I Love Star Wars, But I Hate What It Has Become

Before anyone even reads this post, I'm sure I will be accused of being somebody who has claimed that "Disney ruined Star Wars." That's not true. Star Wars has been inconsistent with its quality since 1980. I mean, have you seen "The Phantom Menace?" Did you watch the Holiday Special? That was 40 years ago! Star Wars has never been perfect, except for "A New Hope" and "The Empire Strikes Back." Those movies are perfect. They were also released forever and a day ago. A lot has changed. And if you still find these movies and shows to be magic and fantastic, good on you. There is nothing wrong with that level of fandom, and I think those who try to demean people for loving a property are seriously the worst. I will also not claim I am "out" on Star Wars. Saying that you're "done" with a property is silly. My favorite film of the year so far is a sequel to a cornball movie from the '80s about fighter pilots. Anything can be cool if it's well written. But as I watched the final seconds of the "Obi-Wan Kenobi" finale, I started to feel sad because I realized Star Wars doesn't mean what it once did. 

The "Obi-Wan Kenobi" series is...fine. It's adequate. At no point does it reach the heights of "The Mandalorian," which I think is some of the most consistent and best Star Wars material since the original trilogy. That series is also the brainchild of John Favreau and Dave Filoni, two men with almost superhuman knowledge of the Star Wars universe. As much as I enjoy that show, I'm starting to believe that it's the exception, not the rule, when it comes to recent Star Wars properties. The Obi-Wan series is also better than "The Book Of Boba Fett," which I thought was well below average. 

Now I could write five more blogs about how this series messes with canon and diminishes the original film's impact, but I'm not going to do that. Even George Lucas, who created this entire thing, had trouble keeping up with his own continuity when it came time to write the prequels. I'm willing to accept inconsistencies. So it's not like the quality of the series broke my brain. I watch bad movies and shows all the time; this is adequate. But the issue that plagued the Obi-Wan series is the same issue that has plagued many recent Star Wars properties. It just feels passionless. It lacks the epic feel that made the original films so unique. As great as Ewan McGregor is as Obi-Wan, he can't save a story that features genuinely uninspired direction. There seems to be this misconception that the Internet came up with that George Lucas didn't care when he was making the prequel films, but if you watch five seconds of behind-the-scenes footage, you'll know that that isn't true. The biggest issue with the prequels is that they're poorly written. George Lucas has never been a good writer, but in terms of story structure and world-building, Lucas's passion was evident, and even at their worst, those movies are fascinating. There will always be something unique about watching one man's vision come to life without restraints. Even if you disagree with the direction Lucas took the series, it's hard to argue that those movies aren't at least memorable. "The Phantom Menace" is 23 years old, yet people still talk about it with a fiery passion. The same cannot be said for "Obi-Wan Kenobi," a suitable but entirely forgettable series. 

Star Wars used to be meaningful. It used to be something that you would wait years for. Fans waited 16 years between "Return Of The Jedi" and "The Phantom Menace." And I know "The Phantom Menace" isn't a very good movie. It's one of the worst Star Wars properties of all time, but at least it felt important. Fans used to wait on on pins and needles for the next great Star Wars property. There would be a video game or animated series every so often that would wet your beak as you waited for the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, but now you don't have to wait for the next chapter because there are four Disney+ series, two animated series and five video games already in development for you. The days of Star Wars feeling epic died with Disney. Instead of camping outside a movie theater, you can sit at home in your underpants and watch Star Wars. That doesn't make it bad (as I said, I think "Mando" is brilliant), but in my opinion, it goes against George Lucas' vision. 

Despite all my frustration, the truth is the next time we see a theatrically released Star Wars movie, I'll be the first in line to see it. Considering recent trends, I'll probably end up disappointed, but I'll always return. Being a Star Wars fan is like being a sports fan. You yearn for success but rarely does your season end with a championship. That's what it's like with Star Wars right now. Maybe that makes me a sucker, but this franchise has been a part of my life for decades now. I'll never give up on it, but I lament what it's turned into.