As Star Wars Celebration wraps up, I happened to be thinking about the last time I really celebrated Star Wars. For me, it was probably in the run up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. New Star Wars? Yes, please. Now, that’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed much of what the property has been putting out since then, on the big and small screens, but the brand does seem a bit less special than it used to be. Today, I just wanted to consider that for a bit.
Like many cinephiles, Star Wars, and specifically Star Wars: A New Hope, was one of my first favorite movies. A New Hope, followed by The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, truly captured my imagination. They told an epic and exciting story that I’d never seen before, with such wild creations that you could easily fall down any number of rabbit holes. Books, games, etc, I was all in, creating a love affair so many others are all too familiar with. Hell, it’s something that Disney was banking on when they acquired the brand from George Lucas, decades later.
Of course, in the in-between, the prequels never matched that sort of pleasure, even if the initial excitement over them was really something. I never hated the prequel trilogy, but it always felt overwhelmed with effects and missing the connections with the characters from the previous three movies. It was also the first time I’d seen a Star Wars backlash among the fans, though it obviously wouldn’t be the last.
When The Force Awakens was announced, it was the most anticipated project in a generation. When “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away…” came up on the screen, I even got emotional. The movie itself was satisfying on its own merits, even if it set things up that wouldn’t be to the franchise’s benefit. What the series had done was return to dominance, so what came next could have made it absolutely unstoppable. Instead, they diluted the brand by an overly ambitious plan of attack from Disney.
Since then, I’ve loved Star Wars: The Last Jedi, been let down by Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, liked both spinoffs in Rogue One and Solo: A Star Wars Story just fine, and enjoyed what I’ve seen of the television shows, with The Mandalorian (seasons one and two) so far having been my favorite. I’ve also been to Galaxy’s Edge twice, riding both rides and building a pair of lightsabers. so, I’m hardly an enemy here. I love Star Wars. I just wish the thought of more excited me as much as it used to.
These upcoming projects could be great. Personally, I hope a Rogue Squadron movie still happens eventually. The filmmakers, especially James Mangold, involved in the upcoming flicks are interesting choices. Lots could go right. However, it hasn’t been smooth sailing for the property in some time, so it’s fair to be skeptical. By giving us too much, too fast, it made Star Wars less special. Here’s hoping that it can be that way once again…
Are you excited for the new Star Wars projects? Let us know!