I’m going to make a bold statement now. Fans of Star Wars haven’t really had anything significant to get excited about in terms of plot since the 1980s.
After the titanic clash between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader on Bespin and arguably one of the greatest cinema reveals of all time (“Luke, I am your father.”), fans of the space opera were left with an abundance of questions. Was the Sith Lord lying? Will Luke give in to temptation and family ties and abandon the Rebellion for a life of evil? Will C-3PO ever stop being so paranoid about everything that happens to be in front of his face and actually do something significant to the plot? It was a confusing time to be a nerd.
Even when the series was revived with the much-criticised prequel trilogy between 1999-2005, movie-goers already knew the end result. Anakin Skywalker, the slave-turned Jedi Knight would at some stage in the next three movies fall to the Dark Side, at which point every Jedi would be mysteriously wiped out and several of the original trilogy’s key players would take their positions ahead of A New Hope‘s place in the saga – Obi-Wan to Tatooine, Yoda to Dagobah, and so on.
We even knew the identity of the Emperor, then just an ambitious Senator in the Galactic Republic – if it wasn’t already obvious enough given the two were portrayed by the very same Ian McDiarmid, a very obvious establishing shot at the climax of The Phantom Menace did the trick.
Finally, in producing brand-new content exploring previously unknown worlds with a mix of exciting new characters and our beloved heroes from the original trilogy, the masterminds behind 2015’s smash-hit The Force Awakens and the upcoming sequel, The Last Jedi, have finally restored a sense of mystery and intrigue to the series and left fans once again genuinely clueless as to what follows next.
Another genius move from Disney, who bought the rights to the international hit from creator George Lucas prior to Episode VII, was to de-canonise all but the eight films and animated Clone Wars series and selected Expanded Universe content, essentially crippling almost every fan theory in its early stages.
The same formula will now ring true for every subsequent film in the saga – even the reflective ‘in-between’ movies such as Rogue One and the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story are crafted to add colour to the existing canon, rather than revisit older material, minus the occasional self-deprecating joke or comment.
Add in the improved film-making techniques, well-placed use of CGI and absence of trade disputes from the plot line, along with the pure fact that Star Wars is now being made by fans, for fans, but with the likeability factor that has served Marvel’s Cinematic Universe so well over the last decade, and it’s clear to see why more people than ever before are looking forward to returning to a galaxy far, far away…
Check out the trailer for The Last Jedi once more below.