After 42 years, The Skywalker Saga is over. A cinematic behemoth and a pop culture revolutionary. Star Wars is the pinnacle of the American Blockbuster that has entertained and angered millions. The story of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo started in 1977 and from then; cinema has never been the same. It had changed the landscape when it came to special effects, merchandise, fandom and how movies got made. Star Wars wasn’t the first but it was definitely the perfect blueprint to follow to get a single film infected into the Global media consciousness, utlising horizontal media integration.
It is truly overwhelming to try and understand the impact Star Wars has had on modern pop culture. Hundreds of creators in music, film and television constantly quote Star Wars as their inspiration and reason to get into the media business. Star Wars has also been referenced constantly in other shows, films and music. The stretch of Star Wars influence is generational. With the apparent final installment of The Skywalker Saga, with the release of The Rise of Skywalker, where does Star Wars go from here? How do you carry on from a story that took 42 years to tell? Below is a couple of avenues could take after ending the Skywalker Saga.
The Force is With Disney+
In November 2019, Disney released their new streaming platform. The promise of having access to Disney’s huge library was enticing enough, however it was the promise of new Star Wars shows that was it’s biggest selling point. The Mandalorian has already been released with the much requested Obi-Wan Kenobi series currently in the pipeline. It is no hidden secret that the future of media consumption is through online streaming. Disney+ is another competitor in the streaming warfare with Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. The allure of these shows is that it gives plenty of opportunity to expand the Star Wars universe. Previously Star Wars was limited to the Skywalker saga, however, there were instances of George Lucas expanding the lore, such as the Christmas Special and the Ewok films, but we don’t talk about those.
Netflix has knocked it out the park with their Netflix Originals such as Orange Is The New Black, Stranger Things and GLOW, to name a few. Disney has the money and workforce to compete. The Mandalorian has been directed and written by some big names such as Taika Waititi, Deborah Chow, Jon Favreau and Bryce Dallas Howard. Disney has the resources to create interesting and new stories within the Star Wars universe. This has shown with The Mandalorian being well received by critics and fans, even though they have mostly focused on the cuteness that is Baby Yoda.
Disney doesn’t need to make any films for the time being, if anything, films are quite low down on Disney’s priority list. Since Disney has acquired Star Wars for 4 Billion dollars, the movies in total has made just over that, not taking in account the production and marketing costs. The real allure of the Star Wars property is the merchandising and licensing. The licensed merchandising business is worth over 260 billion dollars a year and Star Wars has a sizable chunk of this. The shows on Disney+ is less of a risk then spending half a billion on a film every two years. They could easily focus on Disney+ shows and have commited subscribers and still make loads of money from the Disney rides, merchandising and licensing.
Did You Ever Hear The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis The Wise?
Did You Ever Hear The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis The Wise? This moment in the prequels has become a meme, but I do want to see the film adaptation of Darth Plagueis The Wise. Star Wars already has a rich lore. Disney could focus on their ‘A Star Wars Story,’ line of films. Rogue One is arguably the best Star Wars film, controversial maybe but it actually felt like a war film. Disney can stay away from the episodic part of the franchise. They can focus on standalone films. Darth Plagueis, Darth Nihilus amd Starkiller from The Force Unleashed video games are great stories that could be adapted into a live action feature.
Watching all 9 films there is constant references to other stories that would be interesting to see. Rogue One came from the line on the New Hope’s opening crawl and Solo came from stories mentioned about Solo through the Original trilogy including the Kessel Run being made in less than 12 Parsecs. You can probably makes hundreds of films that centre round the Skywalker Saga whether before the originals or during. The films won’t be as successful as the main episodic films but as previous, films aren’t the priority. New stories means more varieties of merchandise. More characters means more money, why do you think C-3P0 had a red arm for half of Force Awakens? I would love a Darth Plagueis figurine, video game and film. The potential to expand the universe and create new stories with these standalone films is there. If anything we need to know about the Droid Attack on The Wookies?
It’s Time For The Jedi to Die
After the original trilogy, any new Star Wars film instantly is cursed by one thing; The original trilogy. Everytime a film is released in the franchise, it is constantly compared to the original trilogy. When Force Awakens was released it was criticised for being too alike a New Hope, when Last Jedi was released it was criticised for being too different to Empire Strikes Back and by poetic motion The Rise of Skywalker has been criticised for being too like Return of The Jedi. The original trilogy is held up as some untouchable qualitative standard. The best thing for Star Wars to do is stay far away from the Skywalker trilogy, stay away from the Jedi, stay away from desert and snow planets.
Star Wars main focus was never about the Skywalker character, it’s main focus was on hope, good triumphing evil, a galaxy that had to overcome the odds. These themes can be translated into any situation. I’m not saying have a random film then strap the Star Wars name onto it but you can still have a Star Wars film and not have it link to a Skywalker. That saga is over, Disney needs to move on with the stories to keep the franchise feeling fresh and innovative. We have explored the way of the force and Jedi but it’s time to move away from the Jedi and focus on other parts of the Star Wars universe. Bounty Hunting, Spice Running or even Pod Racing is some ideas for Star Wars to go with. The 9 films that focus on the Jedi has been made and the story has been told but Star Wars is not just about the Jedi, it is about every small story that inspires and creates hope.
The Return of the Jedi Again?
The real question is, is the Skywalker Saga really over? If we look at the current state of cinema, audiences are hungry for sequels to old franchises. Indiana Jones, Blade Runner, Star Wars, Bill and Ted, Toy Story, Jumanji and much more have had sequels released more than ten years after the last installment. The Skywalker Saga does not have to end no matter how much Disney say it is the end. We know that the force always strives for a balance of good and evil, there will always be a conflict of evil trying to overcome good. Everytime a sith is killed, the force works in a way that they will be replaced.
The new trilogy has also created some interesting characters. The main trio of Rey, Finn and Poe are great characters that could further be explored in future installments. Their story does not have to end if the actors are willing to return. It’s a big payday for everyone, it also means there is less work to start a fresh story. Maybe in 10 years time we could start a new trilogy that passes the torch for a new generation. It is likely this is the step forward. It would be a strange move not to make episode, 10, 11 and 12. There is potential for a new trilogy with these characters now the torch is fully passed from the original trilogy. This will allow the new characters shine by themselves. The Skywalker Saga could continue……