The cartoon shows Mickey Mouse, representing the Walt Disney company, beating a dead horse with a bat. The Star Wars franchise has become this poor animal under Disney’s tenure of derivative plotlines, lack of planning, and overall disrespect to the dead.
The cartoon shows Mickey Mouse, representing the Walt Disney company, beating a dead horse with a bat. The Star Wars franchise has become this poor animal under Disney’s tenure of derivative plotlines, lack of planning, and overall disrespect to the dead.
Tristan Schneider

Disney killed Star Wars

Tristan Schneider is a Contributing Writer for The Bugle. The opinions expressed here are solely his own and are not meant to reflect views of The Bugle staff or The Bolles School.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Star Wars Return of the Jedi, which in past years would have been celebrated by all Star Wars fans, but now is met with eye rolls and sighs. Back in 2012, George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars and Lucasfilm, sold his company to Disney for 4.05 billion dollars. Ever since then, Star Wars as a franchise has been on a downward spiral with very derivative stories, inaccurate interpretations of characters, and infighting.


Disney didn’t have a concrete plan


Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy is the most to blame for the mishandling of the franchise. Since the Star Wars acquisition in 2012, Kennedy has fired 18 writers and directors on their films and TV shows. Some notable directors that were fired were Phil Lord and Christopher Miller for Solo, best known for both Spiderverse films.


“Unfortunately, our vision and process weren’t aligned with our partners on this project,” Lord and Miller told Variety magazine. “We normally aren’t fans of the phrase ‘creative differences’ but for once this cliché is true.” They were fired from the project after many months of arguing with Kennedy.


Letting go of a director in the middle of production leaves the film in poor condition. When a new team of directors and creators comes in they try to fix the movie with reshoots and sometimes entire script changes, which will leave the finished project a jumbled mess, and one that people will not go to watch. Case in point, Solo was the first and only Star Wars movie to lose money.


To make things even worse, when Disney was working on the sequel trilogy (The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker), there were no concrete plans for the overarching story. The biggest offenders were director JJ Abrams and executive Kathleen Kennedy when they brought the Emperor back in Rise of Skywalker. The Emperor was killed by Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi, and not in a way that he could come back from. He was thrown down thousands of feet into a pit, and then experienced the Star Wars equivalent of a nuclear bomb. The return of the Emperor completely ruins Darth Vader’s redemption and further demonstrates how Disney did not have a general plan for the three movies, as this was a last minute act. 


The actor who played the Emperor, Ian McDiarmid, was shocked when he was called onto the project and calls it a “total surprise” in the documentary The Skywalker Legacy. If Disney had the plan to bring back the Emperor originally, then they would have contacted McDiarmid back when they were starting The Force Awakens. Instead, they contacted him a year before filming The Rise of Skywalker. The Emperor’s resurrection was a rush job, not the result of careful consideration.


The new movies are derivative 


The whole sequel trilogy is just a worse version of the original trilogy. For example, the basic plot of The Force Awakens is almost the same as A New Hope. Orphan + droid + run + blow up big space station is the basic formula for the two movies. Disney was trying to create a safe movie that brought people back into Star Wars, but the product came out as an uninspired corporate retelling of the original Star Wars story.


Disney’s new movies and shows do not have many new ideas. The Empire fell in Return of the Jedi back in 1983 yet shows and movies are focusing on characters fighting them. The audience already knows how it’s going to end, so why is Disney telling the same story all the time? And even in the new movies they use Stormtroopers, Tie Fighters, X wings, etc. 


The movies were met with a mostly negative response at the end, especially the 51% critic score for the last movie. Disney switched it up and started making Star Wars Disney+ shows, which started off strong with The Mandalorian, which had a semi original idea and premise, but a very strange trend started to appear later. The Mandalorian is about a protagonist who must take care of a child and fight the Empire. Obi Wan Kenobi and The Bad Batch also have this concept, and the idea gets worse in each installment. 


The bastardization of established characters


Disney loves using old characters to boost their stories (even if those old characters don’t need to be in the new story). The audience would hope that Disney would be good at using older characters to evoke nostalgia, but they are REALLY BAD at it.


For example, Luke Skywalker in the newer Star Wars movies is a complete change from the original depiction. The original Luke would rather die to save his father, Darth Vader, the most evil man in the galaxy, but in the new movies he is willing to kill his own nephew because of a bad dream. Even the actor Mark Hamil thinks that Disney dropped the ball on his character.


“Well, in this version,” Hamil said, “see, I’m talking about the George Lucas Star Wars. This is the next generation of Star Wars. I almost had to think of Luke as another character. Maybe he’s ‘Jake Skywalker,’ he’s not my Luke Skywalker.” 


The audience could tell that there is something wrong with Luke. Instead of believing in hope and fighting for what’s right, he becomes a hermit on some remote planet and when people need his help, he refuses.


And then there’s Boba Fett, the cold ruthless bounty hunter. Nowadays he is an old, compassionate man who loses every fight he is in and fights for what’s right. These are two completely different interpretations of the same character. 


And then there is the creepy CGI dead zombie problem. For Episode 9, the late Carrie Fisher was brought back from the dead using unreleased footage after the actress died in late 2016. In Rogue One they used CGI to bring back Peter Cushing for Grand Moff Tarkin; Peter Cushing died in 1994, 26 years before the movie was released. Disney executives could have just recast the roles. The use of zombie actors and actresses should be considered inhumane and should not be practiced in film. There are so many other options for roles that have had their actor die, recast them or just dont use the character. There is no need to dig up dead actors for their roles.


The effects of Disney on Star Wars


On the critical side of Star Wars, it is really hit or miss for the franchise. Disney will have a great hit like the first two seasons of The Mandalorian but then follow it up with The Book of Boba Fett and Obi Wan Kenobi which were two of the most disliked Star Wars Television projects ever, earning ratings in the low 50s and 60s on Rotten Tomatoes.


Star Wars has never been in a more terrible position (not even when the prequels came out). Disney keeps on making the same mistakes over and over again. Most of the films and shows have nothing to do with each other and it seems that Disney is throwing out content at random to see which gets well recieved. This could ruin the Star Wars brand further if the projects turn out to be dumpster fires. They already started off strong with the announcement of a new Rey Skywalker movie, which is surprising since she is one of the most unpopular parts of the last trilogy. It seems that Disney keeps making the same mistakes with Star Wars movies and expecting the outcome to change. Over the past decade, Disney has successfully killed Star Wars for most audiences, and frankly, the best thing for Star Wars might be to just stop. Disney needs to stop making more content because when they do, they make it worse.

About the Contributor
Tristan Schneider, Contributing Writer
Tristan Schneider is a sophomore and second-year staffer. A stop motion animator with hopes to study film in college, Tristan hopes to contribute opinion and satire stories to Bugle. On a day off, Tristan enjoys visiting Colorado to go skiing and his favorite color is purple.