The past ten years have been a wonderful time to be a Star Wars fan. We’ve gotten not only the sequel trilogy we’ve been waiting for since 1983, but additional spinoff movies, television series and plenty of books and comics to further expand the world of Star Wars. But, it hasn’t been all good news in the world of Star Wars ever since Disney took over. Like any property, Star Wars has had its share of struggles over the past decade as well. While we love to celebrate the good, these are five of the things that haven’t been so great about Star Wars‘ first ten years under Disney.
1. Lack of Video Games
Twenty years ago, in 2002 alone, there were seven Star Wars video games released, most of them surrounding the release of Attack of the Clones in some way. In the ten years since Disney bought Lucasfilm there have been four Star Wars games total. Battlefront I and II, Fallen Order, and Squadrons. Now we can get into the nitty gritty of what counts or doesn’t count as a video game, and if we should be accepting phone games, or the Star Wars pinball game that was released. And you can argue that some of those games back in 2002 weren’t of the highest quality, but the fact of the matter remains that in the past decade there have been fewer Star Wars games released. Now, some of that can be attributed to changing times. Tie-in video games aren’t anywhere close to the juggernaut they once were, but Star Wars has never just been about the games that retold the same story as the movies. New and fantastic stories set in the Star Wars universe have been told primarily through the video games, and it’s something that has yet to reach its full potential in the Disney era. Fortunately, there have been several upcoming video games announced so hopefully this is something that will be changing for the better in the near future.
2. Loss of Expanded Universe characters
It’s honestly understandable why Disney had to set aside the Expanded Universe and start a new canon for Star Wars. Decades of stories had built a universe that most of the general public wasn’t that familiar with. Disney didn’t want to spend 4.5 billion dollars on a franchise and then turn around and release a movie that required you to read nineteen New Jedi Order books to understand what was going on. It made sense to just start fresh with new characters and new stories for them to tell in this new era of Star Wars. But still, we can’t help but mourn some of the characters who have been set aside in the process of cleaning up the expanded universe. Mara Jade. Kyle Katarn. Prince Xizor. All these and more have been characters that fans have grown to love over the years, and suddenly it was announced that there would be no more stories with these characters who felt just as much a part of Star Wars as anybody who appeared in the movies.
3. Canceling Spin-off movies
One of the most exciting parts about the announcement that Disney was going full steam ahead with Star Wars projects was all the side stories that we were going to get. There were rumors of a Boba Fett movie, a Yoda movie, and even a Jabba the Hutt movie. But then, when Solo underperformed at the box office all that was thrown out the window. We can debate all day why Solo didn’t do nearly as well as other Star Wars movies (It came out too close to The Last Jedi. It came out too close to Infinity War. People don’t want to see someone other than Harrison Ford play Han Solo.), but the fact remains that Solo didn’t do as well as Disney had hoped, and the response was to shut down multiple projects that fans were excited about. Of course some of those projects have evolved into other things. The rumored Obi-Wan movie became a series on Disney+, but Star Wars is a world meant for the big screen. The dream of a new Star Wars movie every year didn’t end up happening, and while it’s understandable that Disney might want to reevaluate how exactly they want to approach the property, we hope that the future of Star Wars does include more adventures into movie theaters.
4. No Opening Crawl
For the dedicated Star Wars fan, you can give them any Star Wars book, comic, video game, or television show, and they can tell you exactly when it takes place on the Star Wars timeline. They can tell you the era, what came before, what comes after, and what context you need to fully understand what’s going on. However, we have to admit that there are some Star Wars fans who aren’t as immersed in the franchise as others. For the general public, Star Wars has always had a helpful tool to get everyone up to speed with the movie that they’re about to watch, the opening crawl. In just a few paragraphs, you get a quick rundown of everything you need to know, even if you haven’t been keeping up with every Star Wars event. Unfortunately, it was decided to do away with the Star Wars opening crawl with the release of Rogue One in 2016. While the numbered episodes still had opening crawls, no other Star Wars movie or show has started with the familiar sight of big yellow letters floating through space. What makes the decision to do away with opening crawls now even more frustrating is that as the Disney Era of Star Wars got into full swing, there were more and more instances of stories being presented to audiences out of chronological order. There were numerous reports of movie goers being confused as to why all of the characters they met in The Force Awakens were nowhere to be seen in Rogue One the next year. Other instances of people concluding that Solo had to take place before The Phantom Menace since Darth Maul shows up in the movie. While it would be nice if we could expect everyone to be all caught up on every detail of every new Star Wars project, something to let general audiences know when and where a story is taking place on the timeline would be nice.
5. Toxic Fandom
When talking about the worst parts of Star Wars in the past decade, it has to be mentioned. While most Star Wars fans are fantastic human beings that love all different aspects of Star Wars, the past decade has seen a rise in vocal fans who take their dislike of certain aspects of Star Wars too far. To be clear this isn’t to say that you need to love every single movie or tv show to call yourself a Star Wars fan. But the backlash and hatred by some fans has become one of the biggest recurring stories whenever a new Star Wars project is released. Multiple Star Wars actors have ended up leaving social media due to harassment for their participation in Star Wars. And we can’t ignore the fact that Disney felt they had to warn actress Moses Ingram to expect backlash before the Obi-Wan show was even released. This is unfortunately true across many different fandoms, but over the past several years, it has seemed to become more and more attached to Star Wars with each new project, and each new backlash. Star Wars has always been a franchise that is big enough and fascinating enough to make room for different stories and different types of characters. Star Wars has always had something for everyone, and ignoring that is taking away one of the things that makes Star Wars so great. We as a fan community are capable of better and we must do better in the years and decades to come.