Two movies into the new sequel trilogy and Star Wars seems to be more divisive than ever. I mean in my honest opinion I don’t believe it is any worse than it was during the prequel era… it’s just… we have so many social network outlets these days to make our opinions known. But whether you enjoy the movies or not… could it be possible that the biggest issue is simply that people do not yet understand what they are watching?
Yea its a gigantic space opera with laser swords, weird space creatures, and spaceships but what is it that everyone is missing in this Galaxy far far away?
For most of us the Original Trilogy was already out for years prior to seeing them. At the time I experienced them It was expected and believed that everyone would like the films. The story was told and for the most part completed and there was little, if any, unknown in the Star Wars Saga. Even when the Prequel Trilogy began there was little room for twists and turns to surprise the audience. We knew that George Lucas had to hit certain plot points so we could get to where Episode IV began. Anakin’s training, Obi-Wan and Anakin’s relationship, the Clone Wars, and finally the creation of Darth Vader. So going into those films people had a preconceived idea of how things would play out. Unfortunately, for many, it didn’t play like they thought and thus began the backlash on Lucas and the saga he had graciously created.
Like I alluded to above, the Prequel Trilogy era was during a different time. the Internet was still young, at least from a home use standpoint, and we didn’t have outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to post our distaste or, in some cases, hate for what was released.
Now I for one enjoyed the prequels start to finish. Later on I realized how Episode 1 was a pretty tough film top to bottom. Directing and writing issues aside though that movie does have one of, if not the, most epic lightsaber battles we have seen on the big screen. And while Episode 2 struggled with similar issues, the most glaring was the horrid CGI, we all knew that by the time Episode 3 came around that Lucas would not let us down. And to this day I have yet to find anyone who hates Revenge of the Sith. Yet when I watch it I find many of the same issues that plagued the previous two movies, so what gives?
Could it be that the viewers expectations lowered over the 7 years it took to release the trilogy? Or was it simply the story was finally accepted and the only thing fans wanted to see was that moment Vader was born? (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!)
I think it is a little of both. Fans by 2005 knew that they would be getting exactly what George Lucas wanted to put in the films, Jar Jar and all. Yet the anticipation for seeing the most ruthless villain in cinematic history come to be was too good not to get excited for. So it was at this time, and I remember this pretty vividly, people were starting to be much more accepting of the prequels as a whole. Yea they have their flaws…but don’t all movies?
After 2005 things became split a bit. the younger generation who experienced the prequels prior to the originals were noticing that while the prequels were accepted they weren’t exactly appreciated…thus starting the GREAT Star Wars Divide. (Can this be a thing?..I think it sounds cool and interesting.)
Honestly though, ask any Star Wars fan born 1996 forward and they will most likely explain why the prequels are better than the originals. Speak to any person born prior to 1996 and guess what? They will probably say the opposite. Now, I did no studies and I can’t say that this will happen ‘X’ amount of times out of ‘X’ but I can say that out of the people I know… there are prequelists and originalists.
So what does any of this have to do with the second Star Wars divide which started in 2015 with The Force Awakens? Well, we are seeing the same exact thing that we saw in the early 2000s the only difference is social media and the ability for fans to whine, cry, bitch, and moan on the internet. The scariest part though is how Lucasfilm could react to all of this.
Love them or hate them, every film before Disney purchased Lucasfilm was from the mind of George Lucas…completely. He didn’t waver from his vision. Although you might say the lack of Jar Jar in episodes 2 and 3 were from fan backlash… but besides that… It was all Lucas. Unfortunately, with the way fans are crying today we could see Lucasfilm react how George never or rarely did and adjust their course to their bidding.
the sequel trilogy. Meaning they had different writers per episode…..sort of. Originally Michael Arndt penned the first Episode 7 script which was heavily based off of the outlines George Lucas handed over after the sale of his company. For some reason Kennedy and possibly Abrams did not like that version and it was decided that Abrams would re-write the film alongside former Star Wars collaborator Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back). Episode 8 was completely from the mind of Riann Johnson after he decided to throw out the outline Abrams created when he completed his script for 7. FInally Episode 9 was originally going to be penned by Riann Johnson but at some point that changed to Colin Trevorrow who was later removed from the project and replaced with JJ Abrams who not only is writing the film but Directing it as well.
Now to some this could be a sign of a lack of vision. I know I myself have wondered that from time to time. However, Lucasfilm has a Star Wars story group which are heavily involved with the creation of films, cartoons, books, video games, and whatever else they put out that directly ties to the universe. And, while this is all speculation, I have to believe they decided a starting point and ending point for all main characters. Han, Luke, Leia, Chewy, Rey, Kylo….etc. How they got to that end was/is up to the writers of the films….and that Is where I think things became a little choppy.
JJ was so much about nostalgia and bringing Star Wars BACK to its roots. While Johnson was more about changing up the narrative while staying true to what Star Wars is/was. Both have divided the fandom. And it’s a bit humorous because you will find those who LOVE The Force Awakens really don’t enjoy The Last Jedi and vice versa. Again I did no scientific study on this and I know there are exceptions to the the idea. For instance I and my co-host from my Podcast, Bridging the Geekdoms, really enjoy both films while another buddy of mine hates both. But there is once again a divide within the fandom of the Saga and where it was simply PT fans, OT fans, and Saga fans….it is now becoming OT fans, PT Fans, ST fans, and Saga fans. Not any one group is wrong or right. Star Wars is to be enjoyed as its a work of art and art, as we all know, is subjective.
I could sit here and really dive into why you should like the Sequel Trilogy but I’m not going to. You see, I’m getting bored with it…just as you will in a few years if not sooner. Remember how around the time Episode 3 came out people became a little more accepting of what they were getting? The same thing is going to happen here, however it may take a little longer than it did then because of the many avenues trolls and the forever naysayers have to be the asshats that they are.
I bring this all up though because of my children. The past month I have been able to experience the entire saga through my 7 year old’s eyes. Yea he has seen the films in the past but he never actually watched them. But now, he is enthralled and excited about every episode. He asks questions he gets sad, scared, and excited at all the right moments. But you know what the craziest thing is? He loves every episode as much as the last. And that is something to behold. He isn’t going into the saga with any preconceived notion that one trilogy was/is better than the other or that anything had to be done a certain way….no, he is watching this with young eyes.. as Yoda says “Truly wonderful the mind of a child is.” because its true. These movies should not divide the fans, they shouldn’t create hate, anger, or fear. No, those are all pathways to the Darkside. The movies should be watched as entertainment as a way to escape reality while teaching us life lessons of family, friendship, and growing up. The sequel trilogy is doing that as much as the past two trilogies have done it…. the only difference is people can’t accept when things don’t go the way that they think it will. Remember what Luke said…
“This isn’t going to go the way that you think!”
Nor should it.
The prequels, for the most part, went exactly how we expected them to. Anakin’s training, Obi-Wan and Anakin’s relationship, the Clone Wars, and finally the creation of Darth Vader… Yet they were disliked…. Now we get something that isn’t going how we think and once again….it’s disliked.
I know JJ Abrams has A LOT to cover in Episode 9, and honestly I trust him. He says he will be bridging all three trilogies together in this film which I find absolutely intriguing. On top of that he needs to figure out how to best handle the loss of Carrie Fisher, finish Kylo Ren’s and Rey’s arc all while trying to do the saga justice.
I trust he can accomplish this, I just hope he doesn’t go down the path of simply pleasing fans and sacrificing his vision for a lame predictable film. Because if you ask me, that would be the real tragedy in all of this….Darth Plagieus the wise be damned.
May the Force Be With You!
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