A long time ago in a galaxy far away, George Lucas made films that did not divide families, and watching one of them would make childhood memories, not destroy them. It started with “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” in 1977, and the latest movie, “Star Wars VII,” is set to be released in 2015. Earlier this year, the Walt Disney Company (home to Mickey Mouse, Spider-Man, the ESPN Sports Center and lots of awful pop stars and “actors”) paid $4 billion so that Chewbacca can join the family. That’s right: Disney bought “Star Wars.”

Arguably the most beloved franchise in science fiction, Star Wars is so prolific that it can be difficult to keep track of the different ongoing and future projects set in the saga’s universe; there are action figures, trading cards, comics, books, TV shows and movies. A lot of the news floating around is about the new movie, because it is the first project that has been announced since Disney bought Star Wars, although there are some other interesting projects in production.

Lens Flare

J.J. Abrams, who is directing the next “Star Trek” movie, was recently announced as the director of the seventh movie in the Skywalker saga. The excitement generated by this news is palpable; the repressed dreams of millions of nerds were suddenly given a new hope. The two biggest science fiction franchises are now being directed by the same man. The chance of the next jedi boarding the S.S. Enterprise is pretty slim, but Abrams has proven himself a more than capable director.

Michael Arndt, writer of “Toy Story 3” and “Little Miss Sunshine,” has taken up the task of writing the movie. Be prepared for quirky characters and A LOT of tears.

The New and the Old

Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker)  have all expressed that they are willing to appear in the new movie. Though the story for this one will supposedly be an original tale, it is possible that it could be a retelling of the Expanded Universe (EU) books set after “Return of the Jedi.” In the EU, Han and Leia have kids who are mentored by Luke to be the start of the next generation of jedis.

Ol’ Sam Jackson is also desperate to join the cast. When asked about returning on the last one, he said, “Hell yeah!… I could be a ghost hologram. I don’t care. I just want to stay associated with the franchise.” Clearly, Mace “Purple Lightsaber” Windu wants this gig.

“SWTOR”

Bioware’s “Star Wars: The Old Republic” has failed to find a sizable audience in the current market where MMORPGs are common. They’re releasing a new expansion and went free-to-play last month. If you haven’t experienced the Old Republic universe (which is set a thousand years before the Skywalker saga), this is a great place to start.  

“Star Wars 1313”

“1313” is the subterranean level of Coruscant’s underworld (which is actually under the world). There haven’t been any “1313” Star Wars-related products. I think. There were dubious amounts of lens flare in the initial demo, so you know that the production value of this game is through the roof. LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, LucasFilm Animations and Skywalker Sound, for the first time, are all involved in the creation of one game. This is shaping up to be the best game in the Star Wars franchise.