Tuesday's announcement of Disney's $4 billion purchase of Lucasfilm caused major ripples of excitement -- as well as a few freakouts -- among Star Wars fans, especially the news that a planned seventh chapter in the sci-fi saga is expected to land in 2015.
Many would-be Jedis took to Twitter to express both their joy and their doubts about what such a showbiz marriage might mean to one of Hollywood's longest-running and most profitable franchises, whose worldwide box office stands at $4.5 billion.
British actor Simon Pegg, who was Scotty in the 2009 big-screen revival of Star Trek, went for an inside joke at first: "No Simba, I am your father. Oh, wait, he was, wasn't he."
That tweeted insight will most amuse those who know that James Earl Jones is the voice of Darth Vader as well as that of The Lion King's Mufasa.
Pegg then reassured his geek brethren: "For the record, I have no problem with Disney, I am a huge fan and I'm sure it's actually good news for Star Wars fans."
Seth MacFarlane, the upcoming Oscar ceremony host responsible for TV's The Family Guyand the hit movie comedy Ted,provided an opposing view with a reference to one of Disney's more notorious recent flops: "Looking forward to seeing what exciting new Star Wars adventures will be cooked up by the dream factory that brought us Mars Needs Moms!"
The news also inspired more than a few to ponder which of the characters in Star Wars mastermind George Lucas' 35-year-old universe should -- or shouldn't -- re-appear in Episode VII. Paddy Power, Ireland's largest bookmaker, was moved to place odds on who was most likely to make the cut.
Topping the list of those with the best chance of a comeback: a three-way tie between those lovable droids C-3PO and R2-D2 along with Yoda, even if he died at age 900 in 1983's Return of the Jedi. Ranking No. 4? Cult hero Boba Fett, the galactic bounty hunter who also met his maker in Jedi.
Among the leads, Luke Skywalker is given the best chance to swing a light saber once more, followed by Princess Leia and Han Solo.
As for the least likely to re-appear: Fat Dancer, presumably the plump Askajian performer from Jabba the Hutt's palace, and bad guy Admiral Piett of the Imperial Navy's Death Squadron.
Naturally, the loyal legions have their own thoughts about which characters deserve another chance in the movie spotlight.
Akron, Ohio, resident Mark Johnson, 34, of the movie site Awardscircuit.com, is anxious for Han Solo to fly again. "He was my favorite character growing up, and I'd love to see how things turn out for him and Leia, and perhaps their children. It would be cool to see their children as the next major characters - a nice mix of Jedi and cocky bastards, one would assume."
He also wouldn't mind if C-3PO, R2-D2 and Boba Fett took another bow.
Tish Wells, 54, a journalist from Bethesda, Md., concurs with Johnson: Han Solo all the way. "He might have a lot harder time adjusting to life after the rebellion," she says. "It's like an entrepreneur moving into management." She also wouldn't mind seeing the divisive Salacious B. Crumb, Jabba the Hutt's annoying court jester, one more time. "He appeals to my wild side."
But she gives a thumb's down to another helping of Watto, the greedy merchant introduced in 1999's The Phantom Menace that some derided as a Jewish stereotype, declaring him, "Someone I'd like to swat."
Susan Wloszczyna, USA TODAY