OK, this blog title somewhat jests – Starkiller Base aside, the common criticism that The Force Awakens was a rehash isn’t as entirely fair as the popular narrative suggests, or indeed relevant to the actual flaws with the film. Still, there’s no question that the experience of watching Episode VII felt remarkably familiar…
I’ve been guardedly optimistic about how The Last Jedi is shaping up. It looks like it will address some of the issues raised by TFA (if not all) and Rian Johnson’s pedigree would indicate that the film is in safer hands than Abram’s initial entry ever was. So the news that Abrams is returning to the vacated director’s spot for Episode IX is disappointing to say the least.
The jokes have already started about lens flare, or about the film being a direct re-telling of Return of the Jedi, but I have more faith in the Lucasfilm team than that. What I am worried about is the lack of integrity Abrams brought to the Star Wars universe with TFA – from the humiliation of the OT characters, to the relentless pace, to the lack of political context, to the misuse of hyperspace, to the fact that so much of the film felt like a box ticking exercise for those ‘fans’ that rejected the Prequels.
It’s irked me, and I’m not alone. And any optimism that’s been tentatively building up through GCB over the last few months has now received one enormous check with the fact that no matter what The Last Jedi does, the man that brought us TFA is going to be rushing out the ST’s concluding chapter.
Lucasfilm have confirmed that Episode IX will be released in December 2019.