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Has Star Wars finally "jumped the shark"?

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I was watching a TV show the other day, and they were discussing the possibility of Hillary Clinton running for president a 3rd time. A comedian on the show said something like “we need another Hillary candidacy like we need another Star Wars sequel.” The audience groaned, but it made me think: in the minds of the general public, has Star Wars finally “jumped the shark”?

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For me, yes.

“I am a writer. Therefore, I am not sane.”

― Edgar Allan Poe

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It’s not something I thought would ever happen. Even with the prequels, it didn’t feel like SW was getting anywhere near jumping the shark. I guess partly that’s because there had been such an long gap between the OT and the PT. But I think now a lot of people are feeling a sense of overkill.

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plus, there were 3 years in between the prequels. to me, the answer is yes too. i went to the first available session in my town for TFA, RO and TLJ, and haven’t even seen Solo yet, for example. not sure if I’ll ever watch it, or Episode IX when that comes out.

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I saw TFA a couple weeks after it came out, but not because I didn’t have time to go sooner. Waited until RO hit Netflix to watch that. Skipped TLJ in the theater and waited for the digital release. Haven’t seen Solo and will wait for Netflix.

Of course, TFA was a smash hit and raked in huge sums of cash worldwide. It was an event film and everyone wanted to be part of that phenomenon. A few years later, however, it’s not remembered as fondly as many thought it would be. Then we got TLJ, which clearly split the fanbase and had no honeymoon period to speak of. Then Solo didn’t do well.

Setting my own feelings aside, it’s premature to say Star Wars is on a downward slope from which it can’t recover. The children of hardcore Star Wars fans have been raised on this stuff and they’ll probably continue to support it. But for children of casual fans, it’s just another franchise consisting of fun movies they’ll see once and forget about soon after. At this point we’re probably a decade into what is considered another golden age of film and TV, not to mention more amazing video games with real stories and great characters than we’ve ever had access to before; if you’re younger and didn’t grow up on Star Wars, why spend your money on entertainment that’s largely getting by on nostalgia you don’t identify with when you can choose something original from literally tens of thousands of hours of content?

When I think of my top 10 favorite movies to come out over the last 10 years (or top 20 over 20 years), there isn’t a single Star Wars movie on the list. For me, the Star Wars label by itself is no longer strong enough on its own to get my time and money.

originaltrilogy.com Administrator

MTFBWY

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There are no sharks in Star Wars! And nobody under 30 even knows the origin of that phrase anyway. 😛

Never forget!
https://youtu.be/WvGopsM1G9g

Also, only tv shows can jump the shark. Movies nuke the fridge. 😃

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Does anyone even use “nuke the fridge” anymore?

“I am a writer. Therefore, I am not sane.”

― Edgar Allan Poe

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It’s kind of hard to judge all of this though. I mean aren’t most people on this forum old enough to remember SW before the PT? Even the younger people here seems to have grown up with the PT (like myself), so I don’t think too many here really knows what the general consensus about the new movies really are. Though I personally wouldn’t go as far as saying “jumping the shark” (not yet anyway), I too feel like they’re overdoing it a bit. But then again I’m used to a more old fashioned formula of filmmaking, so I honestly have no idea what people under the age of twenty feel about the new method.

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Mielr said:

I was watching a TV show the other day, and they were discussing the possibility of Hillary Clinton running for president a 3rd time. A comedian on the show said something like “we need another Hillary candidacy like we need another Star Wars sequel.” The audience groaned, but it made me think: in the minds of the general public, has Star Wars finally “jumped the shark”?

The comedian sounds like they were talking about Star Wars sequel fatigue, which I would definitely agree with.

But that seems different to me than ‘jumping the shark’, which implies that Star Wars has had a moment of such tonal absurdity that it can’t be taken seriously or even earnestly anymore. I don’t think that’s happened, despite some questionable moments in TLJ.

DuracellEnergizer: “^He’s embraced the absurd. Don’t expect to gain any conventional understanding from his posts.”
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The masses spend a lot of their time picking their nose. They don’t put any critical thought into entertainment, so whether or not these movies are good or not, is almost irrelevant when evaluating how they feel about them. Solo underperformed, but we don’t really know if that’s due to Star Wars fatigue, or because it wasn’t a saga film. We’ll have a clearer picture when Ep. IX comes out.

“After a time, you may find that having, is not so pleasing a thing after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.” - Spock

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Handman said:

The masses spend a lot of their time picking their nose. They don’t put any critical thought into entertainment, so whether or not these movies are good or not, is almost irrelevant when evaluating how they feel about them. Solo underperformed, but we don’t really know if that’s due to Star Wars fatigue, or because it wasn’t a saga film. We’ll have a clearer picture when Ep. IX comes out.

I’ve been to a few family gatherings in the last couple months and they all know I’m into Star Wars. In reference to Solo, people have been asking me, “Did you see the new Star Wars movie yet?” This is the same phrasing they use in regards to the numbered films.

It’s anecdotal, of course, but I don’t think casual fans are drawing the distinction between “saga” and “story” films that we are.

Going to a Star Wars movie used to be an event, but Disney’s more rapid release schedule along with the addition of non-saga films acting as filler has cheapened the brand a bit.

originaltrilogy.com Administrator

MTFBWY

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I think they’re running out of iconic Star Wars imagery and characters to exploit and I don’t think that the general public will be too interested in movies about totally new Star Wars characters or settings.

The Person in Question

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SilverWook said:

There are no sharks in Star Wars! And nobody under 30 even knows the origin of that phrase anyway.

Also, only tv shows can jump the shark. Movies nuke the fridge.

Maybe they don’t know the origin, but they know what it means. 😉 (and, under 40 is more like it).

I didn’t know there was a separate term for films. That just reinforces my belief that it’s a good thing Spielberg didn’t direct ROTJ. 😄

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ZkinandBonez said:

It’s kind of hard to judge all of this though. I mean aren’t most people on this forum old enough to remember SW before the PT? Even the younger people here seems to have grown up with the PT (like myself), so I don’t think too many here really knows what the general consensus about the new movies really are. Though I personally wouldn’t go as far as saying “jumping the shark” (not yet anyway), I too feel like they’re overdoing it a bit. But then again I’m used to a more old fashioned formula of filmmaking, so I honestly have no idea what people under the age of twenty feel about the new method.

i’m 17, so maybe i’m eligible? i’m sort of biased given that i’m here so naturally i’m a huge star wars fan, but i can speak for my unbiased friends: all (most) of them went to see TFA in the first couple of weeks. not as many went to see Rogue Onebut still a considerable amount nonetheless. almost none of them even watched TLJ. and i still haven’t talked to one who’s seen Solo (myself included in this group of people).

just an anecdote i feel might add to the discussion.

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Mielr said:

SilverWook said:

There are no sharks in Star Wars! And nobody under 30 even knows the origin of that phrase anyway.

Also, only tv shows can jump the shark. Movies nuke the fridge.

Maybe they don’t know the origin, but they know what it means. 😉 (and, under 40 is more like it).

I didn’t know there was a separate term for films. That just reinforces my belief that it’s a good thing Spielberg didn’t direct ROTJ. 😄

Indy fans get that reference, but I’ve never heard it in casual conversation. Many know “jumped the shark” and I don’t think it’s strictly for TV, but for anything that occurs in a series (including film series).

Leia cheating death and flying through space might be the saga’s shark-jumping moment. Every casual fan friend I’ve spoken with has referenced that scene as “weird” or “stupid” without prompting.

originaltrilogy.com Administrator

MTFBWY

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Guess they didn’t see Guardians Of The Galaxy which did essentially the same thing, or 2001 for that matter. 😉

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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SilverWook said:

Guess they didn’t see Guardians Of The Galaxy which did essentially the same thing, or 2001 for that matter. 😉

I only saw GotG once in the theater, so I don’t remember the scene you’re referencing. The scene in 2001 actually got Neil deGrasse Tyson’s seal of approval in terms of scientific accuracy. Dave spent a few frantic seconds trying to save his own life and it’s a plausible set of events. Not quite what Leia pulled off, which was clearly cheating death and out of bounds even for the loose set of laws guiding physical reality in Star Wars. I’ve seen a lot of mental gymnastics from fans trying to explain it 😉

I’m not saying it’s the most absurd scene ever, but it takes quite a bit of bad writing to break a casual Star Wars fan’s suspension of disbelief and cause them to call “bullshit”.

originaltrilogy.com Administrator

MTFBWY

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I was speaking more towards the people who think the human body blows up like a water balloon in space.

In a movie universe where spaceships and explosions can be heard in a vacuum, and often defy physics, giant slugs live inside an apparently airless asteroid, people with magical powers formally fight with improbable laser swords when a blaster would end things quicker, (see Obi-Wan vs. Grevious) and overgrown teddy bears kicked Imperial ass, Leia in space was the one bridge too far? I give up.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Anyone who thinks that Star Wars has only now in 2018 “jumped the shark” has selective memory loss, and is forgetting the years 1999 and 2002 when Jar Jar Binks and a flippy jumpy Yoda graced out eyeballs, respectively. There’s honestly nothing at all in the new Disney movies that fits the phrase, especially as they hew much closer to the more grounded and believable nature of the original films. Just because you don’t like a scene or a film doesn’t make it a “jump the shark” moment.

Now, if you want to argue that there’s some sort of fatigue or oversaturation, that’s a legitimate viewpoint, but again is completely separate from the term “jumped the shark.”

Also, since anecdotal evidence is important here I guess, everyone I’ve talked to has really enjoyed the new films (in fact I still haven’t met anyone who disliked TLJ, only people who know people who disliked TLJ). So, checkmate I guess? Is that how anecdotal-based debates work?

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SilverWook said:

I was speaking more towards the people who think the human body blows up like a water balloon in space.

In a movie universe where spaceships and explosions can be heard in a vacuum, and often defy physics, giant slugs live inside an apparently airless asteroid, people with magical powers formally fight with improbable laser swords when a blaster would end things quicker, (see Obi-Wan vs. Grevious) and overgrown teddy bears kicked Imperial ass, Leia in space was the one bridge too far? I give up.

That’s what happens when you establish rules and then break them. “Reality” in the context of fiction has more to do with the guidelines you create that actual reality.

I think the main problem with the scene is that it’s the audience’s introduction to Leia’s first external use of her latent Force powers. Of course, we don’t know what happened in the decades between Episode VI and Episode VII, so maybe she did some training, who knows. But on screen, it seems to come out of nowhere. We didn’t even get a hint of external Force powers in TFA to set it up.

Secondly, nowhere in any Star Wars movie is it made clear that humans can survive in open space. Sure, the films obviously dispense with most real-world physics as they pertain to technology (laser swords, space dogfights, etc.), but for the most part, humans in Star Wars are still subject to the same physical laws they are in the real world. They’re subject to gravity, they can’t breathe underwater, they can freeze to death, they can’t venture outside a ship without a breathing apparatus, etc. Point taken about the giant space worm, but it’s not human.

When Leia uses Force powers we’ve never seen before to defy certain death, that sets something off in the viewer’s mind because it doesn’t align with what they’ve been taught previously. Suspension of disbelief goes up in a puff of smoke and the viewer is left thinking what they just saw was silly.

Regardless, my hypothesis was only based on my personal conversations with casual fans and entirely anecdotal. I think DominicCobb is partially right when he suggests Star Wars lost its way a long time ago, but the box office numbers for TFA suggest that everyone was totally willing to give it another shot. Unfortunately, I think TLJ squandered some of that goodwill.

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DominicCobb said:

Also, since anecdotal evidence is important here I guess, everyone I’ve talked to has really enjoyed the new films (in fact I still haven’t met anyone who disliked TLJ, only people who know people who disliked TLJ). So, checkmate I guess? Is that how anecdotal-based debates work?

I called it anecdotal when I posted it. I never said I was right or that anyone else was wrong.

originaltrilogy.com Administrator

MTFBWY

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DominicCobb said:

Anyone who thinks that Star Wars has only now in 2018 “jumped the shark” has selective memory loss, and is forgetting the years 1999 and 2002 when Jar Jar Binks and a flippy jumpy Yoda graced out eyeballs, respectively.

I think its jumped multiple sharks.

“I am a writer. Therefore, I am not sane.”

― Edgar Allan Poe

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Jay said:

DominicCobb said:

Also, since anecdotal evidence is important here I guess, everyone I’ve talked to has really enjoyed the new films (in fact I still haven’t met anyone who disliked TLJ, only people who know people who disliked TLJ). So, checkmate I guess? Is that how anecdotal-based debates work?

I called it anecdotal when I posted it. I never said I was right or that anyone else was wrong.

No, I realize you did, that wasn’t the issue. It just generally seems like a weird thing to bring up in a debate. Like, where do you go from there?