Learning from The Force Awakens
In terms of unadjusted dollars, The Force Awakens tops the list of highest grossing Star Wars movies ever. Even adjusted for inflation, its numbers still rank second behind only the original Star Wars. By either measure, the film blows The Last Jedi out of the water. Why? Certainly, it being the first Star Wars movie released in decades is a factor. But Episode VII was also the perfect combination of nostalgia and new material. It blended eras, provided fan service familiarity, and took the franchise into the future.
The Last Jedi, to the contrary, offered little in the way of true fan service. Rian Johnson’s “I’m the storyteller and I’m telling my story” mentality made Luscasfilm a lot of money, granted, but the net effect can’t be denied. A good portion of the fan base disliked the film and its direction. That discord, coupled with Solo: A Star Wars Story’s bungled management, proved what happens when you alienate even a portion of your fan base. Solo lost money, a first for a Star Wars film in its four-decade history. Fixing Star Wars from that perspective will require some effort.