Imagination Connoisseur, Dallas Lemons, questions whether the decisions to broaden the appeal of the Star Wars franchise was a major reason why so many fans are disappointed with the sequel trilogy.

Hello Viceroy,

I’m a new subscriber and have been thoroughly enjoying “binging” the last year’s worth of content. I don’t think we agree on everything, but I greatly appreciate your openness and honesty. Your industry knowledge is very helpful in contextualizing why certain decisions are made in films, which is why I’m writing you today.

I don’t understand what the “general audience” term means exactly. Sure, movie goers who show up for marquee titles (Star Wars, Avengers, etc.) might be considered the general audience. But what does appealing to the general audience actually mean?

It’s been said numerous times, in the case of Star Wars, that the new trilogy was made to embrace the general audience and bring new fans into the fold. The hardcore fans will just show up anyway, and I certainly did. You’ve stated that a lack of story direction across the new Star Wars trilogy was apparent and I completely agree with this. This, in my opinion, hurt a lot of the hardcore fandom who were presumed to just show up anyway (again, we did and we will).

I’ve spoken to many people who thoroughly enjoyed the new trilogy. The presence of the Force, lightsabers, explosions, good guys, bad guys, and Space seemed to be enough for the “general audience”. That’s a passive over simplification for sure, but I deem it accurate for arguments sake. However, for hardcore fans, the lack of story direction and the blatant disregard of existing (beloved) lore was a bit of a gut punch.

I feel like Lord of the Rings struck this balance of the “force”. It was true, within film-able reason, to the source material and general audiences and Lord of the Rings fans embraced it largely. I wasn’t a LOTR book reader and was first introduced to it by the films but have since read and enjoyed the books. I view the following as a far fetched and thin analogy, but go with me on this one…

If Fellowship of the Ring was the prequel trilogy of Star Wars, and Two Towers was the original Star Wars trilogy, for example, let’s say Return of the King is the new Star Wars Trilogy. Imagine Peter Jackson decided that the novel of Return of the King was not cannon. Envision a movie where Frodo becomes King, where Aragorn dies in battle, Gandalf decides to sit it out because he’s disinterested, Gollum went to wizard academy and cats and dogs were living together.

People (fans of lore) would be livid, because we know what happened in the book. It also would be disjointIng to non-readers since the story trajectory set forth in fellowship and two towers wasn’t carried forward. Likewise, we know what happened to Luke Skywalker after Return of the Jedi. We know what happened to Han and Leia’s family. We know those details and stories. We were just simply told “those stories don’t matter anymore, this is a new story.”

Can you make sense of this as it relates to Star Wars? From a corporate perspective, why would you push so hard for a story totally disconnected from existing lore? If they had appealed to hardcore fans of Star Wars, I would think it would include the elements that attract the general audience automatically. Can you shed some light and insight into this and why that balance has been difficult for the new trilogy to achieve? Why wouldn’t the general audience turn out for a movie based on lore?

Thank You for the great content and I’m looking forward to the next year of Season 2!