The Return of the S**t - Has Star Wars run its course?

Niamh Brook - Writer

Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love Disney. Originally starting with the animated classics, my love for the company grew as I discovered the likes of Marvel and Lucasfilm as I got older. Over the years, The Walt Disney Company has become a cornerstone of animation and has released a plethora of animated classics that have been renowned by audiences and critics alike. Without any doubt, Disney is a major part of people's lives, be it a child or adult. However, in the past decade Disney’s empire has grown tenfold. The expansion of its other studios have sky-rocketed in the past decade.

 Both Lucasfilm and Marvel have become cultural phenomenons, arguably changing the worlds viewpoints on the idea of “geek culture”. These 10 years have changed the game of entertainment. Once three cult films from the 70’s and three questionable early 00’s prequels, Star Wars is now a billion dollar industry with a new Star Wars film coming out nearly every year and the introduction of not one but two star wars themed lands at the Disney theme parks. Star Wars’ key audience has changed. Gone are the days were conventionally it was young men. Now Star Wars reaches all audiences both young and old, male or female. One can argue that this aspect of Star Wars has been changed for the better. A more accessible and interactive cinematic experience for all fans.

However, there is a question that must be asked. How necessary are these new Disney Star Wars films? Do we really need them?  Whilst it is nice to see our classic heroes on the screen once again is the plot of the film in which we see them good enough to justify this? Personally, I don’t think so. It is clear to see that the new trilogy was created without a plan. No overarching story planned out that needed to be told. Given the franchise’s long history of trilogies, it’s possible Disney felt the need to create a new trilogy in order to mimic its predecessors or to be more rational, to make more money. Starting the trilogy back in 2015 with The Force Awakens a plot was set in motion and questions were raised.  I may be biased, but I loved The Force Awakens. Growing up in an anti Star Wars family, the film was the first exposure I had to the franchise (if you ignore the Family Guy Star Wars specials). Whilst it was not a perfect film and I definitely had some issues with it, most predominantly with Daisy Ridley’s acting which did not improve in the later films, I was enticed and ready for the next film.

I'm sure we can all remember the fuss that was made when The Last Jedi was released back in 2017. A jarring step away from The Force Awakens it was not to everyone’s taste, especially that milking scene (if you know, you know) that scared me for weeks on end. The Last Jedi was the first glimmer of the lack of overarching plot. Big themes and questions that were set up in TFA were tossed away in a matter of seconds in this film. Because of this, and the films diversion from a conventional Star Wars narrative,  fans were to best pleased with the film. So Disney felt the need to rehire JJ Abrhams and fix the problems fans had with their next instalment: The Rise of Skywalker.

!SPOILERS AHEAD! The Rise of Skywaler was a mess and frankly quite embarrassing to watch. Disney’s desperate need to please fans gave us two hours of a film that hardly even linked to the previous films.  The reveal that Rey was a nobody was quickly changed to her ‘true’ heritage, the granddaughter of Palpatine. Oh yeah, Palpatine is back, and is shoved into the narrative just like every other plot point in the film. The film is goofy everytime fan service was shoved onto the screen I felt myself cringe. Whilst I had fun laughing at this film, it was truly painful to watch.

This leads me back to my original question. Did really need them? The straight answer is no. But we have them. We spent our money to watch them. That’s all that Disney wanted. To make more money. By creating more Star Wars properties, Disney knows it will have fans flocking to the screens whether they want to or not. Being a Star Wars fan is a duty and as a fan one must watch all Star Wars content that is given to them. It’s not just the new trilogy that fans are exposed to but 2 spin off films and tv shows on the companies own streaming service, Disney Plus. Is there now an over saturation of Star Wars, is the force now truly all around us?  In this awful age of sequels and reboots have we become so numb to what Disney is doing?

When someone sits down to create a film, one must ask themselves is the story good enough. I do not think this question was asked when creating this new trilogy. It was created with a purpose, a purpose the fans fulfilled tenfold. But when we look at new Star Wars content to come one should ask; Wasn’t the original trilogy enough?


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