Disney is ruining Star Wars

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Illustration by Makenna Timoteo | Staff Illustrator

Jordan Drake

Fans finally got a peak at the newest Star Wars movie, Solo. This follows months of negative press plaguing the production. This follows a pattern of criticism and dissatisfaction that fans have had with Star Wars since Disney bought it back in 2014. Undoubtably, the discontent stems from Disney being more worried about raking in money than creating quality movies. Disney is ultimately ruining Star Wars through an elimination of established lore, an overuse of nostalgia and politics getting in the way of story.

Starting first with news that the directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller had been fired due to creative differences with Disney executives namely Kathleen Kennedy who oversees the Star Wars franchise. This led to the hiring of Ron Howard who then turned around and reshot somewhere around 80 percent of the movie.

Alden Ehrenreich was reportedly so bad in his role as Han Solo that Lucasfilm was forced to hire an acting coach.

Upon purchasing Star Wars, the very first thing Disney was to make all material that wasn’t the films, or the animated TV show the Clone Wars non-canon. Only material created after 2014 is considered apart of official Star Wars lore. This decision wiped out over 30 years of Star Wars lore and fan favorite characters such as the Solo twins, Dash Rendarr, Kyle Katarn, Darth Revan and many others no longer exist unless they come back in new media. The new movies are just as bad as the Force Awakens erases Coruscant as the seat of power, barely shows the New Republic and shows you can hyperspace into a planet which was never a thing before. The Last Jedi compounds this issue by showing Jedi can apparently survive space, ships need fuel out of nowhere and ships can go to lightspeed through other ships. The last one is especially bad considering why didn’t they just abandon one of the other ships and send it through the chasing capital ship earlier. A lot more people would have survived. Heck, why didn’t they just send a ship through the Death Star in the original series? Would have been a lot faster and likely saved lives. Its these issues that upset fans and as seen with the Last Jedi push down not just ratings but money that they bring in. If Disney can’t figure out what does or doesn’t exist in Star Wars than it is only going to lead to more backlash and less revenue.

Despite the issues plaguing the franchise currently, Star Wars is still very profitable and that is due more to Nostalgia than quality. The Force Awakens most memorable moments seem in to include only Han Solo and Chewie, not the main characters and as many fans pointed out, the whole movie is essentially a rehash of the original Star Wars film, A New Hope. The Last Jedi does the same but with Luke Skywalker and General Leia while bringing a lot of imagery from the past movies such as the throne room scene and even the final battle of Crait is similar in its white backdrop with the Imperial Walkers marching down upon the rebel troops. Really the big issue with both films is readopts the storylines that drove the original franchise. Rebels vs the Empire now named the First Order. There was plenty of media on some original stories but ultimately Disney was more willing to tap into nostalgia. They did the same thing with Rogue One literally adding in original unaired 1979 footage to the movie which is mostly noticed during the final Space fight and adding a CGI Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin since the actor died back in 1994. The reliance on nostalgia is so people can gain that same feeling they had when they watched the original Star Wars years ago, however if it leads to a decrease in quality of the film than it shouldn’t be utilized. This is unlikely to change because nostalgia puts butts in seats and thus puts money in Mickey’s pocket and money over quality appears to be a Disney motto.

The last way Disney is ruining Star Wars is politics. Now politics have pretty much always been apart of Star Wars such as Palpatine using expanded powers during wartime to gather more power which mirrored President George Bush’s use of the patriot act. Now these were done in a way that made sense to the storyline. Disney is barely shy of its overt liberal bias to the point where stockholders have complained its hurting its bottom line and this ends up hurting the new Star Wars movies. The first issue is that of Rey, the primary protagonist. Disney’s desire to create a strong independent female lead has led to a flat character with too many forced moments. For example, she is extremely good with a lightsaber beating both Kylo Ren and Snoke’s elite bodyguards with about 5 minutes of practicing swinging it against a rock. This makes little to no sense and takes away from the immersion of the story. She is also extremely powerful in the force, far more powerful than a new user realistically should be. There is nothing wrong with a strong female lead as science fiction is littered with them but when done just for the sake of doing it doesn’t resonate at all. A better example is that of Sarah Conner’s and Eleanor Ripley, both strong women characters from great scifi franchises that were much better written than Rey. There was so much potential and Disney butchers it. The Last Jedi takes the bias even farther with forced moments about war profiteering and animal rights that do nothing for the story. George Lucas found a way to tastefully work in politics. Disney would rather hit you in a face with a hammer and alienate part of its audience.

Star Wars still has a chance to be great but Disney needs to figure out its issues before the franchise is a shell of itself. There was hope that these new movies would erase the terrible prequels but instead its just introduced a whole new set of issues of Disney’s own creation. Disney has choice, either continue its ways and watch its investment fail or make good solid entertainment that fans will enjoy for years to come.

– Jordan Drake is a communications junior

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