Holy Ship! George Lucas Sells The Ranch and Everything On It to Disney

George Lucas Sells All.

George Lucas Sells All.

Although you might not have called it unexpected, this one still had all the shock value of an off-the-charts California earthquake.

Seemingly out of nowhere, George Lucas sent the world into galactic tailspins on October 30 with the announcement that he was selling his LucasFilm Corporation and all of its assets to Disney. And with that news came in lockstep the even greater aftershock that Disney’s LucasFilm (weird!) would be off in a mad sprint to release the next Star Wars feature (Episode VII) in 2015. Oh right, and with sequels coming every other year or so until the world collapses.

So what does this mean for the future of Star Wars? Well I’m the guy that would’ve been happiest if the Star Wars vault had been sealed shut in 1985. Since that failed to materialize, I’m left to watch nervously as my childhood’s greatest treasure navigates into the future. And to be straight with you I’m optimistic that the Disney sale is good news for Star Wars.

First, the sale itself seems like an excellent life choice for George Lucas. Face it, the guy’s not getting any younger. It must be a great relief to know that the cumulative work of his 40+ years as a filmmaker and innovator is being transferred to new hands the way he sees fit. LucasFilm will continue to exist (much as Pixar, Marvel, and Jim Henson Studios do) under Disney, with personnel that George Lucas has personally appointed to lead the way.

But let’s cut to the chase: the big upshot in the deal is the promise of a new crop of Star Wars films.

When George Lucas announced a couple of years ago that the original six Star Wars films would be re-released in 3-D there was a collective moan from fans heard ’round the world. And for good reason. 3-D is a gimmick that works superbly on the 8-and-under crowd, but falls largely flat for the rest of us. Beyond that, the Star Wars movies have already suffered so much tampering. Could they really endure more?

So up until yesterday it looked as if the only news in Star Wars films for the rest of this decade would be in the form of making an unnecessary mess of the original goods. Well the release schedule of the 3-D films hasn’t changed to my knowledge, but with a new film on the way their specter is significantly diminished.

And speaking of diminished specters, a new Star Wars film offers the hope at long last of casting a deep shadow over the body of work known as the Star Wars prequels. I don’t want to get into it. It’s been discussed eloquently elsewhere. But suffice it to say that the prequels were not my cup of tea.

But more than just performing the task of blanketing over past mistakes, I genuinely believe that a Disney-born Star Wars film will be something special. With few exceptions Disney flat out makes solidly entertaining films. And to my eye they’ve only been getting better at it.

Let’s look at their Winnie the Pooh property. Disney has been up and down the path of the hundred-acre wood for 50 years or more. Did it stop them from making a stunning, master class Winnie the Pooh film in 2011? Not a chance. Christ they pulled in M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel to do the songs! Or how about Marvel’s Avengers? Nearly the top grossing film of all time. Clearly Disney knows a thing or two about a reboot.

So Star Wars fans will debate this news for weeks and months to come. The bottom line is that the Star Wars universe is big and getting ever-bigger. It can’t be contained and kept on the mantle in its original form. Someone was bound to take over the wheel of the Millennium Falcon at some time. And it just so happens that time is now.