What if the Star Wars sequels had been good?

So I was a huge Star Wars fan growing up. I enjoyed the original trilogy, collected the expanded universe novels, and even enjoy the prequels. I watched all the clone Wars episodes with my son’s and oldest daughter.
When Force awakens came out I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. A soft reboot was not what I was looking for but I was interested in the characters and where the story might go.
By the end I was just flabbergasted by the lack of any cohesive vision. It ended up being just a tired remake of the original trilogy with characters that lacked depth and charisma. Finn was the most misused character as he could have brought some interesting insight into living under the first order. Rey was totally wasted and just inherited her power but the rest were no better.
In your hypothetical remake what would the story look like?

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Have Episode 9 actually stick with what the others had established, rather than patting us on the head and saying “Sorry The Last Jedi scared you, look, everything is safe again now and you don’t have to think about any of it.” I’ve never felt more condescended to by a movie in my life, and I’ve seen the 2019 Black Christmas.

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I’m not as invested in Star Wars as others…Trek is my ride or die…and I thought the sequels were fine. Not great, but not horrible (Attack of the Clones, now that was horrible!). I actually thought Last Jedi was the best of the lot.

Rey was fine, but personally, I would have been thrilled with a trilogy of Finn, Poe, and BB-8 off having shenanigans all across the galaxy. In the Falcon if need be. :laughing:

(And for the record, The Mandalorian is my favorite Star Wars anything by a Kessel Run + a light year.)

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I would like to find out where he thought the last Jedi was going. I didn’t love it, but a lot of that came down to his attempt at humor in the opening with the first order being idiotic.
I was however hooked by the possibilities that it left open at the end. With the whole resistance gone, the first order under new leadership, and Luke dead what comes next?
Was the Jedi order going to be reformed? Were Finn and Rose going to be a thing? Will Rey be turned?
But nothing in the first film is paid off in the second. Nothing in the second is paid off in the third. Then the third makes the first six pointless.

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I love the mandalorian. It and the spinoff films remind me of the old expanded universe where there was room to experiment. The new films make me think of the old del ray book days where every plot is a former imperial finds a super weapon and tries to reestablish the Empire.

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I loved the absolute hell out of The Last Jedi.

That being said, I’d like to see more stuff in the vein of Rogue One and, as @jarad said, The Mandalorian.

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Disney’s biggest mistake was a lack of respect for the original trilogy. Han arguably had the greatest growing arc, going from a selfish smuggler to a heroic leader. Then, he is suddenly a selfish smuggler again (and let’s face it, probably a major alcoholic, but Disney is not going to show that).

Leia is doing alright until the galactic republic she built got fridged. Also, I’d like to point out that it is possible to write a good story with a couple in it who love and support each other, and have each other’s backs. Writers seem to think that that is too hard (because of a lack of tension?), and go with the “we’re separated/divorced, and have to do our whole love story again”. At this point, just writing a couple with a functioning relationship would seem like fresh, new, undiscovered territory.

Then we have Luke. In the original, he and Vader are foils. Together, they show that faced with a similar forking path, one person can go one way, and someone else can choose the other way. He always fights for good no matter the odds, and does not accept that evil can totally rule someone (Vader). Then, he is so good and full of hope that he corrects Vader’s path, and plans to use that hope and goodness to rebuild the Jedi Order.

In the new movies, Luke fails once, totally gives up on Ben as evil, loses all hope (which was basically his defining feature), and runs from his problems, dying a semi-redeemed, bitter, old (middle aged) man. Basically, the exact opposite of OG Star Wars Luke.

I argue that these mistakes were made because Disney unnecessarily rushed to make new movies. No one needed a new Star Wars movie immediately. With 24 solid entries (even the “bad” ones are still entertaining), the MCU has shown that loose adaptations showing respect for already beloved source material (surprisingly?) is a winning strategy.

Thus, my view of a “good” sequel trilogy is one where Disney distilled the best parts of “Star Wars Legends” storylines (the hundreds of books and comics expanding the Star Wars story that are now just book-priced paper weights) into a cinematic universe (tossing the idea that trilogies are important).

Han is a general, Leia is a politician, they have 3 kids, and Luke is trying to train new Jedi. Another epic story of galactic peril ensues.

Tell their stories, tell their kids’ stories, tell random other people’s stories, have them all come together to win.

Fortunately, Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni appear to be working very hard to make as much “Star Wars Legends” stuff canon as possible. Thus, I have hopes that they’ll use the time period between the OG trilogy and the new movies to “fix” Han, Leia, and Luke’s stories by making their actions in between trilogies meaningful.

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Harrison Ford was not down to do Star Wars forever, and unfortunately, Carrie Fisher died, but Mark Hamill is not old, and could have been the Star Wars Universe’s version of Nick Fury for years.

To answer your question, though, if we are keeping the characters from the new trilogy, Ren is an orphan (not a Palpatine) who Jedi “testers” found on a desert planet, and brought to Luke to train in his new Jedi Order. She is too old to begin the training, so Luke takes it upon himself to train her. He does this because he hopes to atone for his failure with Ben.

Luke, Han, and Leia are still a tight group, but each feels that that relationship is strained by their own role in Ben’s turn to the dark side. Few people are aware that a Sith is alive and high in the ranks of the New Order

Poe is a talented pilot under the command of General Han Solo. He rebels against Solo because Solo is an authority figure. He knows the stories of Solo’s sordid past, but does not believe them.

Leia is in peace talks with the New Order, which grew out of planets that preferred the Empire way of life. The galaxy is split between the Galactic Republic and the New Order, and so far there have only been minor conflicts between them caused by the fact that they do not have defined borders, but exist within each other as planets in the galaxy choose one or the other or independence. The New Order is constantly trying to expand their influence, and the peace talks are a distraction from their scheme to conquer independent planets.

Finn shows us what living under the new order is like. He accidentally obtains proof that the New Order is conquering independent planets and plans for the next conquest. He decides to escape and get the plans to the Republic. He gets a janitorial detail on a ship that is taking New Order diplomats to peace talks with Leia.

After receiving the plans, Leia can not do nothing to help the independent planet, and asks Solo and Dameron to rally help for the planet to fight against the order. They win, Leia is imprisoned by the republic, Solo is on the run, Luke must decide how his Jedi Order is going to be used in the new Galactic dynamic.

Ben is basically the same as in the new movies.

This is the starting point. Plot ensues.

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The Last Jedi is in my top 3 Star Wars films. If the Rise of Skywalker had continued from the ideas built up there, the trilogy would have been amazing.

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I loved the Expanded Universe books. Multiple authors writing different styles, but with a shared continuity. The New Republic is building back, but the Empire’s fleet is still out there and admirals have become local warlords, some of whom maintain the belief that the Empire still exists and news of the Emperor’s death is just Rebel propaganda. New crime syndicates are introduced. Han and Leia have kids who grow up, learn the ways of The Force, have adventures, etc. Luke establishes a Jedi Academy and tries to train up a batch of new students, but he doesn’t entirely know what he’s doing or how to guide them when they’re tempted by the Dark Side. Veteran X-Wing pilot Wedge Antilles (the only pilot to have flown both Death Star missions) forms a new Rogue Squadron of hotshot pilots with an assortment of special skills and takes on black ops missions for the New Republic.

But all that got tossed out the window when Lucas remade the ending of ROTJ, showing celebrations of the end of the Empire happening across the entire galaxy. And then it was officially declared not canon when Disney took over. So much they could have done if they’d decided to keep at least some of those ideas.

But this is still the best thing to have come out of Disney buying out Lucasfilm:

Part of a show they did several years running. Here’s the full half-hour from another year. Watch until the very end.

As for the movies… None of them are perfect. The prequels introduced better action sequences and effects, but also a lot of stupid and controversial things. The sequels had great moments but also a lot of disappointment and missed opportunities. And, yeah, they rushed to make the sequels without having a plan, and that was a problem. It’s why so much of Last Jedi felt like it came out of nowhere and wasn’t really earned.

Still, I enjoyed them all. And Mandalorian was a lot of fun. So were animated shows like The Clone Wars.

Ultimately, I am glad Disney bought the property. If the prequels and Crystal Skull taught us anything, it’s that George Lucas comes up with some neat ideas for settings and characters, but he’s really not a very good writer and he absolutely cannot tell the difference between a cool fun idea and a cringingly terrible idea. The best movies come when he sketches out the worldbuilding and then other people fill in the details and veto or fix the childish nonsense. Disney has its flaws, trying to make something that’s inoffensive and pleasing to everyone and blindly changing directions when it turns out people find that unsatisfying. But there’s still a rich history and a lot to enjoy and a whole galaxy to explore.

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[troll]
What if ANY of the Star Wars movies had been good?
[/troll]

Seriously, not a “Wars” or “Trek” guy—but I liked Deep Space 9, which makes me wonder if I might not like Last Jedi—and I’ve often said there are 1 1/2 good movies out of the 9. (For the record that would be half of the '77 movie and all of the '80 movie.)

Personal taste aside, though, the reason the first movie hit big is that it distilled cultural trash (things like “Rocky Jones Space Ranger” and “The Phantom Creeps”) and said, “What if this were done well?” And it was released into a world where simple action and good vs. evil had been completely replaced by nihlistic shades-of-gray antiheroes. It put the villain back in a black hat, literally, and made it—without much story context, mind you—apparent that this was as pure a conflict as you could get.

That was never gonna happen again. So what was left for Star Wars?

Well, they could’ve gone with the massive metaculture that sprung up around it. The novels and comic books and side stories. Were those good? Well, they were at least as good as “Crash of the Moons”, if you get my point. And they were probably in a similar class, quality-wise as the half-century of comic books from DC, Marvel, Harvey and Fawcett that Warner Bros and Disney have been milking for the past 30 years.

Imagine, now, if they had started with “The Mandalorian” and Rogue One. If they had gained some footing with new characters and situations. If they had actually planned out some direction for their $4B property?

Oh, and also, if it weren’t 2021 where every Hollywood movie must be focused-grouped within an inch of its life before it’s even made.

Now you’ve got something!

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Yeah… I gotta say, my expectations for the third movie were impossibly high after The Last Jedi. If they could have only built upon those concepts for the last installment…

C’est la vie.

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You’re hired for the next reboot

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Not all of legends was good, but I loved the freedom it gave authors to go in unexpected directions. One novel would be about one of the solo kids in training falling in love with another student from a matriarchal pirate kingdom. Another would be a retelling of Apocalypse Now set during the clone Wars where a Jedi is sent to capture or kill another Jedi who has gone native in a guerilla war and adopted vicious tactics that embarrassed the Republic.
The new films, except for last Jedi, feel like nostalgia bait with no substance. I hope at some point we get a director’s commentary that tells what the plan was going forward from there before the course correction.

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If the Star Wars sequels had been good — assuming they kept the same characters and actually used them well — Finn would have 100% become a Jedi. TLJ would’ve more strongly developed Finn realizing his Force sensitivity, culminating in him being strongly affected by Luke’s death. In the third movie (which would NOT have been called Rise of Skywalker, to this day I’m still not really sure why they called it that. At the very least it and The Last Jedi should’ve switched names) Rey grapples with being the only remaining Jedi but then Finn reveals to her that he’s sensitive to the force too, so she starts training him in what she knows. At some point Finn would infiltrate the ranks of his fellow enslaved Stormtroopers and lead a revolt perfectly timed with Rey’s battle against ol’ Palpy (if we have to have him in there…), in a much more realistic effort to overthrow the First Order. A poetically just uprising long overdue since the days of the Clone Wars.

THAT’s what the sequels would’ve been like if they were good

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The Star Wars series ended for me midway through ‘Return of the Jedi’, with the first frame of film that showed an Ewok. That’s when it stopped being a story to be told and became a franchise to be protected and exploited.

‘A New Hope’ remains the pinnacle to me – Lucas could have no idea whether he was creating a blockbuster or a flop, so he just threw himself into it… and made one of the most fun movies ever.

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shut up and take my money GIF by Product Hunt

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I liked the sequel trilogy okay. To be fair, I only saw each film once. I was also easy to please. Ewoks??? YES, PLEASE.

Star Wars Episode 6 GIF

But, the only Star Wars thing I’ve really loved since the original trilogy has been Rogue One. I haven’t watched The Mandalorian, tho’.

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Here’s the thing, from my perspective.

Many of the divisive story points in the first two sequel movies made sense; but the subtle stuff was executed too subtly and the overt stuff really cracked you over the head. Move the needles a little and – while people would’ve still likely been happy or angry at any given thing, the reactions would’ve been more moderate.

All that said?

They unquestionably brought in new fans and put themselves in the black. That was what was required of them.

(The only Disney one that didn’t blow the financial doors off, Solo, likely would have doubled its gate with a Christmas release, but that’s a whole different situation.)

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Ya know, I’m just gonna say it. I enjoyed Solo.

More than when it was released, I think people were still miffed over Last Jedi and took it out on Solo.

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