How Abrams brought back (and then ruined) the end of Star Wars
Your move, Edward Dodd
In what is the classiest call-back article of my career as a writer and editor, there’s nothing I love more than talking about and then immediately ripping into the mega-franchise that is Star Wars. Before I really get into things, I should make the statement that this piece is a call back to an article that was written on Sept. 27 of 2011 discussing how George Lucas fixed and then ruined the ending of the titular saga.
Now, coming up on nine years since it’s publication, it seems that things have come full circle with the galaxy, far, far, away . . .
So, here’s a brief rundown/timeline for the three people out there that haven’t seen the new Star Wars movies. Back in 2012, Disney acquires the rights to Star Wars from George Lucas, then gives the first film of their new trilogy, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, to well-known director J.J. Abrams, which, in 2015 was released to both an impressive box office draw and equally as impressive reviews. The spark of Star Wars was alive and well, and the bad taste of the prequels had been metaphorically washed out of many a fan’s mouth.
Then, moving forward to 2017, The Last Jedi (directed by Rian Johnson) is released to a massive, massive onslaught of “fan” (sorry John for the scare quotes) reviews that just tear it to shreds. Like, honestly, you should see some of the comments on Twitter, my God. Despite such a whirlwind of hate and anger, the film also performed quite well, both box office-wise and critically.
Flash forward to 2019 and so comes the end of the trilogy, the big hurrah, the last of the Skywalker-based films. The lights dim in the theatre and everyone is waiting with bated breath to see how this epic saga will conclude. Then, the movie ends, the credits roll, and the lights are turned back on. Silence. Silence, followed by an utter feeling of dread. We all wanted to like it – really, we did. However, the sheer level of pandering on display shows that Disney, much like George Lucas, doesn’t know how to stop and just keep things on a base level. The editing was all over the place, the characters and their stories jumped around like a wambat trying to avoid a T-16, and there was an impression that they were trying to force (no pun intended) plot points that did not need to exist.
Listen, we all (well, at least most of us) love Star Wars on some level or another, but the spark of nostalgia that The Force Awakens brought back, followed by the subversion of The Last Jedi, could’ve built for this epic (and I do use that word unironically) end on such a grand scale.
Instead, Disney was so scared of going off the beating path, so scared of trying something that might upset their cash machine of a fanbase, that they just gave people what they wanted and called it a day. Disney, grow some teeth and stop reusing the same old things that the original trilogy already built for us. We’ve already seen Endor, we’ve already seen Palpatine, we’ve already seen all the old, tried and true characters, would it kill you to be a bit different?
Honestly, Disney, for being in the creative business, you have no business being here at all.