Star Wars is in desperate need of a reboot.
Disney’s first three-movie set was a failure long before the third movie will have arrived (within a few days as of this writing). It’s not a trilogy, for that would imply a consistent and coherent arc of characters and story across three acts. Anyone who saw The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, even if they liked them, knows these two movies were disjoint and had little relation to each other. All major threads from the first movie were abruptly abandoned in plot and/or tone in the second. TLJ was a Star Wars parody marginally disguised as a space epic.
There is no reason to see the third film, The Rise of Skywalker, regardless of how hard it may try to mend the “trilogy.” A car totaled as a wreck cannot be returned to working condition.
Don’t buy the marketing tagline all over commercials: TRoS is not “the end of the Skywalker saga.” The true end of the saga, Return of the Jedi, was released in 1983.
The new characters will not be remembered in any meaningful way. Rey, Kylo, and Finn are not the cultural successors to Han, Luke, and Leia. A fatal flaw of the new movies was in not appreciating how the performances of Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fischer were intricate to what made original Star Wars so special.
It seems like Star Wars is doomed to relegation as streaming service content bait. But is there a path forward to make Star Wars, well, Star Wars again, in film? Optimistically, I believe so.
The solution would first require the wholesale removal of LucasFilm’s current executive leadership, to be replaced by creative talent that understands what made classic Star Wars great, that their task is neither to focus on contemporary social issues nor plagiarize A New Hope again. Disney, this action is on you.
What could the new team do to reboot Star Wars? How about giving the fans exactly what they want this time.
We went to The Force Awakens to see Luke Skywalker in action, but instead got an opening crawl that decreed, “Luke Skywalker has vanished.” So we went to The Last Jedi to see Luke Skywalker in action, but instead got the bitter, whiny, and depressed Skywalker known as Jake. So when are we going to get to see the real Luke?
It’s time for the Jedi Master Skywalker trilogy. It will be faithful in character, tone, and story to the original Star Wars movies. It will be all about Luke Skywalker, as the main character and in action as we expect the last Jedi Master to be.
Though respecting the past, it will be a completely separate story from anything we have seen before. The Star Wars galaxy is very big – give Luke an amazing, original story that takes him and us on adventures we have yet to realize. Make it fun and timeless.
There are multiple levels of beauty to this. The portrayal of Luke Skywalker by Mark Hamill could carry an entire trilogy, in a way that few if any other pop culture icons could. You don’t need any other original characters, although his faithful companion R2-D2 would be an appropriate pairing, with the droid having a proper character role and not as a discarded hood ornament.
Further, and this is the win for Disney, a trilogy for Hamill’s Skywalker would provide sufficient time to cultivate a core of new characters around Luke, that through their association with Skywalker, would create a genuine emotional investment for fans, leveraged afterwards for future Star Wars projects.
What about the Rey movies? Here, Disney can use their newfound kit of discarding past precedent and internal consistency to their advantage. Simply ignore, completely, the Rey movies. They never happened. Call them “Legends” content just as Disney relegated the Expanded Universe prior. Ultimately, there would be nothing to stop Disney from producing content for that other line of characters, if they think the revenue is there. But hopefully the Hamill trilogy would become the de facto starting point for all new Star Wars content.
It’s nice to dream of what could have been. I would like to retain hope that someday, Star Wars will be course-corrected and I will want to see a Star Wars movie in a theater again. Until then, I will take Mark Hamill’s advice and wait until the movies reach cable.