Read any website dedicated to nerd culture (unrealitymag.com is a good one), and you’ll no doubt come across a litany of hatred spewed towards George Lucas, particularly in regards to his botched mishandling of Star Wars Episodes I-III and the last Indiana Jones film. Criticism spans from dull characters, wooden dialogue, shoehorning in as many characters as possible (the audience really doesn’t need to see Boba Fett’s origin; in fact, that kind of ruins the character’s whole mysterious gunslinger persona), and of course CGI gophers. And to be completely honest, the majority of the criticism is warranted. As someone whose childhood heroes included both Han Solo and Indy, and whose favorite movies were the Indiana Jones and Star Wars trilogies (The Empire Strikes Back is still in my top 5 favorite films), I have no problem saying Lucas dropped the ball on the prequel trilogy. I can appreciate what Lucas was trying to do; his Star Wars universe is an epic, sprawling saga, and with the prequels he attempted to further the saga. Being a literature nerd, I can appreciate his attempt to create such an expansive tragedy in sci-fi format. However, reading Greek tragedies doesn’t come off as a bore, and there’s no reason that Lucas’ prequel trilogy should have either. As for Indy, well, Harrison Ford is the only actor capable of ever being Indy, and Harrison Ford isn’t young enough to still be fighting Nazi’s. So, the most logical thing to do was age the character 20 years, placing him in the 1950’s, and changing the story influences from 1930’s serialized adventure stories to 1950’s sci-fi dealing with alien invaders. I don’t know why it didn’t work, but Indy fighting Communists and aliens just isn’t the same as Indy fighting Nazi’s for the Ark of the Covenant. Also, Shia LaBeouf was in it, in something not called Even Stevens.
But Lucas, in a surprise move that makes me think there’s still a little shred of the genius who created Cloud City and Lando Calrissian left, sold LucasFilm to Disney. Tumblr was full of Princess Leia as a Disney Princess memes. Darth Vader is now, essentially, a Disney villain among Captain Hook, Scar, Jafar and Cruella DeVille. The film nerd inside me is bouncing off the walls. Some of the most acclaimed films in film history are now a part of easily the most recognizable brand in the world. And with the announcement that 2015 will bring us Star Wars Episode 7, the web was ablaze with rumors and hopes and dreams for the new trilogy. With a multitude of new film makers and stars in Hollywood, it should be no problem expanding the Star Wars universe with films that do justice to the original 3 and the brilliant characters Lucas created and the story he told. Just, please, don’t cast Shia LaBeouf. Not even as an Ewok.