‘Sup, homies. So we’re kind of in an international viral crisis right now, and I hope you guys are safe and healthy in quarantine with your Plague Peeps, and if not then at least you’re able to make it through this sickness.

Anyways, Disney and Lucasfilm should be ashamed of their management of the Sequel Trilogy.

Let me clarify: I am not saying that the movies of the Sequel Trilogy are bad, or that if you enjoy any of them that you’re wrong or you’re a bad person. I have issues with all three movies, but there were also a lot of things I love about them; neither of those are why we’re here today. This isn’t a review. We’re here to talk about how the planning of the story and management of these films by Lucasfilm under Disney has been abysmal, for one simple reason:

There was no planning.

Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012, and then immediately started pre-production on a new Star Wars film trilogy, promising a new film release every year… and they didn’t have a game plan for their new trilogy. Think about how monumentally stupid that is. Think how stupid you’d have to be in order to start making a continuation of one of the most beloved and lore-heavy franchises in modern history, with one of the most notoriously hard-to-please fanbases of all time, and not have an idea of how this is going to turn out. Not even an outline that they stuck to, guys.

Every so often, someone will float the defense of “Well Lucas didn’t have everything planned out when he created the Original Trilogy!” Which is true. But that was while he was creating the first stories of a brand new universe he’d just created. Lucasfilm as it exists under Disney has a story team and forty years worth of history under its belt. That excuse doesn’t fly for the Sequel Trilogy. Lucas couldn’t have known what he was getting into in making his original films; Disney absolutely did.

I understand that they were hoping to have each film in the new trilogy have a different director who brought a different style and outlook on the story, giving each of them more creative freedom. And pitched that way, that sounds good until we circle back to the point: there wasn’t even a solid outline in place to ensure that there was a story that consistently fit together. If there was even a vague outline (which I heavily doubt), it was thrown out of whack by Carrie Fisher’s death and by Colin Trevorrow being booted from Episode IX. For Reasons.

But all signs point to the idea that there wasn’t an overarching strategy for the trilogy. People have been arguing day and night whether it’d be better, but from what I can tell from plot details in the leaked Trevorrow script, outside of basic acknowledgment of what came before, continuity was not a strong point. For instance, if Trevorrow had made his Duel of the Fates there would have been Plot and character developments such as

-The reveal that Rey’s parents were actually murdered by Kylo Ren, which he only could have done if he was a child at the time (which is unlikely given what we’ve been told so far).

And

-Rey being romantically attached to Poe, an idea that is only teased in a small sequence at the end of the novelization of The Force Awakens that got adapted into this scene in The Last Jedi.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like Rey’s romantic life needs to be the focus of her character arc, but The Force Awakens spends almost its entire run time teasing the idea of Rey and Finn as a couple, and then The Last Jedi spends a huge chunk of its run time teasing Rey and Kylo Ren, it’d be a bit out of left field to then suddenly pair her with a third character she’s barely interacted with outside of that film. Yes, there will always be continuity errors in fiction, and such things aren’t new to Star Wars, but these were really obvious ones that someone. And to be fair, that script didn’t get used, but, uh, let’s not kid ourselves: Rise of Skywalker also has some downright baffling continuity issues in its story, such as (SPOILERS):

-Palpatine’s resurrection coming right out of nowhere, and him pulling an armada and insane Force powers right out of his own rectum

-Being able to heal someone near death with the Force, as not being able to do that is explicitly a huge part of Anakin’s motivation for becoming Vader

-Snoke being a clone puppet of Palpatine, and that he needs Rey alive, when Snoke very explicitly is trying to kill Rey

Among other things. And it’s not as if The Last Jedi also doesn’t have consistency issues even outside of its different tone and direction, doing things like rewriting Snoke’s personality entirely into a cartoon villain.1

Outside of that it’s still clear that there are certain important canon details that aren’t explained even to the makers of the films or its supplementary materials, despite it being the sort of thing that the people making the movies should definitely know. Instead it’s left to tie-in media written afterward, so we get things like a prequel comic explaining how Kylo Ren fell to the Dark Side (it’s all built on a misunderstanding and some accidents, apparently), or the Disney+ show explaining how the First Order exists in the first place. Sure, a good chunk of that supplementary material is really good and made by talented creators, but it definitely comes across as if the management is skipping the basic groundwork in order to stick it in the media you have to pay more money to gain access to later, like the film equivalent of paid DLC. I shouldn’t have to read a comic to understand one of the main characters’ motivations or how the setting makes sense.

I’ve seen the defense “It’s not necessary for the story, so the audience doesn’t need to know,” but when even the writers have no clue and are clearly making up every single key piece of worldbuilding and character development as they go along, can we agree that there’s a problem? And if there are elements and characters who aren’t important to the story, then why are they there to begin with?

So what went wrong? Given what we know, I’d guess these three things:

-First, that there wasn’t one mind behind the entire story. Which doesn’t necessarily mean disaster for continuity and consistency of tone, but Lucasfilm went out of its way to encourage each director to tell a completely different kind of story, and if you tell a writer to go nuts with what he or she wants in a story, then it’s not all going to fit together in a way that makes sense.

J.J. Abrams is really good at setting up questions and mysteries, but he didn’t have any answers to those mysteries when he asked them in the first place, hoping that other directors would make up cool answers for him. Rian Johnson, on the other hand, basically admits that he doesn’t care about the wider universe or worldbuilding of a piece of fiction. That works perfectly for a standalone film like Looper but it’s a downright baffling attitude to carry on with making a film in the middle of a trilogy in a forty-year-old science-fantasy franchise that’s claimed by a fanbase notoriously obsessed with details.

-Second: the release schedule. When both the Original Trilogy and the Prequel Trilogy were released, each film in the trilogy was three years apart: the original Star Wars in 1977, then Empire Strikes Back in 1980, and Return of the Jedi in 1983. The Phantom Menace in 1999, _Attack of the Clones in 2002, and Revenge of the Sith in 2005.

Disney, however, promised a new film every year, and while that included spin-offs like Rogue One they tightened the schedule so that they could release a new film in what was now dubbed “The Skywalker Saga” every two years: The Force Awakens in 2015, The Last Jedi in 2017 and Rise of Skywalker in 2019. Which means that there’s less time to work on these movies. They had less than a year to gauge audience reactions and incorporate them into the next film’s production.

-Thirdly, they’re trying really, really hard to appeal to the fans in each of the films. The Force Awakens for instance, is going after fan nostalgia by hosting a narrative setup almost identical to that of A New Hope: a lone orphan raised on a desert planet becoming the warrior that fights against a sprawling oppressive galactic facist entity that employs Stormtroopers and is led by a wielder of the Dark Side and his warrior apprentice. It didn’t make a lot of sense, in terms of backstory, how this situation came to be2, and it more or less rendered the ending of the Original Trilogy pointless, but it was the setup fans recognized and loved. And it made an admittedly really well-done film that deservedly got all the moneyz.

But there were viewers who felt, rather loudly and not without good reason, that The Force Awakens was too safe, and took too heavily from A New Hope. Which… yeah, it did. It has the exact same Plot. So in response we got a film that was… not that. While I’ve seen convincing arguments that The Last Jedi follows a similar outline to Empire Strikes Back I think overall it is its own animal. It deliberately deconstructs a lot of ideas in Star Wars and includes things like social commentary and self-criticism and Plot Twists out the wazoo.

Except there were vocal fans that didn’t like that either! Because it turns out that while film critics that never much liked genre fiction anyway go nuts for films that play with their expectations, longtime fans who are invested in lore and character arcs don’t particularly like it when you unceremoniously drop story arcs.

So in trying to appeal to the analytical fans, Lucasfilm ended up bothering another vocal group of their audience. And since the original director got axed from the project, Lucasfilm turned back to Abrams to make the end of the trilogy, since he started it and the ensuing film was so well-regarded. The result was Rise of Skywalker which retconned a couple of the more controversial story decisions of the previous film, or hastily explained or resolved threads that got dropped, while trying to desperately appeal to that nostalgia crowd again that made The Force Awakens so popular with older fans. And so the film, while not a bad film, feels rushed and completely out-of-synch with the other two in the trilogy, something a lot of fans and critics picked up on.

[That being said, the Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes is 86%, so there were plenty of fans who liked the film well-enough.]

In trying to please the fans each time, they ended up not really creating a trilogy that seems to hold together very well. Now I’m not suggesting as a content creator that you shouldn’t care what fans think; in many cases, writers and artists being influenced by their audiences has led to positive developments and writing choices. But you shouldn’t be completely dictated by them either. Especially in episodic films like Star Wars and you’re rushing out each installment as quickly as possible. We end up with three different movies that all feel as if they’re trying to please a different part of a fanbase which is pretty close to unpleasable. Let’s not forget that Empire Strikes Back, a film which is now almost universally considered the greatest film in the entire series, received mixed reviews upon its release in 1980 because it was darker than the original.

The weird thing is, with Disney and Lucasfilm none of these actually needed to be problems. Yeah, timing and different directors were ways they could build up hype, but a Star Wars movie was always going to make money if Disney did a decent job marketing it. They didn’t need to rush them out, or pander that hard in order to make a profit. But in an attempt to get as much money as they could as fast as they could, Disney ended up with a narrative mess. Mind you, that narrative mess made them billions of dollars, so I’m not sure they care but we should, as critics and storytellers ourselves.

It’s disappointing because Disney is currently the most powerful movie studio that there is in the industry right now. It should be a trendsetter, the one creating bold new films that tell brand new stories that leave us awed. But they’re not; they’re very obviously not, aside from a few special cases. Yes, a lot of good honest work was put into these films, and it shows, and I don’t want to downplay that. The management, on the other hand? Given how Disney has elected to pour most of their investments into blockbuster live-action remakes of their greatest animated hits, refusing to let directors screentest for paranoia about spoilers, shafting the marketing on their films that aren’t established franchises, bullying theaters into forking over more money, and replacing real life scenes and stunts of their performers in-costume with CGI in Marvel movies to make sure that their suits all look skin-tight. Disney has so much power, and yet they’re not letting its projects be all that they can because they would rather have a quick buck than give their creators adequate time to make movies, or disregard vocal fandom minorities, or sit down and work out where it’s all going to end.

It’s frustrating and a little heartbreaking to look at all the fan-made work and speculation that popped up in the wake of The Force Awakens about who these characters are, and where they’re going, and the shape of the story and what every little detail meant. Because the answer is: nothing. None of these details actually meant anything. There wasn’t a plan to do anything with any of these characters or subplots. Like I said, the individuals working on these particular projects clearly cared and did their best to create the best films that they could; but in the end, it’s pretty damn shameful that Disney didn’t bother to sit down and hash out what exactly they were planning to do with the whole trilogy beforehand, instead of rushing out them out as much as they could in order to make a bajillion dollars as quickly as they could.

Which… they did, admittedly, so maybe it doesn’t matter. But sometimes I imagine if they made oodles and oodles of money while also delivering a coherent Star Wars trilogy, and I’m confused as to why they didn’t do that instead. The more I think about it, the more I think Disney and Lucasfilm should be ashamed of how they’ve handled this. The biggest, most powerful movie studio in history had the task of making an epic film trilogy of the most famous space opera and didn’t have an agenda on how to do that. The studio just wanted to roll around in money.

—-

If you’re stuck at home and you’re really bored, some links to look into that might cheer you up:

-Look at this list of museums around the world you can virtually tour!

-Watch Brandon Sanderson’s Writing Lectures Online!

-Check out my friend’s sporkings of the Tiger’s Curse series and the delightfully bad Moon People science-fiction novel!

-Get free art books from the Metropolitan Museum of Art!

-Read Badass of the Week!

-Use Google to virtually tour US National Parks!

-Find free public domain books to read online on Project Gutenberg!

-The blog How To Write Badly Well!

-Download free textbook PDFs from Cambridge University Press!

-Read Limyaael’s Fantasy Rants!

1 I’m going to reiterate though: that doesn’t make any of them bad movies. A movie can be enjoyable or even good with noticeable consistency issues. These criticisms are meant to indicate how they don’t all connect as a congruous whole.

2 But that’s not why we’re here, so we won’t go into that now.

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Comment

  1. The Smith of Lie on 20 March 2020, 07:14 said:

    Anyways, Disney and Lucasfilm should be ashamed of their management of the Sequel Trilogy.

    A point in favor of that theory – as someone who always liked Star Wars (though not nearly enough to be classified as fan) and even has certain amount of nostalgia for prequels (though that might be manufactured post factum by all the memes) I couldn’t be bothered to see Rise of the Skywalker.

    And it is not like I hated Last Jedi. It just left me completely uninvested. And I expect Rise spoilers in the article. And I couldn’t care less.

    I understand that they were hoping to have each film in the new trilogy have a different director who brought a different style and outlook on the story, giving each of them more creative freedom. And pitched that way, that sounds good until we circle back to the point: there wasn’t even a solid outline in place to ensure that there was a story that consistently fit together.

    I disagree. Even with a solid outline it would have been a terrible idea to have a different director for each movie of a trilogy. This is not just movies sharing the same universe or even some of characters. This is a single story continued from one movie to another, each picking where the previous left. That is not a format conducive to changing styles and tones mid-stream, even if the overall story retains semblance of sense the whole experince will not come out cohesive.

    Even just moving from episode VII to VIII it was jarring. FA was a basic and by the numbers but functional action science-fantasy. It hit all the same plot beats as New Hope and while not a great movie it had its tone. And then comes in LJ with “subvertin the expectations” and its copious use of bathos. It is completely different experience. And now lets imagine a hypothetical universe where RS is directed by Quentin Tarantino (cause then I’d have a reason to actually go and see it). It would be a complete whiplash.

    So I propose that from the start, from the very concept of having different directors for each part of a trilogy Disney was making a mistake by not caring about delivering a cohesive story.

    I shouldn’t have to read a comic to understand one of the main characters’ motivations or how the setting makes sense.

    And again this seems to me like Disney putting the horse before the cart. Under Lucas there was the whole Expanded Universe with tons of supplementary material and I am sure Disney would love to have some of that sweet, sweet revenue from comics, books, games and whatever else. But the key word is supplementary. Say what you will about prequels, they mostly stood on their own without a need to read any novels to just understand who the main characters are and how things materialize from thin vacuum of space…

    Which… they did, admittedly, so maybe it doesn’t matter. But sometimes I imagine if they made oodles and oodles of money while also delivering a coherent Star Wars trilogy, and I’m confused as to why they didn’t do that instead. The more I think about it, the more I think Disney and Lucasfilm should be ashamed of how they’ve handled this. The biggest, most powerful movie studio in history had the task of making an epic film trilogy of the most famous space opera and didn’t have an agenda on how to do that. The studio just wanted to roll around in money.

    This is even more baffling given that Disney also control the Marvel Studios, which pretty much created the movie series with the largest scale of continuity and interconnectivity in history of cinema.

    Marvel Cinematic Universe is by no means some high art, but one has to recognize solid craftsmanship that went into even the worse (or least good) of the movies and titanic effort of slowly building up to the crescendo that is Infinity War and End Game.

    There was no rush, every character got a chance to become established, the connections between movies were chosen carefully, not to make each of them incomprehensible if you missed some others. It was executed with care and pretty much changed the landscape of blockbuster cinema, with DC and Universtal scrambling to build something similar and failing utterly.

    And somehow, Disney despite being the studio who schooled everyone on making large cinematic universes stumbled upon a much smaller task of creating a trilogy with some kind of internal cohesion. Truly an example of left hand not knowing (nor understanting) what the right does.

  2. Juracan on 20 March 2020, 15:56 said:

    I disagree. Even with a solid outline it would have been a terrible idea to have a different director for each movie of a trilogy. This is not just movies sharing the same universe or even some of characters. This is a single story continued from one movie to another, each picking where the previous left. That is not a format conducive to changing styles and tones mid-stream, even if the overall story retains semblance of sense the whole experince will not come out cohesive.

    I think it’s possible that while not all three movies would have felt the same, it still could have made a cohesive whole if they’d planned this out. That being said, I am admittedly making this claim while can think of very few projects where this actually has happened in the past. The only other massive media project I can think of where different installments had different directors is the Harry Potter film franchise, and no matter how you feel about those movies, several of them feel wildly different from each other in tone and style.

    [Maybe the Marvel film franchise also counts? I’m not sure because it’s not so much a series as a shared universe and that’s… something different.]

    I know that there are several book series where each installment is written by a different author, and that those book serieses can still work, but on reflection I’m not sure how that translates to film; after all, the two are wildly different mediums.

    And now lets imagine a hypothetical universe where RS is directed by Quentin Tarantino (cause then I’d have a reason to actually go and see it).

    I am sorry to say that this is not a thing that happened, a Tarantino-made Star Wars film. There was a while where he was trying to make a Star Trek film though.

    Thing is though that Tarantino is kind of one of the go-to examples for directors with a big loud style. Not every director makes movies as his or her recognizably own brand like Tarantino does. Which might raise another problem, because I don’t know if I’d like Disney to have hired some schmuck to just do a paint-by-the-numbers, corporation-mandated film with no life of its own because the director didn’t get to put any of his or her input into it.

    And again this seems to me like Disney putting the horse before the cart. Under Lucas there was the whole Expanded Universe with tons of supplementary material and I am sure Disney would love to have some of that sweet, sweet revenue from comics, books, games and whatever else. But the key word is supplementary. Say what you will about prequels, they mostly stood on their own without a need to read any novels to just understand who the main characters are and how things materialize from thin vacuum of space…

    Bingo. The past couple months I keep seeing clickbait articles explaining how Palpatine is alive again as described in the new novelization or comic or something, and I don’t care. I like a lot of the supplementary material and spin-offs quite a bit. But I shouldn’t need it to understand what’s going on in a movie. I think that what they’re pitching it as is a way to prove that it’s all one massive connected story, but like I said, they’re released after the fact, and the people making these stories don’t seem to know all the details.

    Marvel Cinematic Universe is by no means some high art, but one has to recognize solid craftsmanship that went into even the worse (or least good) of the movies and titanic effort of slowly building up to the crescendo that is Infinity War and End Game.

    There was no rush, every character got a chance to become established, the connections between movies were chosen carefully, not to make each of them incomprehensible if you missed some others. It was executed with care and pretty much changed the landscape of blockbuster cinema, with DC and Universtal scrambling to build something similar and failing utterly.

    And somehow, Disney despite being the studio who schooled everyone on making large cinematic universes stumbled upon a much smaller task of creating a trilogy with some kind of internal cohesion. Truly an example of left hand not knowing (nor understanting) what the right does.

    I have some issues with the way Marvel has turned out in the last few years, and I wasn’t a huge fan of Infinity War when I last saw it. But when push comes to shove, as a franchise it’s downright amazing what they’ve managed to do with it. Yeah, I can point out issues with consistency and character development and setups that never got payoffs, but in a film series that massive, there are bound to be trip-ups like that.

    But overall? The MCU is really good. I don’t know if bringing it up as a counterexample works though, because in some ways I suspect (and so take this with a grain of salt) that Disney wanted Star Wars to be like the MCU, in that it had different projects done by different directors. Which works with anthology films like Rogue One but not so much with the trilogy they weren’t planning.

    Like, there is a difference between The Force Awakens being a straightforward action adventure and The Last Jedi being an attempt at being deconstructionist, and the MCU having Doctor Strange be completely different from Winter Soldier, but the people at Lucasfilm didn’t see what that difference was. Does that make sense?

  3. Aikaterini on 20 March 2020, 17:38 said:

    As someone who strongly disliked the prequel films and who had initial misgivings about the sequel trilogy and was ultimately disappointed by it, I’m going to suggest this:

    The problem with Star Wars is that both the films and the fandom have become an ouroburos ever since “Return of the Jedi” came out. The problems that we’ve seen with Disney aren’t new, they’re a continuation of the problems that the prequel trilogy had.

    Everyone keeps trying to turn Star Wars into an RPG setting. Fans and the EU/Legends writers are interested in worldbuilding, so they try to focus on and come up with new Force lore, alien species, planets, etc. But the core of the Original Trilogy is a coming-of-age, Hero’s Journey story. The sci-fi setting is just that: a setting. That’s why you can find AU fanart where Darth Vader is a samurai or a medieval knight and the story still works. The trilogy is a three-act story, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. It begins and ends with Luke Skywalker.

    But the Original Trilogy made a ton of money, generated a ton of merchandise, and created a devoted fandom, so instead of the story being left alone, the EU books happened. And instead of them being treated as published fanfiction the way that the “Pride and Prejudice” fandom treats P&P ‘variations,’ they’re constantly name-dropped by fans who argue that their characters should show up in movies that the general audience sees. Video games have been made, new comics have been published, and what was once a simple story has now spiraled into different universes and characters and storylines, many of which don’t have anything to do with the original story.

    And the filmmakers, of both the prequels and the sequels, are well-aware of the Star Wars fandom’s love of fannish detail and supplementary material and have responded accordingly. Why did we see a young Boba Fett in the prequels? Because he became popular in the fandom. Why was Kylo Ren’s backstory mostly relegated to comics and books? Because that’s exactly what happened with the prequels: they also overly relied on books and comics and extraneous material to explain plot points or character motivations.

    The Disney executives seem to have operated from the same mindset that George Lucas did when making the prequels: it doesn’t matter if what’s going on doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t matter if we don’t plan the whole thing out, and it doesn’t matter if the films contradict what went before. Fans will watch our films and buy our merchandise anyway because it has the Star Wars brand. They’ll try to make sense of our stories and characters for us, because that’s what fans do.

  4. Juracan on 20 March 2020, 18:41 said:

    Because that’s exactly what happened with the prequels: they also overly relied on books and comics and extraneous material to explain plot points or character motivations.

    See, I don’t actually think that was a problem with the Prequel Trilogy. Yeah, they had fanservice with Boba Fett and Quilan Vos, but I don’t think there were any major plot points or character motivations for major players that had to be explained through tie-in material. The only thing I can think of is that as a kid I had no idea what role the Trade Federation served when they weren’t being stooges for the Sith, but that’s kind of it. Yeah, you don’t have the backstory on them all, but you didn’t feel that lacking because of it.

    Like, General Grievous comes right the fudge out of nowhere if you haven’t kept up with the tie-in material leading up to Revenge of the Sith but it’s not like he’s a difficult character to grasp, and that tie-in material backstory doesn’t drastically change what you’re told in the film itself. Unlike with Kylo Ren, which now has a prequel comic explaining that he didn’t actually murder most of his Jedi classmates, which is definitely at odds with what’s been told to us or implied before.

    The characterization in the Prequel Trilogy has much to be desired, of course, mostly with Anakin Skywalker and his whole… [gestures at the films] THAT. But while it’s terribly done and unsympathetic, I never really had trouble reading what they were.

    The Disney executives seem to have operated from the same mindset that George Lucas did when making the prequels: it doesn’t matter if what’s going on doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t matter if we don’t plan the whole thing out, and it doesn’t matter if the films contradict what went before.

    Again… I don’t think I fully agree. Okay yeah, the Prequels don’t always make sense, and sometimes contradicted what came before (mostly, in regards to how Leia remembers her mother). But there was clearly a plan. The plan was tell the story of Anakin Skywalker’s fall from grace. Again, that wasn’t always an expertly-told story, but there was a clear road map to get there.

  5. Aikaterini on 23 March 2020, 10:38 said:

    Yeah, they had fanservice with Boba Fett and Quilan Vos

    But that’s the thing: I have no idea who Quilan Vos is. Is he from the EU? This is like a film adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice” sneaking in a character from a P&P variation. For the die-hard fans who read that particular book, it might be neat, but for everyone else?

    I don’t think there were any major plot points or character motivations for major players that had to be explained through tie-in material

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on that, then. :)

    Because for me, the characters were badly-written and inconsistent and their motivations amounted to nothing more than “Because the plot says so.”

    And, yes, whenever I asked, “Why is So-and-So behaving like this?” or “What exactly is going on?” I would see prequel fan after prequel fan saying, “It’s all explained in the novelization.”

    And my reaction was the same as what many fans are saying about the Sequel Trilogy: I shouldn’t have to read a book to figure out why a character is acting that way. That’s the film’s job. I don’t tell mainstream viewers that they must read all 7 Harry Potter books to understand what’s happening in the film versions, even though the books came first.

    tie-in material backstory doesn’t drastically change what you’re told in the film itself

    Actually, it’s kind of funny that you bring that up because I remember a fan complaining that “Revenge of the Sith” flattened Grievous’s character and made him look weak compared to the “Clone Wars” version. And the fact that there was tie-in material before the movie actually was released is what I’m talking about. Remember the point in the HP series where the movies were coming out around the same time as new books? Imagine if the “Deathly Hallows” movies came out before the seventh book did (let’s say Part 1 came out first) and Amycus Carrow played a huge role. And then the seventh book comes out and his involvement in the story is the same as it actually is: he’s just another evil Death Eater who only has one major scene where he spits on McGonagall and is subsequently Crucio’d by Harry. And that’s it. That’s all you learn about him.

    The plan was tell the story of Anakin Skywalker’s fall from grace.

    But there was no actual fall from grace and so much of the movies are stuffed with meaningless filler. Anakin isn’t even the main character of “The Phantom Menace” and he doesn’t show up until, what, 30 minutes in? Really, when all is said and done, Anakin’s backstory shouldn’t have been a trilogy; it should’ve been just one movie. I think that maybe that would’ve forced Lucas to focus more on the character development that is necessary for a story like this instead of politics and pod races. I mean, say what you want about “Solo” and “Rogue One,” at least Disney didn’t make trilogies out of them.

    And there was a similar plan with the ST: Kylo Ren’s redemption. His story was supposed to be the reverse of Anakin’s. That’s what all three films were leading up to, that’s why it’s one of the only few things that was carried through from beginning to end. Maybe some fans don’t think it was done well, but then again, I’m over here arguing that Anakin’s fall from grace wasn’t done well. Which is my point: none of what we’re seeing is anything new.

  6. Juracan on 23 March 2020, 11:13 said:

    But that’s the thing: I have no idea who Quilan Vos is. Is he from the EU? This is like a film adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice” sneaking in a character from a P&P variation. For the die-hard fans who read that particular book, it might be neat, but for everyone else?

    Yeah but he’s mentioned once. A cameo mention is a whole different ballgame than, say, a major antagonist’s backstory and motivations. Most viewers don’t even notice, and they shouldn’t. Heck, I didn’t notice it until I it was pointed out to me. That’s a quick wink to hardcore fans but it doesn’t actually take time away from the rest of the movie. It’s just a Jedi name to fill in a conversation. If it bothers you that someone you don’t recognized is mentioned in a throwaway line in a film, I don’t know what to tell you.

    Because for me, the characters were badly-written and inconsistent and their motivations amounted to nothing more than “Because the plot says so.”

    And, yes, whenever I asked, “Why is So-and-So behaving like this?” or “What exactly is going on?” I would see prequel fan after prequel fan saying, “It’s all explained in the novelization.”

    Like who? Again, the motivations and events are explained in more detail in tie-in material, but it’s not absent. All the major characters’ motivations are all right there in the movies. Many of them are badly-written, but I don’t think I ever got confused about what someone wanted. I didn’t always know why but I got the actual motivations.

    Actually, it’s kind of funny that you bring that up because I remember a fan complaining that “Revenge of the Sith” flattened Grievous’s character and made him look weak compared to the “Clone Wars” version. And the fact that there was tie-in material before the movie actually was released is what I’m talking about.

    Yeah, but the 2D Clone Wars even includes an explanation for why Grievous isn’t as badass in the movie as he is in the series. If you’re a hardcore fan with that backstory, it fits, and if you’re not, well, it doesn’t matter anyway because this is the first time you’re seeing the character.

    Remember the point in the HP series where the movies were coming out around the same time as new books? Imagine if the “Deathly Hallows” movies came out before the seventh book did (let’s say Part 1 came out first) and Amycus Carrow played a huge role. And then the seventh book comes out and his involvement in the story is the same as it actually is: he’s just another evil Death Eater who only has one major scene where he spits on McGonagall and is subsequently Crucio’d by Harry. And that’s it. That’s all you learn about him.

    Thing is, with this example, and the Pride and Prejudice one above, we’re not talking about tie-in material; we’re talking about adaptation. That’s a different ballgame altogether.

    But there was no actual fall from grace and so much of the movies are stuffed with meaningless filler. Anakin isn’t even the main character of “The Phantom Menace” and he doesn’t show up until, what, 30 minutes in? Really, when all is said and done, Anakin’s backstory shouldn’t have been a trilogy; it should’ve been just one movie. I think that maybe that would’ve forced Lucas to focus more on the character development that is necessary for a story like this instead of politics and pod races. I mean, say what you want about “Solo” and “Rogue One,” at least Disney didn’t make trilogies out of them.

    There is a fall from grace. Or at least, a fall from something, if not exactly grace, because Anakin as he’s presented isn’t very heroic or graceful to begin with. It’s not well done, I’ll give you that, but there is the very obvious path of “Here is a guy who wasn’t evil, and then he becomes evil.”

    And maybe Phantom Menace is mostly filler, but again, it feels like planned filler. The filler that’s there is an awful lot of worldbuilding and backstory, but a lot of is there for a reason. Mind you, not all of it, but a huge chunk of it.

    And there was a similar plan with the ST: Kylo Ren’s redemption. His story was supposed to be the reverse of Anakin’s. That’s what all three films were leading up to, that’s why it’s one of the only few things that was carried through from beginning to end. Maybe some fans don’t think it was done well, but then again, I’m over here arguing that Anakin’s fall from grace wasn’t done well. Which is my point: none of what we’re seeing is anything new.

    Except that— Kylo’s redemption been the reverse of Anakin’s—isn’t what we see at all. It’s not the reverse. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I recall reading that Adam Driver signed on with the promise that his character arc would be reverse from Anakin Skywalker’s, and it kind of isn’t at all—it mirrors it quite closely. It doesn’t feel like they didn’t do it well as much as they scrapped any semblance of a plan for Kylo Ren’s character arc. Every film feels as if it wants to take a different direction with the character. TFA has him as an important, complex supporting character, TLJ has him as almost a co-protagonist with Rey who ultimately chooses evil, and TRoS upgrades him to basically one of the two protagonists and sort of flakes on his dive into full-on villainy.

    Anakin’s character arc was badly-done, it was but planned. Kylo Ren’s arc wasn’t planned at all. If there was any plan, it was thrown out and rewritten multiple times, and it shows.

  7. Juracan on 23 March 2020, 12:52 said:

    Doublepost, sorry.

    I just realized that when you talked about Anakin’s arc and Kylo’s being opposites, you’re probably talking about Anakin’s in the prequels, whereas my reply to that was talking about the saga as a whole, and particularly referring to Vader’s arc in the Original Trilogy.

    My bad.

    Feel free to disregard/consider that accordingly that bit!

  8. Lily on 26 March 2020, 17:45 said:

    Star Wars fans got exactly what they deserved—and wanting. After years of making it cool to rabidly and irrationally hate something different from the original trilogy, to the point of bullying away the creator of the franchise and trying to discredit his impact on his own work, what Disney delivered was a soulless rehash without an original thought beyond Lucas’s storylines and characters.

  9. Greg on 27 March 2020, 09:23 said:

    What really gets me about Disney Star Wars is that they don’t seem to have taken the time to figure out what fans actually wanted. Since The Last Jedi, I’ve heard countless complaints (mostly from defenders of that movie) that “the fanbase” is impossible to please. But were our choices really limited to cheap, derivative nostalgic thrills (like The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker) or shallow deconstruction and painfully on-the-nose social commentary (like The Last Jedi)? That’s a false dichotomy.

    Maybe all “the fanbase” wanted were a few movies that were faithful to the old characters and what they had accomplished, but also expanded the universe and explored new concepts like the nature of the Force and what goes on just below the surface of the ancient Jedi-Sith conflict. Rogue One did a fairly decent job at this, and the overwhelmingly positive response to The Mandalorian and the new season of The Clone Wars implies that there’s a real appetite for that kind of story. But instead, we got stuck with a sequel trilogy made by people who had no idea what kind of product they should be making. What a waste.