When You Wish Upon A Death Star

Posted on October 31, 2012 

Disney shocked the entertainment world yesterday, paying more than $4 billion to acquire Lucasfilm and all its properties, which include Industrial Light & Magic and the "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" franchises.

Disney announced it would begin work on "Star Wars, Ep. VII" for a 2015 release, followed by Episodes VIII and IX.

I'm cautiously optimistic about the news. Disney can't really hurt the "Star Wars" franchise any worse than the prequels did, when George Lucas forgot that movies are about characters and plot, not special effects.

Since Lucas will only be a consultant on the films, it leaves Disney to hire whomever they want to direct the next movie. Imagine what a Joss Whedon or Christopher Nolan "Star Wars" might look like.

I was more worried when Disney bought Marvel a couple of years ago. I was worried that some executive might want a Thor-Donald Duck team-up on a cartoon, or load Tony Stark's home with Disney merchandise in the next "Iron Man."

Instead, with the wild success of "The Avengers" and good animated fare like "Ultimate Spider-Man" and "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" on Disney XD, the company has shown great affinity for the Marvel characters and universe.

Still, there's a little concern on my part that some executive will make Thanos a Sith Lord or have Indiana Jones and Captain America team up to fight the Nazis. But since nothing like that has been announced, I'll trust Disney to do right by all of the properties.

As for a "Star Wars" sequel, I remember as a wee lad going as far back as "Empire Strikes Back" in 1981 that there were rumors to the effect that Lucas was going to do Eps. IV-VI, then do prequels, then Eps. VII-IX. Lucas ended up saying there'd be no more "Star Wars" after the mixed reaction to the prequels, but apparently that plan -- which people talked about long before the internet -- now seems to be back in place.

Given the age of the principal "Star Wars" actors like Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, it's hard to envision that the sequel would involve their characters, but you never know.

I'll be curious to see Disney's plans for the "Star Wars" franchise, as well as Indiana Jones, but mainly I'm more focused on the Marvel-based projects.

WEDNESDAY'S BEST BETS: With the northeast facing so many power outages and possibly some live coverage from the news divisions of the networks, tonight's TV schedule is subject to change, much like it has been for the last two nights.

Assuming things stay the same, the holiday classic "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" airs on ABC tonight at 8 p.m., followed by new episodes of "The Neighbors," "Modern Family," "Suburgatory" and "Nashville."

CBS has new installments of "Survivor," "Criminal Minds" and "CSI," and NBC airs a "30 Rock" rerun, followed by new episodes of "Guys With Kids," "Law & Order: SVU" and "Chicago Fire."

Fox has two hours of "X-Factor," while The CW is new with "Arrow" and "Supernatural," both good choices for Halloween.

On cable, there's a new "American Horror Story" (FX, 10 p.m.)

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