So I recently re-watched RedLetterMedia’s review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Mostly to remind myself of critiques presented in a fashion which didn’t read like somebody bitching for the sake of popularity. During the episode the hosts raised a very interesting thought; that the Star Wars universe is really small in regards to what you can do with it.
I thought for quite a while about this point, and to its merit it is a very solid opinion. In fact I agree with it in a lot of ways. Disney is bound to create something which seems like it’ll be complained about no matter what they do.
Star Wars has fans which basically everything and nothing. Some want a rehash of the originals, others want completely unrelated stories. Then there are those who want something more in line with what was once the Star Wars Expanded Universe. The list of what people want and don’t want could go on forever. This is obviously a horrible predicament to be in.
Does it have to be Small?
The idea that Star Wars is a small universe is something I don’t believe has to be true. There’s already a plethora of ideas floating around in the games and books, which are now Legends.
Disney are quickly grasping that the Star Wars Empire can’t be handled in the same way the MCU is. Fans are stating they won’t put up with safe, uneventful films waiting for them to lead to a bigger movie. Basically what the MCU has done over the past decade.
Star Wars fans have been spoilt with decades and decades of books and games, all adding to the universe. Yes there was a lot of shit, but overall people still hold a lot of these stories and characters as completely canon and special.
With each addition to the universe the reader or player has experienced a story in an entirety where the creators tried something new. Having this in mind, Disney needs to realise that their audience, like Marvel’s isn’t entirely consisted of kids.
How can Star Wars Evolve?
So, let’s move onto a few of the ideas of styles which my arrogant ass thinks could open up some interesting parts of the universe so it doesn’t stay stuck in this narrow story. Keep in mind that I’m aware that Disney want to milk the series for all the money they can so keep themselves restricted to targeting kids as the main audience, which is fine. Not all of these suggestions are for kid’s films or series but that’s precisely the point. Evolving the universe and branching into new, untouched areas is the aim.
Develop a mature TV series. We know you are unlikely to invest money into a film which children can’t see. It’s a lot of money and you won’t get the return you’d want as you know, you’re greedy. That being said, the number of mature shows surfing at the top of this platform, at the moment, are plentiful.
You’ve already explored this with The Defenders and their solo projects, and frankly the stories, character development and styles are incredibly impressive. Sure they’re not all great but it has allowed an exploration of different stories, in the same location, exploring different themes and styles.
Another branch of the Marvel TV shows which upsets the status quo of Disney’s superhero tropes is Legion. A series I never expected to see on TV, especially from Marvel. The completely surreal, trippy and bizarre vibe the show creates is unique. This series is particularly curious as almost everything about it defies what the audience has expected to see in a superhero show.
While a lot of the ideas in Legion can’t be directly applied something like Star Wars, the show itself was able to explore different ways of approaching a familiar concept (superhero).
Another notion which could make an interesting run would be a similar take on either the John Wick films or Mad Max: Fury Road. These styles of films don’t require much of a story, they start at point A and finish at B. There are a lot of character types which can fit into this type of movie, from bounty hunters to scoundrels.
Couldn’t you apply terrorism into the story? Every time there’s conflict amongst the stars it comes down to two armies facing off. There’s never any propaganda, real use of spies (that’s shown) and there are no insurgencies. I felt this would have been how the First Order came into power.
During The Last Jedi there was an interesting piece of dialogue from Benecio Del Toro’s character. He basically states that there are people profiting off these wars, how there’s apathy and it’ll never end unless there isn’t big business in it. This was a remarkably fascinating point to insert and one which could be explored.
Limitations through Comedy
This is an issue, yet again, caused by trying to make Star Wars more like Marvel. This seems to be a double edged sword. The characters in both universes need to have better character arcs and to be punished or rewarded for their choices. In order to create an arc there must, first, be consequences and as there aren’t many which the majority of the characters stay two dimensional. Everyone seems to have to be happy; nobody can sense any type of negative emotion. This is predominantly caused by the awkward insertion of jokes…all the time.
If these quips have to be put in then you have to ensure the mood is brought down in a more dramatic way. And I see no better way for that to happen than to ensure that the choices people make have consequences. The most obvious way to alleviate this would have been to let Finn die.
Actions need Consequences
The lack of consequences is widely seen in the MCU. While yes, there are instances of consequences scattered throughout overall nothing in that universe changes. Mostly because people don’t die. An example for this would be Loki, the guy doesn’t ever face real punishment for what he does.
One feature about the most recent episodes which I haven’t seen addressed is how the universe reacted to the several republic planets being destroyed. Could this not be a great opportunity to show other systems and groups/ coalitions trying to rise up against the New Order? Not only would this make the universe seem a bit deeper but it would also show how blowing up entire planets might not be the best move.
If the past several years of TV, through Game of Thrones, have shown us anything is that people are lusting after consequences. By now everybody knows that for the most part the characters within that show have to be very careful with their tongue and behaviour. This is a direct result of their actions having consequences and people have welcomed this with open arms.