Star Wars fans around the globe felt a disturbance in The Force Tuesday when creator George Lucas sold the beloved franchise (and the rest of his Lucasfilm company) to Disney for $4.05 billion. Disney has already announced plans to continue the movie series with Star Wars: Episode VII, which is slated for release in 2015, but Disney CEO Bob Iger has made it clear that the company is getting more than a few sci-fi movies — however popular they are — for its $4.05 billion; it's getting "seventeen thousand characters that inhabit several thousand planets spanning 20,000 years." Now that Disney can do virtually anything it wants with the Star Wars universe, where might it start? Here, five theories:
1. Make more Episodes
Why stop at Episode VII? Disney should develop the Star Wars franchise "along the same lines as the Marvel superheroes franchise, which they have successfully turned into an outrageously profitable, wholly self-sustaining movie ecosystem," says Robbie Collin at Britain's The Telegraph. "Forget Star Wars: Episode VII. By the end of the decade, we may well have Episodes VIII through XVIII." Star Wars could become "a 007-style perennial," with a new film in the franchise released every two years or so, agrees Bill Zwecker at the Chicago Sun-Times. If Disney plays its cards right, Star Wars will become "something that audiences will come to expect as a permanent feature in their moviegoing lives."
2. Remake the prequels
It's all well and good to make new sequels to the original Star Wars trilogy, says Chris O'Brien at the San Jose Mercury News — but while you're at it, why not take a shot at revamping the much-maligned prequel trilogy? Though the three most recent cinematic entries in the Star Wars canon were terrible, the tragic Darth Vader story could still be "great fodder for truly outstanding but dark movies" if someone rewrites and reboots them. And if that's too much to ask, "at least digitally erase Jar-Jar Binks from every frame. Please."
3. Launch a new TV series
In recent years, Cartoon Network has created a legion of young new fans with Star Wars: The Clone Wars, an animated series based on the Star Wars prequels — but why not increase the franchise's stake in the small screen? In yesterday's official announcement, Iger indicated that he thinks the Star Wars franchise would be a good fit for his company's tween-oriented channel Disney XD — which "implies another animated TV show aimed at children," says Paul Tassi at TV Overmind. And since an animated series based on the prequels already exists, "perhaps the new series will be based around the future films" in the franchise.
4. Start a new Star Wars comic book empire
Everyone is focused on the possibility of new Star Wars films and TV shows, but don't forget: Disney also owns Marvel Comics, says Vinnie Bartilucci at Comics Mix. Dark Horse Comics has owned the license to Star Wars for 20 years — and released many, many comic books based on the franchise — but there's no reason that Disney shouldn't use its Marvel brand to "come up with new characters, titles and facets of the history that will fall outside of Dark Horse's license," which would open up the Star Wars universe to almost unlimited possibilities.
5. Build a Star Wars Land
"No, not 'add more Star Wars stuff to Disneyland'," says Joal Ryan at E! Online. The Star Wars universe is so big, beloved, and wide-ranging that it could sustain "an all-new, all-Star Wars theme park" that would rival — and perhaps even surpass — the enormously popular "Wizarding World of Harry Potter" attractions in Orlando and Japan.