Over the course of 42 years, it’s fair to say the Star Wars franchise groomed a couple of generations into being sci-fi fanatics and yet at the same time managed to split them all apart.
The original trilogy began as the space opera ‘Journal of the Whills’ altered after numerous drafts into the cinematic goldmine it is today. Regardless of age, within any Star Wars fan is a deep-set love for the three movies that started the Skywalker legacy back in 1977. Whilst there are some that criticize certain aspects of the films, fans always remember their first-time seeing Luke Skywalker on-screen with a fond smirk. And when Return of the Jedi made it to cinemas, with one of the most iconic lines in movie history, everyone assumed the series to be concluded, the storyline summed up and a dynasty put back together.
But we were all so wrong.
Over a decade later The Phantom Menace was released, and the prequel trilogy set off to tell the tale of Darth Vader’s rise to fame (and flames). Depending on where you sit in the fandom some movie-goers praise and respect the prequels, while others have a less optimistic few on these movies. Whether it focuses too much on the politics or it complicated the good and evil alignments of the original trilogy characters, there’s a lot of reasons some fans just despise the story of Anakin Skywalker. The fact is you can’t take one of the most infamous film villains and make him suddenly a victim of fate and some major anger issues, motive comes from nowhere. Needless to say, tracking the divide in the Star Wars fandom can be found rooted within the prequels.
And then we were given more. The announcement of a sequel trilogy reawakened the nerdy children in every middle-aged adult that had grown up on the sands of Tatooine. The debate, controversies, and conspiracies revolving around The Force Awakens all but overshadowed the actual movie. From the cast of fresh faces to the rumored return of certain characters and the endless conspiracies of where the plot would lead now, The Force Awakens definitely had a reputation to live up to. And in some ways, it certainly did. Just by letting a whole new generation get the experience of viewing the saga in cinema went ways in widening the fan base. Whilst it also included nostalgia for its older viewers, many felt it was leaning toward the political side that was disliked in the prequels. Quite frankly it can be summed up by Joshua Starnes’ review on VitalThrills.com; ‘It doesn’t really do anything wrong, but that is not the same as doing everything right.’
The Last Jedi honored the legacies within the saga and with a stunning cameo from Yoda, it certainly brought some feels into the force. But audiences were largely lost in many parts of the movie, from Luke chugging some fresh blue milk to the overall chaos onboard the rebel command ship, it seemed the film had a few too many ideas and storylines swirling around to have a decent narrative arch. One thing worth mentioning though was the stunning action scene between Luke and Kylo Ren that was fraught with emotion and seemed to embody the clash between old-gen and new-gen Star Wars fans.
And now we reach the penultimate episode, at least for now. At one point or another, we as fans have to realize that we may have overestimated how much movie creators are actually capable of. Sometimes there is simply too many loose ends and unanswered questions for a single movie to answer, the MCU’s 2-part Avenger movies Infinity War and Endgame is proof of this. But whether it was fans expecting too much or the film not quite delivering, the final entry in the Star Wars saga was not entirely received as satisfactory and achieved one of the worst critic reviews since Phantom Menace. The one aspect that this trilogy managed to fully flesh out was embracing the nostalgia of the old movies whilst managing to kill off almost the entire original cast.
So, what on Alderaan lies ahead? Since 2014 audiences across the globe have received pieces of the saga every year, and undoubtedly stand-alone movies such as the brilliantly received Rogue One and controversial Solo will keep on coming. While recently The Mandalorian has stolen the spotlight, rumor of a Boba Fett stand alone has been slyly hinted at, Kathleen Kennedy stated that the movie was killed once production of The Mandalorian started but recent conspiracies have brought Logan writer James Mangold to light as the director so perhaps there is hope for the infamous bounty hunter. And let’s not forget the recent revival of the 2008 Clone Wars animated series, a joyful revelation for every fan.
Now a personal favorite, two upcoming shows have been guaranteed by Lucasfilm: A Rogue One prequel and the far too long-awaited Obi-wan Kenobi series. Clearly this isn’t the last we’ll see of the saga even on the big screens, and no matter which side of the fandom you lean on everyone can agree on two things; firstly, we’re just glad they didn’t leave the saga at Revenge of the Sith, and secondly; may the force be with whoever has to explain the timeline to the next generation of nerds.