Opinion: Why Star Wars is on the Decline

Matthew Donnellon

Photo byDaniel K Cheung on Unsplash

This article was written with the help of AI.

The Star Wars franchise has been one of the most beloved and iconic film series in history. However, since Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012, the franchise has experienced a significant decline in quality and popularity. Fans and critics alike have pointed to a variety of factors that have contributed to this decline.

One of the most significant factors is Disney's approach to storytelling. Under Disney's management, the Star Wars franchise has become increasingly focused on nostalgia and fan service, often at the expense of originality and creativity. Many of the new Star Wars films have relied heavily on familiar characters and plot points, rather than taking risks with new stories and characters.

The first Disney-produced Star Wars film, "The Force Awakens," was a prime example of this trend. While it was generally well-received by fans and critics, it was criticized for its reliance on nostalgia and for essentially retelling the plot of the original Star Wars film. Similarly, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," which was marketed as a standalone film, ended up feeling more like an extension of the original trilogy, with numerous callbacks and references to the earlier films.

Another factor that has contributed to the decline of the franchise is Disney's mishandling of the expanded universe. Prior to Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm, there was a vast and complex network of books, comics, and other media that made up the Star Wars expanded universe. While not all of these stories were canon, they were nonetheless beloved by fans and provided a rich and diverse universe for the franchise.

However, under Disney's management, much of the expanded universe was discarded and replaced with new stories and characters that were often poorly received by fans. For example, the character of Kylo Ren, who was introduced in "The Force Awakens," was criticized for being a pale imitation of Darth Vader, and his backstory was seen as underdeveloped and unsatisfying.

Finally, the Star Wars franchise has also suffered from a lack of consistent direction and leadership. Under George Lucas's stewardship, the franchise had a clear vision and a sense of purpose. However, under Disney's management, the franchise has been overseen by a variety of different directors and creative teams, each with their own vision for the franchise.

This has led to a lack of coherence and consistency in the storytelling and a sense that the franchise is being pulled in too many different directions. For example, "The Last Jedi," directed by Rian Johnson, was seen by many fans as a departure from the established Star Wars formula, while "The Rise of Skywalker," directed by J.J. Abrams, was criticized for trying to course-correct too much and feeling like a rushed and unsatisfying conclusion to the trilogy.

In conclusion, the decline of the Star Wars franchise since Disney took over can be attributed to a variety of factors, including a focus on nostalgia and fan service, a mishandling of the expanded universe, and a lack of consistent direction and leadership. While the franchise still has a loyal fanbase and remains a pop culture icon, it's clear that the franchise is not as strong or beloved as it once was.

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Matthew Donnellon is a writer, artist, and sit down comedian. He is the author of The Curious Case of Emma Lee and Other Stories

Detroit, MI

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