Why ‘Star Wars’ Will Likely Never Explore New Genres of Storytelling
The space opera with hints of samurai movies, serials, westerns, comedies, fantasy, and action films has one of the world’s most devoted fan-bases. Still, without fail, each new movie in the saga will polarize audiences for either sticking too close to the script or veering too far.
This might be why the Star Wars saga won’t veer out of the lane that it created.
The ‘Star Wars’ mythology
Although his perception has grown complicated in Star Wars fans’ eyes, they still have George Lucas to thank for what Star Wars became. At the time of its creation, nothing like that had been done. The day’s popcorn movies were often prestige westerns, musicals, or gritty dramas that explored the reality of everyday life.
In came Lucas, who had already experienced success with American Graffiti and THX 1138. When Lucas was creating his movie, he didn’t yet know what kind of cultural phenomenon it would be.
He was simply trying to recreate the type of genre-fiction that he enjoyed as a kid. It had the pulpy appeal of Flash Gordon, the honor and style of a Kurosawa picture, and the scope of a John Wayne western.
From Casablanca to Metropolis, Lucas cookie-cuttered aspects of his favorite films into a hodgepodge that eventually swept the world and forever changed the entertainment industry.
While there, the franchise has since found its way into other hands and explored everything from war movies to comedies and heist movies, the core sentiments remain the same. Fast-forward to 2020, and the franchise is now a television universe that explores these roots even further.
It’s not likely to change any time soon.
Why won’t ‘Star Wars’ change
It’s hard to compare any type of fandom to Star Wars fandom, especially on Reddit. Although the franchise is often pitted up against Star Trek, the latter, while wildly popular in its own right, has never been the cultural phenomenon that Star Wars is.
When the prequels started rolling out in the late-1990s, fans lamented the addition of political drama that, in their eyes, took away from the pulpy feel of the originals.
When Disney bought the franchise’s rights, they made no qualms about their desires to make the franchise more in vain of the original franchise. While each of its movies has taken its risks, the company has remained true to this for better and for worse.
Whether it was a movie in the main canon, a television episode, or one of the spin-off movies, everything that Disney released had some Star Wars magic, whether it succeeded or not.
With such a vast and opinionated group as Star Wars fans, the films get criticized whether they veer away or stay too strict.
However, when films like Rogue One and Solo came out, to varying degrees of success, they failed to do the types of numbers that the main films did, per The Numbers.
As such, Disney isn’t likely to explore the genre-shifting property past its core feel.
What makes ‘Star Wars’ familiar?
Fans of Star Wars are not completely against finding new ways to explore the galaxy far, far away. From The Mandalorian to Rogue One, fans have been open to change within the original films’ barriers. However, what fans expect is the types of changes that feel right within the saga and don’t try too hard to retcon what has already happened.
These fans have shown that they will show up to anything that the creators make as long as it has the Star Wars name attached. However, when the movies go too far out of their comfort zones and ignore what worked in the past, per Screen Rant, the box offices struggle.
For all the complaints about the most recent trilogy and its penchant for relying on the original trilogy for tone and plot points, they remain the three biggest grossers in the franchise’s history.
Disney might further explore different genres, but they aren’t likely to go too far out of left field. For all the passionate fans and casual observers alike, the evidence shows that when they try to go away from what works, the money they make goes down with every detour.