The ‘Star Wars’ Backlash: Disney’s choice to make progressive films has hurt their product sustainability for the future

Disney could have avoided the whole issue.  They will make their money regardless, but all the controversy surrounding their new Star Wars film The Last Jedi was completely unnecessary.  The movie will do good business in spite of a sharp drop off in the weeks after its release—but like The Force Awakens that came before it; it could have done much better.   Many will argue that these movies didn’t need to do anything—they are making more money than any other film in the history of planet earth.  But there are problems with sustainability here that are clear—especially in The Last Jedi.  These filmmakers decided to make a noticeably progressive film complete with an emphasis on girl power, the fair treatment of animals, interracial romance, and even trying to throw a bone toward the gay community by hiring Laura Dern—the girl who helped Ellen come out of the closet.  The white guys are the bad guys and everyone else is trying to climb out from under their wrath—which is the essential part of the story—so of course the critics loved it.  But the audience score is noticeably hovering at only 50% which was a stunner for many analysts in the week leading up to Christmas.  It really shouldn’t be—my thoughts about the film nearly reflect the review by Ben Shapiro below—which is sometimes very funny—because it’s true.

The original movies were conservative movies whether or not George Lucas intended them that way or not.  They were warnings of big government imposing its will on people. They were also warnings about how a group of leftists such as the Nazis could emerge in a society with “thunderous applause.”  So conservatives like myself and young Ben Shapiro tend to be drawn to Star Wars and the core message.  And yes, the Nazis were socialist radicals of a left leaning philosophy which they borrowed from the Democrats in America. That is all historically accurate, yet the modern progressive left is trying to suppress that history and attribute them all to the political right.  That mess of thought is what ends up in a movie like The Last Jedi—where all the major plot points only work because of nostalgia but all the actions of the characters seem goofy and foreign—which is forgivable in a kids film.  But these are not the kinds of stories that will be beloved for decades like the originals were.  The modern political left doesn’t know what it is or what it believes because everything they love is built on lies.  That trait is quite clear in most Hollywood productions now because the entire industry is functioning from the same neurosis.

As I said with The Force Awakens, Disney could have avoided all this by just sticking to the stories of George Lucas and the canon established by the Extended Universe.  It was all there for them—hard core fans would have embraced a new trilogy set 40 years after Return of the Jedi with Jaina Solo leading the way as the new protagonist—but Disney and Lucasfilm wanted to tell a more progressive story.  In the EU Luke had built a wonderful Jedi school that was defending the galaxy against threats even from outside the galaxy.  Han Solo was the every reliable dad who always knew best—and was a respectable grandfather.  And Princess Leia was learning to be a Jedi master.  Hard core fans would have been satisfied, and casual fans would have still enjoyed the stories for the reasons they like these new ones.  Instead Lucasfilm led by Kathy Kennedy and Bob Iger decided that gender was more important, that showing common people from anywhere could do anything was more important and that progressive concerns were the driving force of these new movies where traditionalists were the villains.  In the Kathy Kennedy movies Han Solo was a deadbeat dad who failed his son and ran away from his wife. Luke is a loser who tried to kill his student and when he failed he retreated to an island to hide from the responsibilities of the galaxy making everything that happened in the original trilogy pointless—in every regard.  So of course only half the audience coming out of the theaters like the new movie.  Critics only like the progressive elements, but the people who have been fans and kept the film franchise at the top for so long were certainly ignored—and they aren’t happy about it.

I gave up on loving these movies.  I enjoy them because my grandkids like them, and they aren’t so bad that they don’t do what good mythology is supposed to do, and that is inform young people about right and wrong.  For me just getting a new John Williams soundtrack is enough.  The music from The Last Jedi is absolutely stunning.  But I can’t help but think that The Last Jedi was the last real Star Wars movie because the modern filmmakers just don’t have it in the tank to know what made Star Wars great to begin with.  They are too liberal and really don’t understand history the way that George Lucas did and it shows in the writing.  The entire plot of Rose and Finn in The Last Jedi was a liberal diatribe on the evils of capitalism and the correct treatment of animals.  The climax of the whole exchange was to show that a chubby Asian girl could kiss a black guy after saving him from a pointless suicide mission.  All that might be fine for some show on Netflix but in Star Wars—don’t expect everyone to love the movie when that kind of obvious political garbage is being shoved down the audiences’ throat.  Sure it did what Disney wanted, and pulled great reviews out of the critics—but that only front loaded the anticipation.  When audiences got into the theater and saw all that crap, they were obviously let down—and that isn’t good for the future of Star Wars.

I won’t lose any sleep over any of it.  I’m an EU guy.  I’m trying to give these new movies a chance mainly because they are the movies of my grandchildren’s generation and I want to share these stories with them.  But they are really screwing it up for the future at Lucasfilm—and it was all so unnecessary.  I still think that Rey in the movie is the daughter of Han and Leia Solo—and at this point it’s the only thing that can really save the franchise.  I think that will be the big reveal in Episode 9.  If not that, Han and Leia Solo were the worst parents in the galaxy and all the events of the original trilogy were meaningless.  Disney could have had all the good stuff right out of the gate and gone much further if they had just stayed away from doing their own thing and ignoring the EU.  They chose to make some upfront money while sacrificing the whole thing down the road—they destroyed the sustainability of it.  And that is why there is a very real Star Wars backlash showing up in the audience scoring.  Those scores mean many millions of lost dollars and that is trouble down the road for everyone connected to these movies. They should have listened up front and not been so audacious to think they could change things and still get away with a beloved series.

Rich Hoffman

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