13th Nov2017

Culture Dump #17: We’ll Never See the End of the Star Wars Franchise

by Simon Bland

star-wars-the-last-jedi-image

It’s official. No one alive today will ever live to see the Star Wars franchise ride off into the golden Bespin sunset. Seriously. All this drama with the Skywalker family may very well wrap up once JJ Abrams releases Episode IX onto audiences but today’s die-hard Star Wars fans will likely never get to see their beloved franchise come to a natural and official conclusion. News came this week that Disney and Lucasfilm are so happy with director Rian Johnson’s middle-trilogy-movie The Last Jedi that they’ve offered him his very own galaxy to play by spearheading his own separate bespoke trilogy. Impressive – but does that also mean we’re destined to see the chronic watering down of a series we all seem to hold so dear?

The transition has already begun. Beyond the realms of the canon Skywalker arc we’ve also seen ‘Star Wars Stories’ within the same universe with Rogue One and next year we’ll have a young Han Solo to deal with while we wait for the conclusion of the trilogy kicked off by The Force Awakens. Then there’s 2020’s as-yet-untitled anthology film (cough cough… Boba Fett) that slipped through the grasp of Director Josh Trank, a rumoured Obi Wan Kenobi stand-alone feature and even a Jabba The Hutt spin-off being considered by the powers that be. Throw Johnson’s brand new trilogy into the mix and our visits to a galaxy far, far away are going to rapidly increase over the next couple of decades.

That’s a long time time to hope to hold onto people’s attention, especially when the original heroes that got us hooked in the first place are thin on the ground. At this rate, the only hope for the future of the franchise could be to adopt a revolving-door cast approach, similar to the one used in AMC’s sometimes-good-sometimes-bad zombie show The Walking Dead. You know the score – it’s where you suddenly find yourself caring about background players who then conveniently step up to the plate whenever a main star takes a bow, carrying the show forward in the process, with you along for the ride. This focus-shift technique has helped keep audience attention even on a show where heroes become food quicker than you can swing a bat.

Odds are, we’ll start to see new faces slowly becoming main features as the likes of Luke, Vader and Obi Wan drift off into the distance. If we truly are going to be spending the better part of our collective future in a brand new galaxy populated with any number of brand new faces, we better get use to this type of narrative tool taking place. Or not – it probably doesn’t matter much. While all the intergalactic credits continue to roll in the series will power on regardless and with so many ideas in the pipeline, you’ll likely never see the final end credits roll anyway. Like the force itself, Star Wars has officially become omnipresent.

Are you looking forward to living with Star Wars for the rest of your life? Let me know in the comments below!

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