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George Lucas: Doing Right by the 'Star Wars' Universe — VIDEO

By Alicia Lutes, Hollywood.com Staff

Let's just skip over the prequels from the outset: in my eyes, the only Star Wars films that matter are the original three: the first trilogy that brought us back to a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. These original films are the ones that truly created the franchise—nay, industry—that is Lucasfilm and the entire Star Wars universe that has since unfolded itself into a way of life for many of its fans. I know: my mother sat myself, my brother, and sister down when we were very young and we spent an entire snow day getting acquainted with the Star Wars films. She wanted to be the one to show us the unbelievable universe that George Lucas had created. My one memory of the whole thing was simply: overwhelming.

And with the announcement that Lucas has sold his empire to another empire (I wonder how Mickey would've fared against Darth Vader), a lot of opinions have found their way onto the Internet, since, you know, it's the Internet and all. Fans (disenchanted and otherwise) seem to have a myriad of opinions—The films will be ruined! The Disneyfication of fandom continues! Why are people holding onto a franchise that hasn't been really good in years?—but anger about the decision to move forward with less Lucas seems misguided. Simply because this sale is probably the one smart decision they've made in the name of Star Wars in years.

We all know that the way Lucas has handled the series has made fans very, very mad. You know when things were good? When Lucas was overseeing things, but other people were really making the films (see: The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi). And though he never quite says it in the video below, it feels like Lucas knows to keep the universe engaging, fresh blood must take over to create new ideas.

""I'm doing this so the films will have a longer life, and so that more fans and people can enjoy them in the future,"" explains Lucas at the 2:30 mark. ""It's a very big universe I've created, and there's a lot of stories that are sitting in there."" Kathleen Kennedy, Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, follows up Lucas' sentiment, explaining that, to her, it is important to ""protect these characters that [Lucas] has created ... [and allow them to] continue to grow."" Both are aware of the limitations of not having more cooks in the kitchen on this end, because these films' greatest successes came from the collaboration of many, many talents, pushing the limits of what was (at the time) possible in the world of filmmaking and technology.

It seems to me, this greater deal with Disney is Lucas' way of saying ""I hear you guys"" and recognizing that there are limitations to his own knowledge base and what he can do with the vast world he's created. Lucas will still probably always be the man behind the curtain, but by allowing someone else's new ideas to proliferate within the universe—especially considering how much care and respect most people have for it—ultimately, it feels like a way to return the Star Wars franchise back to its original form. Its former glory.

And for those afraid of the MouseHouse takeover? In the end, the overall deal with Lucasfilm proves that Disney wants to really make (and take) its role as parent company seriously. By fostering a variety of creative studios (Pixar, Marvel, and now Lucasfilm), rather than creating in-house content—which has, at times, been a bit spotty these days, let's be honest—they stand to not only make a lot more money (shocker!) by acquiring these brands, but also allow these creatives a bit more freedom to develop themselves and their technologies. And for Disney, that means a lot less competition for their demographic expansion. Countering Fairytale Princesses with Sith Lords! It's a hell of a business plan.

What do you think about the Lucasfilm/Disney deal, and the forthcoming Star Wars films? Sound off in the comments!

[Photo Credit: Drew Altizer/WENN]

Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes

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