When Star Wars: The Last Jedi came out, I’ll admit as a professional critic that I was blindsided by the fan’s passionate disapproval of the second sequel on Friday morning. What happened? I’ve been a fan of Star Wars films since I was a kid when “STAR WARS” came out in 1977. But how did fan disappointment and hatred proliferate so quickly and sustain themselves for this past decade? The answers are now given to me by way of The Disney Star Wars Trilogy Documentary. Writer-director Coach Groves starts from the moment the Walt Disney Company purchased it in 2012.
The filmmaker and his cohorts, the fine folks over at Echo Base Network, combed through seemingly the entirety of YouTube to tell this story. The documentary, hosted by Doomcock, opens with Disney’s purchase of LucasFilm and the announcement that Kathleen Kennedy would be in charge of it. Then, with words that would live in infamy, Kennedy vowed to fans that she was there to “protect the characters” that we had grown to love over our lifetime. Immediately, the buzz was palpable as J.J. Abrams was set to direct a new title in the franchise, and the original cast was back. When The Force Awakens came out, it was met with generally positive reviews. But then small cracks started to form.
“…the events bringing Star Wars to the point of fan hatred or, worse, apathy.”
Soon excitement and anticipation would be revived with Rian Johnson taking the writing and directing duties on The Last Jedi. He would also present the treatment for the ninth title to its director, Colin Trevorrow. Then the cracks started to show when Mark Hamill started expressing his frustrations with Johnson’s take on Luke. Many then believed the director had “screwed the pooch” with the eighth entry. Then issues with Trevorrow led to the final death nail with the Abrams-helmed. The Rise of Skywalker. Disney is the corporate face of Star Wars, giving a reason for lifelong fans to give up and walk away.
The Disney Star Wars Trilogy Documentary is a laudable effort from the crew at Echo Base Network. They meticulously illustrate the events bringing Star Wars to the point of fan hatred or, worse, apathy. They present it from both the fans’ perspective and common a level-headed and commonsense viewpoint. The way Groves highlights Hamill’s frustrations with Johnson is brilliant. It’s incredible to me that Hamill was allowed to say what he said without LucasFilm snipers pointing red-laser dots on his forehead. The film also shows various telling clips and quotes from Kennedy, leaving us to wonder what happened to lead her to stray off mission.