Oversaturation: A Star Wars Story

Last night, Disney announced that they would be releasing not only a live-action Star Wars series, but also an entire new trilogy, separate from the Skywalker saga. But with The Last Jedi just around the corner and Solo: A Star Wars Story (yes, it really is called that) set to be released in May, is more Star Wars really what we need?

Cast your mind back to a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… or rather 2012 on planet Earth, to be exact. Fans thought they’d had their fill of Star Wars and were okay with it – the prequel trilogy disappointed the most ardent fans of the originals, and Hollywood had moved on.

This was the time when the MCU was still in its peak. Still in phase one, it only had six films under its belt, but amongst these six were some of what are now considered to be the classics of the franchise – Iron Man 1 and 2, Captain America, even the freaking Avengers.

“Maybe the films will be about the Old Republic, dealing with the formation of the Jedi order?”

The idea of any more Star Wars movies was a distant dream.

But then came the announcement, and just three years down the line, The Force Awakens was released, and Star Wars was back. Originally met with critical acclaim, the film soon developed its own dedicated base of nay-sayers, but Disney had a not-so-secret trick up its sleeve – a series of spin-offs intended to focus on the untold stories of the Star Wars universe, and allow experimentation in the rebooted franchise.

This resulted in the extremely safe fan-base fodder of Rogue One, with other confirmed spin-offs to focus on fan-favourite characters Han Solo and Obi-Wan. So much for expanding the universe.

Clearly Rian Johnson, director of the ninth Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi The Clone Wars animated movie, the Holiday Special, and those weird ’80s Ewok movies don’t count – picked up on this, because now he is set to direct an entire new trilogy of movies, introducing “new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored”.

Sounds like a good thing, right? Finally fans are getting what they wanted from the A Star Wars Story series, a new set of films directed by Rian Johnson, exploring entire new stories from the saga. Just imagine the possibilities! Maybe the films will be about the Old Republic, dealing with the formation of the Jedi order? Or maybe they’ll be set years in the future, not so long time ago, when the universe is finally at peace…

“There doesn’t seem to be that much to be excited about.”

The list can go on, but it’s hard to care. The case can definitely be made that there are too many Star Wars movies already, with the amount of live-action films already set to double since the release of Revenge of the Sith by the time the as-yet-untitled-but-probably-will-be-titled-Obi-Wan Obi Wan ‘standalone’ is released.

Disney knows that Star Wars is always going to sell, so to make the announcement now, when the market is already saturated with all things Star Wars, seems bizarre. Cinematic Universes are growing tired, Hollywood is growing stale and, perhaps most importantly, The Last Jedi hasn’t even been released yet – Disney have no idea how fans are going to react to Johnson’s take on the franchise.

No doubt there will be fans who are thrilled at the prospect of entirely original Star Wars movies – I know I was over the moon about Disney’s purchase of the brand – but based on the offerings the House of Mouse has given us so far, there doesn’t seem to be that much to be excited about.

“We may live to see Episode XII: Another Death Star yet.”

The Force Awakens was a fun if unoriginal movie, and Rogue One killed any dream of the spin-offs saving the franchise, serving as proof that just because a film focuses on new characters, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be an exciting and original movie.

The best thing about the announcement is the hope that Disney are going to finally kill of the numbered episodes after IX is released – there’s only so many times a franchise can tell the story of one family’s flirtations with both good and evil, after all, as George Lucas knew well enough by pulling the plug on the series. However, with Disney previously stating interest in following the lives of Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron after the sequel trilogy runs its course, we may live to see Episode XII: Another Death Star yet.

Slightly more promising is the live-action series. Years ago, a series called Underworld was in the works, exploring the lives of Coruscant’s criminal, um, underworld, with many fans disappointed at its cancellation. But there have been no details about what shape or form this new series will take and while a live-action TV show will likely get more love from long-term fans than cartoons, with all the fresh, original and exciting TV series streaming services such as Netflix offer, one can only wonder – how much time nowadays do people actually want to spend in a galaxy far, far away?

Matteo Everett

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