With the upcoming release of ‘Solo’, the eleventh live-action theatrical Star Wars film, you might think the Disney-owned franchise is in a really healthy place. But there’s a worrying trend emerging: when you rank the Star Wars films in order of their release date, they just keep getting worse and worse.
Let’s look at the full list:
- ‘Star Wars’ – May 25, 1977
- ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ – May 21, 1980
- ‘Return of the Jedi’ – May 25 1983
- ‘The Phantom Menace’ – May 19, 1999
- ‘Attack of the Clones’ – May 16, 2002
- ‘Revenge of the Sith’ – May 19, 2005
- ‘The Force Awakens’ – December 18, 2015
- ‘Rogue One’ – December 16, 2016
- ‘The Last Jedi’ – December 15, 2017
- ‘Solo’ – May 25, 2018
Straight off the bat, we can see that in terms of release date, ‘Solo’ only barely makes it into the top ten. Which isn’t surprising, given the fact that it was so lazily put together that it wasn’t even in cinemas until 2018. There’s no way it can compete with the classics, like ‘The Phantom Menace’, which was released nearly twenty years earlier.
In fact, ‘Solo’ is just the latest in a worrying trend of Star Wars films. Whilst there has been a general pattern of decline since the very first film back in 1977, it’s shocking that since the Disney acquisition each film has been worse than the last when ranked by release date.
And sorry to all you Star Wars Social Justice Warriors out there, but it can’t be a coincidence that of the bottom four films of the franchise by release date, three of them have featured women as the main characters. Disney can keep trying to push progressive storylines on us if they want to, but if they carry on releasing them one after the other they’re just going to end up even further down the ranking.
But getting back to ‘Solo’, let’s just look at the facts. It’s been five-and-a-half months since ‘The Last Jedi’ was released. That’s over twenty weeks! How did the studio think it could even get close to making a better film when the studio isn’t willing to put the work in? It’s difficult to tell if releasing ‘Solo’ after all the other films before it was a creative decision by the director or the result of executive meddling, but either way that decision sealed the film’s fate of loitering at the bottom of the list, at least until the next movie is released.
We need to be realistic, we’re never going to recapture the heights of the original ‘Star Wars’, all the way back in 1977. Audiences have changed, technology has evolved, and it isn’t physically possible to release a film then because of the passage of time. But ‘Solo’ can’t even match any of the Prequels from the turn of the century – hell, ‘Solo’ isn’t even on the same level as ‘The Force Awakens’, which was released nearly three-and-a-half years earlier.
It’s a tragedy to see the franchise plummet like this, but Star Wars isn’t alone. It’s a sad fact of the movie industry that all film franchises get worse when you measure them by their order of release. Even Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, which was anticipated so eagerly by the fans, was a crushing disappointment for those of us still holding out hope that it might come out on top of, and before, all the other Marvel movies.
This all goes to show that you just can’t beat the classics, no matter how many big names you bring aboard, or how much gimmicky CGI you cram into each scene. We’re just never going to see new films that were released as early as all the old movies we love so much. We’ll just have to make do with what we can get.