Has the Magic of Star Wars Been Lost?

*the Force Theme plays distantly in the background*

Some of my earliest memories are of Obi-Wan and Anakin chasing a bounty hunter through Coruscant, Yoda riding on Luke’s back, and Darth Maul wielding his dual-bladed lightsaber. With my older sister becoming thoroughly obsessed with Star Wars just after I was born, I grew up with The Phantom Menace playing almost constantly somewhere in our house (I can’t remember exactly how many times my sister has seen it, but it’s an impressive number). Yes, I was a “prequel baby;” when I think back to those early years, Episodes I and II are what I remember most, though I watched the original trilogy as well. (I wasn’t allowed to watch Episode III for quite a while for…understandable reasons.)

And as much as people complain about the prequels, I think they carry the same magic that the original trilogy has. The captivating emotional themes, the off-the-wall planet and alien design, the truly groundbreaking and immersive sounds… To me, there’s just something about the first six movies that is truly unique.

But as time goes on and filmmaking evolves, we’ve started to see a different kind of Star Wars with the new trilogy and the many TV series that are being thrown at us (not that I’m complaining!). There seems to be a consensus among many fans that something feels like it’s missing from some of these new adaptations.

But what is it?

You don’t have to look very hard to find that this sort of discontent is present among many franchises that have been going on for 20ish+ years. Doctor Who. Star Trek. Even Disney and Pixar animated movies. Is it just us getting older? Are we truly that cynical?

I don’t think so. Instead, I blame it all on Marvel.

Okay, I mean, I know the people who made those movies didn’t intend this, but I truly think that these movies have made a huge statement in our culture that, unfortunately, seems to have changed many quirky, meaningful, and/or offbeat franchises for the worse. I started talking about this years ago when Disney movies started going downhill. I’ve never been a Marvel fan, but I was very critical of the movies back then, deriding the movies any chance I got. I remember having a lengthy conversation with a friend about how everyone was starting to copy the way that Marvel made movies.

And just recently, another friend reminded me of that conversation from years ago. We were reminiscing about the “weirdness” (in a good way) of the Star Wars prequels, and she mentioned that it was probably due to the Marvel movies and their very non-weirdness. And suddenly, I was transported back to that old conversation I’d almost entirely forgotten about.

Marvel has truly changed the way everyone makes movies and television, and it’s no wonder. Marvel has been extremely successful, as it appeals to a very wide audience and, let’s face it, makes a crap ton of money pretty much all the time now. I’ve seen nearly all the movies (not by choice), and while they’re certainly nice to look at, I’ve always found there to be something a bit lacklustre about them. (That’s just me – I know plenty of people who love the movies, including my husband!) I enjoy things that are more quirky, more out-of-the-box. Marvel has always felt a little too…safe for me.

And unfortunately, that mentality is starting to seep into everything else.

If Marvel has been so successful, why not be like them? By doing this, franchises are expanding their audiences just like Marvel has done, trying to reach beyond the “geeks” to more no-nonsense action fans.

Just look at Star Wars. They started out appealing to an (admittedly large) niche group of sci-fi nerds, and now with The Mandalorian, they’ve drawn in lots of different people who haven’t seen another scene of Star Wars in their lives.

Now, am I saying that all of this new stuff is bad? No way! I happen to love The Mandalorian, and I’ve loved the first four episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi as well.

But as much as I love them, they’re different than the older Star Wars stuff. More sterile, somehow. Less quirky, more straightforward and actiony. I’ve gotten the same sense from newer Disney movies (apart from a couple of beautiful gems they’ve put out recently). It’s just not the same – and not just in a nostalgia way, but in a way that I think can truly be explained by this shift in cinematic storytelling.

So, will the magic ever come back? I don’t know. Maybe it’s something we simply have to get used to as we grow older. But who knows – maybe something else will come along in the future and change the moviemaking business again just as much as Marvel has now!

All I know is that, for now, it’s much more fun to love the things I can and always focus on the good. Besides, there are some darn good stories still out there being told very well. And luckily, the prequels will always be there to welcome me back with a warm hug any time I want.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

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2 thoughts on “Has the Magic of Star Wars Been Lost?

  1. I definitely feel with you. I think some of it has to do with streaming. Like we have almost every ounce of content now available 24/7 it’s sort of gotten boring like I don’t feel as connected to these franchises like in the past. Stranger Things is one series that still gives me hope for the future, especially for original content.

    Liked by 1 person

    • For sure!! I totally agree with you. There’s a lot of pressure on streaming services to constantly be putting out original content, so a lot of times, quantity gets prized over quality. Thanks for reading, and for the insightful comment!

      Liked by 1 person

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