Ever since its historic debut in the summer of 1977, the “Star Wars” franchise has continually had a wide-reaching and groundbreaking effect on pop culture. With 11 films released so far, multiple television series and copious amounts of print media, “Star Wars” is everywhere.
However, ever since Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm back in 2012, the franchise has been plagued by numerous behind-the-scenes problems, which have resulted in multiple eagerly anticipated projects being pushed back, put on hold or canceled entirely.
Whether it was the proposed trilogy overseen by David Benioff and D.B Weiss (best known for creating HBO’s hit series “Game of Thrones”) or James Mangold’s (who received Academy Award nominations for both “Logan” and “Ford v Ferrari”) film about the character Boba Fett, “Star Wars” fans have continually gotten their hopes up for announced projects only to have them let down.
Perhaps the most public of all the “Star Wars” creative differences was the firing of directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who were over halfway through shooting “Solo: A Star Wars Story” when they left due to – you guessed it – creative differences.
The duo was replaced by veteran director and Academy Award winner Ron Howard.
Most recently, “Star Wars” fans were again dealt a difficult blow when it was reported that the highly anticipated television series about the character Obi-Wan Kenobi, which would have seen the return of fan favorite actor Ewan McGregor, was being put on hold as the scripts were rewritten.
Although McGregor has since insisted that the series is still on track, this type of news is only the latest in a continuing trend.
So why can’t Lucasfilm and Disney seem to move ahead with any of these projects?
It would seem that the continuing trend always seems to be blamed on those two words that “Star Wars” fans have become all too familiar with: creative differences.
Lucasfilm seems unable to move forward with any projects that don’t adhere to its specific vision.
What Lucasfilm needs to realize is that any wide-ranging, multi-installment media franchise requires input from different varieties of creative voices in order to stay fresh and relevant.
Lord and Miller were well known for their specific brand of humor that was showcased in the successful “Jump Street” and “Lego Movie” franchises. When they were let go from “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” it was a sign to fans that Lucasfilm wasn’t interested in differing voices.
The film later went on to be the lowest-grossing of any of the live-action Star Wars films and received mixed-to-negative reviews from both fans and critics.
In order to move forward with the franchise, “Star Wars” must be a place for multiple creative voices with their own unique visions.
If the producers of the franchise only wish to emulate the formula established in the original trilogy, the stories will start to feel really old, really fast. A perfect example of this is the recent release of the first live-action television series in the franchise, “The Mandalorian.”
The series, which was created by Jon Favreau, the director of “Iron Man,” was a hit with both casual and hard-core fans for its self-contained story and interesting plot revelations.
The series managed to capture that classic adventure serial tone of the original films without just repeating story beats from other installments.
Conversely, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” has been met with much criticism from both critics and fans since its release last December.
The film was rushed and packed with nothing but fan-service moments, lacking any depth or originality of its own.
Every story beat of that film felt like nothing more than a desperate attempt to capitalize on the fans’ nostalgia.
The film brought nothing new to the table, and was a very disappointing conclusion to the saga.
Hopefully now that the sequel trilogy has been completed with the release of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” fans can expect less formulaic stories and more individuality.
Whether this is through the eventual release of the “Obi-Wan Kenobi” television series or more new movies remains to be seen.
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