Are We Suffering from 'Star Wars' Fatigue?
I've been a fan of Star Wars from the start. I was only four when the first movie came out, but I remember getting a watch with C-3PO and R2-D2 on it for Christmas in 1977. It's still the most memorable gift from my childhood.
I have vivid memories of going to see the original trilogy, both in the original runs and in re-releases. I suffered through the prequels. And my siblings and I have introduced Star Wars love to a new generation through the new films and Disney World visits.
But this year I can't help but wonder one thing: are we suffering from Star Wars fatigue? My family lined up to see The Last Jedi just before Christmas, and I've already seen Solo twice. Disney has plenty more "product" in the pipeline: Episode IX, more standalone films, another trilogy unrelated to the Skywalker saga, and cartoon and live television deals.
Is it all too much? I can't help but think that even die-hard Star Wars fans think so.
The trouble is that collateral damage results from Star Wars fatigue. Solo is a box office disappointment, earning a mere $177 million in the States and $313 million worldwide at the time of this writing. And that's a shame because Solo is a terrific, rip-roaring adventure.
I think Solo has suffered because it followed The Last Jedi by a mere five months. The Last Jedi created a stir for its length and for the path down which director Rian Johnson took the film. Let's face it: the eighth episode of the Skywalker saga was a flawed, bloated movie, though I've warmed up to it with repeated viewings.
What made fans hate The Last Jedi so much? Over at The Hollywood Reporter, Marc Bernardin chalks much of the animus up to nostalgia - and the violation of it. "Star Wars fans — I count myself among them — look to the original trilogy as an anchor of youth," he wrote. "They want anything Star Wars to make them feel the way they did when they saw “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away …” roll across the screen 40 years ago.
It's possible that nostalgia plays into the restlessness of Star Wars fans. After all, Johnson took this trilogy in a surprising direction — one that included enough twists and turns to make the movie about 20 minutes too long. Bernardin also muses about whether fans saw too much social justice warrior posturing in the new films.
"When J.J. Abrams signed on for The Force Awakens and built his narrative around a young woman with The Force and her black friend, it triggered the anti-SJW brigades. (Never mind it also gave them Han Solo, Chewbacca, Leia and a pair of familiar droids.) The #BoycottEpisodeVII hashtag spread, targeting Ridley and John Boyega, though it probably had more headlines than effect, as the film topped $2 billion worldwide," he wrote.