Betting on the fact that franchise fatigue is all in your head Disney is concretizing plans for “Star Wars,” wagering that the Force is with them. After its acquisition of Lucasfilm last October for $ 4.05 billion, the group had announced the creation and addition of new episodes to the saga, an all-around miraculous money machine which has brought in $ 4.4 billion worldwide since its launching in the eighties. Just yesterday, the cartoon company picked filmmaker, screenwriter and producer J.J. Abrams to shoot the seventh episode of “Star Wars,” due out in 2015, as reported by Hollywood’s trades. Disney had mentioned then that George Lucas, the Lucasfilm founder and producer of the sci-fi franchise—he had also directed episodes one, four, five and six—would be on board as creative consultant” for the new films.
Several filmmakers had been in the running to take over from George Lucas, although in the end Abrams’s candidacy was the winningest one.
At 46 Abrams has impeccable pedigree with several tentpoles and highly successful science fiction flicks under his belt. He’s also shot “Mission: Impossible III” (2006), “Star Trek” (2009) and the eminently watchable “Super 8” (2011). He is also the co-creator of the television series “Lost.”
He is currently finishing “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” the sequel to his first “Star Trek” film, which has grossed over $ 383 million worldwide.
“Star Wars,” which helped launch the careers of Harrison Ford, has gained cult status since its release in 1977, boosted by the followup “Empire Strikes Back” (1980) and “Return of the Jedi” (1983).
In the late nineties Lucas decided to add three new installments to the franchise, which took place before the events in the first episode. “The Phantom Menace” (1999), “Attack of the Clones” (2002) and “Revenge of the Sith” (2005) have worked wonders at the box office despite mitigated feedback from the critics. Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen shared the marquee for those titles.
Upon brokering the deal with Disney last October, George Lucas said, “It’s now time for me to pass ‘Star Wars’ on to a new generation of filmmakers.”
May the force be with you, J.J.
SEE ALSO: budget for each “Star Wars” movie and resulting box office, domestic and international (courtesy of The Numbers)