Why a sequel trilogy doesn't work

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Azronger
This essay isn't about the new films (I've already given my thoughts on them here), but rather the sequel trilogy as a concept. This is about why to having more movies taking place after Episode VI is fundamentally a flawed idea, and can only work well if very specific, nearly-impossible-to-attain criteria are met.

First, let's establish that the Star Wars films at their core are the story of Anakin Skywalker. Episode I shows him as a small kid, explains his origins, and has him set off on a grand adventure to become a Jedi Knight with the intended purpose of bringing balance to the Force since he's the Chosen One and all that. Episode II shows him on his quest, learning the Jedi ways, and sets up the threat of the Clone Wars and the hardships Anakin will have to endure to prevail. Episodes III and IV serve as the second act in the classic three-act structure where the heroes lose and are at their lowest point; for Anakin, this is when his hamartia results in him losing his loved ones, his humanity and his soul to the devil who in this case is represented through Darth Sidious, and he's reduced to a tool for the Empire whose only purpose in life is now is to please and run errands for his Master. Episode V is where things start to work in Anakin's favor again, and he sees an opportunity to set things right and get out of his misery through his son, Luke, and starts working towards that goal. Episode VI is where all the plotlines culminate, and Anakin redeems himself by fulfilling his intended purpose in bringing balance to the Force and destroying the Sith, meaning the Emperor but also himself, and he regains the things that he lost, mainly his humanity, but also his loved ones as seen at the end.

Thus, the purpose of Anakin's death at the end of Episode VI serves three narrative functions. First, it is the fulfilment of his existential purpose, the reason for why he's in this story in the first place: to bring balance to the Force, and he does this by killing the Sith, which he is a part of, so his death is in a way part of the prophecy. Second, it is the fulfilment of his personal goal: Anakin isn't just a plot device, he is a person, so he has some personal stake in the story as well, and that is to love and to be loved eternally, motives that are mostly explored in Episodes II and III, where he exclaims his desire to learn to prevent himself and others from dying so that he can feel and express his love forever; by sacrificing himself for the sake of his son, he has regained his love for his family, and in death he can finally be with his loved ones eternally as is shown in the final scene with him as a ghost, which is what he wanted all along. And finally, the third narrative purpose Anakin's death serves is as a signal that the story has come to and end; it's his story, so you can't tell the story without him in it, so when he is gone, it means that there is no more story to tell.

And that's the fundamental reason why the sequel trilogy should not exist. Anakin's story has already been told. No, Anakin isn't the only person in the universe and the galaxy will continue to exist and evolve long after him, but that's what the Expanded Universe of books, comics, and other media is for. The films are meant for this particular story - Anakin's story - and for nothing else. You might say that the films are also Luke's story, since he's the protagonist for half of them, but that's a misconstrued view things. Even in the original trilogy, when viewed in the context of the larger saga, the story is still about Anakin. It is told through Luke's perspective, but it is not his story (like how much of the prequels is told from Obi-Wan's point of view, but the story still isn't about him); it's the conclusion of Anakin's story but only a small chunk in Luke's story; he still has a Jedi Order to rebuild and a New Republic to establish, but all that was told in the books because the films aren't about Luke. They're about Anakin: his birth, life, and death.

The only possible way to make a another trilogy after Episode VI that I can see is to have it be about Anakin's legacy, the immediate consequences of his life's decisions and what he left behind in the galaxy, but the proper execution of something like that would be so hard I honestly have no clue where you would even begin. The primary reason for that is that the new trilogy cannot tell its own story; it has to be part of Anakin's story. You'd essentially have to produce three films of material about a guy who isn't even alive anymore; come up with a narrative and thematic purpose for these films' existence, so that it feels like an organic part of the story, enrichens the previous films, and is important enough that the overall narrative would be lesser without it; and extend plot threads for three whole films when every single one of them has already been concluded, basically meaning that you'd have to somehow make Episode IX a more meaningful, satisfying and fulfilling ending for Anakin's story than Episode VI, the part where he dies and finishes both his existential quest for the prophecy and personal quest for love everlasting. If you somehow can pull all of that off (you can't), then I'm onboard with your sequel trilogy, but otherwise, no thanks.

Now, I'm perfectly aware that what I'm describing might not even be humanly possible, but that's the thing: you don't edit art after it has been finished. The sequels as a concept are essentially the equivalent of if someone started making unnecessary additions to the Mona Lisa or whatever work of art you can think of, with the end result being worse with a certainty of 99.99999999999999 %.

Kurk
I don't think Disney really gives a sh1t tbh.

DarthPlaguis12

Zentrex
I dislike peoples saying Disney doesn't care. I mean, yeah, they don't, but they do care about making money, and so they try to make good content. And I like some of the content. I don't like other content, but I don't go around saying it's because it's objectively bad and no one put any effort into it.


As for Azronger's post:

It's not about Anakin. I mean, it is, but it wasn't meant to be. The original concept was about a small group of people trying to run from and destroy the evil empire, and it's going to be in space, so it's going to have that thematic element.

Now, I know George Lucas had more to tell, like this entire backstory on the Jedi, and how the empire was taken over, and how Vader was Luke's father, but that vision, which he tried to realize in the first film, failed so hard that every person that saw the original screening said this film sucked.

Then, his wife at the time came in and edited all the backstory out, and we got the thing that people actually liked: not this whole complicated Anakin's story, but a compelling adventure of three heroes in a unique thematic setting. Then, when it was a success, Episode V continued that concept till the end, where all the backstory that Lucas so badly wanted was revealed. Then Return of the Jedi expertly gave hints to what that backstory was, but the film was never as enjoyable as the first two; it had the setting and the characters, but it didn't have the tiny rebels running away from the big imperials. It focused on Vader's story.

This is what made it hard to make good prequels. If the prequels were well-made movies, some fans still wouldn't like them, because they wouldn't follow the small rebels running away from the big imperials structure which made the world fall in love with star wars in the first place. Some people still would like them, but the reaction would be similar to the sequels that we're getting now. Fortunately, in a way, the prequels were just so badly made that the utter cinematic failure of them overshadowed their new format/concept, and star wars fans just went on being star wars fans, ignoring the prequels as a bad moment in star wars history.

Now, some people, like me and you Az, who love the "lore" aspect in any story looked at the prequels, we appreciated their extention of the lore of star wars. We liked that the whole prequels told the story of Anakin Skywalker, as they were meant to, originally in Lucas' vision. But we were in the minority.

Now we get to the sequels. The sequels are doing the exact opposite of the prequels. They're appealing SO much to what made the originals good that they're not being creative. All the machines and character designs look the exact same as they did in the last film. They are trying (and failing, but that's another matter) at capturing the theme of the originals. More importantly, it's still rebels vs imperials. It doesn't make sense for the larger narrative, but remember, people who just watched the films don't care about the narrative. They want engaging films, the kind they watched when they were kids.

This causes people like you and me to despise the nonsensical story that the sequels tell, of Anakin just being gone, and the new republic being devastated by the first order, and us just regressing right back to where we started, to our lowest point, but most people don't care. They have their narrow, engaging narrative of rebels vs imperials, of 3 or 4 heroes vs 1 bad guy, and that's all they need.

So, a sequel trilogy (done well, of course) isn't a bad idea, it's just...for a particular audience.

One Big Mob
Wait, is there an original cut of ANH with all of the shit in that people hated?

The Merchant
I wish George Lucas was able to do his original 12 movie set up. Episode 1 would have been the "Prologue" Anakin and Obi meet up and how they become Jedi. 2, 3, and 4 would have been about the Clone wars and Anakins fall. 5 would have served as a film that connects the prequels to the Original trilogy. 6 7 and 8 would have been the Original trilogy and 9 10 and 11 the sequel trilogy, with 12 being the epilogue to the saga.

Zentrex
Originally posted by One Big Mob
Wait, is there an original cut of ANH with all of the shit in that people hated?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFMyMxMYDNk

In case you want more:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLUG1tIbBLg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bFIG1wh0zU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNfRL7QQ5qM&list=PLjVmVnwBVEd_sYsS48d_Lgk-AfaMjDggS
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CGnXUEWFbI

Originally posted by The Merchant
I wish George Lucas was able to do his original 12 movie set up. Episode 1 would have been the "Prologue" Anakin and Obi meet up and how they become Jedi. 2, 3, and 4 would have been about the Clone wars and Anakins fall. 5 would have served as a film that connects the prequels to the Original trilogy. 6 7 and 8 would have been the Original trilogy and 9 10 and 11 the sequel trilogy, with 12 being the epilogue to the saga.
I don't know...the movies weren't my favorite part of star wars, and you know the kinds of things George Lucas would try to do with the lore. It was better left to the writers.
And there's also the matter of how it would be good for people who like the lore aspect, but would kind of kill the excitement of people who liked the original films for what they were. And that would have likely caused some backlash.
And as far as filmmaking goes, prequels always work better as fanservice, so when you make an entire saga out of the prequels and try to make them seem important somehow, when we already know how the more important part ends, then it makes for a weird story.
And Lucas himself admitted later on that an "episode 7" after Return of the Jedi would be a bad idea, because you'd need a new threat after the empire, the ultimate evil, has already been defeated. That would make things weird.

quanchi112

Azronger
Originally posted by One Big Mob
Wait, is there an original cut of ANH with all of the shit in that people hated?

One of Lucas' original scripts got made into comic format called The Star Wars but I'm not sure that's the version being referenced.

Rockydonovang
it's perfectly possible to make a sequel la, it just has to be, a sequel, not a rebbot branded as one

DarthPlaguis12

quanchi112

Darth Thor

Zentrex
I really think people need to accept that just because they don't like something doesn't mean no effort was put into them. There are people in the world who like the new canon, guys.

Darth Thor
Originally posted by Zentrex
I really think people need to accept that just because they don't like something doesn't mean no effort was put into them. There are people in the world who like the new canon, guys.


Clearly not enough. Which is why Solo has completely flopped. First Star Wars film ever to do so.


Of course they put effort in. The DC movies also put effort in.

But its their disregard for the lore and for the fans which has got them where they are.

However, I for one am happy that they finally acknowledged the Prequels and TCW in a big way. So I will continue to support them again, for now.

But they are on thin ice, even with me.

Zentrex
Perhaps, but I think the main thing is that you can't please everyone. And whenever you piss off even a small portion of the fanbase (in something as big as star wars), the backlash will be dramatic, an overreaction, and far greater than the people who enjoy the films, even if they're in the majority. And I think Solo flopped before it came out. People expected it to be terrible. But if you ask me, it was actually really good.

Darth Thor
^ I mean that doesnt happen with Marvel. The Prequels has haters but Lucas kept the brand financially strong.

Solo fell ill to the Justice League treatment. People expected it to suck due to the previous films sucking.

Zentrex
I don't think the previous films sucked all that much. I think Solo's hate came from other factors. Can't name them all right now, I haven't looked that much into it, but people wearing "Soylo" shirts, and the hate for Alden Ehenriech before we even got to see his performance, and perhaps just the lack of enthusiasm for star wars lately make me think it's something else.

quanchi112

quanchi112
Originally posted by Zentrex
I really think people need to accept that just because they don't like something doesn't mean no effort was put into them. There are people in the world who like the new canon, guys. thumb up

quanchi112

The Merchant
Solo shouldn't have flopped, it was better than 7 8 and Rogue one.

quanchi112
Originally posted by The Merchant
Solo shouldn't have flopped, it was better than 7 8 and Rogue one. Bad idea though. No one was really that excited for a Han Solo film. I also think this was the weakest of the Disney era led films.

Zentrex
See that's the weird thing. The star wars fanbase has the largest diversity of opinion I've ever seen in my life, and that includes politics. It astounds me how some people can still believe in "objectively good" or "objectively bad" content after all this.

And yeah, I thought Solo was awesome. I've heard a LOT of complaints about how the things it explains didn't feel important or entertaining, but that was NOT a problem for me, I was freaking out every time they made a call-back to the originals.
Isn't that the point of a prequel anyway? Fanservice? It's not like you really NEED any answers, like the one Rogue One provided, but somehow some people just seem to not feel as interested by Han Solo's background.

quanchi112
It was ok but nothing for me to be excited about save the cameo. Saw it twice nonetheless but the Last Jedi had me obsessing over it along with every Snoke scene in the film.

Darth Thor
Originally posted by Zentrex
I don't think the previous films sucked all that much. I think Solo's hate came from other factors. Can't name them all right now, I haven't looked that much into it, but people wearing "Soylo" shirts, and the hate for Alden Ehenriech before we even got to see his performance, and perhaps just the lack of enthusiasm for star wars lately make me think it's something else.


Thats your opinion dude. The drop in box office states different.

Solo wasnt the first sign of the box office drop.

Fact is if audiences loved Disney Star Wars then they would have given Solo a shot. But they didnt.

Darth Thor
Originally posted by quanchi112
Bad idea though. No one was really that excited for a Han Solo film. I also think this was the weakest of the Disney era led films.


Youre making excuses for why this one flopped. Trying to blame it on the film itself.

Fact is the box office shows, audiences are not liking Disney Star Wars.

Stop being butthurt just because you jumped on the wrong Wagon again laughing out loud

quanchi112

Zentrex
Originally posted by Darth Thor
Thats your opinion dude. The drop in box office states different.

Solo wasnt the first sign of the box office drop.

Fact is if audiences loved Disney Star Wars then they would have given Solo a shot. But they didnt.

You're probably right, but what makes me hesitant to say "defenitely" is the fact that anger usually effects these kinds of things a lot more than love. All the people that love the new film, or even the ones who thought it was decent aren't gonna come to its rescue when all the people offended by it start attacking.

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