Maybe We Don’t Need Anymore Star Wars Movies

I saw the teaser trailer for the new Star Wars movie Solo last week and it has me nervous for the Star Wars universe. I’m a big believer in Kathleen Kennedy and what she’s done for the Star Wars universe. And while the new movies have been a bit uneven, they’re way more consistent than what Lucas ever did for us.

But one of the most amazing things about the SW universe is all the questions we have about it and all the little crevasses it holds for storytelling. The first movie, and the original trilogy, created this amazing universe that let our imaginations run wild. What is the Kessel run and how long does it normally take to run it? What happens if you fall into a Sarlac pit? What is the real history between Han and Lando? In our minds, all of these little questions help us create the larger and larger universe that is needed to fill in the details. Imagination is a powerful tool and letting your readers/viewers fill in gaps in your world with these question is a powerful tool to get them to keep coming back.

I’ve always been torn about everything in the Star Wars universe that came after the original trilogy, and part of me wishes it never existed. Because I remember what it was like to only have the OT, before the books and video games and Jar Jar Fucking Binks ruined everything. We had created a new world in our minds, full of possibilities that could never be matched. I liked the Clone Wars well before we knew what they really were — they were way more interesting as a question than an answer.

There is a lot of talk about how Hollywood these days is just full of reboots and franchises, and Star Wars is probably the worst offender. At a movie a year, the Disney-owned Lucasfilm is leaving no money on the table. We need to squeeze every possible dollar out of these universes and leave no pocket unexplored. A far cry from the maverick that Lucas started out as, his movie franchise now shows us how a sustainable creative endeavor can continue to provide coin with the right level of interest and investment, even if it means leaving no question unanswered.

It’s the same reason why sequels are usually so unfulfilling. We love a story for all of the possibilities it brings, and then a sequel (or, ugh, sequels) goes about answering all those questions and basically taking away all the mystery and interest that brought us to the story in the first place. Having mystery and unfulfilled potential in stories is actually a good thing, but Hollywood and Americans in general have little impulse control, and the impulse usually leads to revealing as much as possible. Because money.

My inner 12 year old, as usual, is torn. There is so much good geekiness available now, and Star Wars really leads the way. But when we over-explain and over-answer the universes that give us delights, then we steal their magic and turn them into commodities, something rote and known, without any mystery. I want Solo to be good, but part of me would rather have it not exist at all. Then I could just make up the stories in my head, which are way better than anything on the screen anyway.


  1. // Reply

    They made one change to the original film after its initial release and that was to add the “Episode IV” title. I loved that. It captured the feeling of those old Republic serials and made us think we’d walked in to a bigger story.

    And that’s where they should have left it. No prequels, no filling every corner and answering every question. I never wanted an encyclopaedia, I wanted an adventure.

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