Since Disney bought Star Wars in 2012 it would be fair to say they have had mixed success. Apoplectic fans have denounced all three of the last trilogy and Solo was not well-liked either. The TV series The Mandalorian has actually been there most successful creation (successful here means critical and fan appeal, not making money, in that sense I think Disney are very happy).
The show stars Pedro Pascal as the titular character, an exceptionally good bounty hunter always hidden behind his near priceless Mandalorian armour. The character’s bounty hunter code is challenged when sent after a morally difficult target and he chooses to do the right thing. The show is set in between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens and is heavily focused on the chaos that follows the death of the Emperor.
The Golden Age Of Television
There was a time when film was the perceived cultural superior to television but in the last twenty years things have changed – this is the Golden Age of television. Film and television can tell stories in different ways – in my opinion, Goodfellas and The Sopranos are the high-points of the portrayal of gangsters in their respective mediums but have different strengths and weaknesses. The Mandalorian has a main story arc but within that are numerous smaller stories, characters who get to shine in a particular episode. It often felt with the Star Wars films you are getting a glimpse of a huge universe, whilst and TV shows can go into depth.
One benefit to doing a TV show over another film trilogy would be that a film trilogy would inevitably feel it had to be about saving the galaxy and with some even bigger ultimate weapon. The Mandalorian is about saving one child and a smaller story can actually be more engaging.
The Trouble With Trilogies
I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited about a film as I was about The Phantom Menace and like many, I convinced myself it wasn’t that bad, but that couldn’t last. The prequels were a disaster with a few redeeming features – there are many, many problems with them ranging from casting to too much CGI to just being boring. The text crawl at the start of The Phantom Menace talks about tax disputes and while I do think a movie could be made about war sparking from something that dull The Phantom Menace failed.
It’s hard to even discuss the sequel trilogy without being overwhelmed complaints of the fans – they’re too much like the original trilogy, they’re too different to the original trilogy, Rey is a Mary-Sue, they ruined Luke, and then there’s the torrent of sexism that was also present in much of the criticism. For what it’s worth I think the sequels have problems but are much better than the prequels. The Last Jedi is an uneven film yet it has amazing parts to it – Luke and Kylo Ren’s confrontation is incredibly well done and a brilliant way to deal with their history. The biggest problem might have been it felt that the different directors had different ideas of what they wanted to do.
The Star Wars Universe
There is a wealth of material for more television shows. Aside from the films, there are a variety of TV shows, dozens of books, graphic novels, computer games and more:
The Old Republic – The Empire overthrew the Galactic Republic but there would be wars, conflict and interesting stories throughout this period. It could explore the time when the Jedi were at the height of their power.
It’s not all about the war – There’s a lot more going than just the civil war between the Empire and Rebel Alliance – there are bounty hunter guilds, crime syndicates, strange religions and more.
So Many Characters – There are a wealth of interesting existing characters. What about Chewbacca’s life before Han? Or ace rebel pilot Wedge Antilles – the only pilot to have fought in both Death Star battles? I was genuinely thrilled when Nien Nunb (pictured above) turned up in the sequels – for those who don’t know Nunb is the small alien who co-piloted the Millennium Falcon with Lando Calrissian in Return of the Jedi and would love to see more of him. If they’re willing to embrace the Dark Side, Disney could explore Darth Vader’s war against the Jedi.
Whatever happens next we all know Disney aren’t going to stop making Star Wars films and tv shows – let’s just hope they’re worthy additions.