Today I’m going to tell you How MARVEL STUDIOS Replaced Star Wars
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Star Wars is no longer the home of lore seeking geeks.
It was, for sure, the number one place to go for meaningful, decades spanning stories about heroes and villains, light and dark, choices and consequences.
More So than Marvel Comics, the Star Wars universe was filled with epic stories, from the Original Trilogy to the Zahn books, all the way down to the cool Bounty Hunters mini series from 1998 that was bundled with IG-88 or Bossk action figures.
But they’ve been replaced. Who, you might ask, was able to replace Star Wars in the hearts of fanboys and fangirls around the globe? Well, it’s pretty obvious. It was Marvel Studios.
And I’m going to tell you how.
First things first. What’s this special place that Star Wars earned in the heart of fandom? And how can we tell it’s been shifted?
Well, no matter what phase you were going through as a kid, whether it was your brief flirtation with Street Sharks or the jaw dropping awesomeness of Pokemon Red, you always held one particular mythology above all. Maybe it was because your brother and the older kids really loved it, or maybe because you’re dad swore by it, or maybe you just happened upon it by yourself… but at the end of the day, there was really only one pop culture mythology that was the standard bearer for geekdom: Star Wars. It occupied film, comics, books, action figures, and video games in a way that no other property had. And it was so damn heroic. It reached back into the basic archetypes of heroes, so much so that Luke Skywalker was synonymous with hero and Darth Vader was synonymous with villain. They were the epitome of those abstract ideas.
But the problem is… when I think of the good guys and the bad guys, I don’t think of Rebels and Empire anymore. It’s sad, but true. I think of a guy in a red and green suit of armor and a big purple guy trying to eradicate half of the universe. Or I think of a scrawny, oddly shaped New Yorker jumping on a grenade. Or a rock & roll deity of storms throwing hammers around a battlefield.
As sad as it is to say, Star Wars has been replaced. It’s been thrown a few spots back in line. Not quite outside and around the corner, like the strange subculture around the SNES classic Smartball, but definitely not a prime spot like the one Cap stands in.
But the big question is, how? How did this happen? How did Star Wars, the main source of imaginary tree-house fights well past your bedtime on Saturday nights, devolve into the pop culture equivalent of the 70 year old retiree driving around in his 1950’s Buick blasting Du-wop music… in other words, irrelevant, out of place, and running on fumes.
Well, to be quite honest, there are two big reasons.
First of all, Marvel is more than a comics company now. For 70 years Marvel Comics has been a big swinging you-know-what of the comic book industry. And even though it’s dabbled in a few other mediums, like television and poorly produced films in the early 90’s, it never became a central, household name. Not until the MCU. With the MCU, Marvel has put out 22 feature length films, nearly a dozen television shows, and an insane amount of addictive mobile games. You can’t turn your head without running into a D-list comic book character with his own DLC storyline.
But that’s not it. The stories are good. Really good. Marvel, and specifically Marvel Studios, respects its characters. It respects the lore. And it doesn’t pull cheap tricks with the characters just to play a game of ‘tune in next week’ with the followers.
Iron Man fought his past as an arms dealer in the first Iron Man, learned how to share the burden of superheroes in Iron Man 2, figured out he was more than a suit in Iron Man 3, learned how to compromise in Civil War, became a mentor in Spider-Man, and made the ULtimate sacrifice in Avengers Infinity War and Endgame. There were a few other major learning moments mixed in there, but you’ll notice one big thing: everything was pretty distinct from each other, and every conflict led to further growth for the character.
I mean… It’s not like Iron Man continued to fight Obadiah Stane in every single film outing for the past 3 phases of Marvel Movies. That’d be crazy. Stane was a cool villain, but there are cooler ones out there. And even if others aren’t cooler, there are definitely different villains at least. Different is often times just as important as being cooler. After all, you wouldn’t be able to grow much as a human being if you faced the same obstacle over and over again. If that was the case, then I’d still be in a constant struggle against my 2nd grade arithmetic test. What type of life is that for a grown man?
And that’s the second reason why Star Wars has fallen from its pedestals. Heroes need space to grow. And they do that through their stories. Star Wars hasn’t seemed to learn that. Take Rise of Skywalker for example. Palpatine seems to have returned for the upteenth time, and he’s tried to turn a Skywalker to the darkside for the upteenth time, and , well you guessed it, he’s been defeated by a fairly untrained Jedi for the upteenth time.
Can you imagine if Obadiah Stane was the central villain behind the past 22 marvel studios films. What type of frustrating art would that be?
Wait a second… let’s dwell on that. Frustrating… I think I stumbled upon a great way to describe the recent star wars flicks. They’re frustrating. For many reasons, but just to list off a few, they retread old stories, they undo old stories just to squeeze more juice out of them, they replay the same narrative through the same ol characters. Rey is Luke. Luke is Obi-Wan. And Palpatine is… well, just Palpatine. The stories are the same. The characters are the same. The ending is the same. If you’re not going to take these characters somewhere new, why bother telling a story.
I don’t want to see Iron Man struggle to win back control from his company from Obadiah Stane again, the same way I don’t want to see a Skywalker fight against the tempation of Emperor Palpatine again.
It’s been done before. I want these characters to experience something new. And I want to be there to join them on the ride.
And… uh… by the way, if you could not butcher the characters for the sake of shock, that’d be awesome too. I’m just saying, if you decided that it would be too difficult to live up to the hype of Grandmaster Luke Skywalker that fans were expecting from the Expanded Universe, and instead you decided to do the complete opposite, make him a Jedi-hating hermit with little-to-no force powers, then maybe you shouldn’t have been in charge of these films.
That’s like saying Captain America should have grown into a non-kickass, anti-tech hippy because writing him as a Patriotic guy who throws a shield is too generic.
Yeah, maybe it is. But That’s just the type of character he is. If you can’t figure out a way to tell a meaningful story about him, then don’t touch him. Same should’ve gone for Luke and the Original Trilogy trio.
For that, and the fact that the MCU has just been killing it with its films for the past 10 years, Star Wars is taking a long ride down the hill of fan love. To be honest, I’m not sure it’ll ever return.
What do you guys think? Leave your comment below, and as always, subscribe for a chance at that PS4.