I view the ST thusfar as a somewhat failed experiment, not unlike the PT. In my view the OT is a self-contained story with a clear beginning, middle and end, with clear character arcs. That story has gotten lost somewhat with the addition of the PT, and ST. Both the PT and ST are superfluous imo, and cannot stand on their own. They both add something to the overall narrative, and lore, but at a hefty price. To me the overall narrative of the six part “tragedy of Anakin Skywalker” is significantly weaker than the three part “adventures of Luke Skywalker”, and the thusfar eight part “Skywalker saga” is weaker still. However, in the case of the PT, aside from the poor execution of many elements, the faults were built in from the get go, where the story’s outcome was a foregone conclusion, and it’s self-referential nature part of it’s DNA. It was therefore self-evident that story choices in the PT, might clash with the previously established self-contained story of the OT. It might have been better to have the PT be set in a much earlier time, or an earlier conflict to provide more of a disconnect between the PT and OT timelines, thus ensuring the OT’s narrative is not significantly impacted by the addition of episodes 1 to 3.
With the ST however the creators were free to forge their own path, to create new settings, new aesthetics, and a new conflict to drive the story forward. In my view this did not happen. The ST and Disney’s additions to the franchise in general have been self-referential to a fault, whether it’s by copying the OT’s settings, aesthetic, and general plot, or whether it is by using the OT’s story threads, and set pieces to misdirect, and subvert expectations, the ST at its core thusfar has failed to provide us with a new setting, and new story. It’s the current generation’s updated and modernized OT, where history seems destined to repeat itself ad nauseum:
The big question for me will be, whether episode IX can break through this cycle? If not, I fear for the future of the franchise, where in a worst case scenario Disney Star Wars will forever be a cover band playing Lucas’ greatest hits, changing the order of the verses with some newly updated (and in some cases inappropriate) arrangements, rather than to take Lucas’ style of music, and create some genuinely new songs.
And yet…people who do not like the film say it isn’t like the OT in many ways. That it broke the promise of the SW universe, the feel of the original films.
Well, I would argue if the OT can be represented by three different people, then the ST entries thusfar reminds me a little too much of this:
In other words several OT elements, settings, aesthetics, and story threads have been stitched together with some new elements to form a “new” whole. While Frankenstein shares a lot of similarities with the people that were used to create him, sadly the stitches are showing all too well. Analogously, while the ST shares a lot of similarities with the OT, inviting a continuous sense of déjà vu, the mish mash of OT elements does not provide an overall experience, that honours the legacy of the OT, or even Lucas’ six part saga to a great many people, and to them the stitches are showing all too well.
An example of the visible stitches in the ST is Rey’s sudden mastery of the Force, which appears inconsistent with what has been established before, and is only explained through the words of Snoke in TLJ:
“Darkness rises, and light to meet it. … I warned my young apprentice that as he grew stronger, his equal in the light would rise.”
The story element seems to have been mostly driven by plot convenience, rather some well thought out concept, that flows naturally from the story or the saga in general. Rey needed to be in that throne room on par with Kylo, despite the fact that Luke refused to train her, and so we get a couple of throw away lines to quickly fill a potential plot hole.
However, I have a number of issues with this approach. For one the movie makes it clear, that Snoke only becomes aware of Luke’s desire to die and letting the Jedi die with him by probing Rey’s mind, and so why does Snoke assume that Kylo’s equal in the light would rise while Jedi Master Luke Skywalker is still around? It appears that when Luke disconnected himself from the Force, the Force took matters into it’s own hands, and bestowed Rey with these powers to counter the growing imbalance. However, this rather important new concept is mostly ignored by the film. Luke himself doesn’t acknowledge it, and neither does Yoda for that matter. You would think that it would give Luke pause, that the Force displays its will by awakening in Rey, a wholly new concept in the Star Wars universe. Luke might interpret Rey’s presence as a confirmation, that the galaxy does not need the Jedi, and believe himself to be a possible corrupting influence on Rey, leaving her to figure things out for herself, or alternatively he might consider Rey’s presence a clear sign, that he was wrong to let the Jedi end, as it is the will of the Force for the Jedi to continue. However, he does neither of these things. He barely acknowledges her role in the bigger picture, even if he has sidelined himself, and treats her merely as an inconvenience, who should give up just like he has done. She finally gets tired of Luke’s routine, and leaves, prompting Luke to (again?) attempt to burn the Jedi Temple. Then Yoda appears, gives Luke platitudes, and Luke reverses his position, and accepts he’s not the last Jedi. The whole “we are what they grow beyond” is very prosaic, but rather meaningless (imo) in light of the fact, that the Jedi Masters ignore the elephant in the room, the apparent “Will of the Force”, and its implications to the bigger picture.
It is my opinion, that many of the new elements introduced by TFA and especially TLJ to stitch the different OT settings, elements and story threads together are not properly developed or placed in the context of the larger saga, and thus rather than enrich the Star Wars universe, stick out like a sore thumb. So, in my view episode IX has the difficult task to integrate and further develop these half cooked new concepts, such that it all makes sense once the nine part saga is completed. If it succeeds, and I hope it does, I might see TFA, and TLJ in a different, more positive light.