Suffice to say, I thought Rise of Skywalker was a steaming heap of Sandcrawler-sized, Bantha fodder. Nothing more, but absolutely nothing less. I won’t waste any more time with it. The stench of that film not only pervaded my mouth, but it stuck to the gums. I had to rinse it out. But with what? How about a fresh dose of the Original Trilogy? Yes! Followed by a watching of the Clone Wars animated series in the chronological order recommended by the true episode guide.
A series that I’d be watching for the first time. My oh my, what a masterpiece of a show. The series did everything in its power and more to not only make the Prequel Trilogy better but to forever solidify itself in Star Wars lore. I can go on and on about how much that show kicks ass, but I’ll just say that some of my favorite Star Wars characters ever are in this show: Ahsoka Tano, Cad Bane, Captain Rex, Pong Krell, Asaj Ventress, Savage Opress, Bo Katan and the Bad Batch. Not to mention, improving upon Anakin’s character in every way, while also polishing other great characters like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu, Darth Sidious, Grievous, Count Dooku, and even Boba Fett. Oh, and they brought DARTH MAUL back! You’ll also be introduced to so many interesting Clone Troopers, seeing that although they are clones, they each carry with them uniquely distinct and fleshed-out personalities. Another thing I love about the Clone Wars series is the world-building. You jump around different planets and places, seeing both sides of the Republic and Separatists movement, and meeting new characters and cultures within the Star Wars universe. Dave Filoni is a true genius and I admire what he did with George Lucas’ masterwork.
From then on, I binged Star Wars Rebels, which I thought was another great deep dive into the Star Wars universe. I also had a blast playing through Jedi: Fallen Order. What an amazing game. The story takes place at a crazy time in the Star Wars timeline, and delves a bit into Order 66 and what transpires afterward, and also sets up the stage for one of my favorite Star Wars TV shows- The Mandalorian. Nothing I can say here that hasn’t been said already, but the first two seasons were awesome enough, but closing out with Luke Skywalker in that fashion was truly special. It reminded me of what makes Star Wars truly shine. Thank you, Jon Favreau. You reminded us of the magic and charm that was still very much alive in Star Wars, and that there are also tons to build upon moving forward in the franchise. This brings me to the Book of Boba Fett. How I really wanted to like this show. Now don’t get me wrong, Boba Fett as a good guy CAN work, but his sudden shift to going from cold-blooded bounty hunter-killer to the noble pseudo-crime lord with a conscious needs to be more emotionally charged than Tusken Raiders being killed OFF-SCREEN. If Boba witnessed their deaths firsthand after connecting with them and was powerless to save them, that would be different. It would even make for a great way to introduce his main villain. But this never happens, and outside of episodes 5 & 6, the show ultimately evolves into a disjointed mess with a cast of increasingly dull characters with zero motivations. What makes it worse, is that the show severely undercuts the momentum it had going for it with the lackluster episode 7. I’m sorry, but I need more than just saddled rancor struggling to decimate random annihilator droids, especially considering how they botched the inevitable showdown between Boba and Cad Bane. The sad thing is that as a storyteller who cares deeply about his craft, I know that Disney is capable of so much better. There’s no excuse for a billion-dollar entertainment enterprise to just phone it in when it comes to dealing with the single-most popular franchise in history. Every TV show, episode, film, book, and video game series bearing the Star Wars logo needs to have an overarching purpose that serves to bolster the brand collectively.
When it boils down to it, to me, Star Wars is more than just a story between good versus evil. It’s about hope, and how you need to hold onto it during insurmountable odds in the darkest of times. It’s about finding redemption when it seemed forever unlikely, no matter how many subordinates you force-choked to death or the fact that you severed off your own son’s hand. It’s about finding family in people you leaned on to overthrow a raging empire. Star Wars is more than just flashy lightsaber duels, it’s about the high-stakes underlying the beings behind those duels. It’s not so much the force, but about the driving force behind the manipulation of said force, being used to bend the will of others, or being used to uplift the willpower that goes in defending and protecting those in need in a galaxy far, far away. It’s more than just a universe, it’s a legacy. One that needs to bring out the best in the creatives, just as its creation brought out the best in us as fans.