Star Wars Fatigue : It’s Ok To Not Like Star Wars Anymore

After the recent revelation/insinuation that Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi was poorly received because of Russian Bots (?), a Solo film that no-one wanted, and the announcement of 64,000 new projects in the works – we take a look at the onset of what we like to call Star Wars Fatigue.

It surely is unlike a studio to milk a franchise for all it is worth. So we were quite surprised when Disney announced they would be releasing a slew of new releases on various outlets for their acquired flagship franchise Star Wars.

I’m being facetious.

The Last Jedi was a terrible film with a few redeeming features. Thats an opinion by the way. Not of a butthurt man-baby but of a fan of the franchise. As I recently explained to a poor soul (and The Walking Dead fan) on Twitter : ITS OK TO BE A CRITICAL OF A FRANCHISE YOU ARE A FAN OF. OTHERWISE YOUR POSITION IS THAT OF A SYCOPHANT.

TLJ was not totally without merit but in the pursuit of subverting expectations Johnson missed the mark. The film was arguably held back by the weight of cramming in all those social justice messages and…….actually……no, just leave out that whole Canto Bight sequence and we should be grand.

chewie crazydiscostu

Point I’m making is – the insinuation that the Last Jedi controversy was a fabrication is insulting to fans who simply did not enjoy the film. The idea that Russian bots concocted an elaborate narrative, on the subject of a poorly thought-out Science Fiction film, in an effort to divide the American people (and less specifically the people of the world) and influence political sentiment is not only the best piece of fictional delivery associated with TLJ but is also a bold statement on the ability and motives of modern AI as we know it.

Should we now be concerned that the AI will now become preoccupied with media commentary? Will the great robotic uprising be postponed until our mechanical overlords have gotten through that Cheers box set? Will the downfall of humanity be as a result of a sentient computer system being unhappy with the latest Indiana Jones outing?

Or is this just symptomatic of the modern Cold War times that we live in? Bus is late : Russia. Stores ran out of Peanut Butter? Russia. The majority of the country voted for a specific president who got elected as a result of voting in a fair and impartial system that the candidates all agreed upon? You better believe that was Russian meddling!

This insinuation is the same one that many rallied against during the Ghostbusters : Answer The Call debacle. The implication that the audience is stupid. That the general public don’t know what they want or what they like. That they need to be told by the Hollywood elite and film-makers  : “No, you are wrong. The film was perfect. If you saw any flaw in it you must be part of some political movement, a bias think-group or a meddling foreign superpower who programs robots to have opinions on modern cinema.”

Or from what I’ve seen just label critics as “basement dwelling trolls” and that should do an adequate job.

disney milking star wars crazydiscostu lol

It’s ok to not like Star Wars anymore. There i said it. The franchise at this stage has become so diluted that it is barely recognisable. It’s ok to turn your back slowly on what was once a powerful element in pop culture. Not spin round with the primal force of a toddler having a tantrum but with the slow reverence of Shane riding off into the desert, wounded and slumped over in the saddle.

It’s ok to say that you were a fan of the source material. That with every iteration of that material the quality has been lessened somehow. A facsimile of a facsimile that degrades with each copy. It’s ok to appreciate what it was and then draw a line under it to clarify that it is no longer the same.

This doesn’t have to be a toxic act and you do not have to accept the label of toxicity. Opinion is subjective and so is fandom. Everyone is entitled to both.

 

 

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25 Comments

  1. I may be sick of the awful new main sequence films, (and frankly anything with the JJ Abrahms stink on it.) But Rogue One and Solo were actually excellent, imaginative and fun! We said a multitude of varied films is what we wanted from the Disney license. Now we’re complaining?

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  2. Well said. I’ve been trying to suppress the feeling that I just don’t like where this franchise is going. Whether it’s a love of the source material (and much of the EU material), or maybe I’m just a consumer with strong brand loyalty, I’ve felt an urge to be optimistic and to keep enjoying SW, but I’m kind of over it. The prequels were balls, but they strengthened the appeal of the OT, then the initial euphoria of Abrams film made me think they were back on track, but TLJ’s efforts at undoing everything that went before made it all seem so pointless.
    On the other hand, I thought the spin off films were a terrible idea (cue nightmarish visions of a cgi young Yoda parkouring around the galaxy, and the hugely overrated but mysterious Boba Fett being stripped of any remaining mystique) but, for me, Rogue One and Solo were the best Star Wars product in recent memory. Feels weird to be over ‘proper’ Star Wars (no more midnight premieres for me), but cautiously optimistic about ‘side story’ films.

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  3. My biggest issue with this post is your comment about “cramming all the social justice messages” into the Last Jedi. You make social justice seem like a bad thing. The Social Justice movement is all about representation for a variety of different people. The fact that the Last Jedi had the most female actresses and diverse cast, that’s a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When did filling gender quotas become more important than good writing? The cast could be all non-binary for all I care. If the story is compelling and the characters are well written then that should be the focus. The “cramming” I was actually referring to was the Canto Bight / 1% / animal cruelty section of the film.
      The diversity of gender and race within the cast is a bonus. It’s a fantastic thing. Long may it continue but not at the expense of story. I felt that Canto Bight portion of the film should have been cut and that Kelly Marie Tran’s character could have been given a better storyline.

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    2. The problem with SJ messages, as discostu said, is when they are crammed in. Nothing puts people ‘offside’ with a worthy cause more than being bludgeoned about the head with it. Just like the worst thing in Solo was the whole ‘free the robot slaves’ subplot. Yes, everybody and everything should be treated nicely, but in this scifi universe we have to accept that some droids are selectively endowed with consciousness worth preserving (R2, Threepio, BB8) and others are just flailing metal there to serve the plot.
      I doubt Lando would be such a popular character if his role in ESB had been to refuse to sit down on an imperial shuttle, be imprisoned for insisting on being treated with dignity and subsequently lead a civil rights movement (I confess I don’t know enough about African American history to give an 80s example off the top of my head, but you get the point). No one would argue that civil rights are a bad thing, but as a plot driver of an action-adventure-scifi film it would have elicited groans rather than applause. If Wedge interrupted the attack on the Death Star to give an impassioned speech about the need for grassroots political action before leading the rebel pilots in ensuring they were all correctly registered to vote, no one would argue that voting is bad, but the plot might seem somewhat contrived and unnecessary. If the Star Wars universe cared about animals, we should insist on a new special edition of ESB where the tauntaun doesn’t get sliced open, or better yet gets asked whether or not it would like to go out in the snow. Better yet, let’s just have well written characters that people connect with rather than having them bring this year’s social justice concerns into the film with them.
      The common complaint is that anyone who disliked the SJ plots must therefore hate social justice- not true, we just don’t like superfluous plots and characters that are clearly present to serve up a dose of ‘hey look, we included these real Earth issues, let’s feel good, aren’t we all so righteous’ vibes rather than serving the story.
      The more sarcastic part of me wants to say I can’t wait for the next main SW film which will be about 5 new characters finding the remains of Luke and Leia’s secret bullet journals- two of them will discover that Leia was suffering gender identity issues and will resolve the issue by travelling to a distant planet where they find the galaxy’s greatest tailor, who will make for them the first truly non-binary, gender neutral battle wear (which will turn out to be a simple Jedi cloak- mind blown!); two others will view Luke’s post ROTJ actions in light of the PTSD he suffered as a result of his abandonment and abuse by his father as well as his survivor’s guilt, and will start the first Galaxy Counselling Service, open to rebels, imperials, and others (we no longer use the terms ‘scum’ or ‘villains’) leading to a mid-film subplot where we leave the action for half an hour to see classic characters from the past CGI-ed into a group counselling session (Bib Fortuna will be taking time out from his sold out drag act in which he sings songs about, and to, things that may or not be his genitals, and the rancor’s tears as it breaks down and admits that it’s a self loathing vegan at heart will really hit the audience in the feels); the final character will team up with Finn and Rose for a side plot adventure to a red light planet where they will join a carbon neutral commune and discover the delights of communism and polyamory, before becoming disillusioned and leaving to become missionaries for a new type of democratic socialism free of the exploitation and consumerist trappings of the old galaxy.
      And somewhere in there, there will be a thing that needs to be stopped from doing something.
      Or something like that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So to be honest.. disagree with the whole robot part, but I’m not really in the mood to argue with you. Did you know the Last Jedi had the most female actresses in it? That’s kinda nice for female Star Wars fans who would like representation. Honestly, the story isn’t that bad. So here is my understanding: You don’t want to be “force fed” a movement right? What about we actually promote diversity in our films and how that can actually make society better, but gosh that’s a little too much for you isn’t it. I’m not going to debate you any longer, but I’m not agreeing with you.

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      2. I hear what you’re saying about the benefits of diversity in terms of allowing people to feel represented. I suppose part of the issue is that, as a member of the middle class white male demographic, I’ve never viewed movies in those terms. I like to think that I watch films and enjoy the characters if they’re well drawn, but that may be because I am a part of the demographic that is most commonly represented? In terms of the gender ratio of the cast, I never had a problem with Leia being an integral part of the series, and I am disproportionately fond of Mon Mothma (given her limited screen time), but I never watched the films and thought ‘why aren’t there more women?’ because the plots worked perfectly well as they were. There was never a moment when a male populated scene felt misogynistic or exclusive or dismissive of women. I may also have an unconscious bias whereby I expect (not prefer or demand) films based around action/war to be male-heavy. I imagine in the years ahead younger people won’t necessarily have that bias.
        My issue with the casting of the recent films is that so many characters, and plots, felt superfluous. Laura Dern is a great actress, but her character was completely pointless and felt a little like a deliberate attempt to shoehorn in a powerful female character. But her role could easily have been fulfilled by Leia, which would’ve made sense and tightened up the narrative. Rose was a grating addition as her character is part comic relief, part love interest in one of the most tepid romances on screen, and part protagonist in a pointless and narratively incoherent subplot. The result was that it felt like no one on the writing/production team knew what the hell to do with her, they just knew they needed her in the film, so a character who looked like being a major protagonist (Finn) is dragged off into an escapade that diverts from the story in order to give Rose a purpose (and they may also have thought that a daring raid on a casino might liven up an otherwise glacial plot progression- but they were wrong).
        It’s a difficult one to look at subjectively because of the context of the film’s production and its audience. The introduction of Rey (a fantastic character/performance/plot driver) in the previous film had generated a lot of discussion about the diversity of the SW universe, and of course the recent events relating to #metoo and such have drawn attention to gender in Hollywood and sparked a broader conversation about gender in film. Much has also been written about the evolution, in casting and structure, of blockbusters to appeal to the Asian market (specifically China). I guess that this makes it harder to view some of these decisions as organic and in service of the plot, and more as deliberate attempts to enforce diversity ratios. “What’s wrong with that?”. I suppose I don’t see the need to artificially prop up the numbers of any demographic in any film (again, maybe because I’m already well represented in film) but it feels like a problem when those decisions result in weak characters and story.

        That said, my real issue here is that you don’t want to argue about the whole robot part- God, that shat me to tears! I’ve got some very strong, wildly biased and overly verbose (can you be verbose in a written context?) opinions on that, too!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I will admit the Last Jedi has it’s issues. I’m not denying that. However, when women exist in film it’s usually to further a romance. Leia is a strong character, but there are things that happen to her character that seem.. off. If a woman was writing her lines, I think she would come off differently in film.

        Also I want to apologize, my response to this was really snarky and downright rude so I’m sorry.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. For the record, “gosh that’s a little too much for you isn’t it” is a pretty unfounded accusation to make. The fact that I have issues with the production/ structure/ overplotting of the latest instalment in a beloved film franchise isn’t grounds for you to make assumptions about my views on diversity or social progress. You’re either suggesting I can’t comprehend the concept of diversity which, as I’m sure you realise is a tad insulting, or you’re suggesting that I can’t handle the concept of ‘a better world’ which is a baseless and fairly absurd accusation.
    The childish part of me wants to throw out a retort like “If you think having more women in Star Wars is going to change the world then you’re the worst kind of hopelessly naive 1st year Social Sciences undergrad”, but realistically I think perhaps it’s just difficult to accurately convey the complexity of personal opinions, thoughts and arguments over the ‘net as we inherently read the opinions of others in a negative, argumentative manner and respond in overly patronising tones. Don’t we?
    Have a good one 🙂

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  5. No worries.
    If a woman had written her dialogue it almost certainly would be different. But then the male dialogue/actions may well have seemed a bit off, so it can work both ways. Still would’ve been better than a lot of George Lucas’s lines, either way!
    I take your point that in many films woman serve as the romantic interest rather than a character in their own right. I must admit I’m often oblivious to that unless I stop and think about it later, but I certainly think this is less of an issue than it used to be- it seems that really weak or superficial female characters are less of a ‘thing’ in modern film.
    It also comes down to audience expectations- I grew up with the trope of the damsel in distress who needs rescuing, so to me Leia always seemed a really strong character because she clearly doesn’t take any crap from anyone and when Han tries it on with her she’s quick to shoot him down (though it could be viewed as problematic that she later succumbs to his roguish charms, but then he’s Han Solo and she’s only human, so…).
    The major difference in our our views, possibly, is whether/when these things are problematic. Star Wars, over the course of all of the films, has relatively few women, true- but the Star Wars universe has never felt anti-women and I don’t know any women who can’t engage with the films because of the lack of women. The gender make up of the cast is just a function of the plot. As women in the military become more common and accepted, perhaps war/action films will be more gender balanced? I wanted to say that there aren’t many male characters (positive ones) in Steel Magnolias, or 9 Till 5, or Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants and that doesn’t affect the worthiness or popularity of those films, but then the fact that those movies are the first ones that spring to mind when I think of women in film may be helping to reinforce all the arguments against what I’m saying… Or it may show that cast demographics are a function of the marketplace…
    Either way, thank you for indulging me in this debate, and I apologise for my own snarkiness (I know better, there’s just something about arguing via keyboard that enables all of the most childish traits to surface) .

    Liked by 1 person

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