George Lucas is retiring from the company that brought us Star Wars! Does this mean no more installments of that series? What about Indiana Jones?
—Zeta B., via the inbox
Just because a founding member gets old doesn't mean a company loses its will to live. You really think that new honcho Kathleen Kennedy would abandon Lucasfilm's most lucrative franchises ever just because George Lucas has retired?
People love Star Wars—still. Really. And George Lucas knows all this:
For the record, Lucasfilm is playing coy about what might befall Luke Skywalker or Indy Jones. I reached out to the company this week with my justice-seeking lightsaber of truth. The response?
"Since we just made the announcement about Kathleen Kennedy on Friday, it is too early for her to make any decisions about existing franchises," a company spokeswoman tells me. "But I love your enthusiasm in asking."
That said, don't be shocked if we see more Star Wars stuff in our future, beyond the still-cooking Clone Wars series. Less than 6 months ago, Lucasfilm was still talking in enthusiastic terms about Star Wars: Underworld, a long-developing live-action TV series.
In an interview with IGN, producer Rick McCallum announced that no fewer than 50 scripts have been written for the series, which is supposed to take place during the period when Luke Skywalker is growing up.
"It's [the story of what's going on] underneath what's going on, and it's the criminals and the gangs that are running like Wall Street," McCallum said.
Now, McCallum also said that the show didn't have financing yet. No money, no show, period. But would Lucasfilm really spend all this time and energy on development just to get bored with the project and throw it in the trash? Kennedy may put it on hold. She may freeze is in carbonite or some such. But any other scenario feels unlikely.
And as for Indy, there's been much (speculative) talk about a fifth movie, and don't forget: Steven Spielberg has something to say about that, as well. And he hasn't retired yet.
"I think it will stay much the same as it has been in the past," says Wheeler Winston Dixon, film studies professor at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. "Lucasfilm has been churning out Star Wars stuff for so long that it's all he knows, and Kathleen Kennedy will just keep the train rolling in the same direction.
"Even Red Tails, while a noble effort reclaim the marginalized history of African-American pilots in WWII, was told from an adolescent's point of view. So I think we can expect more of the same from Lucasfilm in the future, as in the past."
Indeed. Otherwise, Boba Fett might end up paying somebody a very angry visit.