I get it, change is hard. This is especially true when it comes to our biggest fandoms, isn't it? There's no shame in admitting that. For me, I would say that is very true when it comes to my love of Star Wars. Like many fans, I grew up with that original trilogy. You know iconic characters when you meet them, I don't care what age you are. Once you have that moment, it's all consuming. Toys become collectibles, shirts become replaced with larger sizes and maybe you even went as far as naming one of your kids after a character. To expect anyone to let go of something that they love so much is hard to expect. That also doesn't mean that change can't be a good thing.
The announcement of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker at the Star Wars Celebration in Chicago this year really does feel like the beginning of the end of that saga. Very few stories are lucky enough to get 9 movies (10 if you count the Clone Wars movie.) As a fan, I consider myself lucky, but that doesn't mean part of me doesn't want it to end. There is also that other part of me that knows it needs to end. For Star Wars to truly live on, we have to get something new. I am not suggesting that we move on from Rey, Finn, Poe and others. That would be ridiculous. I'm also not suggesting that those characters don't represent something new. At the same time, they stood next to legends that they will now forever be tied to. Our minds will always remember Rey training with Luke. What we need is something that feels much more outside of that connection. The problem is, even for a huge company like Disney, that constitutes a gamble of millions of dollars.
Enter Disney+, the home where chances like this can be taken. When The Mandalorian was first announced for the streaming service, we didn't know what to expect. We know it will take place five years after the events of Return of the Jedi. We also got a look at the character, some casting announcements and a brief synopsis. Going to the outskirts of the galaxy was my first clue that they were really ready to take the next step. We also found out at the Star Wars Celebration that we will see new aliens, new ships and even some new planets. Before you get that uncomfortable "everything is changing" feeling, Showrunner Jon Favereau did have this to say: "if you’ve been a fan, there’s a lot of care that’s gone in to all of the details. We wanted it to feel completely connected and familiar."
Before that makes you exhale or eye roll, seeing a Stormtrooper here and there isn't the end of the world. Change can't come from quitting cold turkey here. This is Disney testing the waters to see how fans will react to something that feels more new than anything attempted in Star Wars live action before. It's already the first Star Wars TV series, and the first to film in the United States. How different things can be from here on out really may depend on how well The Mandalorian is received. Fan reaction was so poor for Episode I through III, Disney had to use The Force Awakens just to give fans that warm and fuzzy feeling of the original trilogy. Whether you liked the prequels or not, that fan reaction still looms, and that is really what is fueling the fear of change on the studio side. If The Mandalorian works, this could be the spark that a lot of fans have been waiting for. This opens the door for novel adaptations, and dare I say it, completely original stories. It would also go a long way to helping whatever this new trilogy of movies will be.
It's easy to forget that popping in your favorite movie, and reliving those iconic moments, will always be there. Remember, The Force will be with you, always. That's not just a pep talk, it's reality. I am really looking forward to The Mandalorian, and I really hope this is the change that fans have been hoping for. Bottom line is, I want more Star Wars. Does the beginning of that all start on Disney+ on November 12th? We'll have to wait and see.