With all sorts of stupidity erupting on the internet this week following the directors of the Han Solo movie being fired, the false idea of Disney “ruining” Star Wars has popped up again. But for people who have followed the franchise over the years, Disney buying Lucasfilm actually saved the franchise from dying off.
For perspective we first have to look back at the 80s. Following the release of Return of the Jedi in 1983, Star Wars began to slow down. Around the time of the tenth anniversary in 1987, we were really in the Dark Ages. Aside from one final “Power of the Force” figure line (with the coins) and the West End Games RPG, Star Wars was dead. And I mean dead.
It wasn’t until 1991 and the coming of the Expanded Universe that anything changed, but that had a purpose behind it as well. By then Lucas was planning the Prequels and he needed to revive interest in the franchise, thus the licensed novels and comics set in the Star Wars universe. That kicked off a decade and a half of revived Star Wars, but again following the third Prequel we were back to where we were in the 80s.
Even with The Clone Wars airing on Cartoon Network, by 2009 and 2010 and franchise was slowly dying. Fans were moving on without new movies on the horizon. George was getting older and he wanted to retire, and none of his kids wanted to take on the burden of Star Wars, so something had to happen.
Lucas had a long relationship with Disney going back more than thirty years with him producing Captain EO for them, and then Star Tours a year later and the Indiana Jones rides and attractions in the 90s. Under Disney Marvel became what Lucasfilm wanted to be, ensuring that the Marvel franchise will survive for decades with new movies coming out. So it was a no-brainer for Lucas to entrust Disney with Star Wars and Indiana Jones.
Following the model that was so successful for Pixar and Marvel, Lucasfilm would then be able to produce new Star Wars movies, TV, comics, and novels to keep the franchise alive long after George Lucas becomes one with the Force. Had Lucas not sold his company to the Mouse, Star Wars would’ve eventually been forgotten to time with only the most hardcore of fans remembering it.
Instead of cursing Disney for keeping Star Wars alive with new content, fans should be thankful that we’ll have Star Wars around forever due to them.