As a life long STAR WARS fan I love everything STAR WARS. The films (OT, prequels, and sequels), the novels, the comics, the toys – I love it all. Hell I even love those Ewok television movies from the 1980s – CARAVAN OF COURAGE and THE BATTLE FOR ENDOR. As such I’m extremely excited for THE RISE OF SKYWALKER but also a little sad. This film marks the end of the Skywalker saga and whatever comes next, while it technically will be STAR WARS, it will also be something completely different.
At the STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER premiere last night, Disney CEO Bob Iger was interviewed about a variety of topics pertaining to STAR WARS. Although Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy recently stated that STAR WARS would be moving away from the trilogy structure, Iger was quick to hedge his bets saying, “Oh, I don’t know about that. She and I have said, ‘Well, maybe trilogies are too hard, so maybe we’ll make one film and then a sequel,’ but we don’t know.”
Kennedy herself has been the object of much criticism in her role as Lucasfilm President. While undoubtedly one of the greatest producers in movie history, fans have taken numerous shots at her online regarding the perceived failures of SOLO and THE LAST JEDI. While some of these criticisms are valid, Iger says they take the fan reactions all in stride:
“We don’t overreact, we respect fans of Star Wars, that’s really important to us, to Lucasfilm, to the franchise. But we do the best job we can, we think we had a very hard job in bringing this forward, ‘The Force Awakens,’ satisfying the traditional fans and touching on themes and characters and places they were familiar with, but introducing the new places, new stories, new characters. And I think over the three that we’ve produced, those three, we’ve done a really good job of threading that needle, walking that fine line. We know we’re never going to please everybody all the time, and we see that with Disney films, with Marvel films. So I don’t mean to suggest that I’m dismissive of it because we respect our fans, but we don’t overreact either.”
As to the future of the STAR WARS property, Iger commented that there were numerous kyber crystals in the fire but that the scale was definitely smaller stating, “…we look to pick a few and see how they gestate. In some cases, bring them out and see how the audience reacts and then react accordingly. It’s not as many as I think most people think. I think the number is endless, but we’re gonna be careful, the next one is really important.”
I have mixed feelings when it comes to the future of STAR WARS on film. Ditching the trilogy structure is not necessarily a good thing. It’s worked in the past and it’s something STAR WARS fans have come to rely on. Part of the fun of these films is the speculation and discussion that occurs in between each film. On the other hand I recognize the importance of taking it one film at a time. My own take is that you should always be focusing on the film that’s right in front of you, making that one the best it can possibly be. Iger is absolutely right in regards to the next film. Whether the movie delves into the Knights of the Old Republic era or something far into the future, it’s new territory for STAR WARS fans. I’m not saying the film has to be perfect but it really needs to hit on most cylinders to keep fans coming back. It’s time to move beyond nostalgia and into something new and fresh.
While we wait for a new STAR WARS film to hit the multiplexes, fans still have plenty of STAR WARS goodness to look forward to. The Mandalorian is currently streaming on Disney+ and plans for a second season are already underway. We also have the Kenobi and Cassian Andor series to look forward to. In addition, the video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is getting rave reviews. Plus there’s tons of novels, comics, and toys to look forward to. Yup. It’s still an amazing time to be a STAR WARS fan.
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER ignites its lightsaber one final time on December 20.