Will Disney Make Another Star Wars Misstep?

I want to make an admission right off the bat. I grew up on Disney films, The Wonderful World of Disney and all things Mickey Mouse. But over the years, especially over the last decade or so, the shine for Disney has worn off as it has done its best to torpedo very good franchises into nothingness. They’ve done it with Marvel and the Star Wars franchises and it doesn’t look like things are going to change anytime soon.

What brought on this line of thought was seeing this article come up on my newsfeed this morning. I almost didn’t click on it. After all, we’ve all had a front row seat to the debacle going through the TV and movie industry where they either “reimagine” or retcon a movie or TV series from days gone by.

Who can forget the all-female lead Ghostbusters movie?

And who can forget the drama that followed its release when negative reviews began pouring in. The powers that be behind the movie screeched the negative reviews were all unwarranted, that they were written by knuckle-dragging Neanderthals who hated the idea that a trio of females could make a beloved movie better than the original. They ignored the fact the movie just wasn’t any good. In their eyes, moviegoers were wrong for hating the movie and being so narrow-minded they didn’t understand the importance of giving women representation in what had been a “male dominated” movie.

You see, representation is everything these days in Hollyweird, just as it is in much of traditional publishing.

Unfortunately for Disney and others, they haven’t figured out you can have representation without destroying a good plot line or corrupting a beloved franchise. We saw that with 2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife. The movie wasn’t perfect by any means. But it also didn’t destroy the image of the original movie all in the name of inclusiveness. Instead, it had a varied cast and one of the lead characters, Phoebe, is neurodivergent. In other words, it hit many of the “diverse” checkboxes without sacrificing entertainment value.

But now Disney is once again making noises about retconning Star Wars, something it has done, imo, to the detriment of the franchise (literary and movie) more than once. In this particular case, there is talk about making Luke Skywalker a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Disney has already taken a step in this direction by accepting a short story in Tales of the Jedi and Sith canon. In this short story, Luke is attracted to a man.

Now, I would normally have no problem with this. But there is nothing in the first three movies, starting with A New Hope, to indicate Luke was gay or bi. Remember his attraction to Princess Leia before he discovered she was his sister and in love with Han? Or how about the books where he married Mara Jade? By coming in now, decades after the introduction of the character–a character whose entire adult life we have seen played out on film and in books–you not only break the character by introducing this sort of change but you piss off who knows how many fans by messing with what was canon and what the creator of the character had in mind.

Does this mean the Star Wars universe (or any other for that matter) shouldn’t be diverse?

Hell no. Just because it takes place “far, far away”, that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a thread of realism in it. But instead of retconning a beloved character, give us new characters or develop older ones whose backstory we don’t already know in intimate detail.

The Sporskeeda article says it best:

Creating new icons for the LGBTQ+ community is a better approach than changing the original icons for several reasons. Firstly, it allows for the creation of unique and diverse representations of the LGBTQ+ community.

This can increase the community’s visibility and representation and provide more opportunities for members to see themselves represented in the media and culture. Additionally, creating new icons can help avoid controversy and backlash that comes with changing established characters.

Not that Disney will listen. It’s track record is clear and it isn’t necessarily a good one. There is a reason why management changed recently. Bad decisions led to lower earnings. Now Bob Iger is back and trying to change that financial trend. Will he also return to making movies and TV shows that put entertainment over message is yet to be seen.

Give us a more diverse “universe” without changing canon or retconning beloved characters when the foundation hasn’t already been set. Frankly, it is time to move beyond Luke, Leia and Han and introduce new, interesting–and, yes, diverse–leading characters as part of fun, engaging and entertaining stories.


  1. Disney has had far more missteps than home runs (or even moderate successes) with Star Wars. Off the top of my head, “Rebels,” “Rogue One,” “Mandalorian,” and “Clone Wars S7” are the only real hits Disney has managed to pull off. All of the other, TV shows, and novels have been “meh” at best and painfully bad at worst. The comics series (serieses? what’s the plural of “Series”?) started out strong but, after the inevitable shakeups of the creative teams, devolved into boring nothingness at best and mental & emotional torture porn worst (poor Doctor Aphra!). Galaxy’s edge is little more than a themed shopping experience, and the less said about the clusterf*** that is Galactic Starcruiser, the better.

    It’s gotten to the point where a) I’m seriously hoping the unsubstantiated rumor I head about Lucas buying back his IPs from Disney for a song are true, because b) I’ve been a die-hard Star Wars fan since I first saw A New Hope: Special Edition in theaters, but Disney has so badly mismanaged the franchise and spit on their fanbase that I’m just about done with Star Wars, to the point where I’m seriously considering hanging up my 501st gear. Why serve as an ambassador for a franchise that no longer holds the magic, and seems to actively hate people like me?

    1. Yet even with the so-called successes, Disney has tried to torpedo them. Let’s not forget out how even with these series, they’ve managed to do some retconning of what most of us knew as canon. Then there’s the firing or otherwise suppressing actors who dared not have the right political thought processes.

      As for the rumor about Lucas: yes, please. Pretty please. On bended knee.

  2. I must preface my response by pointing out that only 7 Star Wars movies have ever been made – the Originals, the Prequals, and Rogue One. Rumors to the contrary are just that and can be safely ignored.

    Disney Star Wars is good when it excludes the main characters from the movies, and I think most of that is because when they try to retcon Luke/Leia/Han or even Obi Wan or Anakin they screw up. We know who those characters are, and if you try to tell me that Obi Wan was always just suppressing his Otterkin nature then you aren’t telling me a Star Wars story. It’s just crappy fan fic at that point, and I don’t read or watch crappy fan fic.

    1. LOL. I’m not sure I agree with you about the prequels. I really, really hated Anakin. If Luke was whiny in A New Hope, Anakin was worse throughout the prequels.

  3. I love how they said the EU isn’t cannon. Except for the supposed Chapters 7-9? They USED at least 1 element of the EU and retconned the shit out of it. Han and Leia’s twin force using children. I wanted to kill the script writers and everyone involved in the projects, as painfully and slowly as possible so I could listen to them beg for their pathetic lives.
    Oh did I say that last bit out loud? My apologies, my inner sith comes to the fore where this kind of willfully stupid bullshit is concerned.

    1. Actually they used multiple elements from the EU, including:

      * Leia Organa as a powerful Force user in her own right – that’s all through the EU
      * The use of the Force to project a convincing audio-visual illusion to multiple observers, even at long range – that’s a power called “Alter Mind” that first appeared in the novel “I, Jedi”.
      * The existence of huge numbers of “others” out there – smugglers, criminals, and just plain people – who don’t care about the war, and will deal with the good guys or the bad guys as they please — that’s all through the EU, most notably in the Thrawn trilogy and the X-Wing series.
      * The hidden world of Exegon is a blend of two concepts from the novels. One was the secret Imperial base that was hidden among near-impossible-to-penetrate space hazards called “the Maw”. The other is a Sith counterpart to the “Valley of the Jedi” from the Jedi Knight videogames.

      And those are only the ones I noticed.

      Personally, I still think Disney should have based the sequel trilogy on Tim Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy. Grand Admiral Thrawn would have been the finest, most badass bad guy in any science fiction movie EVER.

      On the more general topic, I have to admit I’m kind of saddened by what has happened to Disney. Over the years the company has produced some magnificent pieces of entertainment, and more than a few pieces of genuine Art. But right now they’re crashing, worse than they did in the ‘dark age’ of the 1970s and 80s. I don’t want to see the company die. But they’ve fallen into that trap of believing that what they want to make is more important than what the audience wants to receive.

      1. I would love a well-done series based on the Thrawn books.

        I don’t want to see the company die either, but I also don’t want it to continue on this trend it has of retconning and ruining everything.

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