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Do you want the Star Wars films at Disney to change?
To say that the reception to the new Star Wars trilogy is disappointing would be an understatement. Disney took the original triumph of a filmmaking trilogy and turned it into a wet fart. Disney has a big problem on their hands, one that has seemingly led to an ambiguous fate for Rian Johnson’s new trilogy and the complete exit of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ (showrunners for HBO’s Game of Thrones) own Star Wars films.
This is not a ‘hit piece’ or a cheap shot at Disney or Lucasfilm, but a critique and observation on how things are and seemingly look. Everybody knows that with a massive franchise like Star Wars you are never going to make everybody 100% happy, especially in the age of the internet where fan films and theories exist.
Disney seems to be capitalizing on childhood nostalgia for when the older properties were brand new. This includes all their attempts to make live-action remakes of their old cartoons, and as much as tremendous box office success stories as they are, they often get mixed reviews. It’s scary to see a Lion singing, but this problem also includes Star Wars as critically they have been received ‘okay’ they still bring fan debate. Why is that?
It’s because Disney doesn’t understand that just because we liked something the first time we saw, it doesn’t mean we want to see the same thing again. It’s commonly known that Star Wars: The Force Awakens repeated a lot of the same beats as Star Wars: A New Hope. But it only took away from the film, which led to a disappointing trilogy of films.
Disney seems to think that whenever a new piece of technology is developed, it warrants them remaking their old classics. But with any film, it is always about the story. It comes before anything else. That’s why Joker went to make over a billion dollars, not because of the visual spectacle or eye candy that is provided, but because it told a story that people were interested in seeing.
The next part of Disney’s pronged attack is the independence they give their filmmakers as well as lack of cohesion with said filmmakers.
There seems to be no meeting where the J.J. Abrams, Rian Johnson, and Colin Trevorrow (who was replaced with J.J. Abrahams after the massive fan debacle that was The Last Jedi) got together and discussed the overall trilogy. As for any saga of films, the goal is to create great independent films in their own right that feed into a larger story. As a race, it simply was one director handing off the baton to another instead of helping each other race to the finish line together.
Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, is excellent at this practice of connecting his films, and that is one of the reasons Marvel films succeed and that is probably why he is producing his own Star Wars film.
Marvel, though, does have an exciting paradigm that Star Wars does not. There was nothing like the Marvel Cinematic Universe before it came to be with the start of Iron Man in 2008.
So, there was no blueprint they had to follow for success, so Marvel films don’t have the expectations that the new wave of Star Wars films that Disney bankrolls do. We loved the old trilogy because it was something we never saw before, but the new wave of movies has to be able to create something new while still reminding us that
“Yes, this is still the Star Wars that you know and love.”
It seems though that the only Disney Era Star Wars content that is succeeding is the material that does not copy the same beats as the original trilogy, but the stories that invoke it such as The Mandalorian or Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Even the way that the The Mandalorian is made is invoking the original George Lucas saga. They use practical effects as well as CGI, so it feels and looks a lot more like the original trilogy than the new trilogy.
So, Disney, please remember that story comes before anything else and that just because you get a new toy (technology), that does not mean you throw out all of your old ones.