FUN FRIDAY: The future of Star Wars

It seems to me that it’s been a while since I wrote anything new about Star Wars. Buckler seems to think that I’m solidly in the Star Trek camp, but the truth is that I like both franchises for different reasons. It’s a good time for lovers of both, as there seems to be an endless supply of content available to stream.

At the moment, it seems like Star Trek is going full steam, with at least five shows in production and two more on the way, plus persistent rumors of another movie. But, despite modest success with The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett (which, it is now clear, are really one show), It seems like Star Wars is a bit rudderless.

Big swing and a miss

For my money there were two turning points that really defined the future of Star Wars. The first was the 2012 purchase of Lucasfilm by Disney. Prior to that, the Star Wars universe was defined by the three original films and a ton of supplementary books and comics. Most of those secondary materials were “decanonized,” taken out of the main narrative to clear the decks for six more movies with new content.

The second pivot came with the release of The Last Jedi, the Star Wars universe’s attempt to move beyond its aging boomer and GenX base. The controversial message of the film, that you should leave behind the past and those who cling to it, led to the poorly received Rise of Skywalker which attempted to walk back all those themes in favor of something that would sell more toys and theme park tickets.

The TV revolution

Of course with the rise of Disney+, the world of Star Wars turned to television. There’s no question that The Mandalorian is one of the best adventure shows in recent years. But, as it’s progressed, it’s become increasingly bound by its own mythology. There seems to be the need to tie it into other properties in the Star Wars world.

And this is where these sort of things fail. Star Wars is a vast tapestry with a multi-thousand-year “history” within it. You could set a movie or TV show anywhere within that and do something great. But that takes a big swing, something that traditionally conservative media companies don’t do. They’re much more comfortable tying their new stuff to their old stuff to build a better fan base.

Another Star Wars movie?

After the panned Rise of Skywalker and the financial failure of Solo: A Star Wars Story, it seemed like maybe there wouldn’t ever be another Star Wars film. After all, with the average pre-pandemic person seeing only 3 films a year, Disney could satisfy them with Marvel films. Adding Star Wars to the mix would just cannibalize Marvel, at least that’s my thinking.

Star Trek really wants to be a TV show. On the other hand I think Star Wars is at its best telling big stories that take big screens to tell. I hope there are plans for a new movie, but what will it look like? It seems the story of Rey, Finn, and that crowd is at an end. I was thinking the other day that the next round of stories could be set several hundred years later. It could be at a time when Grogu (the “Baby Yoda” from The Mandalorian) is a Jedi master. Other than that it would feature all new characters. That would invigorate things and still give a little tie in to the older stuff.

I know I’d watch it, but would the younger people? That’s the real question.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.