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C'mon Hollywood: Quality over quantity is key for the future of Star Wars!

Jan. 3, 2013by: Paul Shirey

We’re all excited for more STAR WARS. The very prospect of seeing anything from a galaxy far, far away grace the screen post RETURN OF THE JEDI is a near-unimaginable prospect that put most of us in a fanboy “high.” George Lucas set aside his spite for the angry fans and, in a monumental business decision, handed over the keys to his universe to the Mouse House. The news that “broke the Internet” has spawned a cavalcade of rumors and speculation down to the smallest minutia, working up fanboys like a pack of sharks on a whale carcass.

The news that there would not only be a new STAR WARS film, but a new trilogy, (outlined by Lucas) is something that both excites and unnerves. Then, came the announcement that not only would there be a new trilogy, but a new film every 2-3 years thereafter. Suddenly, we’d gone from never seeing a new STAR WARS film to being inundated with them. I think once the fangasm’s end and rational thought reemerges, the idea of seeing STAR WARS saturated everywhere will start to become kind of a nightmare in the classic “be careful what you wish for” sense.

 Blink past the year 2015 and we’ll be in the midst of action figures, lunchboxes, backpacks, pencil sharpeners, t-shirts, pajamas, cartoons, TV shows, and every other marketing tool in the shed, hitting like a tidal wave of Lucasfilm. We all know that shit’s coming regardless, but just how much could be a deciding factor in how special STAR WARS can be after it’s soaked into our every fiber. Lucas has always been a marketing phenomenon. Partnering that with Disney? That’s a Keanu-Reeves “Whoa” for sure.

If you think about what makes the original trilogy so special, besides the qualities of the films themselves, it’s the fact that they felt rare, like lightning in a bottle. Before the new trilogy, the original was something precious and special, appreciated as an once-in-a-lifetime epic that continued to ignite passion in fans young and old everywhere. Many “old-school” fans may argue that the new trilogy ruined that and the argument holds some merit. However, I also think that the new trilogy opened the doors to STAR WARS for the next generation and kept the mythology alive, even if it doesn’t measure up to the original and alienated fans of old. The next one will no doubt do the same.

Of course, the backlash of the new trilogy didn’t exactly inspire Lucas to charge full steam ahead into another expansion. Instead, he was adamant about closing the doors forever. "Why would I make any more when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?" he told the NY Times just last year (and long before the announcement of the Disney sale). And he’s stuck to those words. Even now, with Kathleen Kennedy producing and screenwriter Michael Arndt (TOY STORY 3) on writing duties for STAR WARS: EPISODE VII (with a director yet to be named) Lucas has stepped back from the plate to watch the game unfold. It’s probably the wisest thing he could do. Because, let’s face it, there’s a lot riding on whoever steers the creative ship on the next entry. Not only will they set the stage for the future vision of the films, but they will accept full blame or accolades depending on the film’s critical and commercial success or failure. An announcement for that position will potentially be given this month, which will send fans into yet another frenzy of speculation and excitement (or rage). 

While all of these developments are chock full of the excitement and anticipation of seeing STAR WARS in a new light from new creators (with potentially old characters), the prospects for the future have the possibility of being too much, too soon. It’s easy to dismiss that, but I predict that regardless of which direction Disney decides to go with their new franchise, there will be plenty of fans who grow absolutely sick of seeing STAR WARS everywhere. And make no mistake, it will be everywhere. Is that the worst that could happen? Yeah, probably. I mean, the movies could really suck, too, but that’s doubtful. In fact, I’m banking on them being something really spectacular. But, my concern is that the franchise will blow up to such epic proportions that it will lose the luster of something that was held in such high esteem, made special through it’s sacred originality and mythological traction throughout the years, instead replaced by an industrial machine of STAR WARS films, cartoons, spin-offs, and products raining from the sky like Flint Lockwood’s FLDSMDFR.

So, while I’m super stoked to see the STAR WARS franchise continue, it’s my hope that the folks at Disney don’t get overzealous, as is usually their way, and flood the marketplace with a series of “canned” films that have to reach a deadline and spinoffs that do nothing for the mythology other than produce new cheap toys and shitty kids clothes. Based on Kennedy and Lucas’ intentions, my fingers are crossed that they’ll treat the STAR WARS universe with respect and focus on quality over quantity in the long run and continue the tradition of bringing in new generations of fans with the same kind of passion that's come before. Otherwise, it’s just going to fill your basement with stacks of overproduced plastic figures and your shelves with another boxed set that can’t measure up to what the excitement was all about to begin with.

FUN STUFF: Check out the trailer for the first STAR WARS film ever released, EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and then contrast that with the last film released, EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH. Oh, how things changed...

EPISODE IV:

EPISODE III:

Extra Tidbit: Return of the Jedi is the most nostalgic of the Star Wars films for me. I was seven years old when it came out and the most cognizant of the experience, seeing it multiple times in the theater and getting wrapped up in the entire lore of Star Wars. Which film from the series fits that bill for you?
Source: JoBlo.com

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2:48PM on 01/08/2013

Paul's on the money.

Paul has pretty much summed up what I have already posted in a previous Joblo article response. Lets not get carried away with a ton of new films. Disney need to stick to the original concept if they plan to deliver consistent quality, that is a new trilogy or film every 3-4 years. And lets not get Star Wars comedies or 'R' rated films either, I don't want to see Leia get her boobs out or 3PO drop the F bomb every second word. Not necessary.
And no, a ton more films WONT make me buy further
Paul has pretty much summed up what I have already posted in a previous Joblo article response. Lets not get carried away with a ton of new films. Disney need to stick to the original concept if they plan to deliver consistent quality, that is a new trilogy or film every 3-4 years. And lets not get Star Wars comedies or 'R' rated films either, I don't want to see Leia get her boobs out or 3PO drop the F bomb every second word. Not necessary.
And no, a ton more films WONT make me buy further toys to add to my collection. Advice would be tread carefully Disney.
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11:02PM on 01/03/2013

I may be in the minority here but..

Episode III is my favorite.. It's so beutiful to watch, the action is way better than the Originals, and Anakin's descent to the darkside is so sad and tragic that it holds alot of weight. I was too young to see Empire in theatres so it didn't impact me as much, having seen ROTJ first in theatres, which I loved but also thought was a little goofy. Looking back now I will have to say that Empire is the best of the original trilogy and Sith of the prequels, but I enjoy Sith more. I remember
Episode III is my favorite.. It's so beutiful to watch, the action is way better than the Originals, and Anakin's descent to the darkside is so sad and tragic that it holds alot of weight. I was too young to see Empire in theatres so it didn't impact me as much, having seen ROTJ first in theatres, which I loved but also thought was a little goofy. Looking back now I will have to say that Empire is the best of the original trilogy and Sith of the prequels, but I enjoy Sith more. I remember sitting in the theatre and feeling chills seeing Darth Vader for the first time again.
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9:37PM on 01/03/2013

tidbit

I was seven as well when Return came out, so I can relate entirely.
I was seven as well when Return came out, so I can relate entirely.
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9:14PM on 01/03/2013
The "New" Star wars movies could be formulaic horse shit but i have A NEW HOPE that Disney will want to have some quality behind their new product.
The "New" Star wars movies could be formulaic horse shit but i have A NEW HOPE that Disney will want to have some quality behind their new product.
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7:27PM on 01/03/2013
The one and only hope I have to return to Star Wars fangasm is if Disney cleans up all the digital crap Lucas put in the "original" trilogy and they make a re-release on Blu-Ray, they way I remember them three...

Else...
The one and only hope I have to return to Star Wars fangasm is if Disney cleans up all the digital crap Lucas put in the "original" trilogy and they make a re-release on Blu-Ray, they way I remember them three...

Else...
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3:17PM on 01/03/2013
Extra Tidbit: Empire holds a nostaligic place, because I was 10 when it came out and I lived in a frozen wasteland. Having said that, Star Wars (if you have to ask which one, let me explain) is my favorite movie of all time because of what it represents. That pic from the late 70's, the style, the toys, the Marvel comics, it just takes me back to being a kid, when things were simple. The feeling of awe of looking at all the busted up ships, whether Darth Vader was a robot, the two suns, it
Extra Tidbit: Empire holds a nostaligic place, because I was 10 when it came out and I lived in a frozen wasteland. Having said that, Star Wars (if you have to ask which one, let me explain) is my favorite movie of all time because of what it represents. That pic from the late 70's, the style, the toys, the Marvel comics, it just takes me back to being a kid, when things were simple. The feeling of awe of looking at all the busted up ships, whether Darth Vader was a robot, the two suns, it can't be beat.
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2:39PM on 01/03/2013
Ever since the success of Timothy Zahn's book Heir to the Empire in 1991 there has been new Star Wars material being released: comics, books, videogames, toys, re-releases, new movies, two different animated series. I don't see how Star Wars isn't already a lot of quantity.
Ever since the success of Timothy Zahn's book Heir to the Empire in 1991 there has been new Star Wars material being released: comics, books, videogames, toys, re-releases, new movies, two different animated series. I don't see how Star Wars isn't already a lot of quantity.
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1:02PM on 01/03/2013

They can do quality with quantity

Marvel's done it, they give us basically two solid flicks a year with no problem. Hell the prequel trilogy took 15 years to arrive and delivered three movies over six years that the majority hates so how does quantity signify that these are going to suck? I think it's a question of who's taking the Kevin Feige role and whose taking the Joss Whedon role with this franchise. Kennedy has filled the former which is a good sign, now its a question who will be the creative godfather behind this.
Marvel's done it, they give us basically two solid flicks a year with no problem. Hell the prequel trilogy took 15 years to arrive and delivered three movies over six years that the majority hates so how does quantity signify that these are going to suck? I think it's a question of who's taking the Kevin Feige role and whose taking the Joss Whedon role with this franchise. Kennedy has filled the former which is a good sign, now its a question who will be the creative godfather behind this.
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12:17PM on 01/03/2013
How much longer can they go before attaching a director??? I was sick of StarWars overload following the big announcement, but we're now talking 2 years away....
How much longer can they go before attaching a director??? I was sick of StarWars overload following the big announcement, but we're now talking 2 years away....
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11:09AM on 01/03/2013
Knowing that the future of Star Wars is in safe hands makes me feel a little bit at ease--especially when ownership is held by Disney. The idea of 2-3 Star Wars films a year may seem like overkill to some, but if each has its own focus and independent story, what's the harm? It simply means we could have an animated version similar to The Clone Wars, a major release that follows a set story similar to The Lord of the Rings, then we can have a standalone that can be geared towards a more mature
Knowing that the future of Star Wars is in safe hands makes me feel a little bit at ease--especially when ownership is held by Disney. The idea of 2-3 Star Wars films a year may seem like overkill to some, but if each has its own focus and independent story, what's the harm? It simply means we could have an animated version similar to The Clone Wars, a major release that follows a set story similar to The Lord of the Rings, then we can have a standalone that can be geared towards a more mature audience.
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11:04AM on 01/03/2013
This is a great article. I agree that Star Wars should primarily be about mythmaking, not moneymaking - but such are the realities of the business, and the latter has probably overtaken the former. I agree in hoping that Disney will take care with this property, and not blindly rush out for a profit now that one of the most lucrative franchises ever is in their hands. Something tells me that they know how much Star Wars means to so many and as such will tread however lightly a billion-dollar
This is a great article. I agree that Star Wars should primarily be about mythmaking, not moneymaking - but such are the realities of the business, and the latter has probably overtaken the former. I agree in hoping that Disney will take care with this property, and not blindly rush out for a profit now that one of the most lucrative franchises ever is in their hands. Something tells me that they know how much Star Wars means to so many and as such will tread however lightly a billion-dollar conglomerate will be allowed to tread. They've also not messed with Marvel, and I think Marvel's doing pretty well under Disney. All in all, I'm happy Disney owns Star Wars now, and that we will see new films.

Also, a nitpick: in the second sentence of the article, "The very prospect of seeing anything from a galaxy far, far away grace the screen post RETURN OF THE JEDI is a near-unimaginable prospect that put most of us in a fanboy high.", did Paul mean to say "Revenge of the Sith" instead? Was a little confused by that.
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11:09AM on 01/03/2013
No, sir, Master Jedd(i). I meant exactly that. By Post-Jedi, I'm speaking of the timeline of films. To see Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and all their offspring in new adventures would be the unimaginable prospect I hope to see realized. I, too, am pleased that Disney has taken on Lucasfilm, especially given their track record with Marvel, but I'm still a little leery about how they'll tackle this monstrosity they've acquired.

Thanks for your comments!
No, sir, Master Jedd(i). I meant exactly that. By Post-Jedi, I'm speaking of the timeline of films. To see Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and all their offspring in new adventures would be the unimaginable prospect I hope to see realized. I, too, am pleased that Disney has taken on Lucasfilm, especially given their track record with Marvel, but I'm still a little leery about how they'll tackle this monstrosity they've acquired.

Thanks for your comments!
11:13AM on 01/03/2013
Thanks for the reply and clarification, Paul.
Thanks for the reply and clarification, Paul.
9:51AM on 01/03/2013

I actually have a good feeling about the upcoming Star Wars movie

mainly because Michael Arndt is a far stronger writer than George Lucas ever was. A lot will depend on getting the right director (damn it, why not Brad Bird!) but at least the story should be good.

As for the Extra Tidbit: Episode IV: A New Hope for me.
mainly because Michael Arndt is a far stronger writer than George Lucas ever was. A lot will depend on getting the right director (damn it, why not Brad Bird!) but at least the story should be good.

As for the Extra Tidbit: Episode IV: A New Hope for me.
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