‘Star Wars’: Dying or Thriving?

Problems in 'Star Wars' movies prevail, but message of hope shines through

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‘Star Wars’: Dying or Thriving?

Controversy has surrounded the release of Star Wars' new movies.

Controversy has surrounded the release of Star Wars' new movies.

Photo courtesy of: KAMiKAZOW/ Wikimedia Commons

Controversy has surrounded the release of Star Wars' new movies.

Photo courtesy of: KAMiKAZOW/ Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy of: KAMiKAZOW/ Wikimedia Commons

Controversy has surrounded the release of Star Wars' new movies.

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Star Wars is a space epic surrounding events occurring “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” and most recently will see its sequel trilogy completed by Disney with “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” Ever since Disney bought Lucasfilms from the mastermind behind the Star Wars fictional universe, George Lucas, they have forever changed and marred what was an incredible story of action and adventure. 

I will never forget some of the truly awe-inspiring cinematic moments created in the enthralling storylines of the original trilogy: the first time we saw Darth Vader, the Imperial Walkers at the secret Hoth base, and the destruction of the Death Star. 

George Lucas continued the highly-successful and critically-acclaimed original Star Wars trilogy and answered the questions we all wanted to know with the prequel trilogy, consisting of “The Phantom Menace,” “Attack of the Clones,” and “Revenge of the Sith.” 

Ever since Disney bought Lucasfilms from the mastermind behind the Star Wars fictional universe, George Lucas, they have forever changed and marred what was an incredible story of action and adventure. ”

— SENIOR Drew Brown

We got to learn about the young, arrogant Anakin Skywalker, and slowly watch him descend into madness through the manipulation of Sith Emperor Palpatine, who was an infiltrator in the Republic Senate. 

We watched the epic lightsaber battle between Darth Maul, Qui Gon Jinn, and Obi-Wan Kenobi. 

We were sitting on the edge of our seats during the intense and destructive Battle of Geonosis and were holding our breath at the execution of Order 66.

Finally, we watched the two heroes of the saga, our favorite characters, the mentor and the pupil, Obi-Wan and Anakin, duel in the fiery wasteland of Mustafar.

We had hoped that Disney would continue the action and adventure, introduce new characters to the previous cast we cherish, and bring a new, riveting story to our favorite space epic. Instead, in Disney’s first and second movies of their sequel trilogy, they created a Mad Libs-like storyline desperate for laughs with more plot holes than Swiss cheese.

Before we even start, do not sit there reading this and think “Well, Drew, it looked awesome, what’s wrong with you, don’t you have eyes?” Yes I have eyes, I also have a brain and know that millions of Disney-dollars are getting sunk into these movies, thus these movies are not bad for a lack of explosions and special effects.

In Disney’s Star Wars comeback movie, “The Force Awakens”, director and writer J.J. Abrams sought to benefit from the nostalgia of the original trilogy but with the addition of new characters with subpar development arcs and unappealing interactions. 

In Disney’s Star Wars comeback movie, “The Force Awakens”, director and writer J.J. Abrams sought to benefit from the nostalgia of the original trilogy but with the addition of new characters with subpar development arcs and unappealing interactions. ”

— SENIOR Drew Brown

“The Force Awakens” opens with the First Order stormtroopers and their ruthless Sith leader, Kylo Ren. Immediately this begs the question, what happened between “Return of the Jedi” and “The Force Awakens?” 

We went from Luke Skywalker blowing the Death Star into oblivion and finishing what remained of the Sith Empire to having a brand-spanking new First Order and their Star-Killer Base, which are both nearly carbon-copies of the Empire and the Death Star from the original trilogy.

In addition, Abrams continues trying to recreate the nostalgia of “Star Wars: A New Hope” through his copy of the Rebel Alliance, now named the Resistance. This transition from the Empire to First Order and Rebel Alliance to Resistance has not only gone unexplained in both “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi,” but we have already seen this dynamic in the original trilogy.

Moving on, the new heroine introduced into the Star Wars universe is Rey, a scavenger on a desert wasteland planet named Jakku, which, you guessed it, appears to be a copy of Tatooine from “A New Hope,” where Luke Skywalker was raised in hiding. Rey goes from scavenging scraps from a run-aground Star Destroyer to piloting the fan-favorite Millenium Falcon with ease, speaking droid, understanding Wookie, and can shoot a blaster with virtually no training.

Speaking of no training, while being interrogated aboard Kylo Ren’s Star Destroyer, Rey is able to withstand Sith Lord Kylo Ren’s attempts to force-read her mind. Ren himself says that this is nearly impossible for someone with no force training, and, with nothing but newfound confidence, Rey uses the famed Jedi mind trick on a stormtrooper.

Since Rey and basic time progression were failures, as a fan, I was desperately hoping Harrison Ford could save this movie as Han Solo. Turns out, he cannot carry the buffoons who thought this was a great movie. Han Solo gets killed by the lightsaber of the Kylo Ren, showing that Disney does not care about continuing to develop old characters and rather only brought them back for nostalgia from the true fans of the series.

“The Force Awakens” ultimately left viewers with more questions than were answered, and with a literal cliffhanger of Rey meeting Luke Skywalker at the end, there appears to be hope for this sequel trilogy. 

“The Force Awakens” ultimately left viewers with more questions than were answered, and with a literal cliffhanger of Rey meeting Luke Skywalker at the end, there appears to be hope for this sequel trilogy. ”

— SENIOR Drew Brown

Next, I was sitting in my seat at the theatre, hyped out of my mind for “The Last Jedi.” We got a new Star Wars movie, and my foolish self actually believed for a couple minutes that Disney could tie up their loose ends and push a new, exciting storyline for the Star Wars universe. SIKE! 

First we watch Kylo Ren have some serious internal conflict in his TIE fighter starship when he goes to destroy the final Resistance carrier, because if he succeeds, he will be successful in killing his own mother, Princess Leia. He chooses to remain indifferent, but the squadron of First Order-brainwashed TIE fighter pilots that Ren is flying with do not hesitate to blast open the Control Room to the Resistance carrier, effectively sucking everyone inside the room, including Ren’s mother, into the eternal void of space. 

Since Carrie Fisher had passed away before this movie had been finished, everyone in the theatre, myself included, verbally expressed their sorrow for the passing of Fisher. We figured that at some point in the movie Disney was going to pass Leia on and rest her soul with the other Legends of the Star Wars universe. Nope, gotcha! Leia actually has force-floaty powers and just force-pulls herself back to the Resistance carrier with minimal respiratory damage.

Since Carrie Fisher had passed away before this movie had been finished, everyone in the theatre, myself included, verbally expressed their sorrow for the passing of Fisher.”

— SENIOR Drew Brown

Leia had never had force powers ever in the previous movies, and that was the point of her character. She was the voice of reason, grounded with reality whereas Luke was obsessed with hope, the Jedi, and always had his head in the clouds.

Whatever, at least it was new. But then we get another “Gotcha!” moment, and this is a Star Wars sin.

Vice Admiral Holdo assumes command of the carrier while Princess Leia recovers from her space-flying experience. Her genius plan, which she does not reveal to anyone until AFTER Poe Dameron mutinies, is to evacuate the ship and sacrifice herself using the hyperspace drive to go really, really fast, and ram the First Order flagship head-on. 

This would be an impressive move, except the screenplay director, Rian Johnson, did not do his homework. If hyperdrive was just going really, really fast, then why did the Resistance not just have an X-Wing fighter fly kamikaze-style and go into hyperdrive through Star-Killer Base in “The Force Awakens?” If hyperdrive was just going really, really fast, the reaction speed to swerve around entire planets would be in billionths of a second, because otherwise you would just mash into a planet like a bug on a windshield.

Hyperdrive, similar to the DeLorean in “Back to the Future,” allows you to go really, really fast for a short amount of time and then travel into another dimension and pop out a wormhole at your destination. However, instead of being close enough to make this seem like really dangerous maneuver, Holdo activates the hyperdrive from way out yonder and not only destroys the First Order flagship, but most of the Star Destroyers following it. Awesome.

Next we have a major plot hole alert! Finn and Rose, a new character to the Star Wars universe, travel to Star Wars Las Vegas, called Canto Bight, where they are looking for the Master Codebreaker so they can sneak onto the First Order dreadnought and halt their pursuit of the Resistance’s last frigate. Turns out they get caught by some stormtroopers and put in jail, where they meet a hobo hacker named DJ who just happens to be able to do the same exact job. Coincidence or bad story writing? I think both.

Coincidence or bad story writing? I think both.”

— SENIOR Drew Brown

I have got to wrap this up, or else my editor is going to kill me, so we are going straight to the First Order sieging the Resistance base on Crait. Everything here is almost exactly the same as the Hoth assault in “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.” However, this plot almost gets some real credit from me. Finn aims to sacrifice himself by driving his speeder directly at the laser cannon that is going to break down the gargantuan door that is shielding the base on Crait, which is the last thing protecting the few soldiers that are what remains of the Resistance.

But gotcha! Rose drives her speeder directly into Finn’s, saving his life, and as the laser cannon annihilates the blast door to the Resistance base, she says “[we are going to win by] not fighting what we hate, saving what we love.” Congratulations Rose, you have successfully screwed over the Resistance, let your own sister sacrifice her life in vain, and goes unconscious all in the same move. Dope. 

I only listed a couple of the issues going on with the current set of sequels, there are many more to be discussed but I am not going to try and waste your time delving into the minute details of Star Wars. 

These movies are not what Star Wars is about, the old man pretending to be Luke Skywalker is not the hopeful, optimistic hero we discovered in the original trilogy. The directors and screenwriters have not only forgotten, but completely thrown out any semblance of writing their own story and simply relied on the nostalgia of the fans that grew up watching and loving the Star Wars universe, and having awesome action scenes.

I think Disney is trying to copy what Marvel has done with the Avengers movies. The superheroes are funny, have lots of super cool action scenes, and make millions of dollars. Yet, there is not anything inherently funny about Star Wars, it is a space epic with light swords, blasters, and spaceships. If you want funny movies, Disney, then you should be making sequels to “Spaceballs,” not Star Wars.

Yet, there is not anything inherently funny about Star Wars, it is a space epic with light swords, blasters, and spaceships. If you want funny movies, Disney, then you should be making sequels to “Spaceballs,” not Star Wars.”

— SENIOR Drew Brown

The upcoming “Rise of Skywalker” has some serious turning around to do. Somehow, Disney has to do the following; give each of their new characters a meaningful arc that has been nonexistent in the prior two sequels, explain what happened between the original trilogy and the sequel trilogy, figure out what is going on with Rey’s parents (we went from “who are they” to “they are nobody, Rey’s parents left her for nothing”), clear up the point of Snoke and where he came from, account for how Maz Kanata got Luke’s lightsaber, tell who the Knights of Ren are and show where are they now, clarify why Ben Solo became Kylo Ren and did not receive a title of “Darth,” interpret what was up with the weird cave scene in “The Last Jedi,” unfold whether baby Yoda will show up in “Rise of Skywalker” since the Disney TV series The Mandalorian takes place after “Return of the Jedi,” and finally spell out how Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader make it into “Rise of Skywalker,” since both can be heard in the trailer for the upcoming film. Simple, right? 

It is not looking too good for this sequel, but am I hopeful? Yes. Disney has done some good things, they made the Star Wars universe much more diverse, created some characters that have some actual potential, and undertaken the continuation of a beloved series of movies. 

Call me a dork, but I would really like to take these movies seriously. I grew up loving Star Wars, the characters, the story, the adventure, and I was thrilled when the “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” TV series came out. But I am not totally broken up about Disney ruining these movies, after all, we are talking about a company that is mostly concerned with how many toys they can sell. The vision and dream of a young director has now fallen into the hands of a publicly-traded company, and more than likely Star Wars will live and die in Disney.

If there is anything the original Star Wars trilogy has taught me, it is to have hope and see the good in people.”

— SENIOR Drew Brown

A sharp left turn from all of my criticism and depressed feelings about Disney taking over Star Wars, if there is anything the original Star Wars trilogy has taught me, it is to have hope and see the good in people. I think the harsh criticism met with Disney’s Star Wars movies will come to yield some epic stories I cannot wait to watch with my family in the future. But for now, especially in a time riddled with exams, college applications, and last-minute projects, discover a new hope and may the Force be with you.