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New Escapist Column! On the Need of “Star Wars” to “Grow Beyond” the Skywalkers…

I published a new In the Frame piece at Escapist Magazine last night, looking at the future of the Star Wars brand.

While there is still some ambiguity about where Disney will take the cinematic franchise following the release of Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, a clean break might be the best course of action. Modern franchises are too beholden to fan service and familiarity, to retreading old ground in order to avoid offending or challenging existing fans. This prevents franchises from growing and embracing new ideas and new possibilities. It leaves them stagnant, and ultimately does little to appease fandoms with very strong ideas of how characters or ideas should be portrayed.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

2 Responses

  1. This was a good article, and you make a number of excellent points.

    A couple of weeks ago I was at Midtown Comics in Manhattan, and I overheard two of the employees discussing the new Disney trilogy. One of them said something along the lines of “Disney should set the next trilogy at least a hundred years in the future, with all new characters who have absolutely no connections to the old ones.”

    I hadn’t even seen The Rise of Skywalker yet, but I found myself nodding in agreement. Like yourself, I think that for many older fans there’s just too much familiarity, and too many expectations, about who the characters are, and how they should be depicted.

    It certainly doesn’t help that we had three decades between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens to imagine what happened next, not to mention the numerous novels and comic books published during those three decades that were set after the events of ROTJ. So when the new trilogy finally came out, it’s actually not too surprising that a lot of fans ended up saying “That’s not how the characters should be acting.” I think that what a lot of those people REALLY meant (even if they didn’t consciously realize it) was “This isn’t what I imagined was going to happen after ROTJ / This isn’t what happened in the old Expanded Universe.”

    Of course, there were certainly other issues to the new trilogy. Disney really rushed into production way too fast, seemingly without even a loose idea of the overall story arc that was supposed to unfold across the three movies. Add to that Abrams and Johnson being very different writers / directors, and there’s a definite lack of consistency.

    I wrote a lengthy review of TROS on my blog. Within it I quoted from one of your previous columns. Here’s a link…

    https://benjaminherman.wordpress.com/2019/12/25/star-wars-reviews-the-rise-of-skywalker/

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