In 2015 Star Wars exploded once again onto the scene with The Force Awakens, a film that promised to take audiences back in time to the Star Wars of old, before the dark times, before the Prequels.
Episode VII showcased a Star Wars which was at once familiar and new, mixing classic elements ("it's another Death Star!") with exciting concepts that would make the franchise feel fresh again ("Master of the Knights of Ren").
Or, at least, that's what should have happened. Fans quickly realised that The Force Awakens relied too much on nostalgia to push the story forward, rehashing A New Hope rather than coming up with ideas of its own. Rian Johnson, who directed Episode VIII, was essentially handed a clean slate, and without a solid foundation to work on created a movie whose only original ideas were retconned when JJ took back the helms for the franchise's final film.
The once promising and exciting trilogy quickly became a disappointing mess, which at best provided some light moments of entertainment and nostalgia and at worst showcased the dark side of Disney, a multi-million dollar corporation who cared more about profit than creating compelling stories.
Still it wasn't all bad, and the cacophony of directors, writers, producers and story board teams came so close at times right before missing the mark. Here are just some of the things Disney and Lucasfilm could have done to save the Star Wars Sequels.
10. Have A Plan From The Beginning
This might sound like a big ask, but really, this is the least the multi-billion dollar giant that is Disney could have done with as culturally significant a franchise as Star Wars.
Most of the issues on this list would have been solved had Disney and Lucasfilm's story team outlined at least a general trajectory for the Sequel Trilogy from the beginning. A blueprint would have avoided wasting characters and the back-and-forth retconning that made key plot points like Rey's parentage and the miraculous resurrection of the Emperor so awkward and unpalatable.
The Sequel Trilogy's biggest problem was a lack of cohesion between its constituent parts, leading to them feeling disjointed at times. Watching Star Wars' latest trilogy sometimes feels like watching a tug of war between different directors and producers as they all try to drag the franchise into their preferred direction, resulting in it going nowhere at all.
While it's true that the Original Trilogy also lacked a unified plan (despite what Lucas might have since said, this is especially obvious when considering Luke and Leia's questionable relationship in the first couple of movies), at least the writers and directors that worked on Episodes V and VI unveiled a story which more or less naturally followed on from the events and character motivations established in the previous films.
Instead, Rise of Skywalker retcons The Last Jedi which rectons, in turn, The Force Awakens. The trilogy feels less like a cohesive story than a series of experiments in maximising nostalgia and profit. The fact that The Sequel Trilogy effectively ends in exactly the same way as the Original showcases just how clueless Disney were, revealing they never had a plan for the Saga at all.
Seriously, Disney, you can do better than this.