I am not and have never been a huge fan of Star Wars, but I respect folks and their passion for franchises like Star Wars. So, when a friend, whose opinion I value, posted the following on Facebook, I found it enlightening. I have copied his post in full (with permission). The opinions expressed below are solely his and definitely NSFW. I think he has some valid points about Disney’s money grab and disconnect with storylines and cannon, even though I have not seen most of the movies myself. I’m wondering if his thoughts and opinions are more wide-spread that I imagine. For you Star Wars fans, what are your thoughts?
On a gaming related note — If the fan base is fracturing, what, if any, implications might it have on the RPG hobby for those that have been turned away from the franchise?
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Hey, does anyone want to talk about Star Wars? Let’s talk about Star Wars!
Disclaimer: this is a rant, pure and simple. I’m ABSOLUTELY not interested in what anyone has to say. So keep your comments and opinions to yourself. I’ll block your ass in a heartbeat. Also, I make no promises about the content of this rant. Read at your own discretion. I’ll try to keep it clean, as my mom will probably be reading this. But again, no promises.
We good? I don’t care. Here we go…
Tomorrow is May 1st. With that comes Star Wars Celebration month. By now, I’m usually all over Facebook with posts about my STAR WARS TRIVIA CHALLENGE. Not this year. It’s not happening. Maybe never again under my direction. You’ll also notice that I haven’t said a word publicly about The Last Jedi. It came and went and I never made a twitch about what I thought. It came out on Blu Ray and again, silence. Here’s why: I fucking hated it! It left me numb and bewildered. It took me all this time to put my thoughts into a coherent dialogue. Yeah, it pissed me off that much. But before I get to that, let’s have a little history lesson.
When Star Wars came out in 1977, there was nothing like it. GL was young and new. He just wanted to tell a story. He wanted to make a film. Well, he did… and he hated it. He stressed over it, had a heart attack, got divorced, re-shot the movie A LOT, lost his Director’s Guild membership, and alienated most of Hollywood. But he got his movie. He got his move and we fucking LOVED IT!!! It was rock and roll in space! Heavily derivative? Yup. He’s admitted that time and again. So what. Did you enjoy it? Yup. Did we want more? HELL YEAH! He redefined what a movie is, how it’s made, how it’s marketed, and what it can be. Star Wars is the reason the Memorial Day weekend is big for movies. Don’t believe me? GO look at what made money before SW and when it came out. GO ahead, I’ll wait.
So, we watched and watched. We bought the toys, played with our friends, beat the shit out if each other with those HORRIBLE plastic Lightsabers. I still hurt thinking about it. The ESB came out and WE WENT NUTS!!!! Vader is Luke’s dad? Get the fuck out!!!! NO WAY THAT’S TRUE!!!! But yeah, there it was. Then ROJ and we had closure. The Empire was done, the Rebellion had won, and the Ewoks danced. But it ended. Bittersweet, to be sure.
Did these movies have flaws? ABSOLUTELY!!!! You know what else they had? Cohesion and love. GL had a vision. He was as meticulous as he could be and he told his story the way he wanted to…. mostly. Back then, he didn’t have the clout he would down the line. SO he had to collaborate with others. Others who would take his ideas and modify them to work better within the media. He compromised his vision, but the product was better for it.
Time moved on. Movies and movie making improved. The audience got smarter and more sophisticated. The technology improved and what we saw expanded tremendously. so the inevitable happened: we demanded better quality movies. Stupid us. We got what we wanted.
So, GL decided to make more Star Wars and we all went nuts!!! But this was different. He had money, clout, influence, and his ego was no longer in check. He made 3 more movies without listening to anyone about anything. This time, THIS TIME, it was all his way and if you didn’t like it, fuck you.
Now, I know full well that the prequels are incredibly divisive among SW fans. Personally, I loved them, with the sole exception of Jar Jar. IF you really watch the films, there’s an incredible amount of foreshadowing and subtext going on. He doesn’t spell it out for you. You have to think it through and that was more than some people were willing to do. BUT… there was still cohesion. The arc through all 6 movies is consistent and well thought out. Maybe not well executed in points, but I digress. There was one guy behind all of this and you could tell that there was a love for this story. HIS STORY.
But us fans, we can’t be happy.
GL took so much grief over these films, he quit. He just said, “Fuck this. You can’t make these people happy. I’m out.” He wasn’t wrong. Now, I have my fair share of criticism over the 6 films. But it’s more about the technical aspects of film making than the story itself. It’s his story and he told it his way. I respect that. But a ship full of droids doesn’t need an atmosphere. Nor should the gravity shift if it has gravity plating in the decks and it suddenly changes direction (see the battle of Coruscant for details). He was still making the movies he envisioned as a child and the children that saw them were now adults with adult views and understanding. Shame on us for growing up and wanting quality in our movies.
So he quit and sold it to Disney. That… was just stupid. At least before, he had a sayso in how it all went before. Now, his baby is in the hands of a faceless company. Now admittedly, I was optimistic about Disney. If there was a company that could do SW right, it’s Disney. Then it started to happen. They announced they were completely scrapping the EU and GL would have ZERO say in how things were going to play out. As fans, we we’re fucked. So, anything not “official” didn’t exist. Disney was never interested in telling the story. They were only interested in what SW would mean for their wallet. TFA came out and… it was ANH all over again. It was directed by a guy who was good at retelling ANH in a different light. Please refer to 2009 and watch the Star Trek Reboot. It’s very much Episode 4 with a Star Trek skin. Guy grows up on his uncle’s farm and drafted into the space military by his dad’s friend. He gets a buddy. Dad’s friend is injured by the big bad. Farm boy winds up destroying a planet-killing super weapon. Yeah, that’s Star Wars. He even had R2-D2 in the movie. Anyhoo…
We gave it SOME leeway. Disney was getting its footing. But it was HEAVILY derivative of ANH AND, it didn’t really continue the story. Did I mention the part where Disney doesn’t give a fuck about GL, SW, the story he was telling or your thoughts in the slightest? They don’t. Not one bit. Deal with it.
Then came Rogue One. The first Anthology movie. Fillers that (supposedly) add to the saga without being directly IN the saga. It wasn’t bad. But the 2 main characters SUCKED OUT LOUD!!!! You cared about literally everyone else but Jyn and Cassian. They were flat and uninteresting. When they died, no one cared. I certainly didn’t.
THEN, we arrived at The Last Jedi. Okay, Carrie Fisher has literally JUST PASSED AWAY, so we we’re all a bit emotional going in. Then it happened…. Honestly, Yondu was a MUCH better Mary Poppins than Leia. She has FORCE powers? WHAT THE FUCK!?! Snoke… gone. No reason. The plot… was a DIRECT ripoff of ESB and parts of JEDI. SERIOUSLY!?! Do you think that fighting the AT-AT’s at the end makes it okay? They meet a scoundrel who (surprise surprise) betrays the heroes. Disney, you’re a dick!!!
I tried. I really tried to like this movie. I have said it a thousand times that I will ALWAYS prefer an original idea that fails over a recycled one that already worked. I don’t watch remake or reboot movies on principle. I’ve seen exactly 2 Spider-Man movies: the 1st with Toby and Homecoming. That’s it. Couldn’t tell you shit about the rest of them. Didn’t much like the last 3 Star Trek movies and I LOVE Star Trek. They were copies and I’m already done.
Let me be clear on 2 things. (1) If we were discussing ANY other franchise, the critics and detractors would say how they felt and by and large be left alone. SW fans don’t get that. No matter how I feel, it draws negativity. I can’t be critical without being called a troll or some obnoxious name. But if I say OI loved it, I’m a fanboy who just falls over anything SW. So keep your opinions to yourself. I don’t give 2 shits what you think. (2) IF you need 17 books to give your movies a backstory and context. If you have to CONSTANTLY explain to fans what this or that was. What this or that meant. Your movie is shit!!!! It’s been noted that in R1, Jyn Erso mentions some line about tracking a ship in hyperspace. It’s a throw-away line meant to explain a GLARING plot hole in TLJ. Here’s the thing: she tells it to Cassian Andor. Both of them arte dead 10 minutes later, along with the entire base they’re on and a good chunk of the planet. The base on Skariff was TOP SECRET and held A LOT of secrets for the Empire. So… that whole research project was destroyed. You see the problem?
I could spend days ripping TLJ apart. But I don’t need to. Here’s why: TLJ and SOLO are both movies that Disney replaced directors on. The original directors weren’t doing what Disney wanted. So…. poof! Disney is doing THEIR THING, THEIR WAY. Make no mistake. It’s all about getting your money. Not telling a story. There’s no cohesion. No love. No arc. No respect either. DO you think that because they are made primarily for kids, that is an excuse for a shitty job? My kids deserve better. YOUR KIDS DESERVE BETTER!!! My boys love SW and haven’t said anything to me about watching TLJ. They’re out. So am I.
In a few weeks, SOLO comes out. I have ZERO interest in a movie about a dead guy. Are they going to make him somehow not dead? Nope. Will they try to be slick and try to shoehorn something for Episode 9 in there? Probably. Nope. I’ll pass. The only way I’m seeing this in the theater (if at all) is if my mom specifically asks me to take her. Chewie is her favorite character and I can’t tell mom no. No good son ever does.
Boba Fett is popular because the fans made it so. Not GL. He hated the character. Phasma WILL NEVER be Boba Fett. Disney, stop trying to tell me what to love. The previous 6 had flaws and not everything had an explanation. But we were willing to work with it. But if you’re going to continue the story, you have to fill in the gaps, and using a completely different media isn’t how you do that. Also, leaving key plot points out of movies and only in the books is just fucking stupid!!! The MCU is based on THOUSANDS of comics, but you don’t have to read any of them to enjoy the narrative. It helps, and loyal fans are rewarded with TONS of nods. But the movies are self-contained. Mainly because Disney doesn’t try to exert so much control over the MCU. They do their thing and it’s paid off. So Disney, you fucked it up and there’s no going back. Here’s a hint: when your fanbase starts a petition to have your movie removed from the narrative, you screwed up.
I think I’m done for now. Like it or not, I don’t care. This is for me, not you. Just the local Star Wars guy saying his peace. If you like the new movies, good for you. I have no issues with that and I hope you enjoy them. Me? I’m critical and I have a high standard for the things I love. This… this isn’t there. If you buy me a Star Wars toy, I’ll be happy as hell. You bought me something from something I love. But I don’t go looking for them for myself. Just not feeling it anymore.
Alright. I’m done. Everyone have a good evening and MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!!!!!
~ Ronald S.