Last month, during the Super Bowl, we got our first look at Solo: A Star Wars Story, the second film in a series of spin offs that started with Rogue One back in 2016. While many people I’ve talked to have shown excitement at the arrival of a Han Solo film, I’ve also talked to a number of people who are very displeased with the idea.
Many viewers have not had enough time to get over The Last Jedi, given how divisive that film is. As a Star Wars fan and one that participates in many discussions with fellow fans about the media received since Disney purchased Lucasfilm, there’s been a lot of tension when discussing the current films. The Last Jedi practically split the community in two. Either you love it or you hate it, or you’re like me: smack dab in the middle where I like what we’re being given for the most part, but wish that there was more thought put into the overall story.
And with another film set to release in a mere three months, only six months after The Last Jedi, I wonder . . . are people experiencing Star Wars burnout?
This is a question people have been asking about superhero movies for a decade now. If the five superhero films coming out this year are any indication (one being called one of the most anticipated films of all time), they are not going anywhere. However, back before the first Iron Man and before the Marvel Universe got started, some thought audiences were starting to tire of them.
I think the key here is quality. While we still get duds from time to time, like the recent Fantastic 4, or Batman vs. Superman, most superhero movies are almost always time well spent. Marvel, for one, is a company thriving off being owned by Disney, who has proved that their films, while not always groundbreaking, have kept people entertained. They’ve built a level of trust with their audience and slowly (but surely), most longtime viewers can have faith that whatever new Disney produced Marvel film gets turned out that people will have a good time.
This is a trust Star Wars has yet to deliver with their new films, and I think that’s one of the problems with the new movie. While The Force Awakens proved popular, many people still took issue with how derivative it was to the original, pulling many moments and themes from Star Wars films long past. While Rogue One seemed to satisfy longtime fans, like me, by providing a fresh take on the universe that mirrors the canonical Legends Star Wars books, there were many people who found the film straying too far away from what Star Wars is, feeling more like a sci-fi war drama than the fantasy space opera the franchise has always been known for.
And then there’s The Last Jedi, a movie that tries to do both at the same time. It tries to harken back to what we loved about the original films while also giving a new dynamic to the universe and changing what we thought were the rules and telling us to forget all that we think we understand about the world George Lucas created.
Personally, I think the best examples of what this franchise should be is what most people don’t see. Since Disney bought Lucas film every new Star wars novel or comic I’ve picked up has been out of this world. Every episode of Star Wars Rebels on television has kept me coming back for more each week. And every game thus far, while buried by poor corporate oversight, has kept me entertained and enjoying myself beyond belief. Those don’t make me feel the Star Wars universe has run its course; it’s done the opposite, making me want more.
What they all have in common is its not trying so hard to please every section of the fan base, it’s just telling stories the best they can, expanding on the universe but not in a way that feels like there’s some hidden agenda or something to prove. That’s why some people are feeling burnout. The films are trying too hard to appease everyone, which in turn just divides us more.
Before Disney can cement the Star Wars franchise as part of our culture the way they’ve done with Marvel studios, they have to first prove to us, with a consistent line of films we all agree on, that they care about quality more than winning over people. Solo looks to tell a fun space western story with a cast and crew that are all passionate and competent to pull it off. Perhaps Star Wars can stay afloat a little longer, instead of sinking under its own weight.