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Is Star Wars "Better Than It's Ever Been"?

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First of all we need to acknowledge that no film will ever be better than the original Star Wars or Empire Strikes Back.

With that out of the way, has there ever been a better time for the series? The majority of fans and general audiences would agree that on the whole the Disney films have been better than the prequels, and many would say that Disney has put out some films better than Return of the Jedi. Even some people who don’t necessarily care for the sequels find the spin-offs to be worthy, and vice versa. In fact, that’s part of the beauty of the new films, with each appealing to different fans in different ways.

Elsewhere, Rebels was debatably the best show the series has ever had, and there’s a new animated show out this year, and (finally) a live action show out next year. When it comes to books and comics, as usual things are hit and miss, though honestly the consistency of quality has been much higher, from my perspective. The future of the films beyond Episode IX are unclear, but if Rian Johnson and Benioff + Weiss are to be believed, we might finally be getting theatrical Star Wars content that isn’t closely connected to the main saga.

In the broader sense, Star Wars is arguably more popular than ever. The series has now accumulated multiple generations of hardcore fans, in addition to the general and casual audiences who once again find Star Wars cool and interesting. The days of the series being “nerds only” is firmly over, and possibly never coming back (which is probably why many are lashing out). Speaking anecdotally, it’s crazy to me how often I’ll find random people talking about the series (in an excited and positive way). It’s not something I was used to growing up.

Whatever you think of some of the movies, this is inarguably an exciting time. Is it the most exciting time?

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I’d say it might be if every nerd wasn’t at another’s throat 110% of the time because of it.

The Drink in Question

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suspiciouscoffee said:

I’d say it might be if every nerd wasn’t at another’s throat 110% of the time because of it.

That’s a very good point, though I guess I was mainly thinking content-wise. Certainly the internet discourse is probably worse than it’s ever been, though I’ll say my in-person discussions have grown and they’re usually pretty pleasant, even if we’re not always entirely on the same page.

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Nope. The best it ever been was 21 May 1980-24 May 1983.

I H8 mammon and flip it all the birds. Sue me.

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I dunno.

I’ve been pretty unimpressed with the ST overall, but the Anthology films and Rebels have been pretty good overall. I’m interested in seeing Favreau’s show and Johnson and Benioff/Weiss’ take on the universe, so I’d honestly be in the “better than ever” camp right now if it it wasn’t for the spectre of The Last Jedi. That movie and the absolutely insane fissure it’s put in the community really has sapped my enjoyment of the franchise of late, I’ll be frank (your majesty). The state of the fanbase is the worst it’s ever been and it sucks.

But, regardless of how anyone feels about the ST so far, Episode IX is arguably the most important film in the franchise at this point in time. So that’s something to look forward to.

Keep Circulating the Tapes.

END OF LINE

(It hasn’t happened yet)

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DuracellEnergizer said:

Nope. The best it ever been was 21 May 1980-24 May 1983.

There’s definitely a good argument for that one. Honestly, why not expand it to the original film’s opening? Those early Marvel books were fun in their own way, and Daley’s Solo novels more than make up for the weirdness of Splinter (which is still an enjoyable read). Then again, the Holiday Special…

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I’d say it was at its best up until the end of the newspaper strip run. That was a solid era full of fun stories.

The ST and the new canon are a mess. All the current era has going for it are the standalones and Rebels.

Help finish ROTJ: Revisited!

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May 25th 1977 to
May 21st 1980 to
May 25th 1983

Those were the best times for Star Wars. I feel sorry for Star Wars fans who weren’t around to experience it.

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This is a great topic. I think a lot of people will have varying answers though.

There’s a lot of ways to answer that question. Is “better than ever” related to general popularity, quality of the films, financial value/success of the brand?

Star Wars becomes something personal for each fan, and I think every fan will be biased with their answer.

I grew up during the prequel era, so despite the critical reception of those films, I feel it was a great time for the franchise. A lot of great games, books, toys, eventually The Clone Wars, and as a kid I loved the prequel movies too.

I think each era of the franchise had something special to it: the OT era, the dark times (87-91) when all fans really had was the tabletop rpg, the birth of the EU in the 90s, the prequel era, the “post-saga” 2005-2012~ period, and now, the Disney era. While some eras had more content, I think there is also something special about the fans who had very little content, but had their imagination to explore that galaxy.

And I think even the post Disney-era will have different “periods”, too. Personally, I think there hasn’t been a lot of meaty content outside the films for fans since the Disney acquisition. Disney/EA has kind of dropped the ball on the game-front, and I kind of feel like besides a few gems, the books have been afraid to step on the toes of the filmmakers, so a lot of the non-film material feels inconsequential besides maybe Rebels. Lucasfilm has been finding its footing since the acquisition.

I think from a kid’s perspective, there hasn’t been a whole lot to latch onto compared to when I was a kid. If I were a kid now, I probably would’ve gravitated towards Marvel stuff inbetween the SW movie releases.

But I think if I was a kid now I would also be really excited for the future. Like you mentioned Dom, there is so much more on the horizon that the next generation of fans will have. Brand new movies, multiple tv series, hopefully interesting books and video games. The best era of Star Wars might not even be here yet.

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RogueLeader said:

I grew up during the prequel era, so despite the critical reception of those films, I feel it was a great time for the franchise. A lot of great games, books, toys, eventually The Clone Wars, and as a kid I loved the prequel movies too.

I think from a kid’s perspective, there hasn’t been a whole lot to latch onto compared to when I was a kid. If I were a kid now, I probably would’ve gravitated towards Marvel stuff inbetween the SW movie releases.

It’s funny you say that because I grew up around the same time but had a different experience. Star Wars was my favorite anything, but as much as I enjoyed the prequel trilogy at the time, the Lord of the Rings trilogy was just as exciting if not more so - and not just for me, but for other kids my age too.

Hard to compare a kid’s experience now vs. then, but I’ll say at the very least the mere existence of an animated show (not to mention multiple shows) is a big plus. When I was a kid I was chomping at the bit for a SW TV show. All I got was a “micro” series, “micro” meaning almost pathetic (in length, not content) 5 minute “episodes.”

There’s really only two things that seem to be lacking in comparison. First of all, video games. The new Battlefronts, despite their reputation, are actually pretty solid. But otherwise, there’s almost nothing. Second of all lacking, is extra material with the ST characters. Due to the PT’s timeline (and nature as a story with a set ending), there was a lot of room for stories in-between the new episodes. Thus far, there hasn’t been too much of that.

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Interesting! I liked (and now love) LOTR too, I mean that trilogy is damn near perfect, but there wasn’t a lot of stuff outside the movies that kept my interest as a kid.

I like that you brought up the Clone Wars micro-series! While it was way too short, I was a huge Samurai Jack fan, so I really loved what little we got of it. And it helped bridge Episodes 2 and 3, and helped me enjoy those characters even more.

Which I kind of think is something the ST is lacking. Not to get into it, but I don’t think TLJ and ST in general would be getting as much flack if we were getting more material regarding those characters and the events that took place in between 6 and 7. Obviously I see why they didn’t do that, but I think future content will cover that, so while a lot of current fans might have issues with the ST, future fans who grow up with those gaps filled won’t.

Once the ST is done, hopefully future content won’t be as held back. I’m hoping Jedi: Fallen Order will be interesting, but it is sad to think that is the only other Star Wars game publicly announced, since Project Ragtag was scrapped and now being turned into something else, with no set release time. I think Battlefront is fun and all but I really don’t know what EA is doing. I don’t think they do either. I think DICE and the other developers want to make great Star Wars games, but they’ve kind of been getting screwed over. I guess it is a quality of quantity approach, but I kind of miss the days of Lucasarts. I’m hoping they’ll ramp up game production in the future though.

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Funny, I disagree with almost everything you said in the first post 😃 I don’t think the sequel trilogy is better than the prequel trilogy (OK, maybe with the exception of TFA, that one was pretty enjoyable). I thought that the two anthology movies we got were “OK” at best, but I’ve seen them once and I don’t really think I will watch them again, I didn’t hate them or anything (I reserve that feeling for The Last Jedi), I just don’t feel the need to ever watch them again. And this comes from a person who watches the original trilogy once a year, and the prequel trilogy every couple of years.
I never read the comics or the novels and I don’t plan to, so I can’t say anything about them, but I absolutely disagree with Rebels. The first season was OK, the second and third had a few good episodes, but most of them were boring, and most of the fourth season was just OK with the exception of the final episodes - those were really good. But it’s nowhere on the level of Clone Wars - and I am talking about both of the animated shows. The Tartarkovsky cartoon is an amazing prequel to Episode 3, the CG series is a masterpiece which will probably never be topped.
And the worst thing of all is Lucasfilm broke the fandom. There is almost no excitement for Episode 9, which is something that I never thought I will say. There will be a new Star Wars movie next year and there are millions of people all over the world who loved the original trilogy but don’t plan to watch episode 9.
So no, I would say this is the worst situation Star Wars has been in a long time.

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Millions of people loved the OT but will skip 9? Would love to hear your source on that one lol.

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TV’s Frink said:

Millions of people loved the OT but will skip 9? Would love to hear your source on that one lol.

I guess millions of people died since 1983, and so will skip Ep IX.

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My answer: no. Why? For me, most of the Disney era of films have been consistently above average quality in terms of writing, directing, and visuals when compared to most blockbusters. In this way they distuinguish themselves from the prequel era, which I would characterize as ranging from the stunningly creative to the absolutely abysmal (often in a single film). However, in my view most of what the Disney era has produced has been extremely derivative, and self-referential, particulary when it comes to the OT. Whether it is through rehashing plot threads from the OT era, or by using OT plot threads to subvert expectations (a quality I’ve since come to consider highly overrated), or by inserting copious amounts of fan service, the OT casts an enormous shadow over the Disney era as a whole, and its dna can be found in almost every element making up the new canon. For those that say Star Wars is better than ever, I would say it’s pretty easy to stand on the shoulders of the OT giant, and believe yourself to be tall. It’s much more difficult to be considered tall standing on your own two feet. The prequel era may be severely flawed in its execution, but it still tried to take Star Wars in new directions both in terms of its story and its visuals. While it certainly certainly didn’t reach the heights of the OT, at least it reached whatever heights it may have achieved in certain areas by mostly standing on its own two feet. When I judge the Disney era of Star Wars not including what it derives from the OT, but by what it adds to the Star Wars mythos on its own, its contributions are pretty small and insignificant to me. Until the powers that be develop a creative vision for the franchise’s future, that is not based on continually looking backwards, I will consider the Disney era the weakest thusfar.

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I’d say no for the simple reason that I don’t like the new movies and I don’t like seeing Star Wars products everywhere. I’d say the best time for the series was after TPM in 3D flopped and before George sold it to Disney. I thought then that Star Wars was dead forever.

The Person in Question

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This is a tough question.

First, I believe that 77 and 80 would have been the most exciting time, but i wasn’t around, so for me, it can’t be part of my answer.

But i do feel that this current period offers the most hope for quality Star Wars content. I don’t regard everything to have been great so far under disney, and i don’t dispute Dre’s comment about standing on the OT’s shoulders (but isn’t that unavoidable to some degree?), but there have been some quality movies and tv shows in my opinion, and i am excited to see the new ones that are coming.

in the PT era, i was also excited about there being new star wars movies, but there wasn’t much else to look forward to (ep III would be the last one by definition), so this ST period certainly exceeds the PT period for me.

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All I can say is that I have been around since the beginning (1977) and I can remember a time when I was starved for ANY new Star Wars content , from about 1986 to 1991 you could hardly find a book , comic or magazine on the subject and there was a long ass 16 year wait between the OT and the PT .So, there is some really good stuff now and some mediocre stuff but I am just glad to have it still active after all these years

https://screamsinthevoid.deviantart.com/

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No?

It’s better than it was between 1999 and 2005 but that’s not much of a benchmark to pass.

Yub Nub for life

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Star Wars was at its best during the late 1980s into the early 1990s. You had the three original movies which were all really good, and you could watch them whenever you wanted on your VCR.

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The lead up to the prequels was the most exciting time.

Star Wars stopped being a very nerdy interest a long time ago. The division among hardcore fans doesn’t really help in any regard.

The blue elephant in the room.

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Dirge said:

Star Wars was at its best during the late 1980s into the early 1990s. You had the three original movies which were all really good, and you could watch them whenever you wanted on your VCR.

Believe it or not all the things you just described still exist.

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DominicCobb said:

Dirge said:

Star Wars was at its best during the late 1980s into the early 1990s. You had the three original movies which were all really good, and you could watch them whenever you wanted on your VCR.

Believe it or not all the things you just described still exist.

Yes, but now there’s a whole lot of crap floating around in and polluting the Star Wars pool (bad/mediocre prequels/sequels, “special” editions, active suppression of the original movies, etc.).

Star Wars was better back when the worst thing you had to worry about were Ewoks.

Before the dark times…before the Empire!

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Can’t agree at all. To me the best time for the series was the 90s, before TPM was released.

Why?

You had the OT on video in their original forms and at a good standard for VHS at the time. You could watch them whenever you wanted.

The Thrawn Trilogy of books were released, expanding the story beyond ROTJ.

You had wonderful and original Star Wars games being produced directly by LucasArts - Dark Forces, Rebel Assault, X-Wing, TIE Fighter, X-Wing vs TIE Fighter, X-Wing Alliance, Shadows of the Empire, Rogue Squadron, Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2 to name a few.

Star Wars didn’t saturate the market and fans only understood the Star Wars brand to represent QUALITY! So every time a new piece of content was released you were excited and it lived up to your expectations.

Then the 97SEs were released and even though some of the changes sucked, you could watch the OT at the cinema again!

Then it went downhill from when TPM was released. Star Wars merch saturated the market, the prequels sucked, LucasArts outsourced all their game development resulting in a massive drop in quality (with the exception of KOTOR and KOTOR2) and there were just too many crappy books being written with pretty much all content outside of the new films being focused on the PT and not the OT. Then Disney bought Star Wars and frankly they have just provided more sub par content at an exhaustive rate of release.

I will caveat this by saying that I really love Star Wars Rebels. But that’s it.

I understand people’s love for the time when the OT was first released in cinemas (I was a bit young to experience it). But during the 80s, the films were literally the only Star Wars content available.

The 90s ruled for Star Wars.