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The fundamental problem with the Star Wars franchise

The sequel Star Wars Trilogy (so far Episodes VII and VIII) has been getting a lot of hate on the internet. While I think most of the hatred is just dreadful and ridiculous (like “Social Justice Warriors” taking over and making Star Wars too diverse and featuring too many strong female characters? Get out of here!), there are some legitimate criticisms, that I can relate to.

One such criticism is, that the new trilogy (especially The Last Jedi) effectively undoes the ending of The Return of the Jedi - in some ways rendering the struggles and sacrifices of the Rebel Alliance meaningless. As a viewer who watched the original trilogy conclude with the death of the Emperor, I presumed that the Empire came to an end, and with it the end of tyranny. I presumed that democracy would be reinstated in the form of a New Republic and the reconstruction of a New Jedi Order with Jedi Master Luke Skywalker at the helm. Peace is restored and all is good. I think that’s a nice ending.

But then the new Star Wars Trilogy happened and by necessity of storytelling, a new threat has to be concocted up and stakes have to be raised. So the First Order is introduced, the New Republic Government is wiped out, and the Resistance is reduced to a handful of freedom fighters.

Han Solo is dead...

Luke Skywalker is dead...

I think I’m emotionally wasted here…

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED The Last Jedi - I think it’s a phenomenal film.

It’s just that, I think Star Wars should have concluded with The Return of the Jedi.

So as much as it pains me to say this, I don’t think fulfilling George Lucas’s vision of a three-trilogy story structure by adding a sequel trilogy was the right move for Star Wars.

The Return of the Jedi has the perfect ending (as I’ve already briefly outlined above) so there’s not much point breaking that with a new conflict. This is also why I don’t think any of the old Expanded Universe (EU) stories were any good - they’re all just glorified fan fiction.

However, before any Rian Johnson or Kathleen Kennedy haters out there shower me with praise, I should point out that the blame should be put on George Lucas. He’s the one that kept insisting that the old trilogy was the second trilogy out of a three-trilogy story structure. Hence the episode numbering being four, five and six…I understand that Lawrence Kasdan had some ideas on how to end Return of the Jedi leaving enough room for a future trilogy, but George Lucas overruled that with an “end on a high-note” style ending for Return of the Jedi. So obviously that leaves very limited room for a sequel trilogy that works seamlessly with the original trilogy. This also confines any prequel story telling to three films.

So don’t hate on Kathleen Kennedy or Rian Johnson or JJ Abrams if you’re not happy with the new trilogy undoing the ending of Return of the Jedi - be a bit annoyed at George Lucas (though none of the hate, please … there’s too much hate and negativity out there)...

I know it’s too late, but the perfect Star Wars three-trilogy set up would have been to have a  pre-prequel trilogy, a prequel trilogy, and then ending with the original trilogy. If we view the three-trilogy structure as a large-scale three-act storyline, then we can make the middle trilogy the darkest one, ending in a similar way to how Revenge of the Sith ended. So, my suggestion would be to have the first trilogy focusing on the Clone Wars, complete with its own three-act structure, maybe resolving the primary conflict (the Clone Wars) and ending on a bit of a high note (yay! The Republic won! The Jedi saved the day!) but leaving enough ambiguity in terms of the state of democracy in the Republic (Palpatine consolidating emergency powers, martial law, etc). This then leads into the second trilogy, in which the fall of Anakin Skywalker/rise of Darth Vader, the Jedi Purge, and the rise of the Empire occurs.This trilogy will end in much the same way that Revenge of the Sith ended, the darkness shrouds the Galaxy but there is just a slimmer of hope with the offsprings of Anakin Skywalker living in hiding to fight another day. Obviously the original trilogy would then show how the twins and the Rebellion overthrows the Empire and saves the Galaxy, ending on a high-note.

Well, that’s it, really.

It’s all just some fun thought experiment, and I’m no novelist or screenplay writer so maybe I’ve got it all wrong.

In any case, both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi were extremely well written (in my opinion) so I’m pretty happy how it’s all playing out. I look forward to see how Episode IX closes off the new trilogy.

...but who knows, maybe we’ll get a nice surprise and find out that the main saga films won’t conclude with Ep IX and there will be a fourth trilogy! Imagine that. I don’t know if that will be good or just sheer endless series of Star Wars films...


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