In 1977, a new genre of film was born. It was part romance, part fantasy, part sci-fi, with a whole lot of action. If you were to go back in time and tell George Lucas that his creation would turn into what it is today, he would laugh you out of the building.
“But it’s true!” you’d say as he’d kick you down the stoop onto the street. “Disney’s making a Han Solo origin story movie, they just released Episode VIII, and there are 18 different TV shows in the works!” And then, after a long, drawn out silence, he would slam the door in your face.
Actually, don’t go back in time and tell him that. You know, butterfly effect and all.
But since no one’s gone back in time and told him all that yet (or maybe they have???), we have the state that the Star Wars franchise is in today (see above). Honestly, so far I think they’ve done a really good job of it. I was very skeptical at first, and still mostly am, about a new film coming out every year for the foreseeable future. But more on that later.
Episode VII set up a really good return, now that I look back on it. I still think it’s kind of stupid how they basically just rehashed A New Hope with a bigger, more bad ass death star, but I’m still glad that these are the Star Wars films that some kids are growing up with. I, sadly, had Episodes I-III as the trilogy I grew up with. Fucking Jar Jar Binks and the Gungans…ugh.
But today, the kids have a great group of films so far. I thought Rain Wilson did an amazing job with Episode VIII. Amazing. Every bit of it was fantastic. It was new, original, beautifully shot. I know a lot of people complain about it, that ‘It wasn’t a Star Wars film,’ but what do they know.
Rogue One was also really good. It had some faults, but I can’t even think of them right now. All I can remember was the fact that it was a beautiful tribute and setup for the original film.
For all the praise of the new films, there is a dark side.
I’ve had conversations with older folks who say they never expected Star Wars to turn into what it did – even then. They thought it would be a one-off film that everyone really liked and then never thought about again. But then came Empire and Return of the Jedi after that. There had never been a trilogy of films like that before, it was ground breaking.
They were huge hits, and cemented the series’ place in pop culture for the rest of eternity.
Was that enough? It sure looked like it was. All until Lucas decided that he needed to make Episodes I-III, and the only good thing about those was Natalie Portman. There have been many attempts to describe how crappy the sequel/prequels were, but I don’t think anyone did it was well as the early ’00s British TV show Spaced.
(Side note: if you haven’t watched spaced, you need to. It’s on Hulu.)
I know I wasn’t around in the beginning either, but I can still understand the severity of the situation. The prequels totally ruined the originals. I loved them when they came out, but how many times have I watched them since they first came out? None. Zero. Zilch. They didn’t captivate me. And millions of children had to grow up with those films as their Star Wars movies. It’s a pain that I’m not quite sure I’ll ever get over.
That gets me back to the three, soon to be four, new Star Wars films that have come out since Disney acquired Lucasfilm. I’m ecstatic that kids now have good Star Wars movies to grow up with. Especially the new trilogy. They’re miles ahead of the prequels, don’t get me wrong, but the fact that a new movie (let me repeat myself) is going to come out every year for literally the next thousand years is ridiculous.
Think back to the first prequel. Try to put your disappointment aside for a second and remember how excited you were when that music started and a big ol’ ‘STAR WARS’ popped onto the screen. Wasn’t it amazing? Did you cheer? Cry? Pee a little?
That feeling, as awesome as it is, will diminish overtime. It’s like a drug that we keep doing over and over again. It’ll lose its wonder, its awe. The stories will get less interesting, and it’ll start to feel forced. (Hehe.) I’m excited for the Han Solo story coming up in May, but…why do we need more Star Wars TV shows? Why are those in development? I’ve been told that Clone Wars was fantastic (I’ve yet to watch it and probably never will), and it actually filled a void in the Star Wars universe. What purpose will these new shows serve, or will they only pander to an ever-shrinking audience and alienate the larger Star Wars fanbase?
By that point, it’ll be too late. We’ll have been burned out over Star Wars long before they quit milking it for all it’s worth. Which is sad, really. Then kids won’t have any Star Wars to look forward to. I really wish we could just take a break, you know, just sit back and enjoy what we have for a year or two so we can soak them in before we’re bombarded by a whole other slew of space junk.
Am I crazy?