The Monday Morning Copilot: Disney Star Wars Fourth Anniversary
Sunday marked four years since the announcement of the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney and while I would argue that there wasn’t a better corporation to sell the company (and with it the Star Wars franchise) to, the sale did result in fans losing some promising projects. So while we celebrate the success of Star Wars under Disney’s stewardship, let’s look back at four things that were lost.
The Clone Wars
Likely a victim of production costs and network and distribution conflicts, The Clone Wars came to an abrupt halt with its cancellation after season five. While Disney allowed some episodes to be finished resulting in “The Lost Missions” (aka an abbreviated sixth season which was released on home video as well as Netflix). What we did learn and have seen as that there were many more episodes planned or in the development process that were never brought to completion. Some received adaptations in other media and some were released in animatic form on-line.
As much as many fans are enjoying Star Wars Rebels, the lack of a proper chance to wrap up many of the characters and storylines from The Clone Wars is perhaps the biggest gripe against Disney’s takeover.
The Sword of the Jedi
Star Wars literature was poised to embark on a brave new world of storytelling following Troy Denning’s Crucible, which was the last hurrah of Han, Luke, and Leia. The new generations of characters were set to fully take center stage and retire the classic film characters. This new era of Star Wars literature was to lead off with the planned Sword of the Jedi Trilogy by author Christie Golden, which received an official announcement and promotional art release. The series was set to star the daughter and sole surviving child of Han and Leia, Jaina Solo.
The rebooting of the publishing line and relegation of the previous literature to “Legends” status necessitated the cancellation of this series and other planned works. After waiting patiently for her chance to be the leading character in the Star Wars galaxy, Jaina disappeared into legend.
Star Wars 1313
This massive action-adventure game from LucasArts was set to star Boba Fett on his adventures across Level 1313 of Coruscant and beyond. Featuring some of the most stunning concept and production art I have seen from any Star Wars project, the video game was related to the unproduced Star Wars Underworld live-action series. We saw a demo, as well as a Web site, before the game and LucasArts itself were both shut down by Disney. The release of EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront may have appeased some gamer fans, but this one feels like a real loss to me.
Star Wars 3D
While the theatrical release of The Phantom Menace in 3D was underwhelming at the box office, the promise of seeing 3D conversions of the other films was enough to get some fans very excited. While we did get limited screenings of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith in 3D at conventions, we did not see a theatrical or home video release for these, nor a 3D conversion for the Original Trilogy. This one hurts because it is such a tease, the work is done on the Prequels yet they sit in Disney’s vault. No doubt Fox’s ownership interest in A New Hope makes any project such as this more complicated and costs more money than usual for Disney, but this seems like leaving easy money on the table.
While the loss of these four projects isn’t the end of the world, they do represent four unique expansions of Star Wars storytelling that the otherwise laudable stewardship of Disney has cost us.