The Mandalorian Proves There Are Different Genres to Explore in the Star Wars Universe
Give me Cheers set in the Mos Eisley cantina.
While the geek world is still parsing out their feelings over The Rise of Skywalker, our thoughts now turn to the future of the Star Wars brand. And nothing exemplifies the promise of said future better than the first season of Disney+’s signature series The Mandalorian. The adventures of Din Djarin and his young ward The Child aka Baby Yoda, is a sci-fi spin on classic tropes borrowed from both westerns and samurai stories. Mando is a Clint Eastwood-style lone gunslinger, but he is also a noble warrior like Ogami Ittō of Lone Wolf and Cub.
It’s so simple yet so satisfying: exploring new genres through the lens of Star Wars opens up a universe of story possibilities. This is an especially promising development in light of trilogy fatigue, and the overly repetitive themes of TROS. After nine films, many fans want stories that deviate from the well worn themes of legacy, parenthood, and light vs. dark.
And it’s not just the stories themselves, but the tone of these new entries. Solo: A Star Wars Story directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were fired (allegedly) because they wanted to make the film a comedy. After all, why would you hire the guys behind 21 Jump Street and The LEGO Movie and not expect them to do what they do best? The duo were replaced by veteran director Ron Howard, and the film opened to mixed reviews and less than stellar box office returns.
With the Skywalker saga over (for now at least) Disney has scaled back their future film plans. The planned trilogy by Game of Thrones creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff has been shelved, while a new Rian Johnson trilogy is in the works.
Hopefully Johnson won’t be hamstrung by the expectations of Skywalker saga and be able to tell original stories. After his very successful mystery Knives Out, who wouldn’t want to see a murder mystery set on Alderaan? Or a survivalist horror film on Hoth? Or better yet, explore planets we’ve never even heard of.
Star Wars has already had plenty of success in animation and the kids programming sphere. So why not a more adult take on Star Wars? An R-rated film might attract that the same viewers who enjoyed R-rated comic book movies like Deadpool and Logan. There is absolutely an audience for more mature stories within the verse.
Smaller, more contained stories can be just as rewarding and offer new insights into the universe we know so well. Plus, these films won’t be beholden to the previous nine films. If Disney wants to keep the franchise fresh and engaging, the time has come to diversify their storytelling and explore avenues as great and expansive as the galaxy itself.
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