You know what I find funny? What were the media from Disney that we enjoyed the most as a global fan base?
Rogue One (2016)
What do these all have in common?
Completely new characters! Rogue One is especially important to this; as a standalone movie it meant that there was no time for theory crafting!
Before TFA, we all had our own theories about what would happen after the death of Palpatine, fueled by 30 years of the Expanded Universe and our love for Star Wars. Disney could not hope to please everyone, and instead "Made a retro movie, for the fans," as George Lucas put it.However, I enjoyed TFA. This may have just been because it was the first time I ever watched a Star Wars film in the cinema, or maybe it was because I'd seen no trailers, theory videos on youtube, or gone through years of reading Star Wars books. I'd only gotten into it when I was 8, in 2011, and while I immediately loved it, my consumption of Star Wars for the first few years tended to be through Lego and watching the movies (it's not as big in my city as in other places, it's really hard to buy the EU books and a lot of them I wouldn't have understood at the time. Also my parents hate buying things online so that wasn't an option at the time).In 2015, I started high school and I was super excited about TFA.
But, being only 12 at the time, I spent very little time on Youtube (I preferred writing my own sci-fi novels that had little cross-over with SW apart from as a source of inspiration). The only person I knew that loved Star Wars anywhere near as much as I did was my psychiatrist at the time, who probably had every Lego SW set in existence. As I only saw him once a month or so, I had little time to discuss with him anything about the new movie - the only thing I learnt before going in was that "C-3PO wasn't seen in the trailer, so he may not be in the film". I had no idea about the cast or anything, and being quite young, and not having grown up at the time when Carrie, Mark & Harrison were in their prime, I was unable to connect actors and actresses to characters. I just saw them as the character in one movie, not as actors in multiple movies.
TFA was not perfect. But it was fun. It was retro, but in a fun way, at least for me.Going into Rogue One, in 2016 I joined the R2-D2 Builders Club and went with them to the midnight premiere in Perth for the first standalone SW movie. I immensely enjoyed it, and I saw a very different crowd reaction the following year in the same cinema, with the same people, when TLJ was released. Rogue One was different, it was amazing.
Before we go into the world of the Last Jedi, let me say this. I do theorycraft. I love thinking about what's going to happen in IX or in the Mandalorian, however I don't let it define what I see. Before watching TLJ, I had seen rumours that Snoke was Mace Windu. But when I saw Snoke get killed by Ren, I didn't think of it that theory, and an epic back story that was now "lost" (which I DO wish had of been there), I just saw an exciting climax that I hadn't expected. Wasn't this the beauty of the original Star Wars - it was so different, with its "used-universe" mentality, the crowd was always guessing. Snoke being killed was the 21st century equivalent of the Darth Vader reveal at the end of ESB.
So many of my fellow R2 Builders were upset leaving the cinema, but I wasn't. I'd had a great night, I'd watched what I saw as I great movie, and it was the last day of school the next day where I would (temporarily) be the most popular kid in school, as the only one to have seen TLJ.
In 2018, I went with my uncle - who I only see once a year due to travel costs - to see Solo, and we both enjoyed it. My uncle wasn't a big Star Wars fan, but he enjoyed it because it was 1) a great movie, and 2) he didn't need to know everything about Star Wars to make sense of it. It was a sort of family film version of Star Wars. I had seen a lot of people upset about the choice of actor, but my question to those complainers is this: did you really expect to see Harrison Ford, at 70, act as a young Han? We all wanted this movie, but when we saw it wouldn't be with our beloved cast we threw it back in Disney's face.
And now to the infamous, the drastic, the horrendous...ROS.
I can see that it was an attempt at a crowd pleaser (and to repair some of the damage that Rian Johnson caused - because he DID cause some damage in TLJ!), bringing back so many old characters. The Palpatine cloning theory was odd, but I accepted it. There were similar things in the old EU, and as I was a fanatic fan of the Aftermath trilogy (which explained so much about the canon Palpatine and the formation of his fleet, and the First Order) I understood a lot of it. Ultimately, I enjoyed it.I enjoy everything to do with Star Wars. But there are some problems that I had with the sequels (just like I have little problems with everything):
- Rey was overpowered
Yeah, she was part of Palpatine's family, but Anakin (and Savage Oppress) were both stronger in the force than Sheev. Furthermore, Luke and Anakin were not the greatest duelists within a week of leaving their home. Anakin was a good pilot thanks to a combination of factors, while Luke had the advantage of a mentor, a strong bloodline, a skyhopper and a thirst for adventure. Rey had...a will to survive. You could see that in the opening of TFA, and that can take you a long way. But it can't take you to being able to defeat a knight of Ren, someone who had defeated Luke as a teenager, in your first lightsaber duel. But over time, she did train, she had two good teachers and while she was overpowered (I'm not going to go into the whole Mary Sue issue), the story did not become irreparably bad because of this.
2. Rose & the criticism
I had no problem with Rose or her sister. I also really liked Finn. While it was debatable whether Finn crashing his speeder would have done anything more than what ultimately happened when Rey & Luke arrived, it would have been a satisfying end to his character arc, a noble sacrifice, and it was ruined with the sort of dialogue/projectile vomit that I thought was gone forever after Geroge Lucas stopped writing scripts. Seriously, though, Rose was naive and her script was terrible.Just as bad was the media who portrayed anyone who did not like the CHARACTER as a racist. Look, it doesn't matter if Rose had of been white, black, asian, or even a kangaroo - the character was bad. Not the actor - the actors all performed to the best of their ability, which is quite high. But the character was shit. That's not racist, that's just my opinion - feel free to disagree with it.
3. Where were the droids?The droids - especially R2 - were much loved by so many people, and were the true heroes of many of the movies and stories. We saw more of Rose in TROS than R2 in the whole trilogy it seems. But this, again, can be slightly brushed under the rug (just a bit) as R2 did still have a role to play - and so did 3P0.
These were 3 of the biggest issues I had with the trilogy.
The biggest issues that I saw from the vocal part of the fan base stemmed from their theories. I went in with the sole expectation that it would be good, as it was a Star Wars movie, and I enjoyed all of it. I'm not saying that theorycrafting is wrong, but if you get upset just because your theories aren't shown to be correct, you're not a very good fan of the movies.Canon can be whatever you want it to be. But for so many people, this was a great trilogy, and for so many people, this was their life's work, their baby, and so much went into this. I enjoyed it, and Disney - you earnt my money. Thank you, George, and thanks Mickey.
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