This week was the first time in ages that I watched one of the original Star Wars films. It’s not something that I’ve done purposefully but because I have so many other options now. Between all of the streaming services that I’m subscribed to and my own film collection, I just have too much choice. So much choice that I rarely go back to beloved classics. I’ve probably seen the prequels more often than any of the other films in the franchise. Not because I prefer them (although, I do think they have their positive points) but because they don’t demand my attention. Watching one of the original trilogy should be an event. You should be watching it and not doing anything else. These days, I’m rarely able to just sit and watch a film. I’m either writing, taking photos or just distracted by something. Not this time. When I turned on A New Hope on Star Wars day, I was determined to watch this as it deserved.
Monday was Star Wars Day. It’s that day of the year where every card-carrying geek sets out to prove their geek status by mentioning it as much as possible. I mean, if you don’t post as many Star Wars Gifs as possible are you even a real fan? Speaking of real fans, it’s also a day where the hardcore fans get to moan about how much the franchise has been ruined over the years. But has it really? We get it. The loyal fans who were there at the start don’t want to embrace change. They don’t want to admit that their way isn’t the best it can be anymore. They want to say awful things about Rian Johnson on the internet because they have nothing else in their life. If it makes you feel better then go for it. But, come on, are the more recent films in the Star Wars series really that bad? I set out to solve this once and for all by definitely ranking them from best to worst. Now, I did only use the main episodes in the Skywalker saga because we have to be honest, Rogue One would have beaten most (if not all) of them had I included it. So, it didn’t seem fair to count that. Even if it does include the single greatest Darth Vader scene in the franchise’s history.
I didn’t read anything about the latest Star Wars film before I went to see it. I knew that whatever happened the majority of fans would hate it. Those hard-core fans who haven’t even tried to accept the new films in their life. The people who think they are bigger fans because their parents had sex at a time that enabled them to see them in the cinema. The people who so often complain that Rian Johnson and J.J. Abrams shat all over their childhood with their last films. Man babies essentially. It’s not for me to say who is a bigger fan of the franchise but, it seems to me, if you loved the films as much as you say you do then nothing will ruin them for you. I was so confused by the criticism of The Last Jedi. I’m not saying it’s the best of the bunch but it was a really interesting film. The fact that it essentially said Jedi lore didn’t matter was a game-changer. But not everybody did. There was a lot of vitriol surrounding the release of Rian Johnson’s film. It definitely didn’t show Star Wars fans in a good light. So, you can imagine that Disney would have wanted to take steps to ensure that the last film in the saga got a better reception. But, as you’d expect, the reaction has been similarly cold. You see guys, this is why we can’t have nice things. But, and I’m going to get this out of the way now, I came out of the film having really enjoyed it. I know it was far from perfect and I had issues but, the important thing is, I had a good time. And I’ll happily tell you why.
As you may have been able to gather from my review of it last week, I was angry when I finished reading Mad. So, when I started looking for my next read, I wanted something a comforting and silly. I’d owned Kenobi for a while but I’d not had the guts to start reading it. I admit that I haven’t read much of the Star Wars Expanded Universe because I’ve had my fingers burnt before. At this point, there is a lot of stuff out there and it’s difficult to decide which is worth reading. In my opinion, nothing will compare to the films and it’s not always possible for different writers to replicate the voice of these familiar characters. Obi Wan has always been a huge fan favourite so there was obviously going to be massive interest in the furthering of his story. There is still so little that we know about Ben that you could write countless novels about his story. But, at the same time, we all have such a clear image of how he acts and sounds. Would it be possible for a writer like John Jackson Miller to tell us more about a beloved Jedi without ruining our idea of him? It was finally time to find out.
So, it’s official. Solo is the first ever Star Wars flop. It’s got a fairly good critical reaction but people just aren’t exactly flocking to see it. And I can kind of see why. It’s only been about 6 months since the last Star Wars film was released and it all seems a bit unnecessary. Out of all the people in the Star Wars universe who fans may have wanted to make a standalone film about, Han Solo may not have been the top of everyone’ list. Yes, we all loved the scruffy looking nerf herder in the original trilogy but did we need to see his life pre-Princess Leia? He was a fan favourite but, as a character, he was so tied up with Harrison Ford that it didn’t make sense to recast him. But, clearly the good people at Disney believed differently and started making an origin story for the ultimate anti-hero. And it turned into a huge fucking disaster. There were so many issues with this film that it’s impressive it was even made at all. But, as we’re seeing, there was clearly some sort of curse on this film. Maybe Harrison Ford has been dabbling in black magic or maybe Star Wars fans are just being more judgemental and stubborn than usual? Because let’s be honest, they have a history of not tolerating new things. So how bad could Solo really be?