Will Star Wars Episode IX … suck?

Yes, friends, it’s time to start talking about Star Wars again. I haven’t had much to say about it since my review of The Last Jedi in 2017.  Basically my only comment was how I was unenthusiastic about Solo: A Star Wars Story. The controversy around Last Jedi was unprecedented and probably had a lot to do with the relative failure of Solo. I do believe a certain number of fans just lost interest after Last Jedi and that’s bad news for Disney. The company looks at the Star Wars franchise as one of its big pillars. They’re spending untold kajillions of dollars to bring it into the Disney theme parks. Not only that they may — or may not at this point — have tons more films on the horizon.

It won’t be called Episode IX: The apology…

…but honestly that’s a lot of how it’s being marketed. JJ Abrams is helming this episode as he did for Episode VII. He’s sure to infuse this outing with the same overdose of nostalgia and fan service that he did with other films he’s been involved in. You won’t see this film killing off key characters (other than maybe Leia who, well, Carrie Fisher, you know.)  What you will see is a careful attempt to bring people back into the fold while hopefully not turning off millennials who loved The Last Jedi for its kill-the-past message.

My level of enthusiasm: 7/10

I’m excited to see where this episode takes us but also a little worried that it’s going to be too much fan service and not enough world-building. The biggest criticism leveled at the Star Wars universe is that nothing seems to happen without some member of the Skywalker family present. It’s a big universe, and yet this small number of people are always at the center of it. Rogue One remains the film with the fewest ties to the Skywalkers and even it has its Darth Vader scenes.

I am interested to see what this next film brings. I’m hoping that it signals a good and sensible end to the Skywalker family saga while turning the reins over to a new generation of heroes. If there are going to be more Star Wars films, they should appeal to younger people too, and aging actors from the 1970s have a somewhat limited appeal there.

I’ve said before that the problem with getting a Star Wars film every year, when piled onto the TV series and other properties, is that it’s easy to take it for granted. You want Star Wars to be special and it’s hard to pull that off if it’s always there. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

I’ll see it regardless

This is the message that Disney likes to hear. They love to make and remake their treasured properties, whether or not people want to see them. They’re on a roll with films like Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book creating CGI and human-filled versions of their past animated treasures. They know that people will pay. What they don’t seem to realize is that the backlash is building. Disney is squeezing every dollar from its existing characters. Truth is they’re not doing a great job building new characters and sooner or later that’s going to come back to hurt them.

Chances are it will be later rather than sooner though, and that means they’ll keep getting my money for every Star Wars film they make.