’ll play along.
Lucas’ vision in the last decade has undeniably let down multitudes of devoted fans. Maybe it is time to let other filmmakers step in and reimagine the ever-expanding Lucas universe. I think my excitement, or at least intrigue, would heighten if names such as directors Peter Jackson or J.J. Abrams appeared in the credits.
I will say that Disney has had its share of rebooted failures. “Tron” comes to mind. But I can’t shake from recent memory other successful Disney films that are, in retrospect, much more entertaining than, oh, say, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” From the expansive Pixar Animations Studios library to the success of Marvel WorldWide, Inc., Disney has shown success in its ability to produce quality films and share good stories.
I think another positive, albeit thinly-veiled, addition to the open possibilities of a new “Star Wars” canon is the return of Han Solo. Just two weeks ago, it was announced that actor Harrison Ford expressed openness to reprising his role as the charming smuggler with sympathetic swagger.  According to www.primaryignition.com, other sources claimed actors Mark Hamill and Carrie Fischer (better known as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia) were also “upbeat” about the project. This was great news. However, I’ll be the first to admit, Ford’s recent cinematic track record leaves something to be desired.
The last initial self-argument with my inner nerd, clinging to the idea of this blasphemy, finally gave in when it was announced that Lucas would donate his entire profits, a sum of $4.05 billion, to a foundation supporting education. According to the www.chicagotribune.com, Lucas said: “I am dedicating the majority of my wealth to improving education. It is the key to the survival of the human race. We have to plan for our collective future — and the first step begins with the social, emotional and intellectual tools we provide our children.”
Okay, Lucas, you win. You can be my friend again. Although I’d like to admit you always were. The final light saber duel between the dark side of my inner aging and angry nerd, and the wavering, yet hopeful, fan from my past, is over. I am overcome with excitement, and a newfound hope for what lies ahead in the Star Wars universe.

By Amy Price



My first memories of the “Star Wars” saga: curled up on my couch in my feather-soft onesie with my four brothers attentively concentrating on the TV screen, nerves-on-edge, wondering if Han Solo and Luke Skywalker would make it out of the throes of the ferocious slug-like alien, Jabba the Hut.
On the other hand, my first Disney memory was being dragged out of the Cinemark dollar theater because my brother was having a tantrum, kicking and screaming over the Evil Queen poisoning Snow White.
Disney ruins everything. It is not fair that a mammoth corporation that pretty much buys everything out has to steal “Star Wars” from its fans. According to www.thewaltdisneycompany.com, on Oct. 30, Disney bought out Lucasfilm and inherited the property rights of “Star Wars” for $4.05 billion.
Disney could never have come up with an original concept as creative as the Star Wars universe. Maybe that is why it resorted to stealing, or as the company calls it, “buyouts.” Buyouts such as Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel WorldWide, Inc., the Muppets, and the Indiana Jones series (in the works) have made Disney quite the powerhouse. That is not even including all the books turned into films.
I have a few issues with the Mickey Mouse giant as well as the new galactic behemoth. I can not stand the way Disney and Lucasfilm portray their female characters, and I loathe the way George Lucas portrayed Princess Leia Organa as this damsel in distress, in constant need of a male rescuer. I shudder to imagine what Disney will do by adding her to list of mostly weak and male-driven, subservient Disney “princesses.”
“Star Wars” has had huge commercial success and garnered a strong cult following. I feel once Disney gets its greedy, oversized, gloved hands on the “Star Wars” market, the allure will drop. I can’t think of any Disney film that has impacted American pop culture the way “Star Wars” has, with its many conventions, and now, the “hipster” market.
The Walt Disney Company, according to www.forbes.com, has a market cap of  $77.41 billion, making the company No. 13 on the Forbes list of World’s Most Powerful Brands. But just because Disney can buy anything does not mean it should. I enjoy the diversity and outside creative differences that separate companies bring to the entertainment market, but I am very frightened that in the future, we will just be getting the same repackaged Disney garbage.
I would rather keep my memories of “Star Wars” as just that — memories, and luckily for Lucas, I still have respect for the films despite the atrocious, archaic character flaws.
The saga is over, and Lucasfilm was lucky to have the following that it did for merchandise sales’ sake. The continuation of the “Star Wars” films is like beating a dead horse. Just let it rest in peace.  Let’s keep “Star Wars” where it was — in a galaxy far, far away.