Has Lucasfilm Lost It’s Touch?


Jack Galowski

Lucasfilm: A History

Lucasfilm was founded in 1971 by George Lucas, who intended to change the way movies were made. While the company would create one or two successful movies, it wasn’t until 1977 that it acquired the fame it deserved when Lucas wrote and directed one of the most treasured films of all time– STAR WARS. While producers simply believed that it was nothing more than a flop waiting to happen, leading the film to be released in only several dozen theaters, it actually became an almost instant hit. 

In 2010, Disney announced that they would buy the multi- million dollar company, Lucasfilm, which by this time was responsible for the lucrative Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, both with George Lucas at the helm. Many fans of the studio and its property were concerned, thinking this was a mistake and that Disney didn’t have the franchise’s best interest at heart. Yet, in 2014 it was announced that a 7th Star Wars film would be released, directed by JJ Abrams, who had previously directed the rebooted Star Trek movies. While many people were still unsure about the film, when the trailer dropped on November 28, 2014, almost all worries were replaced with a hype that hadn’t been seen since 1999. 

Disney: The Dark Times

Star Wars the Force Awakens became and still remains the 4th- largest grossing movie of all time. With many worries put to rest, it was decided that creative control could be relied upon by the President of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, for future projects. However, this proved to be one of the biggest mistakes the company made in years, as in 2017 Lucasfilm and Kenndy released one of the most controversial and debated films in the last several years, Star Wars the Last Jedi. What would cause this much outrage?

Well, first was the introduction of political themes like feminism, mansplaining, and animal rights topics which many critics thought had no place in a galaxy that had magic space wizards and talking frogs. Then, of course, was how several of the female characters were made into Mary Sues, a name for “a fictional character, usually female, who is seen as too perfect and almost boring for lack of flaws, originally written as an idealized version of an author in fanfiction.” One of these characters was Rey, who somehow was able to fight one on one against Kyle Ren with only a week of training. Kyle Ren, on the other hand, was known to use the force for over 10 years.

Then, there was the issue with the most well known character of the movies: Luke Skywalker. In the movie, Luke is hiding away on a remote planet, which was shown in The Force Awakens. However, instead of being the more wise and noble Luke that we’ve come to know, he’s full of hopefulness and shame and believes the Jedi order should die with him.

Many people were obviously upset at this portrayal of the character. The Luke Skywalker that many people knew wouldn’t be hiding on a remote planet while the galaxy is falling apart. In the previous movies, he faced his fears of confronting his father and falling to the darkside. When he was about to kill his father, Darth Vader, he threw down his weapon and claimed that he was a Jedi like his father before him. The sequels could have explored the beginnings of a new order with Luke. However, instead we got Luke almost killing his nephew, because he looked into his mind and saw a little bit of the darkside in him. 

After this, many fans simply gave up on the franchise and others boycotted the next spinoff movie, Solo: A Star Wars Story. With these failures, Kennedy requested JJ Abrams to return to the studio for Ep 9 . However, with the damage already done with the release of Ep 9 , it resulted in a mess of a movie in trying to do damage control for The Last Jedi in combination with other decisions by the studio. With the unexplained return of emperor Palpatine and rushed plot, not to mention low merchandise sales, it seemed Lucasfilm had lost its touch.

However like Yoda said, “No, there’s still another.” With the release of The Mandalorian it seems like there may be a new hope for the company.