Was fan service necessary in Star Wars?
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Was fan service necessary in Star Wars?

As more and more fans attach themselves to on screen franchises, in this case Star Wars, does that mean they should shape the story?

Was fan service necessary in Star Wars?

While In person I've had plenty of conversations with Star Wars fans who admired the new addition to the franchise, online I see trending topics about how much "The Rise of Skywalker" was disliked, and how fueled it had been by fan service. Light spoilers ahead.

In speaking with friends, baristas, and Lyft drivers about movies as I do, I agreed with their points that it was plain fun to be back in the world of lightsabers, troopers, and the force! However, I was a fool to believe the story was going to be innovative, because instead it reminded me of a plain action adventure with the jedi universe just inserted where it was needed. When Rotten Tomatoes released their ratings I was surprised it landed so low, but considering the foundation, it was building upon it made sense. The fan service shamelessly revealed itself in moments that felt "forced."

About two weeks after the movie premiered, TROS was trending on Twitter along with TROS director J.J. Abrams. Like any who were on Twitter and curious, I followed the digital rabbit which lead me to a thread filled with tweets surrounding Abrams and Disney representatives having to include moments that were created to appeal to fans. IndieWire quotes TROS editor Maryann Brandon about the movie's rushedness and decisions surrounding the fan service.

Maybe it's an unpopular opinion, but that kiss was out of left field and a necessary experience for neither character nor audience member involved. The scene passed with an uncomfortable groan from the audience I was a part of, and the whole decision felt off. If this was an effort to appeal to both sides of the fandom, what was decided that would appeal so much to the other side, because I would like to know.

In dramatic moments of force ghosts appearing, bringing dead Sith back to life, minimizing or altering characters in the story and dropping references to the original trilogy, there were just too many things for the viewer to be stopped by. These felt like a stick in the road because they weren't guiding the story anywhere. Rather than being excited for something epic, fans were halted in their experience by these constant callbacks that made for a less than casual viewing finale.

Where I see fan service as a disappointment and unnecessary is when movies forgo the groundwork laid before them that they must build upon, and instead go straight for the interests of a particular fan, since not all are the same. In creating a movie that uses the world fans already know about, continuing to show them why they choose to follow these franchises through world-building and new material leaves at the very least an impression that the filmmakers were making something original and not catering toward any subgroup. Any strong follower will have strong opinions to match, and better to lead into decisions that they'll see reason and cause behind rather than for the sake of doing them to impact.

The next writers and creators of Star Wars, I hope, reduce their intake of what the audiences beg for in the installments to come and stick to the ideas that make sense based on what they've created. Best not to insert any appeals that are one-sided because some of the most legendary filmmakers make decisions on their own and fans can either stick with it or move on. Regardless, it was the director's or writer's decision and that's just it.

The Star Wars franchise has so much more to explore outside of the Skywalker family and the same characters reappearing after death, so that's what I hope for in the trilogy to come, because inevitably another one will.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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