The student news site of Broughton High School in Raleigh, North Carolina

The Hi-Times

The student news site of Broughton High School in Raleigh, North Carolina

The Hi-Times

The student news site of Broughton High School in Raleigh, North Carolina

The Hi-Times

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Old v. New Star Wars Media

   Star Wars is a franchise that has spanned nearly 50 years, captivating viewers at every showing. Star Wars is a science fiction series filled with space battles, laser swords, supernatural abilities, and Dark Lords. First released in 1977, it amused children and adults alike. My father, for instance, saw the film a dozen times in theaters during the summer of its release. It was revolutionary, nothing like anyone had ever seen before. And each film following, the attempt was clear to top the former. 

   There is a lot of discourse about the new content being drastically different than its predecessors. The originals had their charm, the prequels had the killer backstory of the best villain of all time, the sequels had out-of-this-world cinematography, and the series’ have their continuations of iconic storylines.  Each era has different strengths and weaknesses, but do they all live up to the original?

   The original trilogy includes A New Hope (1977), Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Return of the Jedi (1983). These three films were entirely plot-driven and had a fantastic script written by George Lucas. The script included iconic characters and incredible action sequences. One thing it lacked was an excellent figment of dialogue. George Lucas was never prone to write cohesive conversations. The originals have badly choreographed fight scenes and horrible special effects. Although those aren’t signs of a conventionally good film, those two aspects arguably make the movie better and add comedic relief to the intense plotline.

   The original trilogy follows the “chosen one” trope, where Luke Skywalker is destined to save the Empire from the tyrannical Palpatine. Luke Skywalker, a boy who’s grown up isolated from the rest of the growing society, has been given a mission by an old man named Ben. Retrieve a message from a captive princess. With no previous training, this boy has to go against an entire galaxy. Luke Skywalker crosses paths with Darth Vader on his mission, the Dark Sith Lord who is the culprit behind the galaxy’s demise. As the trilogy unfolds, so does the largest plot twist in history- Luke is Darth Vader’s son. And to add to the shock, the princess that Luke saved from the Empire is his sister, and by extension also Darth Vader’s daughter. The writing was unlike any story, revolutionary for its time.

   The prequel trilogy includes The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002), and Revenge of the Sith (2005). The three films consist of popular actors and an amazing plotline, once again, written by George Lucas. Revenge of the Sith is arguably the best film in the franchise. These films had incredible choreography and a well-stocked cast, starring Hayden Christianson, Natalie Portman, and Ewan McGregor. But mirroring the originals, the dialogue was not the best. Many viewers consider the dialogue to be the point of no return for considering these films up to par against the originals.

   The prequel trilogy follows a young boy, Anakin Skywalker, and his unnatural abilities. Anakin was born on a desert planet, the same as Luke from the original trilogy. The young boy is a slave, as is his mother. As the first film continues, it alludes to a dark force awakening, old Sith practices that had been dormant for centuries. Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn believes Anakin to be the answer, the solution to bring balance. 

   As we follow Anakin go from slave to Jedi, we see the manipulation of the galaxy by those in power. The Jedi don’t trust Anakin, the Chancellor is trying to control the entire galaxy, and Anakin has broken the largest rule in the Jedi Code- he fell in love. Anakin battles his love for his wife against his love of the Jedi Order, all the while the Dark Sith Lord is pulling the strings. And so the best villain of all time is born from Anakin Skywalker. Darth Vader. The prequel trilogy’s backstory is satisfying and full of theories that continue the lore of this world even more. I would argue that these films are overrated by critics and add more layers to the original story.

   The sequel trilogy includes The Force Awakens (2015), The Last Jedi (2017), and The Rise of Skywalker (2019). The three films consist of a strong leading female character and outstanding cinematography. The franchise had been sold to Disney three years earlier, so the question of who wrote the script has a long answer. The screenplay was written by many, one of them being director J. J. Abrams. These films have the largest population of haters within the Star Wars community. Some of it undeserving, a lot of it understandable. 

   The sequel trilogy follows Rey, a scavenger from the desolate planet of Jakku. When an important droid ends up stranded on her planet, Rey gets pulled into a fight against the First Order- the new name for the Galactic Empire. Rey meets a rogue Stormtrooper and a living legend from the Rebellion. This new group of hers joins the Rebel Alliance against the First Order. With a new Sith introduced, a bond is tangible between him and Rey. This bond becomes the focus of the films- their secrets are uncovered and relationships explored.

   These three films approach the franchise in a much different way. Some viewers consider them to be its downfall, while others appreciate the change of plot. Instead of their being a chosen one, two stories are colliding with one another. And with the new series, Star Wars is branching out. 

   The Mandalorian (2019) follows a notorious bounty hunter once one of his missions goes wrong, having him adopt his bounty instead of killing it. The Book of Boba Fett (2021) follows a bounty hunter and his crime ring on Tatooine. Andor (2022) follows a Rebel fighter and his fight against the First Order. Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022) covers the aftermath of Anakin’s turn to the Dark Side and his former master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, is keeping a watchful eye on his son. Ahsoka (2023), the newest Star Wars series, follows Anakin’s padawan a few years after the fall of the Empire. 

   All of these series have been different, all of them moving away from the traditional light and dark. The shows continue the stories that had already been in place by the films, adding more depth to the characters. The shows, all produced by Disney, have been moderately enjoyed within the Star Wars community. But the show that has possibly broken that cycle is Ahsoka. The fight scenes are comparable to the prequel choreography and the characters were already beloved from previous projects. Has Ahsoka brought Star Wars back to its original glory? 

About the Contributor
Madison Pulley, Reporter