On May 25, 1977 a little b-movie swept the cultural zeitgeist of America and the world. The tie-dyed, bell-bottomed masses had never seen anything like the adventure of a young farm boy called Luke and his group of companions. I am of course talking about the original “Stars Wars.” It was on the film’s rerelease in 1981 when the “Episode 4, A New Hope” was added to the familiar title crawl. You know the rest. We’re all trying to forget the prequels.
I haven’t been excited for Star Wars in a very long time. Growing up it had been my favorite, until my parents introduced me to Indiana Jones. I saw “The Phantom Menace” and so on, though I can’t remember being there opening day. I was over this franchise. But on October 30, 2012 a very peculiar thing happened. The Walt Disney Company purchased Lucas Films, the owner of Star Wars, for the price of 4.05 billion dollars.
I’m writing this on Halloween, while the internet still groans under the collected weight of anger. But, I’m excited to see what a new generation can do with this story and these characters. I don’t even want sequels. I would be happy with a remake, or a “reboot” in the parlance of our times, and Disney’s the place to do that. They clearly have the money for it. They also have access to the talent to do it well.
I miss being amazed by film the way I was when I watched these movies as a kid. I miss that sense of awe and adventure the first time I saw the Millennium Falcon take off in a hurry from that dusty outpost. The unease the first time we met Darth Vader. You know, all the feelings that were left out of the new trilogy.
Are you still asking for the series to be left alone? Sorry. Dracula has two remakes in production. There are currently three Sherlock Holmes franchises running simultaneously. Star Trek too, is in the midst of a reboot. Some things are too popular to disappear. Some things beg to be returned to.
Some stories we as a people keep returning to, the hero’s journey is at the top of that list. The grand adventure. Fighting tyranny. These are important stories and Star Wars distills these sentiments so well. So long as man continues making film, there will be Star Wars.
So, before we start panicking at the thought of Tim Burton’s “A New Hope.” Maybe, just maybe something good will come of this. Maybe. Not that it matters, because Johnny Depp could play every character and the movie will still make back Disney’s investment several times over. It’s the nature of the industry.
But there’s opportunity here for a new generation to understand what we mean when we talk about Star Wars. There’s an opportunity to find another 33 year old that’s hungry for something new, who has the vision and heart to move an entire culture. Think happy thoughts, because no one is going to stop making Star Wars. Not in a world where Darth Vader is as recognized a figure as Santa Claus and Starbucks.