The Tired Side: Are we suffering from Star Wars fatigue?
By Daniel J. McLaughlin
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars was born. The original trilogy - A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi - introduced cinema goers to the Jedi, lightsabers, the Force, and popular characters such as Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, and Han Solo.
Fans had to wait 16 years for the franchise to return in the prequels trilogy between 1999 and 2005. And another decade would pass until Star Wars returned in The Force Awakens.
For a long time, Star Wars fans were kept waiting, but since Disney took over the franchise, there appears to be a new film out every year.
As well as a sequel trilogy, there have been Rogue One and Solo.
Once, the Skywalker saga kept them wanting more - but are fans suffering Star Wars fatigue as it comes to an end with The Rise of Skywalker in December?
Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill has admitted that there could be too many films, and he has experienced Star Wars fatigue himself.
Speaking on The Hollywood Reporter's 'Awards Chatter' podcast, he said: "I’m not gonna tell them how to run their business, but is there a possibility of ‘Star Wars fatigue’?
"Yeah, I think there is. I’ve experienced it, to a certain degree. But they never listen to my ideas anyway, so who needs ‘em?"
Even Disney appears to agree with the actor, saying they will take a break after Episode IX (The Rise of Skywalker) hits the cinemas. They will focus on the upcoming TV shows, set to be released on their new streaming service Disney+.
Disney CEO Bob Iger told Bloomberg: "We will take a pause, some time, and reset, because the Skywalker saga comes to an end with this ninth movie.
"There will be other Stars Wars movies, but there will be a bit of a hiatus."
Gizmodo's James Whitbrook welcomes the three-year break for Star Wars, saying it could be just what the franchise needs.
He argues that there may have been more Star Wars films than arguably needed, but the break does not mean that the franchise stops.
"The lack of a galaxy far, far away at the movie theatre does not make that galaxy any further away from us," he explains. "Star Wars is, and has been for a very long while (even before Disney purchased the franchise), a series that lives beyond the auspices of the box office."
Star Wars exists across books, comics, TV shows, animations, video games and VR apps. Without being tied to the movies, the hiatus allows the material across these platforms "the chance to do so much more with the galaxy far, far away".
Whitbrook concludes: "The chance for Star Wars media to start boldly exploring what the franchise can be, and what kind of stories it can tell, in a period where there aren’t new movies to lean on as “hooks” could lead to the sort of variety Star Wars needs at large in order to keep persisting as the ever-present juggernaut it has become."
The Skywalker saga, which has spanned over nine movies across 42 years, is coming to an end in December.
Star Wars returned with a sequel trilogy in 2015, bringing back fan favourites - including Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Luke Skywalker - as well as new characters in the ninth episode, The Force Awakens, directed by JJ Abrams. It was a commercial and critical success.
The Last Jedi, directed by Rian Johnson, was released in 2017 to critical acclaim, as well as making over $1 billion at the box office. It did, however, divide fans.
The final installment of the Skywalker saga - The Rise of Skywalker - will be released in UK cinemas on December 19. It will be released in the United States on the following day.