Star Wars 7 – is Disney the dark side, or a force to be reckoned with?

This week we had a first look at the trailer for Star Wars 7, which received over ten million views in a matter of hours. Due for release in December 2015, is it going to be worth waiting for?

A lot of fans were not best pleased when Disney bought the rights to the Star Wars franchise back in October 2012. I have to admit that I rolled my eyes because I’m one of the original cohort who saw it 1977. The original trilogy was my generation’s Harry Potter, so when the next trilogy came along with its prequel plot it was already an affront to my teenage self. Jar Jar Binks ruined all three, but the stories were thinly stretched in places as it was. The storyline had to follow a known narrative or the original trilogy wouldn’t have made sense, but even then there was some very dead wood. Special effects can do a lot for a movie, but you can put all the makeup in the world on a pig and….

Meantime, George Lucas has been happy to lease venerated characters like Yoda to mobile phone companies for some advertising dollars. The guy’s getting old (I mean Lucas, not Yoda), so he’s presumably looking to pad out that pension fund.

To me, Disney – or rather the prospect of Disneyfication – was the final nail in the coffin on the Star Wars franchise. We could surely expect more in the way of sickening child-friendly characters like Jar Jar Binks. There was no way on Earth I was going to pay good money to see yet another insult to the boy within.

I’ve changed my mind. I think Disney is with the light side of the force. Why my change of mind?

The original Star Wars was an old-fashioned tale of good against evil, of a damsel being rescued by the rebellious underdogs, and trusting in one’s inner self rather than technology. It was pure mythology. Indeed, I remember the critics panning it at the time for that very reason – “errant knight in space” was the critique.

If there’s one studio in the world that’s an expert in mythology, it’s Disney. Their movies follow classic mythical narratives, and they’re amazingly expert at giving them universal appeal – and I do mean universal: they play equally as well to audiences in Europe as they do in the Middle East or Asia. Few studios produce movies with such consistent cross-cultural appeal.

Having seen the trailer I can see that R2-D2’s beach ball replacement looks a little too cute. But then the original little guy was cute in his time. And I’ll excuse the beach ball, because in my warped sci-fi mind he looks a little like the hilariously troublesome alien pet in Dark Star.

It may be too early to say, but I think Disney is the knight in shining armour we have been waiting for. A new hope

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