If history has taught me anything, it’s that Star Wars will generate more scrutiny, praise, ridicule, dissection and analysis than any other entertainment property ever, when a new piece of media is released under its umbrella. It has almost become the status quo. Why? Well, because it’s Star Wars! It has the legacy of millions of fans, young and old. From those who were adults watching the original movies upon first release to those whose grandparents watched the original movies upon first release and every age in between. It has captured the imaginations of many and for some it has left such a lasting impression that it is in fact difficult for them to loosen their grip on something so valuable to them.
Star Wars, more than any other property it seems, is judged not by just the achievements of its past, but the emotions it invoked in those that experienced it first hand all those years ago. It is something that is so connected to some people’s past, so interwoven into the very fabric of their early development, that it is almost part of them. Therefore, the past becomes the benchmark against which all future entries in the franchise are judged.
Star Wars, however, is much more than the fevered nostalgic grip of millions of adult fans. It is an entire universe waiting to be explored one piece at a time. More importantly it is a universe waiting for newer and younger fans, a universal playground that forces no limits nor boundaries as regards ethnicity, gender, age or religion. For a universe so vast and so potentially rich in yet to be discovered lore, the shackles of its golden era motion picture past must finally be, at the very least, loosened!
With shows like The Mandalorian and Andor, video games like Star Wars Jedi and books like War of the Bounty Hunters the surface of that potential is finally being scratched by writers, creators, producers and developers that are introducing us to a Star Wars that is no longer burdened with the act of constantly looking over its shoulder. We need that for this franchise. The written word, the art panel, the 3d modeled Jedi Padawan, this is where the future lies. Older fans have to accept that the future of the franchise may not lie in motion pictures, but in other forms of media. Newer, younger fans will discover it through video games, comics, mobile games and apps, media that is far more natural to them to absorb, learn from and be entertained by. Our world is evolving. The way we consume media is ever changing. The method by which media is delivered and subsequently discovered has changed.
Star Wars is something much, much bigger than any of us, the singular inspired vision of one man that has lasted now for decades. It needs to evolve more and more with the passing of time. It needs to grow, to entertain and to inspire new creators across different and emerging media types, but it can’t if so many are clinging to it and willing it to be something it no longer is, something that resembles what they liked so many years ago. Changing times, changing environments and attitudes all lead to…change. This is the way! Creators are inspired by their own environments, circumstances and indeed interests and likes. This will invariably lead to more diverse concepts, ideas and story lines when expanding that galaxy far, far away.