Since Disney bought Lucasfilm and started its own saga of Star Wars films, some division has begun within the fan base. Like anything, many factors go into heavy criticism across critics or audiences, in some cases both. The new entries have plenty of problems, but the main obstacle that is in the way is nostalgia.
The original trilogy may not be perfect, it may have some dated material, but that does not stop it from being incredible to this day. The story is beyond familiar, yet its charming heroes and large scale production were beyond anything that was created back in the day. Decades later, the loathed prequels come along that stir up issues in the canon, then Mickey Mouse flies in on his X-wing to start up a new series within this beloved universe.
That distance between the original and new trilogies causes an issue where people have a filter of nostalgia, making George Lucas’ big hit in the 70s and 80s on top of Everest, an untouchable milestone in blockbuster history. It is almost impossible to add to this saga and not let millions of people down.
The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker essentially take A New Hope and Return of the Jedi into a modern twist with some differences here and there for TROS. It may seem like a better idea to go into a new direction to separate the latest films and the classics. We may never know if that is the right decision or not due to the hatred towards The Last Jedi, which attempted to change things up and did not live up to many people’s hopes.
You can argue against or in favor of recycling old ideas from Abrams or root for or shout at Johnson for trying something different. Either way, it divided up the fanbase instead of everyone uniting over their love for the franchise. We are getting new Star Wars, which is amazing, yet a big chunk of that is a disaster due to the audience and the mix of risky and safe choices made by the filmmakers.
Having Abrams or Johnson direct all three films would have been a smarter decision on Lucasfilm and Disney’s part. Splitting their ideas with Abrams directing the first and third film while Johnson gets the middle slice caused tension between two entirely different visions of what should happen by the end of this storyline.
The studio execs are to blame too. Other franchises like Harry Potter and Marvel may have source material to lean on, but it also had a clear idea of where things would go for Harry’s journey and for the epic conclusion to defeating Thanos. Lucasfilm and Disney should have pulled in the reigns to balance creative power for the directors and writers while still guiding them to a general idea to avoid the mistakes made across the new saga.
The nuanced issues within Star Wars can go on and on, but the world has a perspective on how these films should go. People have their own desires for Luke Skywalker, which was not completely satisfied for many in TLJ, and too much pandering in TROS let down many fans, like me, due to the seething reaction Johnson’s entry received. Everyone looks for something that they want, resulting in admiration or hate for a movie, which is the beauty of varying opinions.
Moderation is key to much of life, even a movie franchise of space Nazis and rebels with robots that they can understand despite making beeping noises instead of words. Having that fan service makes for wonderful callbacks, but you need to move forward to create something new and special to make the series live on. Star Wars is floating in the cosmos, not sure to use the force call for help to Obi-Wan or to reach out to Rey.
The damage done can be repaired because millions of people, many of whom work on these films, care deeply about this universe and the characters flying around in it. It will take a lot of effort to fix it, so we don’t have another Star Wars entry bomb like Solo or get a reaction that divides people up like The Last Jedi. Maybe with hope, we can get back to what it used to be, people being together loving Star Wars for what it is, not what it used to be or could become.
Support the blog
Header image via Lucasfilm/Disney