Star Wars after Lucas: A Critical Guide to the Future of the Galaxy
Politics, craft, and cultural nostalgia in the remaking of Star Wars for a new age
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away—way back in the twenty-first century’s first decade—Star Wars seemed finished. Then in 2012 George Lucas shocked the entertainment world by selling the franchise, along with Lucasfilm, to Disney. This is the story of how, over the next five years, Star Wars went from near-certain extinction to what Wired magazine would call “the forever franchise,” with more films in the works than its first four decades had produced.
Focusing on The Force Awakens (2015), Rogue One (2016), The Last Jedi (2017), and the television series Rebels (2014–18), Dan Golding explores the significance of pop culture nostalgia in overcoming the skepticism, if not downright hostility, that greeted the Star Wars relaunch. At the same time he shows how Disney, even as it tapped a backward-looking obsession, was nonetheless creating genuinely new and contemporary entries in the Star Wars universe.
A host of cultural factors and forces propelled the Disney-engineered Star Wars renaissance, and all figure in Golding’s deeply informed analysis: from John Williams’s music in The Force Awakens to Peter Cushing’s CGI face in Rogue One, to Carrie Fisher’s passing, to the rapidly changing audience demographic. Star Wars after Lucas delves into the various responses and political uses of the new Star Wars in a wider context, as in reaction videos on YouTube and hate-filled, misogynistic online rants. In its granular textual readings, broad cultural scope, and insights into the complexities of the multimedia galaxy, this book is as entertaining as it is enlightening, an apt reflection of the enduring power of the Star Wars franchise.
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