Concerned about the direction of the films....

DarkJedi5

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I know that this is really long-winded, I had a lot of time in the car today.... If you can't make it to the end, there's a summary/conclusion that sums it all up.

Preamble
Let me begin this rant/discussion by saying that I'm 33 years old. I believe that this is significant because it means that I'm something of a tweener when it comes to Star Wars fans. Rather than seeing any of the OT on the big screen, I grew up with the films on VHS. I didn't see a Star Wars movie on the big screen until the Special Editions in 1997. This means that, for me at least, this was the first time I really got to "experience" Star Wars and is why I believe that I embraced the changes in the Special Edition whole heartedly, after all, it was the first time I'd seen the films in a "non-cropped" format so it was hard for me to tell exactly what things at the margins were new and what had always been there, just lopped off the sides of my television screen.

The first time I experienced "new" Star Wars stories, it was the PT. Now, I've always enjoyed the PT and I think part of that is because this was the first time I got to see Star Wars unfold for me at the same time as everyone else. I was 15 then so I don't know that I was the most critical viewer anyway. But, I also think that I managed my expectations going in. I read the novelization for each film about a month before seeing them in theaters. I knew exactly what was going to happen and more importantly, had context for some of the character issues that weren't as fully explored on the screen. I thought that the prequels got better each movie and ROTS is one of my top 3 of the episodic Star Wars movies.

The Current Trilogy
So fast forward to 2015 and the run up to TFA. By this time, Disney had already scrapped the entire EU that I had grown up with the make way for their own new story. I was a little miffed at first and considered all the time and money I had spent on comics and books over the past two decades as wasted. But, after a bit, I came around. I could understand the reason to blow up the EU and I had derived pleasure and enjoyment from those stories so, I got my money's worth... I just didn't know everything there was to know about Star Wars anymore. But as we drew closer to the release of TFA there was a surprising lack of material setting the stage for the new film. There was I think one novel to kind of help set the stage and it was barely related to the movie. Otherwise, there was no novelization, nothing. I was going in blind.

As a result, I think I ended fairly disappointed. Sure, the story had its moments and I enjoyed the new characters bit something just hadn't been quite right. Was it the designs that weren't Star Warsy? Was it the handling of some of our favorite heroes? Was it that the plot seemed like something of a retread? Maybe it was any or all of those things. I still saw it in theaters like four times but I felt like maybe I kept going hoping I'd like it more than the last time I saw it. In the end, I've decided it was okay, but it was at the bottom of the list.

However, I've started to get down-right worried about the direction of my most beloved childhood franchise. First there was the trailer with the ominous line utter by Luke, "It's time for the Jedi to end." I mean, that made absolutely know sense charter-wise for me. Luke had spent more or less the entire OT trying to become a Jedi. We know that he establishes his new order and that it is destroyed but it seems like to just throw in the towel after that... that's not the same guy who threw away his lightsaber in the Emperor's throne room and told him to his face that he'd failed. But I convinced myself that maybe it's just one of those lines that he says and they Rey immediately convinces him that the galaxy needs the Jedi and he does a 180.

But after the recent behind the scenes video for TLJ came out, where Mark Hamill says, "Even though I think I know it all, they throw things at me story-wise I never could have imagined." I find that quote to be rather worrisome. I dare say the only person who knows Luke Skywalker better than the guy who brought the character to life would be George Lucas, the person who created him. Since Lucas is not involved (and they threw his story outlines out the airlock), the fact that Hamill is surprised about the character's direction troubled me. It's what got me thinking about all this.

I suppose I'm left wondering if the stories that Disney is now telling are better than the ones the EU had come up with before it was flushed. Sure, there was some crap there but also some gems. In the end, I guess I wonder if they aren't trying too hard to mass produce films in order to make money and forgetting that the story is the most important part. I'll admit that I enjoyed Rogue One a lot, better than TFA, but it's a one off. It's not the Skywalker saga and so it's not weighted the same, at least not for me.

I guess this feeling about where the saga is headed must be a lot like what older fans (and I mean the ones who saw the OT in theaters when it was released) felt when the PT came out. I guess I finally get the nerd-rage that spewed forth in the early 2000s over the prequels. For people whose identity is rooted, to some extent, on being a Star Wars fan, to see the franchise you love turn down a path you can't follow hurts. I don't mean the whole Star Wars is my identity in an overly possessive way. I mean that, my friends and my family know me as a huge Star Wars fan. But what am I if I don't love Star Wars anymore? Has a part of who I am faded away? Can you just ignore the parts of the franchise you don't like? I don't know. It sure feels like, with every mediocre movie that comes out, I lose interest in the series as a whole. This is where I'm stuck. It's possible that TLJ comes out and it's great and all this handwringing was for nothing. But it's possible that the characters I loved for almost 30 years are turned in directions that feel wring to me. It's possible that it changes the way I see the OT and it's possible that it robs those movies of things that I think are important and that have meant something to me. I guess that is what concerns me most.

TL;DR (Conclusion)
I have loved Star Wars for a long time. I loved the OT, the Special Editions and the PT. I loved the EU that accumulated over the last 20 or so years. I worry that the stories being told now aren't as good as the EU I remember and that it's taking my beloved childhood heroes in directions that feel wrong. If this causes me to dislike the new films and to view the old films in a new and distasteful light, how/why does it feel like it's costing me a part of how I see myself as a life-long and proud Star Wars fan?

Anyone else out there feel the same?
 
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JediTricks

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I absolutely hear what you're saying and have had similar concerns about TLJ. I didn't get much out of TFA, but I see why it was "felt" at the time, though it seems like audiences have soured on their opinions of it a little. I actually enjoyed Rogue One, it wasn't perfect but it was quite watchable, it grew ideas while staying in a strong Star Wars setting without pushing out of that box too far. Now we have directors dropping like flies, and the Ep 9 director's latest movie is a critical flop, and it feels like Ep 8 is all over the map on message with a lot of concerning comments from behind the scenes without being as damning as what came out of last year's Ghostbusters remake.

It definitely makes one feel unsure of the future of the main storytelling without being confident in that opinion.
 

Droid

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Aug 21, 2003
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Choices made in the prequel trilogy and special edition troubled me, but nothing they did could affect the original trilogy. Sequel films, can.

I didn't see the Force Awakens because I just fundamentally reject every decision that was made about the direction of the story. I could have watched a Star Wars movie taking place 200 years in the future or past and greatly enjoyed just about any story with Jedi and Sith. But, as I discussed in detail in other threads, TFA seems to establish that not one thing was accomplished by the original trilogy. The Empire is still there. The Rebellion is still there. Luke is still the only Jedi. Leia didn't become a Jedi. Han and Leia didn't end up together. Han is still a loner. Skywalker children are cursed to turn to the Dark Side. There are still red lightsaber bad guys running around whether you call them Sith or not. They had the chance to have our three heroes together on film again while they introduced new characters and chose not to. And they killed Han. R2, who was supposed to be the one character that saw it all (3P0 too before the prequels), is left under a blanket the whole movie. I want absolutely none of this. It robbed the original trilogy of all impact if you watch the entire saga and did a complete disservice to the original characters.

I could have predicted it with Abrams involvement given that the only way he felt he could tell a Star TREK story was to have the arrogance to wipe out every bit of Star Trek that preceded his film.

I have no faith in where the next film will go, and as you highlighted, am wildly concerned about the fact that Mark Hamill had to wrap his head around what they're doing for Luke. Add in the fact that Carrie Fisher has died, and all I want is to accept the story ended on Endor at a happy celebration where the screen may as well have read in a concluded crawl, "And they lived happily ever after." I will not see this film.

I saw and enjoyed Rogue One. I would watch a movie about Kenobi between the prequels and original trilogy.

I'd be delighted if they would go hundreds of years in the past and just tell new stories about Jedi (without Yoda).

I won't see the young Han Solo movie as it looks like a disaster.
 
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Droid

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I meant to say only way Abrams could tell a Star Trek story, not Star Wars. (Is there an edit option anymore?)
 

Bel-Cam Jos

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I meant to say only way Abrams could tell a Star Trek story, not Star Wars. (Is there an edit option anymore?)
I edited your post (hopefully, that was the part you wanted changed; I also included a reason but I don't see THAT in your post), Droid.

My concerns with the Disney acquisition from the start was remaking the entire SW mythos to fit their own desires, not continuing what had been established. That, and the glut of product to be released. Film-wise, I knew they'd be visually spectacular (and TFA, R1, and TLJ all have been, or seem to be, so). Losing Carrie Fisher, in a selfish view, hurts E9 from a story standpoint (since they decided, wisely, not to CGI her in).

I'm not anti change. But complete change is rarely good, and I saw that was the intent (aside from makin' $$$, of course) when it was bought. When I first saw TFA, I ranked it #7 of the live-action SW films up to that point. Now, with there being 8, it remains #7 (I vacillate between AOTC and TPM as last). It has SW characters, locations, weapons, and ships; but I it isn't as Star Wars-y as it COULD be.
 

JediTricks

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The truth is that, despite Lucas' claims otherwise, the Star Wars story was well and truly done. The narrative he had created in the first place that was the template for the OT and the framework for the prequels was everything he wrote down regarding Star Wars. He never actually intended to film 1-3, much less any story post-6, so Disney when handed the reins needed to create a justification for moving forward, and they knew they had limited time with the original cast due to the nature of aging. Why they felt ripping off ANH was the best move is beyond me, but it's not surprising since they were taking control well into the series and had no hand in its original development. Now they're counting on the story team, producers, and untested directors to helm it, and so far it's not working out that well in the narrative sense.
 

DarkJedi5

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The truth is that, despite Lucas' claims otherwise, the Star Wars story was well and truly done. The narrative he had created in the first place that was the template for the OT and the framework for the prequels was everything he wrote down regarding Star Wars. He never actually intended to film 1-3, much less any story post-6, so Disney when handed the reins needed to create a justification for moving forward, and they knew they had limited time with the original cast due to the nature of aging. Why they felt ripping off ANH was the best move is beyond me, but it's not surprising since they were taking control well into the series and had no hand in its original development. Now they're counting on the story team, producers, and untested directors to helm it, and so far it's not working out that well in the narrative sense.
Perhaps the most surprising/disappointing thing for me is the fact that when they sat down to write TFA, they don't seem to have thought to figure out where the next two installments would go. Frankly, George Lucas had at least a rough idea for ESB and ROTJ when her wrote ANH and there are still plot holes in the OT. Again, he had a loose idea for the prequels at that point but again, because the stories weren't all fleshed out at the same time, there's clearly a disconnect in the story telling between the two trilogies. I would have thought Disney, knowing they were making a trilogy from the get go, would have had enough foresight to figure out where the story was going.
 
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Tycho

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I am along for the ride. Had they done something with jaina and jacen solo I would have felt very passionate about the movies were it done right.

I was in Denny's late one night and just reading making starwars.net when my waiter saw what was on my phone and interjected that he read the books as well and was mad they did not go with jaina and jacen solo. Timothy Zahn created them along with Mara Jade and Grand Admiral thrawn.

That does not say the books were perfect but you invested a suspension of disappointment to enjoy the story going on. And it went on. If you liked the universe like me and a random waiter in Denny's of all people, you enjoyed new stuff be it Great Or mediocre. But I just can't watch the movies that much over and over again. My Mind moves on.

This whole thing can be retconned as many families have five children. Then Jason jaina and Anakin can have ben And rey as siblings, and some of them would be dead by New Jedi Order, before the force awakens and Chewbacca would have found his way back having never died in the books in the first place but the other characters didn't know that.

Ben Skywalker is killed and Luke goes crazy with the death of Mara and Ben so jaina doesn't kill Jacen, but he pretends to be Ben Skywalker his cousin as punishment because his parents make him train with Luke to help them both recover. Han calls him Ben in the movie, as kylo is not his real name and maybe Ben isn't either. But he never says Ben solo so he might as well be jacen solo.

Rey is the baby solo and not jaina who could be about almost 30 at the time of the force awakens and be cast to return in episode 9.

What does this do in terms of practicality? I did not ask you if you would enjoy this approach. I asked what it could do in practicality.

It makes Disney tons of money selling the old books.

I will repeat.

It makes Disney tons of money selling the old books.

That is irrefutable but we are in the age of repetition makes truth...

So it makes Disney tons of money. You don't have to like it but obviously people are not pleased with the way it is now.

Aside from that I really enjoy Daisy Ridley performing and the cast with John boyega Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac. I am glad they are in the Star Wars universe. But you can still fix this disregard for vintage fans as I suppose the books written in the 90s like heir to the Empire in which jaina and jacen were created and the young Jedi Knights and New Jedi Order which explore do their development are vintage Star Wars now.

I told this group of my forum friends that every Trilogy is about 20 and 30 somethings. So Han Luke and Leia are not the Stars. I just kind of wanted jaina and jacen and we got Rey with sidekicks.

If they did not want to copy ANH, Kathleen Kennedy could have been very happy with her woman power agenda if they used Jaina Solo to accomplish this. Only jaina has her own R2 and did not need to go wandering through the desert to find plans hidden in a Droid that would bring Luke Skywalker back into an adventure that somehow involve destroying another Death Star.
 

Maradona

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Just read that Rian Johnson is going to direct three more Star Wars films. I suspect this is the rumored post-episode 9 trilogy.
 

Bel-Cam Jos

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Still fairly spoiler-free (aside from some unintentional info. gleaned from toys) and looking forward to seeing the film this Thu. evening. We shall see how that excitement is maintained AFTER the credits roll.
 

Maradona

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I've been pretty spoiler free. I sadly saw some of the toys, but whenever a commercial for the film comes on, I change the channel immediately. I've got tickets for Thursday night, Saturday morning when my cousin returns from his Afghanistan deployment (Thank the Maker! He wants to go straight from the airport to In'N'Out and then to the theater - he earned both!), and I'm hoping for a bargain screening on Tuesday with some TFG'ers led by JT.
 

DarkJedi5

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After seeing the film last night, I won't say that my concerns have eased any. Perhaps the biggest issue for me is the treatment of the beloved characters from the OT. It feels sometimes that these characters have changed in ways that don't fit with where ROTJ left them.

I think the other thing that nags at me a bot is that I always thought of the episodic adventures as the Skywalker saga but that doesn't seem to be holding true so much anymore.