My thoughts on the Disney Star Wars Universe
There has been plenty of Star Wars news in the last few weeks. Mark Hamill announced he is done with Star Wars and Daisy Ridley admits Rey might come not be back after episode 9. Finally, Kathleen Kennedy has announced Michelle Rejwan will oversee the production of live-action Star Wars movies. To some the latter appears to be the first step in removing Kathleen all together. However, a more nuanced view is that Disney has simply created a dedicated position for a franchise that is steadily increasing in scope. Rejwan would be to Star Wars as Kevin Feige is to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
This is not one of those click-bait, anti-Disney, anti-Kathleen Kennedy articles. I instead hope to bring more nuanced criticism and judge whether Disney is doing something to change what fans don’t like. So in that spirit, lets try to form a detached opinion of where the Disney Star Wars Universe currently stands.
The Sequel Trilogy
Overall I do not hate the Disney Star Wars Universe. I may not have developed the kind of attachment to it like I have done with the Original Trilogy, but I do believe Disney’s overall performance is good. I feel as if after the acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012 Disney tried to quickly to create a sequel trilogy. On paper everything should have worked out fine, don’t repeat the mistakes of the Prequel trilogy and avoid the quagmire that is the Expanded Universe.
For the most part that worked and my feelings are if anything quite simple on the sequel movies. The Force Awakens was too familiar, and J.J. Abrams broke with continuity when he should not have. I liked the Last Jedi and I praise Rian Johnson’s efforts, but I disliked the fake-out with General Leia doing her Mary Poppins spacewalk. And I did not like the death of Luke. There are at least a dozen more smaller issues that I would categorize as nitpicking. But if that is the worse criticism I can bring forward than that hardly makes those movies bad.
Rogue One and Solo
Furthermore I though Rogue One was just perfect. I am keen to see the prequel series that is in pre-production. Solo was more problematic though. I enjoyed it at the cinema, it was truly good fun, but also forgettable. Solo is the result of a script trying to answer all the lingering questions we have about a character but it ends up ruining the suspense. However, fans are to blame if they do not like the curtain drawn away, because they asked for it.
Hateful Star Wars fans
So what should Disney do to keep fans happy? For a start they should ignore the flame videos on YouTube. Criticism is healthy but channels such as Nerdrotic, Geeks + Gamers and Thor Skywalker pretend to act as fireman but instead act as pyromaniacs. How many times do you need to go over an issue, The Last Jedi cannot be unfilmed, nor can Solo. What is done is done, but the normalization of unbridled criticism is very harmful.
The never ending criticism of Rian Johnson, Kathleen Kennedy and Disney is creepy. The channels in question will state they are only responding to the situation, but instead they feeding into fan anger. In the case of Geeks + Gamers the flame videos are by the creators own recognition to boost the channels viewership.
What can Disney do
Instead Disney’s Bob Eiger has announced that the number of Star Wars movies released will be limited. After episode 9 there is a 3 year hiatus before future releases. That gives Disney plenty of time to create a detailed game plan to prevent writers and directors from undoing each others works. In the mean-time there is plethora of live-action and animated series to flesh out the new Disney canon.
Improve the Star Wars canon
On that topic I come to the one criticism that I cannot forgive, not easily ignore. Star Wars is about a galactic scale war, the word ‘war’ is in its name. I understand Disney wanted to get rid of the Expanded Universe to give them free reign, but the aspects of warfare in the new Disney canon have become muddled. The Original Trilogy was about a rebellion that fought against an empire which outnumbered it a thousand to one. Instead in the Disney canon the rebellion defeated the empire in less than a year after the battle of Endor. In the real-world it takes years to build ships, I see no reason why it should be different in Star Wars. Disney has opted to forgo such details to focus more on character. While I understand I fear they undermine the franchise’s lore which forms the core of fan attachment.
New Star Wars lore
Despite this problem I also recognize that Disney has managed to create an extensively detailed lore of it own. I especially enjoyed the background on many imperials, Tarkin, Vader, Palpatine and many others.
More Star Wars
So as a fan I will try and focus on the positive things surrounding Star Wars. I am cautiously optimistic about The Rise of Skywalker, but I also believe the sequel trilogy could never match the original. I am looking forward to The Mandalorian later this year. To top it off I really want to read the final novel in the new Thrawn series of books by Timothy Zahn. Thrawn: Treason is set for release this July so expect a review soon after. For those eager to tuck into Star Wars novels and comics now is the best time as the quality is top notch. You can read my reviews of Dooku: Jedi Lost and Alphabet Squadron for confirmation.
Rian Johnson, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (J + B + W = KOTOR?)
I also look forward to any Star Wars movies by Rian Johnson and Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Creating something new can be a messy process and I forgive each their recent mishaps. And then there are rumors about a Knights of the Old Republic movie, which increases my anticipation for Star Wars even more. So for now I am willing to forgive Disney the somewhat problematic handling of the sequel trilogy. I feel no reason to join in on the flame wars started on YouTube, Reddit or Twitter as that is not healthy for the mind.