Before the release of Star Wars (never “A New Hope”) in 1977, there had only been a couple of successful movie franchises viz. James Bond and Planet of the Apes.
The cultural impact of the original trilogy changed the face of movies forever as scifi movie franchises became the order of the day.
From Alien to Back to the Future to Terminator, 80s audiences flocked to movie franchises based largely on brand recognition, a phenomenon that has reached epic proportions especially in the last decade or so.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe fine-tuned the movie franchise concept into a well-oiled money making machine and developed the idea of a ‘shared interconnected movie universe’.
This allowed Marvel Studios to exploit lesser known characters and make billions of dollars under a unified banner of the MCU.
Naturally, other studios have viewed this phenomenon with envy and have tried their best to duplicate the success of the MCU, often at the detriment of new original story concepts.
However, the likes of the so-called DC Extended Universe and Universal’s Dark Universe have bombed spectacularly due to lack of vision, a fatal disconnect with the core fanbase and inconsistent story quality.
Amazingly enough, even the attempts of Disney/Lucasfilm to force a shared universe model with Star Wars is beginning to come unstuck.
However, unlike the MCU, so far the Star Wars standalone movies have added nothing new to the universe, choosing instead to tell stories that are meaningless and without any stakes.
While Disney/Lucasfilms got away with this on Rogue One, Solo has been a disaster – in Star Wars terms, in any case.
Perhaps Disney/Lucasfilm believed – erroneously as it turned out – that they only had to put a Star Wars label on any ol’ movie and the sheep would lap it all up. Glad to report that that is simply not true.
The reason why the MCU has succeeded is mainly down to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige’s commitment to plot, characterisation, world building and paying more than lip service to developing shared connections within the MCU.
It is clear that Feige and Marvel Studios truly care for the fans and the Marvel Comics stories and characters whereas the same cannot be said of his counterpart at Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, who appears dead set to alienate the core fanbase for the sake of SJW concerns.
How will Disney react to the failure of Solo? Kathleen Kennedy seems to have done the impossible – alienate the core fanbase and almost ruin the Star Wars movie franchise.
Obviously, of course, it’s not too late for Disney to engineer a course correction with Star Wars. We shall wait and see …
… still there’s more …