Star Wars: Is the big screen really best or has episodic TV passed it by?

2 of 6
Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode VI
Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983). © Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

Star Wars Trilogies

First, let’s look at trilogies. Every die-hard Star Wars fan likely has a favorite trilogy of the three.

Regardless of which trilogy is “best,” for this analysis we must look into the overall idea of a trilogy and determine if it still has a place in this cinematic universe.

I must admit that I love the idea of a trilogy. They allow creators to set out to make something truly special. If the timing and content are right, a trilogy can be a generation-defining spectacle. Something that the original trilogy most certainly was.

However, when a trilogy is not done right, or the timing of it is misplaced, it can be seen as a failure.

When a trilogy, or even a single film of the trilogy, is seen as a failure by critics and/or fans, it can cast a dark shadow over the other films of the trilogy.

The most recent Star Wars example of this of course would be the sequels. The Force Awakens (2015) was released to a pretty good reception from critics and fans alike.

Two years later, The Last Jedi (2017) came out and was divisive to say the least with fans generally disliking it, and critics praising it.

Then came Rise of Skywalker (2019), and the reception was basically flipped from the previous film.

As many are aware, the prequel trilogy had its own share of scathing reviews and even genuine disdain from die-hard fans of the original trilogy. Though it is important to point out that even the original trilogy fell victim to its own fair share of harsh critiques, such as this one from the Washington Post.

What I am getting at here is that no Star Wars trilogy is perfect from beginning to end. Different directors, producers, writers and cinematographers end up putting their own personal touch on the films they work on. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily, because it means each movie is going to be truly unique.

On the other hand, it can also be a recipe for disaster.

All in all, a Star Wars trilogy allows fans to follow a handful of characters on multiple high-stakes adventures throughout the galaxy. Characters get the opportunity to grow so much that who they were in movie one ends up being unrecognizable with who they become in movie three. Rey in the ST is a great example of this. Try turning on The Force Awakens immediately after Rise of Skywalker. Rey the scavenger is such a stark contrast from Rey Skywalker, but that is a great credit to the story and to the performance of Daisy Ridley.

Though I also can’t ignore the problem of only having three movies to tell the stories of a handful of characters. Some stories get ignored as time runs out. Finn, Rose and Captain Phasma are all characters in the sequel trilogies whose stories felt incomplete when the “Skywalker Saga” closed.

The beloved or infamous (depending on who you talk to) Jar Jar Binks fell victim to an incomplete story in the prequel trilogy. And perhaps no one is more hyped up in the original trilogy without much of a story at all than Boba Fett.

Star Wars was built on trilogies. It has not always been -and perhaps it never was- executed to perfection, but the rabid fanbase that continues to grow nearly 50 years after the debut of A New Hope shows that the trilogy format works. But is it the perfect way to present Star Wars?

The lack of any officially announced trilogies from LucasFilm during its look into future projects shows that Disney is asking itself that very question.