"Obi-Wan Kenobi", Disney's risky bet to please "Star Wars" fans

“Obi-Wan Kenobi”, Disney’s risky bet to please “Star Wars” fans

Now is the time for me to move on Star Wars to a new generation of directors. I always believed that the saga would survive me, and I think it was important to put in place the transition in my lifetime. George Lucas seemed to have little bitterness in 2012 when he announced the sale of his life’s work to Disney. Years and statements later, the director has hinted at some regrets in the management of his saga by the largest entertainment company in the world.George Lucas wanted to take a step back and move onsums up Sébastien Galana, editor-in-chief of Planète Star Wars, a news site dedicated to this universe. When we learned of this takeover, I would say that two-thirds of the community Star Wars was happy and a third was wary saying, “Sure, it’s going to be watered down.” As if Disney was all about princess movies!”

Thibaut Claudel, author of the book the Star Wars myth. Episodes VII, VIII & IX – Disney and the Legacy of George Lucas, also ensures that some of the fans have always been suspicious of the takeover by Disney… but not only. “Remember that before that, she could also be very hostile towards George Lucas. I think the problem is less about Disney than fans of Star Wars themselves. There are no two identical and we are not all looking for the same thing in this saga.

Disney, which has invested 4 billion dollars (3.7 billion euros) in the case, saw things big. If from 1977 to 2005 George Lucas worked on six films Star Wars, from 2015 to 2019, the cinematographic giant released five in dark rooms. With the launch of Disney+, the firm with the big ears does not stop there and waters its platform with two series in real shots. “When you launch a video platform, you have to create content regularlyexplains Sébastien Galana. As a result, many projects have been announced. I think a large part of the community agrees that there are going to be too many, and more importantly, that their success will depend on the person to whom they are entrusted.

A third series in live action was eagerly awaited by fans, since it attacks a monument: Obi-Wan Kenobi. Created by Hossein Amini and Joby Harold, with Ewan McGregor in the role of the jedi, the series has been available since Friday May 27 on Disney+. “He is one of the most popular characters, restores Sébastien Galano. They have all the ingredients for the project to work well… in theory.Indeed, since the takeover of Star Wars, Disney has gold between its fingers. But you still have to know how to work it correctly.

A new trilogy that leaves you perplexed

By relaunching a new trilogy of a saga which already had two, Disney tried to put a piece back in the machine. But for part of the fan community, the machine seized up. “Having more content around Star Warswhether comics, series or films, as a fan, I am happy»enthuses Sylvain Morgant, host of the podcast star wars live. Before qualifying: “But you have to see what the finished product looks like.”

And precisely, the result is far from pleasing to all the fans. “I find this new trilogy below what George Lucas and his teams have been able to do, recognizes Thibaut Claudel. These episodes have neither the spontaneity of the originals nor the creativity of their prequels. They certainly have qualities, like their characters and their more daring realization, but they lack a form of binder.

Sylvain Morgant also has mixed memories of this first trilogy of the Disney era, although it did not disappoint him as much as the next one, The Boba Fett Book. Released last year, it was dedicated to the mythical bounty hunter. However, nothing seems to have split fans more than the movie. Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. “The fans have split into two irreconcilable camps,” summarizes Sébastien Galano.

A lack of continuity

A large part of the community agrees that the uneven content and the sometimes messy script of episodes VII, VIII and IX comes from the alternation between the directors. JJ Abrams, in charge of the seventh and ninth opus, and Rian Johnson, who is embedded between the two.

“The changes of the directors did not help anything, recognizes Sylvain Morgant. When you see the adaptations of JJ Abrams and Rian Johnson, I find that they make it clear that they don’t really appreciate what the other has done. However, the fans all have their opinion on the matter. And to add:If you want to have fun in the evening, you have beers and you start the debate: which one do you prefer between the two? The community is torn over them. As I am a troll, I love the moment when Luke throws his saber in the eighth installment directed by Rian Johnson. For me, JJ Abrams is too much into fan service.”

“In terms of management, it’s a mess. All it takes is for fans to like a character to make a show out of it.”

Sylvain Morgant, podcast host star wars live

The hiccups of the saga Star Wars Disney version also suffer from the comparison with Marvel productions, bought by the firm in 2009. The superhero films follow one another and, whatever the spectators think of the content, it must be recognized that the machine is extremely well oiled. The films are announced in advance, respond to each other and serve a narrative arc that goes beyond them. Quite the opposite of taking control of the universe Star Wars.

In terms of management, it’s a mess, despairs Sylvain Morgant. All it takes is for fans to like a character to make a show out of it.” He cites the example of Rangers of the New Republic which was to see the light of day, before being definitively abandoned in 2021. “The project had to focus on a character from the series The Mandalorian that the fans had particularly appreciated, but the actress made inappropriate remarks. They fired her and the show was dropped», he explains. Beyond this jolt, a fourth trilogy had been announced with, at the helm, the directors of Game Of Thrones. A project that has also fallen into disuse.

The return of Obi-Wan Kenobi

After the disappointment, fans set out to search for a culprit. And it’s a culprit they found. “Many criticize Kathleen Kennedy, president of LucasFilm, for not knowing how to manage the franchise,” explains Sylvain Morgant. This woman has indeed long been the right arm of George Lucas and also the producer of Steven Spielberg. At the time of the acquisition of LucasFilm, the production company founded by George Lucas, the keys to the interstellar cruiser were entrusted to him.

For Sylvain Morgant, these criticisms of Kathleen Kennedy are unjustified, even if he would like a clearer trajectory to be driven. These eternal debates also tire Thibaut Claudel, as does the abundance of content: “I still yearn to see Star Wars under a more candid eye to get out of this form of hostility that I feel and which is gradually extinguishing my passion. But in the age of streaming, the need for big franchises to constantly occupy media space – starting with social networks and their very committed communities – returning to a simpler relationship seems difficult, if not impossible, to me. Hence my frustration.

Sylvain Morgant relativizes Disney’s responsibility in the infinite extension of the universe Star Wars. “I read a lot of comics and novels associated with the saga. It has always existed. Extended stories that mean nothing, there are heaps! Disney is only extending practices that exist at other publishers, such as Marvel. An abundance of content, what better way to delight fans? “For some of what I read, you have to admit, I quickly moved on,” cuts the podcast host. If he did not appreciate the character of Doctor Aphra, who appeared in 2015, the latter was nevertheless well received by part of the community. The advantage is that everyone can find something for themselves.

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Disney may have strong backs, but the company has stepped on the brakes after the latest trilogy’s weak reviews and the lesser commercial success of Solo: A Star Wars Story. It’s hard to know when the next installment in the saga will be released on the big screen. Everything is based on the reception given to the series Obi-Wan Kenobi. “They are expected at the turn, warns Sébastien Galano. As one of the most popular characters in the series, if the quality is not there, the future of Star Wars with Disney is going to be complicated.”

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