I suppose I’ll throw my two cents in for what it’s worth.
A lot of people echo the sentiment that this current era of Star Wars is no more divisive than the prequel era. I think that’s a misrepresentation of the situation and the only people I see claiming that are those who vehemently defend any and all ST-era content. That’s not a dig at those who do, just to be clear, but I’m yet to see the opposite.
The reality is that Solo was a box office bomb. That has never happened in the history of Star Wars theatrical releases, and a decade ago would be unprecedented, which is something far too many people don’t recognise. Not to mention every single film is steadily returning less and less money as time goes on. Toy sales are garbage, which to be fair could be indicative of toy sales as a whole, but given the success of other brands in similar categories I’d disagree.
Identity politics are massive in this era of Star Wars, and that subject already has enough division in general which has turned away droves of people (again, not saying they’re right or wrong, but that doesn’t change the situation). A large marketing push for the ST-era content was scrapping the EU and dumping on the PT, both of which do have large fanbases, and that kind of blatant and intentional division is something that we haven’t seen happen with the franchise before on a large scale. You didn’t see George talking about how god awful the OT was while promoting the PT. Then you have the fans, on both sides, who seem incapable of having an actual discussion without screeching buzzwords at each other.
And finally, personal feelings of the ST aside, they really don’t add much of substance to the saga of I - VI, and instead feel like a DLC pack for a video game. Remember that this is meant to be a sequel to an epic saga, and what exactly has it added to the story of I - VI? Has it expanded on it in ways other than superficial (character deaths, etc)? Not really. The whole thing feels rather inconsequential.
Compare that to the prequel era. Yes, plenty of people hated the films. However toy sales, merch sales, expanded universe content, everything was at an all time high. On top of this while plenty disliked the films, they didn’t dislike the era and what came along with it. There were far less personal political attacks to drive people away and there certainly wasn’t a box office bomb; not even the dreadful Clone Wars movie managed that. The prequel era was about embracing everything - eras, EU content, everything was accepted. People may not have liked the PT, but they weren’t insulted for it and there wasn’t a collective effort by fans and Lucasfilm alike to get them away from the franchise.
On top of this, love them or hate them, but the PT unarguably contributes and expands on the saga; you can say a lot about it, but ‘tacked on’ isn’t one of them.
There were points of contention in the fanbase during the prequel era but they were considerably more niche and isolated than they are now.
Finally (and this is maybe the most important part of all), kids don’t care about Star Wars. Kids are all wearing Marvel costumes, buying Marvel toys and clothes, seeing Marvel movies. 15 years ago most kids were obsessed with Star Wars and now it’s rare to see many who have any interest at all unless it’s already massive in their household. Kids have always been one of the major target demographics for Star Wars and without their support the brand won’t do nearly as well as it once did.
I think personal feelings aside, it’s obvious that this is quite different to anything the franchise has seen before.
Speaking personally however, I really really liked Rogue One and Solo. However TFA and TLJ are god awful at best and downright insulting at worst for me and as far as I’m concerned, represent everything George Lucas was trying to fight against. They feel lazy as movies and disrespectful of the saga, and for that reason I’ll never see them as anything other than corporate fan fiction, and seeing as the original creator has no involvement there’s actually an argument to be made there, but that’s not the point of this thread.
If you think my personal feelings invalidate my argument that’s fine, but I thought I may as well be transparent and lay out my biases.
I hope Star Wars can get back on track but on its current trajectory I just don’t see that happening.
Sorry for the long write up, don’t blame you if you didn’t make it to the end.