The Sequel Trilogy wasn’t able to rouse up the positive critical and fan acclaim that Disney was hoping for. But now it looks like Disney is finally hitting its stride with The Mandalorian, Star Wars Visions, and other upcoming Star Wars media.
As such, it looks like the company is finally moving out of the shadow of the sequel trilogy as well as the Skywalker Saga. But what went wrong initially?
Back when Disney took over Star Wars, the ideal way was to put out new movies. After all, streaming wasn’t that big a deal, and Netflix still hadn’t become the juggernaut it is now.
Not to mention the fact that the franchise was defined by the two previous trilogies as well. So if Disney wanted to bring all the Star Wars fans on board, then going with a movie was the right idea.
So they decided to look to the future with new characters while still honoring the past by bringing back old characters and familiar stories. At least, that seems to have been the initial plan.
However, as has been well documented by now, that plan backfired simply because there was no well-charted plan. As expected, the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy got condemned from every corner.
Some slammed the familiar aspects of the movies for being just retreads of what they had seen before. While others criticized the changes that were made to characters like Luke Skywalker. Overall, the sequel trilogy tried to do everything but ended up not being able to please anyone.
Disney wanted to put its mark on Star Wars by introducing new characters, but the company also wanted to keep the older parts central to the franchise. This balancing act restricted the new parts from growing, and adding the old parts felt cheap.
Now, in a franchise like Star Wars, there will always be pockets of fans who will disagree with a movie, game, tv show, etc., put out. But almost all of Disney’s initial ventures proved to be very controversial.
The shows that were best received, were set in unexplored time periods, and they were mostly starring new characters. This included Jedi: Fallen Order and Star Wars: Rebels.
However, these kinds of shows formed quite a small piece of what Disney was putting out regarding the franchise later on.
As said before, when Disney first bought Lucasfilm in 2021, not many were positive about what they might do with it. The previous Star Wars prequel series was not well received by fans or critics. And the idea of a big company again meddling with Star Wars seemed potentially dangerous.
Their first Star Wars outing, The Force Awakens was quite well received, and it was seen as a positive start to a new trilogy. But the following films got derailed. Disney tried to stick closely to the parts of the Star Wars universe that were established by Lucas, but that ended up not really working.
Now that a couple of years have passed after the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga, so Disney is finally branching out and creating Star Wars content that’s not directly related to the aforementioned Saga.
These new shows are coming on Disney+ and there seem to be movie projects in development as well. Overall, things seem to be moving in the right direction.
Thankfully, right now, it looks like the house of mouse is moving beyond the Skywalker saga in meaningful and bold ways. The release of Star Wars: Visions, which is an anime anthology full of one-off short-form episodes, is particularly indicative of that.
This is because those shorts showcase new characters, stories, time periods, and planets that are fresh to the franchise. There are wildly fresh lightsaber styles showcased in the stories set in the future of the galaxy.
Along with this, there are Sith Lords and Jedi’s who fans have never seen before. Additionally, this animated anthology has helped showcase all sorts of things that are distinctly different from what we have seen from the Skywalker Saga.
But, they all seem to have the spirit and familiarity of Star Wars within them. However, Visions or The Mandalorian isn’t the only sign of Disney’s progress. The High Republic comics and books have done that too.
These novels are set during the time between the Star Wars prequel trilogy and the Old Republic. And they have successfully delivered innovative re-imaginings of the Sith, Jedi, as well as the galaxy itself.
Joining this lineup will be upcoming shows like Ahsoka, The Mandalorian season 3, and The Book of Boba Fett. These are all based on pre-existing Star Wars content, but that’s just a starting point.
The directions that they will be going in won’t stay limited to the Skywalker Saga. There will be an attempt to establish new and compelling parts of the Star Wars universe.
They will all surely start making more content that will help keep the spirit of the Star Wars franchise alive. But now, it won’t tread over the same grounds anymore.
Disney has made it very clear after The Rise of Skywalker that the Skywalker Saga is finished. But that doesn’t mean that this is the end of Star Wars. There will be and already are movies and shows set within the limits of the nine main films.
But these new stories will focus on new characters and places. As such, these won’t be important to the overarching Skywalker story. The company already has made pretty big jumps towards growing the franchise even beyond the Skywalkers.
Now that the new era of Star Wars has begun, there are a lot of possibilities for exciting and new media of all sorts. One thing that the house of mouse could continue to do is keep pushing the franchise into uncharted areas.
Star Wars Visions and The High Republic have been successful with this approach, and there’s certainly potential for more. After all, going back to the EU’s Old Republic Era or exploring the era beyond The Rise of Skywalker could potentially yield beneficial results.
Similarly, establishing new galaxies, planets, and places in the Star Wars universe could be a tonne of fun. Also, such ideas aren’t completely new. Rebels has already touched on such things.
People love Star Wars for various reasons. Often it’s not only liked due to Luke, Han, Leia, the lightsabers, the Death Star, etc. The main appeal of the movies is the tone and feel of the franchise.
No other sci-fi movie franchise has ever managed to recreate the feeling that George Lucas showed in his first movies. So if Disney wants to create really great Star Wars media, it needs to embrace that feel, look, and energy of the core idea.
After all, it is due to this specific look and feel that people love the movies even though the characters, planets, etc., keep on changing.
But will Disney be able to keep up that look and feel? We will have to watch the upcoming projects to know for sure. Next up is The Book of Boba Fett streaming on Disney+ this December.
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