Star Wars: A New Era

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Betty Benson, Senior Editor

There are few movie franchises that have left as lasting of a legacy as the Star Wars films. First released in the late 70s, there are now nine main films, two side story movies, and a multitude of cartoon series all dedicated to furthering the storyline of good versus evil, the Jedi versus the Sith. Lucasfilm owned the rights to the Star Wars franchise since its creation, but in 2012, the rights were bought by Disney. Since being bought out, Star Wars content has been being produced at a rapid speed. Disney has just recently released plans for a multimedia series, called Star Wars: The High Republic. It seems that the Star Wars franchise is pushing through, full steam ahead, with no end in sight. Some die hard Star Wars fans have been frustrated by the changes and additions made by Disney in recent years, whereas others embrace it fully. There seems to be a division between fans as to whether further expanding the Star Wars universe is tarnishing the legacy of the films. 

Film History Timeline

Before Star Wars was bought out by Disney, six films were released starting in the late 1970s to the mid early 2000s. Since then, Disney has released five additional films and has major plans for expanding the Star Wars universe with mini series following certain characters’ storylines. 

Original Trilogy

Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983)

Prequel Trilogy 

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999)

Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (2002)

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (2005)

DISNEY BUYS RIGHTS TO STAR WARS

Sequel Trilogy

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

Anthology Films

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Upcoming Projects

Obi Wan Kenobi series (Date TBD)

Ahsoka series (Date TBD)

Lando series (Date TBD) 

Andor film (2022)

Star Wars: The High Republic 

Star Wars: The High Republic is a multimedia project unrelated to any of the current movies or tv shows that have been released. It seems that Disney is expanding the Star Wars franchise past the big screen entirely. The series will be published as a mix of comics and books, furthering the story of the Jedi during the “High Republic” era of the Age of the Republic. The first two titles were released on January 5th, and can be found where most books are sold. 

THS Student Opinions: Jack Armour and Lillian Gundersen

Jack Armour and Lillian Gundersen, are both seniors at Tumwater High School. Jack remembers his first exposure to the epic saga as playing the Lego Star Wars Wii game when he was little. From there, he obviously was quick to watch the films. Lillian Gundersen says that one of her earliest memories of the Star Wars saga was “sitting, watching A New Hope on our large Box T.V. in my sister’s room on the floor.” They both agree on the fact that if they had to pick a favorite movie, it would be Return of the Jedi, although Lillian has recently been a big fan of The Phantom Menace because “it’s superb and John Williams hits it out of the park once again with his iconic soundtrack.”

Disney buying Star Wars isn’t the first controversy that the franchise has seen. Many people didn’t like the prequel movies that came out in the early 2000s. Lillian explains that a large reason for dislike had to do with the script, as well as some character development, being weak. However, she was quick to add that “I feel like the original trilogy and the prequels can barely be compared due to the era they were both produced.” Jack Armour doesn’t mind the prequel movies, and didn’t have much to say in regards to his reasons why. 

Disney buying Star Wars has evoked strong emotions from fans, with a large majority being frustrated by the most recent expansion of the universe. Jack is among those that don’t enjoy the most recent film releases. “I lost my investment in Star Wars after Disney’s three movies. I felt like the story should have ended before Disney got it. And then they just kind of kept going to make money. They’re just trying to leach more money off an extremely popular franchise.” It’s arguable that the legacy of the Star Wars saga has lost some of its luster due to its rebranding with Disney. Many people have even turned away from the series altogether. Lillian also doesn’t exactly love the new Disney movies either. “I feel like they fell slightly flat and could have been greater. The amount of powers that the Jedi have compared to all the other movies doesn’t seem correct.” Since Disney’s absorption of Star Wars, it seems that the films have become more and more underwhelming.

What Does the Future Hold? 

It’s with releases such as The High Republic that people become more and more frustrated with the kind of changes that Disney is making surrounding the legacy of Star Wars. It may be that Disney is attracting a new generation of fans, but it can be argued that it is coming at the expense of enjoyment from original Star Wars junkies. What does the future hold for the Star Wars saga and franchise? Will Disney continue to milk more plot out of a timeless classic, rendering it overdone and boring? Or will the epic intergenerational saga finally end, and find a way to live forever in the hearts of fans?