The top five geek-favorite projects that can and should emerge from the Disney-Lucasfilm-Marvel conglomerate.
So, last week, Disney bought Lucasfilm, bringing all of Star Wars and half of Indiana Jones (hi, Paramount!) into the same studio that just blew the doors off of Hollywood with The Avengers, and also owns everything attached to both Pixar and Mickey Mouse. This strange alliance has already borne fruit with the promise of a new Star Wars film in 2015, written by Oscar-winning Toy Story 3 and Little Miss Sunshine scribe Michael Arndt.
So what other geek-favorite projects should emerge from the tri-headed beast? We've got a top five below.5. Willow, the Pixar animated reboot
Way back in 1988, George Lucas and Ron Howard teamed up to try their hand at "serious" fantasy but, instead of launching the next great geek franchise, they just made Warwick Davis an actor beloved by geeks. Nonetheless, there are leagues of untapped potential in the tale of a dwarf named Willow Ufgood who aspires to be a wizard, and ends up with the fate of a fantasy kingdom in his hands. As much fun as it was to see Val Kilmer portray the brash swordsman Madmartigan, one can only imagine how much charisma Pixar's team could infuse into the character. And if Pixar can make an unspeaking robot a heart-wrenching and unlikely hero, Willow Ufgood is poised to be an icon for the ages in their careful hands. Sign me up.4. The Muppets TV series You probably forgot that Disney owns The Muppets now, and that it also owns the ABC family of networks (including every version of ESPN). While most adults and a lot of kids enjoyed 2011's The Muppets film reboot brought to us by Jason Segel, Kermit and the gang belong on weekly television. That's the only way the sprawling cast of characters can get adequate time to shine, and it also gives Disney the perfect venue to promo the latest releases for all its vast empire of properties. Who wouldn't want to see Robert Downey Jr. team up with Super Gonzo in advance of Avengers 2, or Mark Hamill reprise his guest spot on Pigs in Space just before Episode VII comes out? Between ABC, ABC Family, and the Disney Channel, there has to be room in the lineup somewhere for The Muppets to reclaim the small screen, and now is the perfect time. 3. Dr. Strange, as directed by Guillermo del Toro
Guillermo del Toro is the lunatic genius behind Pan's Labyrinth, who almost directed The Hobbit and whom Disney has enlisted to do a live action reboot of Beauty and the Beast with Harry Potter's Emma Watson in the lead. Dr. Strange is the A-list wizard of the Marvel Comics universe, and a high-potential property that everyone has wanted to see on the big screen since forever. Put the two together, and you've got the potential for a genuinely creepy and captivating take on the dark arts that puts a new edge to the Marvel cinematic universe.2. Dragonslayer, as directed by Andrew Stanton
You're a real old-school geek if you remember 1981's dark-fantasy epic about the end of the age of wizards and dragons starring Peter MacNicol. It's a property worth rebooting. Andrew Stanton needs to get up off the mat after the financial debacle that was John Carter, but his Pixar-roots (he directed Finding Nemo and WALL-E) will serve him well in putting an honest to goodness epic fairy tale adventure into live action.1. Indiana Jones 5, as written and directed by Joss Whedon
The man that gave us The Avengers (to say nothing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly) may want a new challenge after he delivers The Avengers 2. While the Indiana Jones franchise is on the back burner with the new Star Wars trilogy in production, no one is better served to revive Dr. Henry Jones, Jr. than Whedon. Given how long it may take to get this franchise up and running again, this will almost certainly be a reboot. That's a good thing, as the Indy we all want has our hero slugging it out with Nazis in pursuit of ancient supernatural treasures. That Joss will be the one giving our morally gray protagonist the snarky lines (and, it's certain, a suitably capable female sidekick) is not only fitting, it simply must come to pass.
Got a quibble with our dream production slate, or just want to add your own fantasy project to the list? We're open to pitches in the comments section.