STAR WARS, Too big to fail!
Updated: Jul 23, 2020
Too Big to Fail!
Too Big to be good!
After 40 years of the Star Wars franchise, I’m still eager for the next phase in the Saga. That’s despite the many problems with the most recent trilogy that ended with Rise of Skywalker. Plot holes, a confused and contradictory story line, the pointless existence of new characters, the equivocation of a former slave and a ne’er-do-well as deserving of redemption, old troupes of school yard bad boys and the doting females that love them, the apparent disdain for interracial couplings, and the unceremonious deaths of Leia, Han, and Luke will all be counted among the issues casual fans ignore and the die-hard fans hatefully internalize. However, none of the aforementioned problems will be enough to keep us from losing our minds when trailers for the next movie or Disney+ series hits the web.
Star Wars is too big to fail! They get just enough right to continually cash in on the brand, and not enough wrong to convince us to break up with them.
Indeed, it is not a 1-to-1 comparison I am making of the Star Wars franchise to the likes of Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan, or Goldman Sachs. No one loses their home if Star Wars goes away.
But what this latest trilogy has proven is that the outside pressures levied against the film makers from corporate interest forces them to rely more on spectacle than quality writing to keep the money rolling in. Toys, t-shirts, demographic representation, and licensing are just a few of the considerations I assume Disney execs make before pre-production. After satisfying all of those needs and more, you may end up with a movie that is beautiful to watch but contains a sloppy story.
Star Wars is too big to be good? Too many hands in the cookie jar. Too many mouths to feed. Choose your own metaphor. But the trail of blood left behind by all the people who were tasked with making these movies appeal to everyone, leads us to believe that it couldn’t have been easy.
Because of recent economic history, merely raising the question that some entity may be too big to fail, suggest that maybe it should. That is not the direction I am attempting to go. What I am attempting to say is that Star Wars has too much good will, too many good actors and actresses, too much old money to spend on making more new money, and too much Hope on the part of movie goers to ever pull in box office returns so paltry that execs would turn on it.
In the meantime, executives must be aware that in all 3 trilogies’, they have seen diminishing returns through each of them. A New Hope made $800k at the box office. The Empire Strikes Back made $600k at the box office. The Return of the Jedi made $500k at the box office. The same is mostly true for the following trilogies. The exception being that Revenge of the Sith made more money than Attack of the Clones. But they both made less than The Phantom Menace.
What do large public corporations do when their stock begins to fail due to growing dissatisfaction with their product? They get a new CEO to helm the company and revamp the product. Suddenly, the people that had lost interest jump back in with the hope that the new management will write a better trilogy. The cycle continues to the next CEO/Director.
The studio and the film makers have my sympathies. Trying to give younger viewers new characters that they can also love and care about for the next half century is sensible as a corporation, and somewhat laudable as film makers. Nevertheless, if they can’t find a way to tell a leaner story, all their money and good will may not be enough to make up for a lost generation that doesn’t connect with their stories.
BY: JARED BIRDSONG