Friday, October 7, 2022

‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ Trailer: Star Wars Ain’t What It Used to Be

The Monitor is a weekly column devoted to all the pieces taking place within the WIRED world of tradition, from films to memes, TV to Twitter.

On this yr’s Could the Fourth, like clockwork, a brand new piece of Star Wars information dropped: a trailer for the forthcoming Disney+ present Obi-Wan Kenobi. Earlier Star Wars Day bulletins have included that Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi could be cowriting and helming a future Star Wars movie and that Normal Mills could be releasing a Baby Yoda cereal. It’s additionally a day for every kind of fan actions, like making crafts, doing cosplay, and holding film marathons. However through the years, the vacation has begun to really feel increasingly more like a advertising and marketing stunt—a former grassroots fan vacation that’s been became a information peg for a trailer for a present folks don’t appear too jazzed about.

Earlier than we proceed, a second of readability. Sure, WIRED participates in May the Fourth as a lot as any media group and has for way back to I can bear in mind (in a galaxy far, far-off … ). Additionally, there could also be folks on the market who’re way more enthusiastic about Obi-Wan than my feeds point out. However my broader level is that, since The Mandalorian, possibly even since Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the way forward for the franchise has felt like watching the Millennium Falcon go into hyperdrive: a number of shiny lights and motion, however laborious to see the place it’s going.

A part of this has to do with the truth that, frankly, Star Wars is in a little bit of a lull. Following the breakout success of The Mandalorian, Lucasfilm has launched scores of spin-off sequence, every receiving about the identical stage of enthusiasm. The Dangerous Batch was good, although it possibly lacked the crossover enchantment of Mando as a result of it’s an animated sequence. The E-book of Boba Fett—basically about one of many fandom’s most beloved characters—was positive. And now there’s Obi-Wan, which is as soon as once more resurrecting a beloved character, however resurrecting the model of him performed by Ewan McGregor, from the much less beloved prequel trilogy. It might actually go both manner, regardless that this trailer does point out extra cinematic thrills (and Darth Vader moments) than earlier sequence have had. The Rise of Skywalker got here out practically three years in the past, and the subsequent function movie—ostensibly director Patty Jenkins’ Rogue Squadron—isn’t coming till December 2023, and even that date is a bit of a question mark. Within the meantime, all the pieces Star Wars simply feels prefer it’s on auto-pilot.

There’s additionally one thing to be mentioned for the truth that all of those form of ho-hum releases have come throughout a lot completely different occasions than earlier ones did. Rise of Skywalker ended up being type of a whimper for the newer trilogy of films to finish on, however it additionally occurred in December 2019, simply months earlier than Covid-19 hit. Within the intervening years, there’s been the 2020 US presidential election, Black Lives Matter protests, a warfare in Ukraine, and numerous different massively impactful occasions. Whereas the franchise could have served as a distraction at occasions, it additionally appeared far much less attention-worthy than the chaos of the true world. Throughout per week through which a leaked draft opinion suggests the US Supreme Court docket might vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, an Obi-Wan trailer doesn’t really feel that impactful. Star Wars has endured in all types of sociopolitical climates, however at a time when it looks like the franchise might, frankly, use a break, now may be the time to simply let it coast.

The query is, will it come again? Disney has invested billions of {dollars} into Lucasfim with the expectation that it’ll be a content material machine for years to come. To that finish, there’s Andor, about Diego Luna’s Rogue One standout Cassian Andor, set to launch later this yr, together with a second season of Dangerous Batch. There’s additionally a Lando Calrissian present allegedly within the works, and extra Mandalorian coming, in addition to two spin-offs of that present, one that includes Rosario Dawson’s Ahsoka Tano. However these initiatives are simply spin-offs from already-existing tales within the Star Wars universe. They’re additionally a part of the plan—former Disney CEO Bob Iger said not too long ago that the Star Wars movies would go on hiatus whereas the studio centered on Disney+ exhibits.

The true check of Star Wars’ future will likely be in whether or not any post-Skywalker Saga tales can take off. Having Waititi helm one sounds promising, so does word that Sleight filmmaker J. D. Dillard will make a function. Marvel honcho Kevin Feige can also be possibly switching hats to helm a Star Wars film. However then there’s Final Jedi director Rian Johnson’s trilogy, which was introduced years in the past however has been quiet within the months since. Recreation of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss had been additionally slated to have their very own trilogy however exited the project in 2019. So, what provides? Sure, Obi-Wan may very well be nice, and Jenkins’ film may very well be the beginning of a complete new Star Wars renaissance. Or they might all fail, leaving the franchise with solely its previous glories. However most probably, nothing spectacular—no genre-shifting epic, or epic flameout—will occur, and Star Wars will simply maintain puttering alongside, like a malfunctioning droid within the Tatooine desert. Which may be essentially the most disappointing ending of all.

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