Following late 2017/ early 2018 the Star Wars universe and fandom looked to be in dire straights. The Last Jedi divided fans and Bob Iger botched the release of Solo. The release of Rise of Skywalker did nothing to fix things and in many ways sucked even more life out of Star Wars. Then along came Jedi: Fallen Order. The video game was solidly received and liked by most everyone. Then came the first healing volley – The Mandalorian. The Mandalorian not only pleased fans and critics, but soon became the spine of Disney+ as their only major hit. With a future still largely undefined, the Universe does feel more balanced. Here are six keys to a better Star Wars future.
Six Keys to Better Star Wars – 1) Who’s Telling the Damned Story?!
I think the biggest failure of the sequel trilogy that everyone can agree upon belongs to the lack of overall story coordination. No one ran the ship! JJ Abrams made a starting movie. Rian Johnson made his movie, but it didn’t gel with where JJ was headed. Then JJ comes back and ruins everything by making a movie that ignores Johnson’s movie as much as possible. The story developed into an absolute mess!
When a trilogy (or more than one movie) starts, Kennedy and Co. need to make sure someone oversees the overall story and direction of the movies. You do not need one director. The Prequels used one director and look how those turned out. Lucas oversaw other directors for the originals, and Clone Wars and The Mandalorian also used one major overseeing story master.
Six Keys to Better Star Wars – 2) Didn’t We Do This Already?
For the love of the Force, STOP REPEATING THEMES! Everything JJ does anymore is repeating someone else’s movie, but creators need to find ways to stop repeating themes and movie plot points already used. Think of new ideas and ways to tell similar ideas.
With the Jedi it is very tempting to keep doing tales of falling to the dark side and then being redeemed, but that is old. If studios want this they need to tell the tale of Ulic Qel Droma. He found redemption (twice) but lived (instead of dying like Vader and Ben) and paid a terrible price. The other half of the story, Exar Kun, did not find redemption.
From the sound of the synopsis the new High Republic series will take a different path, which is good. Tell stories that will take us in new and imaginative directions.
Six Keys to Better Star Wars – 3) Let Go of the Past
This may sound similar to the last point, but it has a different focus. In jumping to new times and eras, stop trying to throw in nuggets that tie everything together. It was fitting the prequels used ships that foreshadowed the TIE fighter and X-wings of the OT, but it is time to let all that go. Incom and Sienar can be around for hundreds of years, but not everything needs to tie back into the OT.
Another point JJ tripped on, but I think Favreau greatly improved on is the balance between CGI and real effects. JJ grew so adamant about rolling back the over abundance of CGI used by Lucas, he refused to use it in scenes where he should have. One great example is when Rey saves BB-8 and runs Tito off. The creature Tito rode looked terrible as a real life creature. It should have been CGI.
We also do not need to see Stormtroopers or hear anything about the Empire. Use the time and galaxy to diversify what stories are told. There is not a single story that can be told that could not work in the universe of Star Wars.
Six Keys to Better Star Wars – 4) Dont Let Go of the Past
Wait. Your last two points were about letting go, and now point four is ‘Don’t Let go’?! Pretty much, and here is what I mean. One of the biggest annoyances with Force Awakens deals with the background creatures. JJ Abrams did a nice job creating new creatures and looks, but where were the Twi’leks? Where were the Rodians or Quarren or any of the creatures fans know and love?
The galaxy spans parsecs in every directions. By all means there should be new and wild creatures we meet with every movie, but keep it Star Wars. even if it’s in the background add a few creatures and species we know from 1977. There needs to be that air of familiarity with the universe.
Even something like a lightsaber if going back in time. In the Tales of the Jedi comics from the late 80’s, lightsabers used to have power packs that clipped to he belt. A cord then ran from belt to hilt. Anything to help change things, yet keep them similar.
Six Keys to Better Star Wars – 5) Costume Design – USE IT!
This was one of my biggest pet peeves of the sequel trilogy. Everything tells a story. George Lucas was an expert at using costuming to help tell stories and depict a character’s state of being. The Sequels failed miserably. Not only did they blow opportunities to tell stories with just the clothes, but it kills toy sales as well.
The best example compares Luke’s wardrobe to Rey’s. Luke starts with innocent white in his first movie. For Empire he wears a very neutral tan/khaki. Luke’s future began down a path of testing, but so far, he had not been tested. By Jedi, Luke wears all black. This symbolizes the darker path he slowly drifts down. He gives into his hate for a moment but notice when he pulls back and renounces the dark side, the chest flap of his tunic comes open. This is where we get the white patch that shows his goodness.
With Rey she transforms from dessert tan, to a dark/medium gray to all white. Her color changes resemble nothing of her journey, and her white outfit during her darkest movie makes no sense. Add the fact Poe and Finn wear mostly the same clothes until movie three kills toy diversity. They must vary this and tie it back to the mythology.
Six Keys to Better Star Wars – 6) Open the Curtain!!
The final key disappeared when Disney took over. Something Lucas loved that Disney completely shut the door on – until now.
When George did the OT, computers and the internet did not exist (or at least to the public). When he returned for the Prequels, Lucas took full advantage of the burgeoning internet and Starwars.com. While the story remained locked up, Lucas would use the internet to show behind the scenes shots to entice fans and deepen their appetite. I remember shots of Jango dancing in the rain during Attack of the Clones with a multi-color umbrella. They made a big deal of an orange skinned twi’lek with a rather revealing white outfit. Fans wondered for months who she would be. Turns out she was a background character on George’s arm a the Opera named Koyi Mateil who had all of 3 seconds screen time.
Fans love digging into all the behind the scenes footage they can. Along comes Disney and Abrams and even the most minute detail vanished under lock and key. Fans have been pissed the sequels have not had deleted scenes, commentaries, or anything extra when they used to be packed with extras.
Then comes The Mandalorian. While the show itself stayed hidden (for good reason), Disney+ gave us Gallery. This eight part series took us behind the scenes and showed us the makings of this new show. Not only that but it explained how they tied things back into the OT. It showed directors, actors, creators, and the groundbreaking technology Star Wars is not only known for, but made the show even possible! Give the fans back their passions. Let us see behind the scenes of what it took to make shows/movies.
Do these six things and the future should be in good hands.