What I Think As A Non-fan Watching Star Wars Franchise

To start this writing, I want to talk a little bit about myself first. I only started really watching Star Wars when the Rogue One spin-off came out. And it is just because back in uni, a lecturer invited the whole class to watch it together in the cinema. It fascinated me, for someone who had not even taken a look to the franchise. The story connects with former films but I can enjoy this one as just one isolated and great story. Other forms of media adapting (*ahem* milking) Star Wars except motion pictures, I know nothing about them. As a franchise, I know it exists and that’s that. 

Later the pandemic started. Disney+ launched in Indonesia. And I don’t really have any activities to do rather than working my job. From this time around, I started researching on how to watch Star Wars “the right way” hence the episode I-IX wording with a no chronological release date. I found so many interesting (and questionable) from my newcomer perspective such as:  Samuel L. Jackson and Natalie Portman in a film before the superhero boom; is Luke Skywalker left-handed or right-handed?; (some) Mandalorian can’t take their helmet off once they wear it; and finally watching some episodes from the 80s really gave me a fresh and a reminder that back then they put up great effort for special effects, costumes and make up.

Star Wars (Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

Star Wars is set in a galaxy far, far away and follows the adventures of various characters, including Jedi knights, Sith lords, and everything in between. The original trilogy, which consists of episodes IV-VI, focuses on The Rebel Alliance, a group of individuals and organisations fighting against The Empire to restore The Republic. The prequel trilogy, consisting of episodes I-III, focuses on the fall of the Republic and the rise of the Empire, as well as the roles of the Jedi and the Sith in these events. The recent sequel trilogy episodes VII-IX, set after the Empire’s fall, follows the story of the Empire’s remnants and attempts to restore balance to the galaxy.

Even though these three distinct trilogies are different, they are actually having the same characteristics. The cycle of The Rebel fighting their freedom from The Empire with a either small or big win from The Rebel side, there will be more from The Empire to come. This is where the problem occurs. 

The concept of a conflict between The Republic / Rebel Alliance and The Empire is a common trope in science fiction. Now add the cycle of the one that is depicted evil gaining power, then the good one trying to take it back. The good kind of wins, later the evil struggles with them losing control. Finally the pattern will start all over with the next trilogy. It is worth noting that while the main saga of Star Wars has come to an end with the conclusion of the sequel trilogy (episode VII-IX). And what if they start the pattern all over again with episode X-XII?

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

Spin-off series are generally good, but one I watched lacked characteristics of The Book of Boba Fett. I just watched the first three episodes, out of curiosity after enjoying how good The Mandalorian was. Then I felt nothing. This was just like The Mandalorian, switching out Mando with Boba Fett as the main character, infusing a so-so premise, then just hoping people would adore it like they would to Grogu “The Baby Yoda”.

Talking about animation, there were actually many before The Bad Batch. But as I said before, I just started following the franchise through Rogue One, I’m not familiar at all with the other animation adaptations.Yet if I have to recommend The Bad Batch, there is no doubt that it is a must watch. The conflict is distancing themselves from any Jedi or Sith related. The intention feels like it reminds people that the galaxy is a vast collection of billions of stars and planets, let’s take a look at other people. 

Talking about the world in the Star Wars Franchise, we can’t overlook how important the planets are. And if we take a closer look at most planets (or maybe all?), these are just a redefinition of Earth. An extreme version of Earth climates; a hyperbole of Earth weathers; hybrids, combinations or just a funny modification of Earth flora and fauna. The planets in Star Wars feel uninspired and unoriginal. This lack of innovation in world-building is what the creators fail to benefit from.

Cultures are similar to what we’ve had on Earth. Even maybe we are much more diverse on a planet compared to the galaxies that Star Wars have. It’s clear that the cultures depicted in Star Wars are not as diverse or unique as one would expect from a galaxy far, far away. In fact, they often resemble those found on Earth, making the galaxy feel less alien and more familiar. This lack of cultural diversity is a missed opportunity in the Star Wars universe.

Wookies (Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

People are more or less the same. What we see as humans are basically the same as Earth humans. Maybe other so-called ‘intelligent life’ give us some interesting perspectives. The one distinct thing that is different from ‘our’ Earth, is the native on a planet that rules it, such as the Wookiees on Kashyyyk. It would be expected to have a diverse array of intelligent life forms and cultures, with much more depth and complexity than what is portrayed in the franchise.

STAR WARS™ Battlefront™ II (Credit: EA Games / Lucasfilm / Dice)

Unfortunately I never touch other forms of media like novels, comics, and video games. Though I have a digital version of STAR WARS: Squadrons and STAR WARS: Battlefront II, courtesy of Epic Store free games (which Epic burns their Fortnite money on). I just don’t have the urge to play these nor the time. Don’t get me wrong. These seem good games per their reviews on media and digital stores.

The Star Wars franchise has released a number of spin-offs, prequels, sequels, and merchandise over the years, which some may find overwhelming. While some people may appreciate the abundance of content and merchandise, others may not have the interest or the time to consume it all. Not always, but certainly we all feel it here and there. Good thing though, I am not a fan or something like that. 

As a neutral party, I fancy the decades of relevancy of Star Wars and certainly they have their chance to do the same or more for the decades to come. The Star Wars universe is rich with a vast number of characters, compelling stories, and iconic moments. The ability to evolve and adapt over the decades has been a key factor in the franchise’s continued success. Whether it be through the introduction of new characters, new technologies or new storytelling formats.

The Franchise has had issues in the past, and it is important that you keep that in mind. There have been several criticisms and concerns about the franchise, from the continuous release of spin-offs to the idea of lack of new original elements in the film.  Yet overall, the franchise has a vast and dedicated fan base who are passionate about the universe, stories and characters. Also with the recent new series and movies revolving around the finished main saga, it’s clear that Star Wars will continue to have a significant presence in the entertainment industry for decades to come.

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