Star Wars is one of the biggest names the entertainment industry has ever seen. Some would even say it’s the biggest. When the first Star Wars film came out in 1977, it launched an endless barrage of sequels, prequels, TV shows, books, comics, toys, and video games. There was even an ice show called Ewoks on Ice. No, that is not a joke. The franchise transcends time by becoming popular with each new generation in one way or another. It has not, however, reached the height of fandom it once had in the early 80’s. With the release of the original film and then the amazing follow up, The Empire Strike Back, Star Wars and all of its merchandising had taken over the world. Could we see the galaxy far, far away take its spot at the very top again?
After 1983’s Return of the Jedi, there were no more major Star Wars films until the first installment to the prequel trilogy, The Phantom Menace. This film takes us to the very beginning of Anakin Skywalker’s journey. Here he is just a boy on Tatooine, discovered by Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn and future master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, who are in need of his help. From there, the rest of the trilogy shows viewers how the young Jedi drifts deeper and deeper into the power of the dark side, while the evil Empire grows into full strength.
This trilogy certainly gave another generation of children the chance to make lightsaber sounds while swinging their wiffle ball bats at each other, but it did not carry the same Earth shattering magic that the first trilogy did. This is not to say that the prequels are garbage and should never have been made, as some people believe. But the fact does remain that a group of people were disappointed and the prequel trilogy did not make the same mark in history as the original tale of Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance.
A recent series of events could be the spark that changes everything. After a 4 billion dollar deal, Disney bought the rights to the Star Wars franchise in 2012 and have begun work on a new trilogy to take place after the events of Return of the Jedi. There is also an anthology of spin-off films to be made, including one focusing on a young Han Solo. The first film in the new sequel trilogy, being called The Force Awakens, is being helmed by director J.J. Abrams. He has already shown great success in rebooting the world of Star Trek on the silver screen. It only makes sense that he would know how to handle the Star Wars franchise. The two trailers shown so far definitely show promise. The fact that Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and others are returning to play their iconic roles is even more exciting.
Films aren’t the only thing that make a franchise soar to the top, and The Force Awakens isn’t the only highly anticipated Star Wars return of this holiday season. At this year’s E3, gamers finally received a real close look at the return of Star Wars Battlefront. With its huge scale and epic battles, this title could become one of the biggest games of the year. While Star Wars games, including pinball machines, have been around since the beginning of the franchise, it is safe to say that they have a bigger impact on culture than they did in the past. The video game industry has grown immensely since the early 80’s.
So, with a new trilogy beginning in December and a massive video game releasing in November, seems like Star Wars is making its first moves to become king of the castle once again. Let’s also not forget that Disney who owns Star Wars, know how to run a successful franchise. Just look at how they are taking over with the Marvel Universe. Perhaps it’s not Star Wars we should be thinking about, but Disney who is going to take over the world.