Leia is now Disney royalty

Nick Scheuer

“Star Wars,” one of the most iconic film series to ever be produced, has a complex history, to say the least. The original trilogy, arguably George Lucas’ magnum opus, is one of the most important works of science-fiction to be made in the past 40 years, and has influenced American media and culture ever since its release in 1977.

Recently, Disney announced it has purchased the “Star Wars” studio, Lucasfilms, for $4.05 billion from Lucas and announced the seventh episode of “Star Wars” will be released in 2015. There are two significant problems with this acquisition: Disney is continuing its attempt to own as many media companies as possible and a “Star Wars” sequel should not be tacked onto where “Return of the Jedi” ended.

Disney owns a huge portion of American mainstream media. The companies Disney owns include ESPN, ABC, Marvel, Miramax, Pixar, A+E Network, Hyperion Books (publisher), Hulu.com, and now Lucasfilms. The television networks alone account for a large chunk of prime time ratings; according to television ratings site TVbythenumbers.com, as of Nov. 4, Disney owns three of the top 11 most-viewed networks, totaling in over 6 million viewers in that week alone.

Disney is already substantially influential within the American media industry, yet the business seems to have an overwhelming desire for more power. It seems as if it is trying to monopolize as much of the market as possible, even though, according to this year’s Fortune 500 list, Disney is the largest media conglomerate in the world.

The fact that this gigantic corporation wants to use its power to force a sequel onto “Star Wars” is a deplorable abuse of said power. When Lucas released the prequel trilogy, the reception was not exactly positive, and the same could very well happen with the planned “Star Wars” sequel.

The original trilogy is a textbook example of Joseph Campbell’s theory regarding how myths around the world tend to stick to one specific story, known as the Hero’s Journey. A quick and dirty summary of this theory would be: some average dude is forced to go on an adventure, he gets some help, saves the world, and goes home.

There is a clear ending to the Hero’s Journey and to the original trilogy – the Rebel Alliance destroys the Death Star and Luke kills both Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader thereby liberating the galaxy. Not only would a sequel feel completely out of place, but there is no point for Luke’s story to continue. It would ruin the entire point of molding “Star Wars” into the Hero’s Journey.

However, this does not mean a sequel is an inherently bad idea – as long as the plot does not involve Luke or any other members of his entourage. Their story has ended, but the universe has a plethora of material for Disney to pull from, as demonstrated by the plethora of books in the Expanded Universe.

For example, the film could be about Leia and Han Solo dealing with Solo’s continued debt with the Hutt mafia on Tatooine. Since such a plot wouldn’t focus on Luke, it wouldn’t be forcing his journey to continue.

Disney has demonstrated in the past it has the ability to make incredibly good movies, like “The Avengers,” and incredibly bad movies, like “The Haunted Mansion.” There is potential here, but whether “Star Wars: Episode VII” will be a quality film or not will depend on who is hired onto the project and if Disney can keep Lucas’ grubby paws off of it.


Nick can be reached at: [email protected]