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Discussion Star Wars is Struggling to Win Over the Next Generation of Kids

Discussion in 'Star Wars: New Films - No Spoilers Allowed' started by SG-17, Aug 8, 2019.

  1. TCF-1138

    TCF-1138 ST/Anthology/Fan Films Manager and Ewok Enthusiast star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 20, 2002
    This isn't the place for TLJ-bashing (or gushing), or for spreading falsehoods (RJ has not said that TLJ wasn't meant to be anything more than provocative for its own sake).
    Sinrebirth , Sarge and Darth Buzz like this.

    SHAD0W-JEDI Jedi Grand Master star 3

    May 20, 2002
    Whether you love TLJ or hate it, I think it's hard to argue that it felt like the second part of a three movie arc, which is different, I'd argue, from "just" being a movie in a loosely connected series - like, say, a James Bond film. It wrapped up several plot points, several MAJOR plot points, the scene with the kids at the end felt like something that would be appropriate (wonderfully so!) to conclude the series, the main villain remaining was bested at the end of both movies and is backed by snotty but comedic allies, a grumpy pouty Luke was killed off ... TLJ for good or ill felt more like a conclusion than a chapter.

    I've said it before - in this Thread perhaps - but while kids may like Rey, or Poe, or Finn, and enjoy Kylo to some extent, do their stories to this point inspire imagination, a longing to "be them" in play, to identify with them, like the OT characters, and some from the Prequels? How "cool" are they? The Poe of TFA, maybe, but the screw-up Poe of TLJ? Finn is... well... I don't think the movies can make up their minds. Rey has a lot going for her, granted (questions on her origins aside).

    Kylo is a troubled, angry, confused villain - he's intriguingly human but to some extent at the cost of being iconic or "villainously fun" (the Prequel Anakin shared some of this, with his horrifying actions when he fell). Phasma was an afterthought; Snoke was offed before he got rolling. Does the First Order seem "bad-cool" or more "bad-inept" or "bad-creepy"?

    My point isn't that TLJ was good or bad, here, just that its choices didn't exactly provide kids with the kind of heroes or villains who, IMHO, inspire long lasting fascination and devotion.

    That being said, let's see what SKYWALKER gives us. And the success of THE MANDALORIAN shows the SW universe has a core appeal that shouldn't be written off lightly
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
    TheYodaPagoda and Sarge like this.
  3. Darth Buzz

    Darth Buzz Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 25, 2018
    I don’t think you can judge anything/characters when you have less than 65% of the total story. I see where your coming from though.
    DARTH_BELO and TheYodaPagoda like this.
  4. TheYodaPagoda

    TheYodaPagoda Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Apr 23, 2002
    I was at a kid's birthday party this weekend, and several of the kids were avidly discussing all sorts of Star Wars content, from Resistance to the Saga Films to The Mandalorian. I'll give you this, you're spot on with The Last Jedi's ending scene. It seems like it'd spark a lot of imaginative adventures after the series was finished. I have hope that the folks in charge have given us a fitting sendoff, and make no mistake, we've got a lot to look forward to in the Disney Plus series!
    Sarge and StardustSoldier like this.
  5. snap-hiss

    snap-hiss Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Aug 23, 2001
    Obviously Disney has a long term plan, and I have to assume that it is very similar (if not identical) to the MCU format which has given them so much success.
  6. Lee_

    Lee_ Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 3, 2012
    Toys aren't that popular anymore. As far as popularity with the kids,. it has more to do with the moment. After whatever is hot in the moment fades, there is so much else to quickly grab these days. The changes in technology and resulting skyrocketing access to entertainment and pop culture really throw too much competition for anything that isn't continuing to put out hits. This obviously wasn't so when SW dominated ALL of pop culture in the late 70's, and was so to a much smaller degree in the early 2000's when the PT came out. A new smash movie could easily make SW "the in thing" with kids again, at least for a while.
  7. Helloothere

    Helloothere Jedi Youngling

    Jul 8, 2020
    I run my schools scifi and fantasy club. It has around 60 students between 11-18 . Interacting with them I have a few thoughts.
    I actually have 37 girls,s and 24 boys.
    First the popularity.
    I would say 70% of the boys are in to it.
    For girls its 40% Fantasy seems to be more popular with them.

    As for what trilogy is preferred.
    Most prefer the original trilogy though the prequels are not far behind.
    The sequel trilogy has maybe 3 or 4 fans with the rest viewing it as meh to bad.

    For characters.
    For boys the popular characters seem to be:
    Obi wan

    For girls it seems to be:
    1 liked Padme but the criticism from other girls was the dying because she was sad was lame and ruined the charactor.

    As for why the new films havent picked up the same popularity?
    Aside mediocre writting, which let's face the prequels suffered from aswell in I and II, I think it's the lack of iconic characters which is also affecting toy sales.

    For a iconic character it needs to have at least 2 out of 3 of these attributes.
    1 ) A unique look or unique hook.
    2) good actor or one that embodies the role.
    3) Good story and writing which is fresh and does not try to hard or look contrived.
    I dont think anyone in the new movies really achieved this.

    In the original trilogy let's look.
    Let's take Han solo.
    1 ) space rogue and ruffian with furry side kick ticks the unique look and hook.
    2) Harrison is a solid actor who embodied that role.
    3) His character was given great writing and development.

    1) Not really unique. Poor person on remote desert planet who discovers space powers has been done.Twice.
    2) Daisy Ridley is a good actress and this box is ticked.
    3) Writing all over the place a little contrived with regards to story by episode 9 and Disney was trying way to hard to make her iconic.
    So meeting only 1 out of the 3.

    I think the nearest Disney got was Finn.
    1) defecting storm trooper with a hearts unique to the franchise, has a cool look and is a great concept.
    2) The actor is amazing.
    But by episode 8 his writing lost the quality.
  8. Darth Buzz

    Darth Buzz Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 25, 2018
    I think Kylo and Rey are gonna stand the test of time as far as "iconic characters". When I look at kids and teens, those are the two characters that seem to gain the most traction. I'm not overly surprised that the ST got the lowest vote counts in your survey @Helloothere . Kids spend a ton of time on the internet, and its become very popular to trash the ST online which is unfortunate. The ST is the weakest IMO, but it gets far more hate than it deserves IMO. It has two great moves (TFA/TLJ) and a dud (TROS) for me. The prequels are definitely gaining popularity as that generation grows up and gets to voice their love for it. I don't expect the ST to have the same fait due to the different culture and norms we live in now a days. Poe and Finn are not going be nearly as iconic as Han and Lando, so the side characters also didn't work as well. I think Star Wars can still do very well with kids, but the next films will need to bring their own spark instead of relying on nostalgia.

    I also have to have to disagree about Finn, he was the weakest character from the ST IMO, and his toy/comic sales further prove that.
  9. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jun 19, 2019
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts from your experiences working with today's teenagers, @Helloothere.

    18-11 is quite an age range. Eighteen-year-olds today would've been born circa 2002, which was around the time that AOTC came out, so I'd still consider them to be part of the "PT generation" though on the lower end of that spectrum, so people I would expect to have seen the PT and enjoyed it as much or more than the OT. (Millennials and early Gen Z would be my definition of the "PT generation" or in other words the people who could have conceivably grown up with the PT). These "PT generation" folks would be expected to purchase a bulk of the PT content, and generally do.

    Eleven-year-olds today would have been born circa 2009 so they'd have been in their elementary school years when TFA and TLJ came out. I think people in elementary school and younger when TFA came out should be considered part of the "ST generation" in terms of Star Wars and would ideally be the ones with the most interest and consumption of ST products and materials. It's hard for me to really get a read on how this demographic sees the ST, since I don't really have too much contact with this demographic group currently. I do think this demographic group will ultimately be the determiner of whether the ST succeeds or fails in the long term, though. If this generation was hooked by the ST, they'll consume ST content into the future whether that be comics, books, or memorabilia. Similar to how the PT's success long term really hinged on Millennials and early Get Z liking the PT and purchasing content for it. Probably we'll get a better sense in ten years or so whether this was the case. At least I will get a better sense then. Perhaps parents now know based on what their kids beg them to buy. [face_laugh]
    Darth Buzz likes this.
  10. Helloothere

    Helloothere Jedi Youngling

    Jul 8, 2020
    Dont get me wrong.

    Starwas is still popular. But it seems to still be the original trilogy and prequels hooking them.

    There is just something lacking in the sequels that's is in the original and lesser extent prequels.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2020
    anakinfansince1983 likes this.
  11. Darth Buzz

    Darth Buzz Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 25, 2018
    Its hard to beat the original of anything. People get an idea of what they like and are not as open to deviate from that opinion. The ST has a messy "story" but its biggest problem is that it came out in the age of social media and the internet. The PT suffered from this to a degree, but the ST got the short end of the stick. A lot of kids spend time on Youtube and Twitter, where we now have people making money producing videos about everything wrong with Star Wars. I know a handful of people that loved TLJ when they went to the theater, and then they went home and watched some Youtube videos and decided they no longer liked it LOL. If the OT came out today, they would get ripped apart. Luckily they came out 40 years ago, so they didn't have to deal with the absolute non-sense that today's culture brings.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2020
    TheYodaPagoda and Sarge like this.
  12. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 Nightsister of Four Realms star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Mar 4, 2011
    RedLetterMedia was producing videos during the PT era and they were very popular. As in, people would actually sit down and watch Plinkett rag on TPM for an hour and a half. Just TPM.

    The commentary about the ST has nothing to do with the Internet.
  13. Helloothere

    Helloothere Jedi Youngling

    Jul 8, 2020
    No one seemed to like Kyo or Rey in my group.

    With Rey even among the girls she was considered mostly meh. But I think this comes down to the character or Rey and Kylo was presented by Disney as there flagship Characters and Disney clearly wanted them to be "iconic". That obviousness from Disney I think harmed them.
    There seems to be a some sort of physiological resistance, especially with older children and teens that if people in authority or large corporations tell them they should like it, act too obviously or push too hard that those characters are what you are meant to like then they will be rejected. It like if me as a teacher say something is cool or fun, then it automatically becomes uncool and boring or embarrassing. In effect Disney tried too hard pushing those characters and as a resulted embarrassed themselves.
    To but it simply something cool can be made uncool by presenting it as cool. which seems ridiculous but the us humans can be ridiculous.

    The original star worked because it kinda came out of nowhere and many expected it to fail.

    It is also why Rogue one has a following. Its was always a side story for Disney and clearly not their flagship film. It wasn't pushed as much. Therefore there is less resistance to likling it.

    The best way I think Disney should go now is rather than relying on a flagship trilogy, is go the way of Marvel and put out lots of standalone films and let the public decide which ones are liked and continue them while not continue unpopular characters. After a while, if a group of characters prove popular them combine them into a movie like the avengers .
    In other words throw crap at a wall and see what sticks. Not elegant but effective.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
  14. Darkslayer

    Darkslayer Force Ghost star 7

    Mar 26, 2013
    I think part of the problem is that Marvel Studios is just REALLY. GOOD. Even if I haven't liked all their films, they have managed to reach a remarkable number of demographics and hit tons of different subgenres within film. And there are multiple coming out every year (covid delays notwithstanding).
    Sarge likes this.
  15. Helloothere

    Helloothere Jedi Youngling

    Jul 8, 2020
    But I think that success is down to the standalones. It distilled success for its avengers.
    They allowed succesful characters to be sorted out.
    If starwars had done standalones with the characters it wanted to replace the originals with it could of sorted out unpopular characters.
    If A rey and finn film had been really successful, A Poe film meh and Kylo movie terrible they would know to use Rey and Finn, give poe a little screen time and ditch Kylo.
    Better than just thrusting new characters on us expecting us to accept them as replacements for Luke, leia, han and chewie ect
    We the audience basically get to audition them.

    Same could be done with writers and directors. It would allow us to get used to and develop trust between audience and director. It also gives more leeway to experiment.
    Rian Johnson's "crime" was he experimented to much on the main trilogy with not enough audience trust.
    Of course starwars needs to experiment to stay fresh. However that expermentation has to be within audience torelence. That tolerance is smaller if it's the main trilogy using old characters. It is wider if the audience trusts that director.

    If Rian had got a standalone film he would have got a higher tolerance from the audience to experiment with. That would of built him trust with the audience. Then when he gets a trilogy film the audience know his style, know to expect his sort of twists and trust him to use the old characters well.
    SlashMan likes this.
  16. Darth Buzz

    Darth Buzz Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 25, 2018
    The last thing Star Wars needs is multiple films a year. This franchise doesn’t work that way. Star Wars films need to be treated as “events”. Fatigue is a real thing, and it’s a good thing we are not getting another film till 2023. Put the small stuff on Disney+ and the big things saved for the cinema every two years.

    I do agree though kids are growing to like new things though. I can’t stand Marvel movies because I don’t think there is any depth or substance to them. There empty films filled with cheap laughs and spectacle. It’s literally walk in theater turn off brain and enjoy. I guess that’s the trend though of what people like now a days. They don’t want to be challenged or have something with a lot of depth that makes you think hard.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2020
    PymParticles and SlashMan like this.
  17. SlashMan

    SlashMan Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 5, 2012
    I think the only issue is that they were engineered to be "iconic" and weren't really given the chance to win over audiences; it was more a matter of somehow recreating the iconography already put forth by the original trilogy. In my eyes, the characters at the forefront of the marketing campaigns weren't promoted as fresh and new characters and given the chance to stand on their own.

    When the series set out to win over older fans, I believe it did so successfully with TFA, but didn't do as much for kids/new fans.
    Helloothere likes this.
  18. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 Nightsister of Four Realms star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Mar 4, 2011
    Bumping this one. We have a few kids on site at work, and today they are coming in their Halloween costumes. Two are dressed as clone troopers—one Captain Rex and one ARC trooper.
  19. PymParticles

    PymParticles Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 1, 2014
    Oh, that's awesome. My mother's best friend shared photos of her kid dressed as Darth Vader this morning, and my girlfriend's nephew (who is a bona fide Star Wars obsessive) is putting together a Luke costume. Both kids are 7. They are the future. This is the way.
  20. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jun 19, 2019
    Nice that kids are still getting dressed up and in Star Wars costumes too. Glad that they'll still be able to enjoy Halloween despite the pandemic! [face_pumpkin]
  21. Lee_

    Lee_ Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 3, 2012
    Baby Yoda is winning the new generation over......
  22. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jun 19, 2019
    I think Baby Yoda is winning all generations over:)
  23. EHT

    EHT Anthology Manager star 7 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 13, 2007
  24. Lee_

    Lee_ Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 3, 2012
    I've got to remember that name.....
  25. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jun 19, 2019
    Not sure that name will ever take for me when he could be Baby Yoda instead[face_laugh]
    StardustSoldier and Lee_ like this.