Ever since Disney bought the rights to one of the most iconic franchises ever, Star Wars, from its creator George Lucas in 2012, it was an up and down relationship with the fanbase. The original trilogy is seemingly loved by everyone and is highly regarded as one of the greatest trilogies of all time; The Prequels, once heavily criticized, have even found a place in people’s hearts.
Disney also produced their own Star Wars trilogy, a final three episodes of the Skywalker Saga. It caused great division among the fans, but they also released movies like Rogue One(2016) and several other successful Disney+ shows. Lots more Star Wars content to come, and Disney has big plans to expand the Galaxy far, far away. Not everything has been well received, but they certainly have had their hits.
Bad: Force Heal ignores Anakin’s turn on the dark side
In the final episode of the Skywalker Saga, The Rise of Skywalker (2019) introduces a new ability that Rey (Daisy Ridley) know: Forced healing. It’s introduced very casually when Rey uses it on any desert snake (she later uses it on Kylo Ren [Adam Driver] at the end of the movie).
It’s a big slap in the face to Anakin (Hayden Christensen), the character that should be “The Chosen One” and the central focus of George Lucas’ original story. He turned to the Dark Side with the knowledge that nothing the Jedi could teach him was his wife, Padmé (Natalie Portman) Still, Rey can use this ability without any problems.
Good: Diversity in a galaxy far, far away
As great as the original trilogy is, outside of Leia (Carrie Fishero) and Lando (Billy Dee Williams), there is not much diversity. The Prequels do a little better, but the Sequels and the subsequent spin-off produced by Disney have added diversity to Star Wars.
Fin (John Boyega), Rey (Daisy Ridley), Holdo (Laura Dern), saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), and Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), to name a few; are all major characters introduced by Disney in Star Wars that have had a significant impact on the franchise.
Bad: Lightsabers aren’t the weapons they should be
Everyone knows that George Lucas had an affinity for mutilation in his Star Wars movies. Hands, legs and even some heads were chopped off. Lightsabers are an advanced weapon and they are also very dangerous; they could easily cut through blast doors.
Still, the sequel trilogy treats them as if they were toys. Whether it’s because Disney wants to limit the violence, or for some other reason, Lightsabers in Star Wars have become noticeably less deadly. Finn is punched in the back with a lightsaber from Kylo Ren and alive, the standard Stormtrooper armor doesn’t even look like it’s being penetrated, the sparks just fly out. in the new Obi-Wan Kenobi(2022) series, Reva (Moses Ingram) survives not one, but two stitches in the stomach (one was a flashback to when she was just a Youngling).
Good: ‘Clone Wars’ Season 7
Clone Wars is arguably the largest piece of Star Wars media to have ever existed. Disney did it right by bringing fans back this beloved show to give it the finale it deserved. Originally airing from 2008-2014, Disney has revived the series, with the finale on Star Wars Day, May 4, 2020.
Season seven included the introduction of The Bad Batch, as well as a bittersweet reunion of Ahsoka and Anakin, the Siege of Mandalore, and Ahsoka’s version of Order 66 with Captain Rex. The ending was perfect, leading up to the events of Episode III (2005). The final shot of Darth Vader holding Ahsoka’s lightsaber and walking away from the 501st Legion helmet was heart-pounding, truly the end of an era.
Bad: Bringing Palpatine Back
The Sequels were a bit of a mess, in no small part because of this decision. After Ryan Johnson’s The Last Jedi (2017), the fan base was divided like never before, he had taken the franchise in a direction that confused many people, even if there were some redeeming features of it.
In Rise of Skywalker (2019), Disney Brought Back JJ Abramsthe director of The power awakens (2015), and he basically ignored everything The Last Jedi did. He also revived The Emperor off-screen, revealing it in the opening crawl. The idea was bad, the execution was bad, and Disney again directly contradicts Anakin Skywalker’s redemption.
Good: Disney+ expands on Canon
With both Marvel and Star Wars under their control, Disney+ has become a major streaming service for two of the biggest franchises in the world. They’ve done a good job of expanding existing character stories, such as Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and Obi Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), as well as newly introduced characters such as The Bad Batch.
Other shows like Andoro and Ahsoka are sure to do the same, according to the previously established characters with the same names. Whether you liked the shows or not, Disney is doing its best to give fans what they want.
Bad: Decanonized Expanded Universe
The Star Wars EU was never as popular as the main source of movies, but it offered a wide variety of stories and characters that were loved by fans. When Disney bought Lucasfilm and the rights to Star Wars from George Lucas in 2012, it basically ended the Star Wars EU and turned it into Legends.
From a business standpoint, Disney essentially started from scratch with everything outside of the six movies and The Clone Wars. While it’s understandable that they’d want a separation between them and Lucas, they’ve actively shortened themselves from characters that could be used. Since then they’ve been trying to reintroduce some of those characters to Canon, like Darth Revan in the Sith Shrine in The Rise of Skywalker.
Good: ‘The Mandalorian’
The crown jewel of Disney+, The Mandalorian was part of the first series of original shows to be released on the platform. Starring Pedro Pascalthe show was created by Jon Favreau of Dave Philonic (The Clone Wars writer and director) as an executive producer.
The show was a breath of fresh air after the Sequels. An interesting and unique Star Wars script that took concepts and characters that people knew and made something new. As the show progressed, more iconic characters, such as Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson), have crossed paths with The Mandalorian, much to the delight of fans.
Bad: Luke, Han, Leia and Chewbacca’s treatment
Including the iconic foursome in the sequel trilogy was always risky. The performance and fate of all of them left much to be desired among the fans. Harrison Ford agreed to come back as Han Solo as long as they promised to kill him, and they did, the only one who could say goodbye to him was Chewie. Then they made a bad prequel movie about him.
Luke was in TFA for 30 seconds, then had what some would call character assassination, in TLJ (although some believe his character arc was good). Leia played a pivotal role in The Resistance, but had a horrific scene where she pulled herself out of space using the Force. Than in TROS, was forcefully incorporated into the film using CGI rather than being written out after the tragic passing of Carrie Fisher. All the while, Chewbacca is banished to the sidelines with people he barely knows.
Good: Rogue One
Being a spin-off movie in the Star Wars universe takes a lot of guts, but Rogue One makes it in spades. A movie where the whole premise is to cover up the “plot hole” of the Death Star’s flawed design. Andoro is also an upcoming Disney+ show that exists because of the success of Rogue One.
It manages to introduce new lovable characters. Many that most fans understand will not survive the events of the film, but knowing their fate doesn’t take away from the excitement. Additionally, Rogue One delivers the very best Darth Vader scene in all of Star Wars.
NEXT: Why ‘Star Wars’ Should Go Beyond The Skywalker Saga