Star Wars: Can The Sequel Trilogy Be Decanonized?
A relatively spoiler-free discussion.
The Star Wars sequel trilogy
Although this topic may sound like one you would ponder about while taking a shower, there is still some compelling discussion to be made about it. Depending on which side of the aisle you are on, you would either scoff or cheer at the prospect of seeing the sequel trilogy suddenly evaporate out of existence (not literally, of course), and we are not here to say who is right and who is wrong in the argument. Instead, we simply want to consider the possibility of this topic coming to pass.
Now, there is a point to be made regarding the fact that big Hollywood studios simply cannot decanonize films as and when they please. After all, these production houses have invested millions upon millions of dollars to make these movies and market them to the public. It would be akin to filmmaking suicide for the studio to suddenly deem a series of films that were once canon to abruptly be disassociated with the main franchise. It could very well sow the seeds of distrust among its diehard followers, regardless of whether the fandom enjoyed the films or not.
That being said, there is also an argument to be made as to why studios should be allowed to decanonize films when the situation beckons for such a decision to be made. It could potentially make the studio appear humble in audiences’ eyes, as the studio’s action could be perceived as a willingness to admit their mistake and subsequently make reparations. In the case of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, it is fairly evident that the reception towards the films was largely negative. This is not to say that prior Star Wars trilogies had not faced any negative criticism in the past, but there is a distinct difference between disliking a film and loathing it, of which the sequel trilogy is undoubtedly in the latter category. Therefore, the sensible thing for the studio to do would be to swallow their pride and write off the said trilogy, allowing it to remain as an experiment gone wrong rather than let it stew in a broth of frustration and rejection that will eventually spill out into future projects and sour their potential.
It is certainly a tricky question to answer and a costly one at that. On the one hand, keeping the sequel trilogy in canon will remove the risk of alienating the fans that genuinely enjoyed the films and prevent the need to fork out more money to produce a more accepted version of the movies. On the other hand, decanonizing a series of films that would put a damper on the prospects of future installments would be beneficial to the studio and the legacy of the franchise as a whole, as it could sincerely restore the interest among most long-time fans of Star Wars to return and continue to support the franchise that they are so very passionate about.
Food for thought.
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