BLOG Franchise Fatigue

As a huge fan of Star Wars you’d expect I’d have had loads to say about the developments of the last four months. You can certainly say the future of Star Wars has been irrevocably changed. With the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney, the announcement of five films over the next ten years, including a new trilogy, with JJ Abrams directing the first instalment, and stand-alone Han Solo and Boba Fett films (subject to change).

To be honest I have had opinions on all these things but I seem to be far less interested in Star Wars lately than I ever have been. I touched upon my dissatisfaction with all things Star Wars a bit last month but have pretty much left the subject alone really.

After the prequels I fell out of love with Star Wars a little. Not the old films, they will always be close to my heart, but the new stuff didn’t seem to be for me. I’ve had quite a lot to say about the prequels over the years. I had passion for the franchise then. But slowly I realised I’d said everything I had to say and I was over it. The prequels disappointed me on several levels but they’d happened and that was that. At least we’d gotten the superb “Clone Wars” cartoon series out of it.

And around this time I was also falling out of love with the franchises’ Expanded Universe books…

In past blogs I have credited the Star Wars Expanded Universe book “Heir To The Empire” as the reason I came back to the bosom of sci-fi. And that is true. After reading Zahn’s book I lapped up every Star Wars book I could find. Bantham and Del Ray books didn’t keep me wanting; with over 130 books released since Zahn’s book arrived in 1991 there’s certainly been plenty to read. And that’s not even mentioning the YA books or the Dark Horse comic books series. But eventually I grew bored of the Star Wars books and grew bored of seeing Luke, Han and Leia fighting variations on this crisis or that war again and again. The characters had become stale to me. I found myself constantly wishing that someone would give them a week off. The books did introduce new characters, and I did find these characters a lot more interesting than the old movie characters, but they often ended up playing second fiddle to those older, more familiar faces.

After feeling this growing dissatisfaction for a while, there were two events which made me finally give up on the EU. The first was the “Legacy Of The Force” book series. This was launched in 2006 and featured one epic story told over nine books. I really enjoyed this series. It was full of adventure and war. The main focus was Jacen Solo’s fall to the dark side and for me it re-told the tale of the fall of Darth Vader in a much better way than the prequels did. Unfortunately I was bitterly disappointed with the last book in the series. After an epic tale, brilliantly told over nine parts, the last book completely dropped the ball for me. It didn’t bother to resolve half its plotlines, and also had most of the big, climactic action take place off page. To add insult to injury that last book actually set up more future books.

Soon after this another nine-book saga, “Fate Of The Jedi”, was announced and I decided I was out. Around the same time as this was going on I was reading the Karen Traviss “Clone Commando” series of books and they, for me, were the best Star Wars books I’d ever read. When Ms Traviss announced she would be stopping the books due to a change in canon, which basically undid the five books she’d written, I decided I was done with Star Wars books. Since that decision I have dipped my nose into five or six new Star Wars books but I haven’t managed to finish any. I guess my Star Wars tank was full. Today my love of Star Wars, apart from stuff from the past, consists of “The Clone Wars” cartoon and the occasional Lego set.

So, with the news of this big exciting new lease of life for Star Wars as a cinematic franchise I found that I really didn’t care that much. I watched my Twitter feed melt down after the initial sale. I watched as rumour after rumour surfaced about what the new films might be about, who might be writing and who could direct. And I just wasn’t overly bothered. JJ Abrams was announced as the director of the first of the new Star Wars films and I had very little reaction. When the subject came up in one of Al Stuart’s Blogbusters I answered, but other than that I’ve really not talked about the born again Star Wars much; as I said I guess my Star Wars tank is full.

This isn’t sour grapes. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be new Star Wars films. And it’s not an anti Disney or anti George Lucas stance. I’m not saying that I think the franchise is doomed. I think the franchise could do very will under the Disney banner; they’ve done fantastic things with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I think George Lucas stepping down and giving the franchise a new lease of life under someone else’s leader ship is a good move. I also think JJ Abrams could do fantastic things with a Star Wars film. And I am intrigued by the idea of a sequel trilogy. I admit I’m not as enthused by the idea of Han Solo and Boba Fett standalone films; neither character was ever my favourite and I’m quite happy with the EU version of their pasts I just don’t think stand alone films for these characters are needed.

So, I guess that’s why I’ve been quiet about all these Star Wars developments. I just don’t really have strong feelings about them. I’m sure I’ll see them. I hope I’ll enjoy them, but I don’t think I’m going to following the development quite a feverishly as I did the prequels. I have franchise fatigue. How about you?

Stephen Ellis