The years 2017 to 2019 have not been a good time to be a Star Wars movie. The Last Jedi unleashed a flood of vitriol that still lingers to this day.
The Rise of Skywalker seemed to backtrack The Last Jedi in several ways, and some people thought that hobbled the last movie in the Skywalker saga.
That’s why there have been various attempts by fans to “decanonize” the sequels – either by undoing the parts that fans don’t like or simply by making them not count. By now, some fans have realized that resistance is futile, for several reasons.
Why do some fans want to ‘erase’ the sequels?
The Last Jedi upset longtime fans for a lot of reasons, mainly in that fans thought the movie went out of its way to subvert and/or deconstruct the Star Wars mythos.
Vocal fans were particularly upset that Rey’s parents turned out to be nobodies, and about Luke Skywalker deciding not to play hero and instead sulk about his failures. That wasn’t their Luke and that wasn’t the film they had in their heads.
A fan named Henry Walsh started a petition on Change.org to decanonize The Last Jedi. It read in part:
“Episode VIII was a travesty. It completely destroyed the legacy of Luke Skywalker and the Jedi. It destroyed the very reasons most of us, as fans, liked Star Wars. This can be fixed. Just as you wiped out 30 years of stories, we ask you to wipe out one more, the Last Jedi. Remove it from canon, push back Episode IX and re-make Episode VIII properly to redeem Luke Skywalker’s legacy, integrity, and character.”
Obviously, this did not happen, and according to NME, Walsh regretted starting the petition.
He later wrote: “It was meant as a way to blow off steam, and in the grand scope of realism there is a 0% chance that Disney would strip TLJ from canon, and they absolutely won’t delay Episode IX to remake Episode VIII. That was a flight of fancy, and a sarcastic statement.”
All the same, 116,743 people signed, so a nerve was struck.
Why do some fans dismiss decanonizing?
Flash forward three years later, and the bad feeling still lingers. If fans don’t ask for films to be stricken from the record, they still give Disney plenty of grief for the way they’ve handled the franchise. At the same time, other fans scoff at these efforts.
One fan on Reddit states:
“I think this “decanonize the sequels” thing is a completely ridiculous idea that would never happen. People don’t even think about what that would mean for Star Wars overall. Most of here probably grew up with the prequels. We watched the movies a ton, played video games, dressed up as Anakin, fought with toy lightsabers, etc. Can you imagine if one day during all that fun you were told that what you like isn’t Star Wars anymore?”
Other fans pointed out that it seems counterproductive even to discuss the issue because to them, it’s obvious it’s never going to gain any traction. Granted, franchises will sometimes write out parts of the story that went over poorly, as The X-Men franchise did when it made The Last Stand irrelevant with Days of Future Past.
With Star Wars, the best fans can hope for is new product that will remind them of why they loved the franchise in the first place.
Perhaps Star Wars will be better served on the small screen
The Mandalorian indeed has done much to restore the goodwill that the franchise lost amid all the complaints about the sequel trilogy. Most fans seem to be very pleased with the show, so it was no surprise that Lucasfilm recently announced plans for several new Star Wars shows on Disney+, but only one definite movie: Rogue Squadron, to be directed by Wonder Woman’s Patty Jenkins.
In fact, those very shows serve as evidence that the sequels won’t be erased. One fan pointed out something fans often forget: theirs are not the only voices that count.
One wrote: “Outside the internet, the sequels were very popular and beloved among newer audiences. Hell, even The Rise of Skywalker has a very positive audience rating. Word of mouth is very good for the sequels, too. So I agree and all the new shows are actually doubling down on and building up to the sequels.”
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