The important news story today is Hurricane Sandy. But there was some entertainment news today as well. News that may concern a couple of extremely passionate fanbases.
Disappointing news first. February 7th. That's the new premiere date for the fourth season of Community. Over 3 months away. The Australian Open will have taken place by then. Community's unofficial sister show Cougar Town will have returned by then. My point being: a shift from Oct. 19th to Feb. 7th is pretty drastic. The one good part of this news is that the show will be returning to its normal Thursday timeslot at 8pm with Parks and Recreation following at 8:30pm. So it's not all bad news.
The real big news today (entertainment news, that is) came when it was announced that Disney was purchasing Lucasfilm for over four billion dollars. And with that purchase, a reboot (relaunch?) of the Star Wars film franchise. This is news that most geeks around the globe thought they would never hear and a lot of them didn't want to hear. But the truth is, they should have known this was going to happen sooner or later. There is just too much money to be made with such a lucrative property. Lucas always knew this was the case. Hollywood executives knew it. And deep down, all the purists out there knew it.
Today, Star Wars has many more fans besides the original trilogy purists. There is a whole Expanded Universe to the Star Wars franchise. There are fans out there whose primary connection to the franchise is through the video games or the Clone Wars series on Cartoon Network. And then there are the numerous tie-in novels and comic books. If the franchise is going to continue on in those mediums then why shouldn't it also continue on entertainment's biggest stage.
The answer that most will give is that Episodes I-III were horrible films. It is undoubtedly true that that is the universal consensus for the prequel trilogy. Even people who liked them when they first came out have now reversed course. A part of that may be that the CGI effects no longer make up for the wooden dialogue and acting. In fact, the CGI only adds to the trilogy's problems. The green-screen technology removes a certain texture from the saga. Bland characters and an overemphasis on CGI is not the way to go.
Lucas will not be directing these films. However, big Hollywood will still be in control of the final product. So there is plenty of reasons to be nervous about what Episode 7 might look like. We can only hope that some of these people have learned from past mistakes. The answer to improving this franchise does not lie in improved technology. No, Star Wars needs characters, settings, and story. At this point, it's only natural to be intrigued and a little excited at the possibilities. But eventually, as the film develops and becomes more real, more and more fans will be skeptical towards the decisions being made. For now, fans who have been eager to see Episode 7 since the prequel trilogy concluded in 2005, today's news must come as welcome surprise.