I’m worried about the Star Wars Universe.
That probably sounds strange, but it’s the same kind of worry I have regarding the DC Cinematic Universe. I look at what’s been done so far and what’s coming down the road, and I worry no one is in charge. Of course, there is someone technically in charge of both franchises.
With the DCCU, it’s Walter Hamada, the President at Warner Bros. Pictures for DC-based film production. Hamada underwhelms me. He has done nothing so far but make moderately successful Aquaman and Shazam! movies and hire James Gunn to make The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker. I’m waiting to see how The Batman, Black Adam, and the Flash do both creatively and at the box office. For me, the jury is still out on if Hamada has successfully navigated the post-Snyder aesthetic.
With Star Wars, the person in charge is Kathleen Kennedy, whom I think has been mediocre at best. However, she did do one right thing, and that’s name Dave Filoni the Executive Creative Director and Executive Producer of Star Wars. Filoni understands Star Wars better than anyone currently at Lucasfilm/Disney. He should be making/involved in all decisions in the future.
I’m not sure he is.
For example, the latest Star Wars offering, The Book of Boba Fett, was a mess. We had three different stories going on, with the most compelling one not involving the so-called star of the show. The show reeks of a heavy-handed producer directing the creative director on where to go and doubling down on previous good decisions. That’s why we are getting more Luke Skywalker and other general fan services. You get a cameo! You get an extended cameo!
Howabout just telling a compelling story?
Since the last feature film, Star Wars has become small. Small screen. Small storytelling. Why was The Mandalorian must-watch television in its first season? It told an original story with zero fan service. We didn’t need anyone showing up from the expanded universe to be drawn into the world of Din Djarin and his little green friend. It added something original. Ever since then, we’ve gotten more and more fan service.
I, for one, loved seeing live-action versions of Ahsoka Tano, Bo-Katan Kryze, and Cad Bane. There is little doubt it’s fun to see Luke Skywalker post-Return of the Jedi, but the uncanny valley is still half-backed around the edges. It’s still painfully obvious they should have hired Sebastian Stan. Overall, though, it feels like a touch too much.
Season Two of The Mandalorian was crowded. The Book of Boba Fett was three shows in one with flashbacks and the Din and Grogu show. I fear the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi, set during a few years post-Revenge of the Sith, will also be full of flashbacks when Anakin and Obi-Wan fought in the Clone Wars.
I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here to say I’m pretty sure Filoni has a plan, and it will all come together. The upcoming Ashoka will likely bridge several Disney+ streaming shows into some joint venture. An educated guess would be tying up the loose ends of Star Wars Rebels and finding a way to make the sequel trilogy a bit more palatable. However, I get the feeling there’s just too much Star Wars.
We have Andor, a prequel to Rogue One, and The Acolyte set hundreds of years before Episode I — The Phantom Menace. All of these shows and the others slipping in the cracks between trilogies is fine, but you know what would make more sense? Telling stories about the time after The Rise of Skywalker.
It’s crucial to mark how Disney and Lucasfilm are pushing the technology to make filming these genre shows easier, but all the stories are backward-looking. I think Kennedy is fearful of messing up a new trilogy or stand-alone movie. She should be. Still, if Dave Filoni is in charge of the creative, something unique will happen. I’d bet on it.
Star Wars needs big tentpole movies enhanced by the Disney+ streaming shows. Black Widow aside, Marvel has done this by continually moving forward. Their streaming shows enhance the ongoing story.
It’s high time Star Wars did the same.
Imagine if something happens in The Acolyte that affects the next trilogy of movies? What if the big bad of The Acolyte somehow gets frozen in carbonite and is uncovered sometime after The Rise of Skywalker. The synergy would be similar to what’s happened with Wanda Maximoff in WandaVision to Dr. Strange Multiverse of Madness.
I also believe Filoni is seeding the idea that “forgoing attachment” in the Jedi Order was its downfall (twice). Embracing relationships and even love for Jedi is the better path.
If I were Kathleen Kennedy, I’d have Dave Filoni write a new trilogy for Episodes 10 through 12. This trilogy needs a singular voice and a clear beginning, middle, and end. I’d hire Jon Favreau to direct all three and film them back to back. As for the story, it would undoubtedly focus on Rey Skywalker as she decides to build a new Jedi Order based on love and kindness when an unexpected danger threatens the galaxy once again.
With the right visionaries at the helm, it could be great.