On the MP Creators facebook, I brought up the popular and airtight theory that Jar Jar Binks is the real and always intended antagonist of Star Wars. My proposal is that George Lucas re-edit the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy to return his vision of Jar Jar Binks as the leader of the Sith seeing how Lucas and 20th Century Fox still maintain control of Star Wars Episodes 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 after the Disney purchase. This prompted Moviepilot writer TOM BACON to send me this Hollywood Reporter blurb:
"20th Century Fox, the original distributors of the first six Star Wars films, still retain the distribution rights to the original two Star Wars trilogies, currently owning permanent full distribution rights for the 1977 Star Wars film, while also holding the theatrical and home video distribution rights to Episodes I–III, V, and VI until May 2020. LucasFilm retains the television and digital distribution rights to all the Star Wars films except the original."
This got me thinking. Basically Star Wars is co-owned and in transition to Disney. Besides profiting from Star Wars mania, its highly likely that Lucas and Fox have plans for the originals. They could still add Jar Jar back into the Prequels as the ally to the Sith.
But this strange technical piece of movie business also shines light on the current state of the Star Wars series. If Episode 7 is really a direct sequel to Episode 4 for legal reasons, this means Disney's Star Wars can not directly reference other episodes until the year 2020. "The Force Awakens" has faced some fan backlash for being too influenced by "A New Hope". I don't think the Disney/Lucas/Fox deal left them any other choice.
Does Disney have the right to use characters like Lando, Palpatine, Jabba and other non-New Hope characters? Without being able to tell the stories of Empire Strike Back, Return of the Jedi or 3 prequels, Disney had to to rely on Hope's material alone to update the series. But if this limitation is true, why were Admiral Akbar, Lando's copilot present and a Walker from Empire all present? Perhaps some minor details were allowed/paid for by Disney to create some continuity with the total series and not draw attention that this was a Star Wars film with little Star Wars allowed in it. I would love to know the deal Lucas, Disney and Fox worked out. Right now its hearsay about trade secrets.
If Force Awakens is really limited to the Star Wars it can use, I have newfound respect for it.
The situation reminds me of "Never Say Never Again", the James Bond film not made by the original Bond producers EON. The new producers only had the rights to the OO7 film "Thunderball" in their version of James Bond, so they sold the film an unofficial sequel in the established franchise when it was only a clever remake. Like TFA, that film couldn't play off of its franchise mythos and had to impress in other ways. They brought back the retired Sean Connery as James Bond (Harrison Ford returning as "Han Solo") and created the first black Felix Leiter ("Finn") and upped the special effects and humor. IRONICALLY, that film was directed by Irvin Kerschner, the director of "Empire Strikes Back"!
If thats the case with TFA, they have a good excuse for being so unoriginal. No matter how much creativity was invested in The Force Awakens, perhaps they were always constrained to Tattoine, X-Wings, Tie Fighters and all the other things found in "A New Hope". Anything else may have cost Disney extra.
Is Disney simply stalling for time until 2020 and TFA was simply a teaser for what they will do when the gloves are off creatively? I hope and believe so.
Also, I was really letdown by how poorly the Force is explained in Ep 7, but if they aren't allowed to reference "Empire" or other SW films that defined the Force more concretely, it totally makes sense why the Force was a vague and mysterious superpower all over again.
The details of the Fox/Disney/Lucas deal is not understood yet publicly. But from what we've been shown, Disney may own all of Star Wars, but can only borrow and reference Episode 4 until 2020. This would explain why the next film ("Rogue One") is an Ep 4 prequel, why the Star Wars TV series "Rebels" is an Ep 4 prequel and why the Marvel comics title for Star Wars is a direct Ep 4 sequel.
With TFA, Disney did probably all that they could legally to make a great Star Wars film, if not creatively. In 2020, by the time Episode 8 is out, I expect LucasArts will have carte blance in bringing Star Wars to the screen. So most of The Force Awakens' failures and constraints have to be placed on 20th Century Fox and maybe George Lucas. But if George still has a few years of Star Wars control, lets all wish that he do as much with them to make future SW films better.
Bring back Jar-Jar!!!