HomeMoviesCouch Potato – Star Wars Fans Should Embrace Their Streaming Future

Couch Potato – Star Wars Fans Should Embrace Their Streaming Future

The Force will be with you always … because Disney is still churning out Star Wars content. Now that the Skywalker Saga and Disney’s sequel trilogy have ended, the Star Wars franchise is poised to make a major shift away from episodic films and towards a variety of television shows. 

Casting news and rumors about the Cassian Andor show continue to emerge even though the production on the series has been delayed. The long-gestating Obi-Wan Kenobi series hit a snag earlier this year, but new reports suggest the show is still in the works. And Leslye Headland, the showrunner and executive producer of Netflix’s Russian Doll, is now working on another Star Wars series for Disney+ that is purportedly going to be women-led and take place outside of the era previously depicted in Star Wars films. 

Given the polarized responses to the recent films, transitioning Star Wars to the small screen could be cynically viewed as a calculated retreat and admission of fan fatigue. However, considering the acclaim surrounding The Mandalorian and the final season of The Clone Wars (both currently available on Disney+), I’d argue that Disney has instead proven that the future of Star Wars belongs on streaming. Both shows have demonstrated that the franchise is capable of finding new life and inspiring excitement. To continue doing so though, Disney must learn key lessons from its early success. 

One of the most refreshing aspects of The Mandalorian is how personal and relatively low-stakes the conflict is. The fate of the entire galaxy is not hanging in the balance. Entire planets and civilizations are not in danger of absolute destruction. Instead, the series forces us to become invested in a taciturn bounty hunter and a supernatural infant. As a franchise that is built on space warfare (it’s in the title, after all), Star Wars rarely highlights such relatively inconsequential characters. Mando/Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal, Game of Thrones) and Baby Yoda/The Child aren’t a phantom menace or a new hope; they are two survivors trying to navigate the intergalactic fallout of decades of civil war, tyranny, and revolution. And that is what makes them and their story so compelling. 

Likewise, the final season of The Clone Wars revolves around the tragic fates of Captain Rex (Dee Bradley Baker, American Dad!) and Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein, Sophia the First). Though the season depicts the characters’ role in the show’s titular conflict, the final episodes are less concerned with how they influence the war and are more concerned with how the war influenced them. The closing chapters illustrate that, while they may be high-ranking military officers, Ahsoka and Rex must now reckon with how the war has defined them and how Order 66 has completely shattered their closest relationships and identities. Seeing Rex and Ahsoka cope with these developments makes the final four episodes of The Clone Wars must-watch television for all fans. 

Additionally, both The Mandalorian and The Clone Wars are willing to challenge the light versus dark dichotomy that Star Wars typically depicts. As a bounty hunter, Din Djarin is a morally complex character; he is willing to murder and break the law for money throughout the series, and he even goes so far as to initially sell The Child to the remnants of the Galactic Empire. Of course, the titular Mandalorian gradually becomes a more traditional hero as the show progresses, willing to sacrifice himself for The Child and needlessly put himself in harm’s way for the good of others. But even then, Din Djarin is clearly not aligned with the New Republic and is willing to operate in shades of gray. 

Ahsoka, on the other hand, steadfastly holds to her ideals as a righteous person but rejects the notion that the Jedi are faultless heroes. Instead, the former Jedi challenges the institution she left behind and argues that the Jedi Council has lost sight of their commitment to defend innocent lives and promote peace. Ahsoka forges ahead as a warrior with no affiliation and a nuanced view of the galaxy. She is even willing to ally herself with Maul (Sam Witwer, Supergirl) to save the galaxy and later uses him as a diversion to ensure her own survival. Like Din Djarin’s story, Ahsoka’s journey is a much more relatable examination of how to balance one’s values, survival, and sense of purpose. Such mature, morally layered conflicts are exactly what Star Wars needs to flourish moving forward. 

For Star Wars to continue its successful run on streaming, Disney must produce character-driven stories that are intimate and scaled down. Instead of exploring the intergalactic battle of good versus evil, the shows in development should focus on such things as survival and the search for one’s identity. Following the blueprints set by The Mandalorian and The Clone Wars will ensure that the franchise will resonate with audiences and stay relevant for years to come. As these new series depict new corners and facets of a galaxy far, far away, it is more important than ever that these stories stay grounded in the world in which we live. 

All Star Wars related content is currently streaming on Disney Plus.

Josh Sarnecky
Josh Sarnecky
Josh Sarnecky is one of Pop Break's staff writers and covers Voltron: Legendary Defender, Game of Thrones, and Stranger Things. His brother, Aaron, also writes for the website, but Josh is the family’s reigning Trivial Pursuit: Star Wars champion.


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