News just broke that George Lucas has sold Lucasfilm to Disney for $4 billion and I figured we shouldn’t waste any time giving Disney some advice on what to do to fix Lucasfilm. The single problem with the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises was that George Lucas was too close to them and couldn’t see clearly. When you find yourself in that situation, you start making bad decisions, which about sums up what George Lucas has done to his prized franchises over the past decade or two. So let’s get started with a list of things Disney can do to bring back the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises to their former glory.
Keep in mind that technically, Paramount still owns the rights to future Indiana Jones films, so the extent of Disney’s say-so with that property is still in question. I’m assuming for the purpose of this article that they’ll have some creative input and will probably co-finance future films with Paramount.
10. Restore and release the original trilogy on Blu-ray – I’m not in the camp that really feels this is necessary, but this is how Disney gets off on the right foot and gets the fanboys on their side. By doing this, they not only make a lot of quick cash, but fans will trust that they have their best interests in mind.
9. Don’t let George Lucas tinker with the films – This is kind of related to the first one, but again, Lucas is the biggest problem with Star Wars and now that Disney owns the rights, they need to keep him away from the films.
8. Plan the continuation of Indiana Jones – Shia LaBeouf is not the answer, but they need to think quickly about how to set up a new Indiana Jones (Chris Pine, anyone?). Harrison Ford isn’t getting any younger and now that they’ve made the investment, they need to set it up for the future.
7. Read the Star Wars novels – Only the most obsessed fans have read all of the post RETURN OF THE JEDI novels, but within the pages of the 50 or so novels are some really great ideas to continue the franchise. Personally, I think the original post Jedi trilogy is the best (The Thrawn trilogy), but the cast is too old to make that work. They’re probably going to have to skip to Han and Leia’s kids being full grown, establishing a new generation of characters. That’s fine, as long as they adhere to #3.
6. Avoid the “Luke going to the Dark Side” storyline – It didn’t work in the books and it won’t work in movies. Don’t ruin the Luke character for the entire world by making clones of him. Only those of us that read the books should suffer through that storyline. And while we’re at it, let’s avoid clones completely.
5. Find a new director and creative team for Indiana Jones – This is pretty similar to #1, but this is key. I don’t think Steven Spielberg is the answer any more and the franchise needs a director and creative team that understands the best Indy films are the ones based in a pseudo-reality. We need another Raiders, not another Crystal Skull.
4. Make another Indiana Jones film, and fast – I wrote a top ten list entitled “Top ten franchises that should die” and on there I included Indiana Jones. I did that because I knew there was no way the franchise would make it with George Lucas retaining 100% control. Well, now he’s a consultant and the only decision he should be consulting on is what the crew eats for lunch. Make another Indiana Jones film quickly while Harrison Ford is still able and before he has to shoot the Star Wars films…
3. Bring back the original Star Wars cast – This is what should have happened in the late 90′s, when the prequel trilogy was being developed. People wanted to find out what happened to Luke, Leia, Han and Chewy and they wanted to catch up with the world they were familiar with, not be introduced to a new one. They don’t necessarily have to be the main stars, but they need to be featured in some capacity. Harrison Ford has dodged the question as to whether or not he’d return, but $20 million would change his mind. And we know Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher would do it for a free lunch.
2. Find a director and creative team that cares and knows the material –Disney has proven they’re brave when it comes to hiring directors (Joss Whedon, anyone?) and that’s the key part to making this next trilogy successful. You can have any actor you want in the lead roles, but if the director doesn’t understand the history or the characters, it won’t matter.
1. Pace yourself – The tendency when taking over a huge franchise is to try and do everything at once. Indiana Jones and Star Wars need a lot of TLC and although it’s possible to make the movies quickly over the next few years, it will require hiring a ton of people to manage them. If they treat it like they have the Marvel properties, they should be fine. Putting a lot of time and effort into one great movie will pay off more than slapping together several mediocre films.
Parting shot: This news makes me excited about Star Wars again, which I haven’t been since before THE PHANTOM MENACE came out. Disney has a TON of work ahead of them to right the Star Wars and Indiana Jones ships, but it is possible. Disney has a great opportunity here and I’m excited to see where they take it.
Read our Star Wars movie reviews by clicking the links: STAR WARS: EPISODE I – THE PHANTOM MENACE, STAR WARS: EPISODE II – ATTACK OF THE CLONES, STAR WARS: EPISODE III – REVENGE OF THE SITH, STAR WARS: EPISODE IV – A NEW HOPE, STAR WARS: EPISODE V – THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, STAR WARS: EPISODE VI – RETURN OF THE JEDI