It’s not a personal flaw to not like Disney Star Wars movies.

Max Landis
4 min readApr 18, 2023

It’s always a little alarming to hear someone dismiss the discourse around corporate filmmaking right now, especially around Star Wars. Yet lately for what seems like the umpteenth time, I’ve seen a line drawn in the sand about the discourse surrounding these movies.

One of the strangest and most alienating opinions I’ve heard expressed is that “Star Wars was always for kids, and now people are mad the franchise didn’t age with them.” I think this is a thought-terminating cliche at such an anti-intellectual anti-realist level that I thought it might be interesting to explore here.

So, first of all, let’s exit the fan-boy universe, let’s talk about Star Wars for what it is: a cultural juggernaut that has sustained since the late 1970s, making hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars total at this point.

This is a trilogy of films that has become so ubiquitous in pop culture that it’s been explored from nearly every angle. It’s become a prime literary example of the Hero’s Journey, and is used as a reference point for a whole litany of other movies and trends in science fiction.

It’s referenced in Back To The Future. There’s a conversation about it in Boogie Nights. Enough books have been published both in the brand and about it to fill multiple libraries. To talk about it like it’s “some kid’s movie” isn’t just weird and condescending, it’s a profound denial of the very real impact Star Wars has had on the human race.

The Force Awakens sold 96.6 million tickets. That’s 1.2% of the entire humans alive right now, and I’d wager that’s less than a third of the people with some kind of awareness of “Star Wars” globally.

So acting like “people are only mad because the franchise didn’t age with them” denies 50 years of cultural conversation; the wide criticism of some of the changes in the re-releases, the massive success of Shadows of the Empire on the N64, the backlash to the prequels, then the global hype and fervor around the idea that Disney would “save” Star Wars, then the backlash when they revealed they’d be scrapping the expanded universe, all of these cultural discussions happened widely online and made their way into the film industry so much that some of the corporate rhetoric became defensive and anxious.

“Not liking the new Star Wars movies” isn’t some kind of failure to understand that Star Wars: A New Hope is actually just as dumb as The Force Awakens. You shouldn’t think that; it isn’t. I’m not here to stan for it, it just isn’t a dumb movie. Luke sucks and he fails the whole movie and then makes the game winning shot. It’s a coherent underdog narrative, told in a creatively designed world.

The old movies, whatever you think of their plots, make sense. Each scene leads into the next in a cinematic way, and they form a coherent story that plays out across three films.

There are no long segments that go nowhere, no blatantly dropped plot threads, no jarring contradictions or bizarre, ghastly surreal CGI moments resurrecting long (and newly) dead actors. The films of the new trilogy seem to be in active conflict with one another, each new entry attempting to parry and counter the storytelling moves of the last, cancel them out and rewrite what came before.

The Last Jedi and The Rise Of The Skywalker, viewed as artifacts within the series, are deeply bizarre films with tonally jarring sequences and character threads that come from nowhere and lead nowhere. Rogue One and Solo seem to almost pride themselves on their disposability.

People do love these films. But the recently diminishing returns of the Star Wars as a project culturally are undeniable. It’s had backlash before, but rarely has it felt less “big,” less impactful, this unstoppable juggernaut reduced to mostly cheap looking Streaming Series, and cartoons for kids, with even those underperforming.

If you don’t know all this, it doesn’t mean you’re “mature,” or somehow wiser than those who get caught up talking about it. It just means you’re less involved in the discourse, which for many fans has been going on to some degree their entire lives.

In 2017, I was pilloried online for publicly expressing my frustration that Star Wars had belittled their first-ever cinematic female Jedi by presenting her a as blank, plucky videogame protagonist who could solve every problem, and openly shit on its much promised (and deceptively advertised) “FIRST BLACK JEDI*”, who it turned into a cowardly janitor.

The widespread online heat that followed led to #marysue trending globally, and could be argued to have kicked off what became a bizarre political culture war about Star Wars, feeding into an 7 year online war about whether or not Star Wars had become “woke.”

It’s this culture war that I think is leaned on in the idea that “not liking” Disney’s Star Wars represented assuming a political position. But it doesn’t, and it’s intellectually cowardly to assume everyone that dislikes a movie franchise is simultaneously politically different and somehow inferior to those who do enjoy it.

Because the truth is, in 2023, if you’ve been paying any attention, there’s nothing wrong with you for not liking Star Wars.

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