Disney breathes new life into ‘Star Wars’

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Disney, partnered with Lucasfilm, released the re-vamped cast list and director for “Star Wars Episode VII.”

Star Wars director/producer J.J. Abrams, rear center, at the cast read-through of Star Wars: Episode VII at Pinewood Studios near London. (AP Photo/Lucasfilm, David James)
Star Wars director/producer J.J. Abrams, rear center, at the cast read-through of Star Wars: Episode VII at Pinewood Studios near London. (AP Photo/Lucasfilm, David James)

Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) will be played by their original actors, while actors John Boyega, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson will be an addition to the film.

New director J.J. Abrams, known for his work with the TV show “Lost” and the new “Star Trek” movies, replaced George Lucas. Abrams’ directing focuses on mystery and drama, which is a change from Lucas’ action-based style.

Disney bought Lucasfilm, the company founded by “Star Wars” creator George Lucas, in 2012. Disney has kept most of the new developments quiet, so when Disney announced Abrams as the new director with a partially new cast, fans did not know what to expect.

Abram’s style may be just what the series needs to bring in new fans. Lifelong “Star Wars” fans, like Stephen Given, an advertising major from Minnesota, see hope in Abrams directing.

“J.J. Abrams did an awesome job with ‘Star Trek,’” Given said. “Those movies were interesting, visually stimulating, and he does great cinematography. I really think he’ll do a great job on the new trilogy.”

Some fans are confident in the new movies because of Disney’s past performance with Marvel Studios movies, like “The Avengers.”

Star Wars fans and memorabilia collectors, like the owner of this novel collection, hope that the Disney's new Episode VII will follow the original plot lines. (Photo by Jeffrey Allen)
Star Wars fans and memorabilia collectors, like the owner of this novel collection, hope that the Disney’s new Episode VII will follow the original plot lines. (Photo by Jeffrey Allen)

“I know the prequel trilogy didn’t go over very well,” said David Ellison, a teaching social sciences major from Lehi. “But Disney has done really well in the past, and it could be the new movies turn out phenomenal.”

Lucasfilm additionally announced that all content produced outside of the movies and “Clone Wars” television show was unofficial. This gives the filmmakers maximum creative freedom and also preserves an element of surprise and discovery for the audience.

Regardless of the announcement, fans hope the new movies follow some of the old “Star Wars” books’ storylines.

“Obviously there’s too many books to follow,” said Loren Atwood, a chemical engineering major from Idaho. “I would love it if they made movies about some of the books, but after seeing the ‘Clone Wars’ TV show, I think Disney is going to do their own thing.”

Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, said, “This future of interconnected storytelling will allow fans to explore this galaxy in deeper ways than ever before.”

The company plans to release “Episode VII” December 2015.

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