Noted accuracy merchant Mike Zeroh is claiming that the backlash to The Last Jedi and the poor box office performance of Solo has gotten Disney and Lucasfilm so spooked that they’ve made Star Wars: Episode IX a monument to nostalgia and fan service as a course correction. And for once, I actually think he might be onto something here.
Nobody could ignore the ridiculously overblown reaction to The Last Jedi, which made fans so angry you’d think Rian Johnson had broken into their houses and *gasp* taken their mint condition toys out of the packaging. And as for The Force Awakens, I generally liked it, though following the basic story beats of A New Hope to the extent of creating a solar system destroying Death Star planet that the heroes have to destroy in the nick of time very much felt like they were playing it safe. Say what you like about the prequels, but at least George Lucas very consciously didn’t try to retell the same story as the Original Trilogy.
In my eyes, The Last Jedi was a necessary course correction to that, explaining that there’s more to this universe than endless secret Skywalker children, B-class Emperor Palpatine knockoffs and heroes doing the same thing they did twenty years in the past. Throughout the film, there was a conscious effort to push things forward, be it through the message that the Jedi/Sith dichotomy isn’t the only route to the Force, that the circumstances of your birth don’t matter and it’s what you do with your life that’s most important, that you shouldn’t make idols of people as they’ll inevitably let you down and, most importantly, that sometimes the past needs to die for new ideas to flourish.
If Star Wars: Episode IX really is going to be fan service central, you can count me and many other folks out. What’s the point in just rehashing the same old stuff ad nauseam when you have a whole galaxy of potential stories waiting to be told? It feels strange to say it, but I’m in full agreement with Zeroh when he concludes that: “[Fan service and nostalgia] needs substance, purpose and meaning in order for it to truly resonate.”