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The Star Wars Cinematic Universe: Will it Prove Better Than the MCU?

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU) has proven over the past 7 years to be a strong, viable, profitable, and well-beloved series of films, which plan to continue forward with at least two films every year with no end in sight. But now, Star Wars is looking to break out into its own Cinematic Universe, and spawn an ongoing series of both episodic and stand-alone films. So what could this mean?

With the Marvel films, each film is gathering plot points, characters, and events from decades of material that all must be accounted for in order to make sure that certain elements that have been established for decades are stay consistent. With Star Wars, the new execs at Lucas Film and Disney have decided to throw out the majority of its expanded universe in order to allow the most creative freedom and a clean slate going forward, hopefully with the result that the newly expanding universe will be more coherent and consistent between all previous and future installments. On the Marvel side the mandate requires that each screenplay include Easter-eggs or plot details from future Marvel properties within the story, so that a large interconnected web can be constructed between every film. This has resulted in many artistic and creative arguments. On the Star Wars side, Lucas Film and producer Kathleen Kennedy seem less interested in mandating any particular rules for the writers and directors, in favor of letting everyone work freely as they please, in order to get the best possible stories and films out of them.

For Marvel, “The Avengers” was an enormous step forward not just for legitimizing a more cartoonish comic-book universe on film, but it was the first ensemble super-hero movie that was actually helmed by a talented director who could handle the task, and it proved a huge success. But with the release of pre-order tickets for “The Force Awakens,” Star Wars seems more than capable of breaking every record at an unbelievable margin not only because of the brand, but because the right people are running the show, and making this film an event no one should miss. So what does that mean for the Star Wars films that come afterwards? Is it possible that the Star Wars Cinematic Universe could surpass the MCU in terms of filmmaking quality, world-building, and drawing power; or is all of this just hopeful speculation, and it could just as easily run into all of the same problems that Marvel has, and an eventual over-saturation of its own brand?

  • Sorry Cmandra, I'm not sure if this entirely fixes the issues you had with it. It's honestly a bit hard of a topic to explain in a short few paragraphs. If this still doesn't sound quite right to you, please let me know. – Jonathan Leiter 8 years ago
  • I think it is important to note that Marvel is working with a preconceived time-table that outlines the story line and plot as well as what movies will be coming out at what time. They are planning their extensive universe well in advance. However, the Star Wars Universe, although cleaning the slate by disregarding what was considered canon but came after the movies, does not-as far as I know-have any plans laid out for future projects. – courtlynn 8 years ago
  • I tried to allude to that in my opening sentence. And that's precisely part of the issue. Is Star Wars destined to be a much stronger series due to the current lack of a very specific time schedule, and no apparent "Big-event" films which must be properly foreshadowed in earlier installments? Or are Star Wars and Marvel pretty much in the same boat? – Jonathan Leiter 8 years ago
  • The other day I came across old Star Wars canon novelizations and graphic novelizations and was surprised to remember and discover how vast the worlds really were. I grew up reading things like The Jedi Apprentice (about Obi Wan Kenobi and Qui Gonn Jin's relationship) and sequels to the films. Some were authorized by George Lucas himself. This is all to say that there is immense potential in the Star Wars universe. The movies almost die to have context and ensembles that the format doesn't allow, and maybe fans want more than the animated Clone Wars and Rebels series. So I think that if the effort is genuine--i.e. if they get the right, enthusiastic, cooperative creators on board--they could really launch the Star Wars ship. I think of this not really in context of Marvel; they seem so different now. I don't think anyone will stop that woken giant! – IndiLeigh 8 years ago

The rise of the fictional franchise and the decline of the stand-alone work

Decades ago, if a book was written or a movie was produced, the writer or filmmaker could only hope that their work would have a sequel, remake, or adaptation into some other form of media. Nowadays, any fictional work seems to possess potential to be expanded into a fictional franchise. Has this trend reduced the quality/nostalgic feel of the original classic stories? Or can the expanded franchise be seen as a way of paying tribute to the original work?

  • It really depends. If the remake/sequel is well thought out and developed then yes it can be a tribute. Unfortunately, I think a lot of remakes or sequels are done to capitalize on the original fanbase and make money off an already existing idea instead of painstakingly creating a new one that may fail. – Tatijana 8 years ago
  • Perhaps elaborate a bit more. An expansion is always a double-edged sword. Could always run the risk of ruining something perfect, or alternatively improve upon what was already good. – CalvinLaw 8 years ago
  • I think another good question to ask is 'Does the obsession with sequels force authors to drag out their story when it could be accomplished in a shorter, quicker paced single piece? Do you think this is leading to a decline in the quality of books/film, or do you believe it is re-energizing these entertainment fields?' – cocomelish 8 years ago