Sunday, May 31, 2020

Star Wars sequel trilogy

The three movies of the Disney made Star Wars sequel trilogy, episodes 7, 8 and 9, were entertaining enough, but they really feel like a huge opportunity lost to do something better. The movies could have been another Lord of the Rings, or another Game of Thrones, not that I'm a huge fan of either one of these things, but the new Star Wars trilogy had a chance to be epic, but instead, it was splintered into different creative visions that did not mesh well. I had high hopes that there was some master plan that would pull it all together in the end, but the final film pretty much proved that there was none.

The seventh film was largely a remake of the original Star Wars with new younger characters. Although it might have a few new ideas, it doesn't feel very original and its goal was to just evoke nostalgia. This is not how George Lucas made Star Wars movies because every one of his movies introduced new and sometimes controversial ideas and took us to new unfamiliar exotic locations.

J.J. Abrams, the writer and director of Episode 7, reportedly had a master plan in the beginning. Part of the plan involved Carrie Fisher being critically important to the 9nth film, but she died three years before the movie came out, and a year before it went into production. They did manage to use some old footage of Carrie Fisher in the movie. Colin Trevorrow was scheduled to write and direct Episode 9, and reportedly he had some really interesting ideas, but he was fired over creative differences that conflicted with Episode 8, so J.J. Abrams ended up also writing and directing the 9nth movie.

Part of the problem was that a mostly unproven director, Rian Johnson, was given free rein by Lucasfilm to do whatever he wanted in Episode 8, The Last Jedi. It appears that Rian Johnson ignored any plans that J.J. Abrams had, and made the movie that he wanted to make. Rian Johnson admitted that he had no concern for continuity or what came before, and that he was only interested in his own vision. Johnson introduced some news ideas that could have taken Star Wars in a slightly new direction, and I think that this had the potential to be interesting.

However, in Episode 9, The Rise of Skywalker, J.J. Abrams appears to have gone out of his way to disregard everything Rian Johnson did.

The problem is that Episode 8, The Last Jedi, split the fanbase. It was a little inconsistent with the Star Wars that fans were familiar with. Although I liked The Last Jedi a great deal and it is my favorite of the trilogy, at least half the fans hated it with an almost irrational passion. The was a major backlash to the film.

Because of the backlash to The Last Jedi, this created strife between Disney and Lucasfilm. There was an edict issued by Disney that Episode 9 had to please *all* the fans and not just half of them. George Lucas was brought back to act as a script consultant and introduced some of his ideas, but midway through filming Lucasfilm informed Disney that the new film might not please all the fans as they wanted. This caused the parent company, Disney, to put their foot down and demand rewrites and reshoots.

What we got with Episode 9 feels like it is too crammed full of crowd-pleasing moments. The story proceeds at such a frenetic pace that the audience doesn't have time to notice that much of the movie doesn't make logical sense. I think that the last act is way over the top. The problem is that movie is very entertaining just so long as you don't think about it too much. This might explain the critic score of only 52%.