Star Wars May Be Testing the Endurance of Its Fans


If you were one of the countless children who grew up swinging around broomsticks like lightsabers and putting blue food coloring in your glasses of milk, then you very well may feel as though we’ve entered a new golden age of Star Wars. After all, in addition to the main ongoing saga films and Star Wars Rebels, we also have upcoming projects including Solo: A Star Wars Story, several live-action television series, a potential Obi-Wan Kenobi standalone film (plus other rumored spinoffs), a new trilogy overseen by Star Wars: The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson, and, just announced, a new series of films written and produced by Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

This, of course, begs the question: Just how much Star Wars can Star Wars fans take?

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Some may argue it’s naïve to question the endurance of arguably the largest and most passionate fandom of all time. (Like, say, underestimating the power of the Dark Side.) Then again, even Olympic-level athletes can fall victim to fatigue when they push themselves beyond their limits, and while fans might be quick to dismiss the idea of Star Wars oversaturation, you sometimes don’t realize you’ve had too much of something until you’ve… well, had too much.

Think about it -- Star Wars’ first true golden age, naturally, was during the era of the original trilogy, which spanned from 1977 to 1983. In that time, fans had three major motion pictures, each spaced three years apart, the dreaded Holiday Special in ’78, some comic books and a handful of novels, three of which were novelizations of the films themselves. It wasn’t until 16 years later that the prequel trilogy arrived, another 10 years after Revenge of the Sith for the sequel trilogy, and a few animated series sprinkled in between.

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Fast-forward to today, and we’ve reached the point where we're getting a brand new Star Wars movie in theaters every year. Plus, with Lucasfilm already developing the next 10 years of films, which -- at the bare minimum -- includes Episode IX, the Rian Johnson trilogy and the Benioff/Weiss series (keep in mind, we still don’t actually know how many films are even in the series), you have to imagine that frequency is only going to increase with time. Furthermore, you also have to imagine a few live-action TV series won’t be the only new Star Wars content developed for Disney’s forthcoming digital streaming service.

Rose and Finn in Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Though Last Jedi was a hit with critics, fans had a divided response to Episode VIII.

And speaking of Disney, although both are subsidiaries of the House of Mouse, Lucasfilm isn’t Marvel Studios, nor should it try to be. Despite its reputation as a cinematic behemoth, an increasingly vocal minority has begun to express growing frustration with Marvel’s formulaic approach to storytelling, and it’s no mere coincidence that these sentiments echo louder each time the studio increases its annual slate of films (though the universally positive response to Black Panther may stymie that for now). When you fire out content in such rapid succession, it becomes easier to see the otherwise indiscernible cracks in the framework, and given the disheartening fan reception of The Last Jedi, it’s hardly outside the realm of possibilities that fans will look at future Star Wars projects with far more scrutiny than they did in years past.

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Of course, none of this is to say Lucasfilm’s ambition should be frowned upon. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. A studio responding to a very apparent demand by providing the requested supply is simply smart business. Nevertheless, there’s a fine line between too much, too little and just right, and as long as Lucasfilm is able to find that sweet spot, then this truly will be a new golden age of Star Wars.

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