The Problem With.. Annual Star Wars and Spin-Offs
When Disney bought Lucasfilm it was a huge deal and we were all excited we were getting new Star Wars movies however our thoughts on this quickly changed as we saw more and more movies confirmed and Star Wars becoming an annual series with new installments every month. We all love Star Wars so what’s wrong with having a movie every year? It’s any fan’s dream come true. But this is where the problem lies and I’m not too optimistic about the franchise’s future if thing continue for the following reasons.
Star Wars being a yearly franchise sucks. I mean does Disney not see the damage this will do to the brand? Sure they’ll make tons of money in the next say 8 years or so but people are going to get tired. It’d be a much smarter to have kept it as a 2 or 3 year episode movie “event” that everyone waits for and has to watch like the previous two trilogies. Instead each spin-off and “episode” will continue to make less and less money. A better strategy would’ve been that after they got done with Ep. IX they could’ve made spin-off films and then after a while start again with a new trilogy of “episodes” again getting people excited for them. This whole “new episode every two years with a spin-off in between” giving us a new movie every year just isn’t going to work for the long term. People are already complaining about Marvel fatigue and the same will happen to Star Wars. I understand what they’re going for which is their Marvel strategy of having 3 or more movies a year and build up for an event. In fact I actually think Disney wanted to make more spin-off films but after The Force Awakens they decided to keep it a December franchise and not risk it.
I’m afraid of over-saturation. I was so excited for Episode VII but will I continue to be as excited with multiple Star Wars films every year? I think the reason I’m not interested in Marvel movies anymore is because there are so many of them and I think I’m going to feel the same way about DC soon. We got the trailer for the first spin-off just a few months after the long awaited The Force Awakens had come out and now we’re already getting plenty of pictures and reports from the filming of Episode VIII and the new spin-off is being cast. There’s no room to breathe, how can we get excited about any of this if we’re constantly bombarded with more. Contrast that with how all we would get is a few tidbits for Episode VII and once the teaser came out it was all we could think about and now our attention is on 3 different Star Wars movies at the same time and I’d just gotten off my Star Wars high from The Force Awakens.
The second problem we have is their choice of spin-offs, when Disney bought Lucasfilm I remember reading they were interested in the enormous Star Wars universe with it’s history and characters. Disney bought Marvel for similar reasons, not so much because of the big hitters like Spider-Man but how they were able to make previous nobodies into huge stars like Iron Man. Which makes their choices for their first spin-off titles so frustrating.
Let’s start with Rogue One which is the first spin-off film of their “anthology” series changed to “A Star Wars Story” since the general audience doesn’t like big words. I mean seeing another movie in that time is a dream come true but Star Wars is much more than that. No one asked for a story about how they got the plans to the death star. That is fanfic level of storytelling and while these type of stories can be cool, they really should be saved for books, comics or videogames to fill in the gaps, not a movie. The Spin-Off films need to instead focus on entirely different things, I mean we know every character from movies that take place in this timeframe will never become really important since they are never seen in the Original Trilogy unless there are some big retcons, this isn’t like the Prequel Trilogy where at least you knew there was plenty of time for them to die/be forgotten or whatnot. With the Sequel Trilogy going for the basic Empire vs Rebels setting even if they go by different names it’s even less interesting to watch a movie set in the past yet very similar setting. I mean this teaser could very well have taken place in The Force Awakens, you have the bad ass different colored Stormtrooper, Imperial Troops kicking ass, the Death Star, an evil looking General etc. Why rehash everything from the OT in Episode VII if there were going to be Spin-Off films rehashing the same ideas?
There’s plenty of other stuff in the Star Wars universe that would be great to explore and not how they got the plans for the death star. You also have the young Han Solo film that no one asked for. Maybe in ten years or so we could be interested in seeing Solo’s early adventures but not now…I’d rather see something we aren’t familiar with or know about. Unless the movie had Harrison Ford again as Solo in an adventure set before Episode VII now that could be something that we’d be able to accept since we know Ford wouldn’t be able to do it in ten years. Another exception would maybe be an Obi Wan movie since Ewan Mcgregor is a decent Obi Wan and we’d all love to see more adventures of this character and those movies don’t have to wait since we already have the actor and don’t need to cast a new one.
Having Darth Vader in Rogue One is also a bad decision even if it is awesome, he is such an iconic character and again he could be someone who deserves a solo movie where we follow Darth Vader movie and see how he hunted down Jedi while Earl Jones is still alive to do the voice. I prefer that than shoehorning Vader into new movies and possibly diluting his character by having him appear in a “necessary” 5-10 minute cameo in movies. Disney needs to play the nostalgia card a little more subtly. I love Star Wars but as soon as I’m getting warmed up for a new movie we get information about 2 other ones and we’re getting spin-offs on stuff we don’t really want like Yoda’s origin which is rumored. Over the decades Star Wars has built a huge universe full of possibilities for us to be stuck in one era with specific characters. This isn’t even the first time we got spin-off films, we had other ones that focused on other characters like the Ewoks which were a completely different genre and even if they weren’t great they need to aim for something like that. Boba Fett for example is something that would be different and fun but they can get very ambitious and make movies set hundreds and thousands of years before or after the first trilogy and not just fill in the gaps between films.