Disney owns two of the most successful studios, and franchises, in the world. With Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Universe and Marvel Studios’ Marvel Cinematic Universe, Disney seem truly unstoppable as the studio’s releasing hit after hit – that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement, though. Star Wars has been an unstoppable force (pun intended) since its inception 40 years ago, and it just so happens that it could teach the MCU a thing or two. So let’s take a look at what Lucasfilm does masterfully, and what departments Marvel Studios lacks in, and see how the MCU can be made even stronger.
Heroes Shouldn’t Be Immortal
Sometimes the most heroic action is a sacrifice. If you’ve seen Star Wars, then you’ll be well aware that Lucasfilm isn’t afraid to kill off main antagonists, but it’s never for no reason. Whether it’s Obi-Wan shutting down the tractor beam before dying to Darth Vader in A New Hope or Luke Skywalker’s selfless sacrifice in The Last Jedi, it always feels right when a hero is killed off. It proves that actions have consequences, and it can create a real sense of jeopardy.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s a rarity that a main player is killed off. So far, Yondu is the only hero to perish (ignoring Quicksilver’s death as fans barely had time to get to know him), and it worked. Marvel should look at Star Wars, and Yondu’s death, and realize that it’s okay for titular characters to die after a while. Captain America has starred in his own trilogy, and in two Avengers movies, and he’s still going strong. In the comics, both Sam Wilson and Bucky have taken over the mantle after Steve Roger meets his fate, and some of the stories have been huge successes. It’s time for Marvel Studios to retire some of their staple heroes, and Avengers: Infinity War is the perfect time to do it.
Compelling, Layered Villains
Star Wars does many things right, but it’s definitely one of the stand-out franchises when it comes to great villains. The trick is to treat protagonists like antagonists in terms of properly fleshing them out and giving them a real sense of purpose and motivation, which makes things all the more better when they come face-to-face with the heroes. Darth Vader is multi-dimensional as the franchise took the time to build up his character. Kylo Ren is working great so far in the new trilogy as he’s the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa, and there’s a complexity to his character as he’s not entirely on the Dark Side (as of yet).
The Marvel Cinematic Universe, however, is notorious for having somewhat of a villain problem. Besides a handful of antagonists — namely Loki, Vulture, Hela, and Zemo — the heroes of each movie have been the main focus, and the villains feel like throwaways. The aforementioned villains that work all have something in common: they have motivation and/or have been developed wonderfully. Loki was introduced in Thor before he was the central villain in Avengers, the Vulture had a real purpose to his actions in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and so on. Marvel Studios needs to look at what makes these characters work compared to the ones that fall flat, and a glance at the villains in the world of Star Wars would help to steer them in the right direction.
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