Star Wars’ current story plan has been learning from its sequel mistakes while also taking a stronger approach than was initially seen in the MCU.
Warning! This post contains SPOILERS for Ahsoka episode 6
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- Star Wars is learning from its past mistakes and setting up a stronger foundation for its storytelling, evident in the return of Grand Admiral Thrawn.
- The sequel trilogy lacked planning and resulted in a divisive final product with challenging narrative arcs.
- While the MCU is praised for its planning, it also faced changes and inconsistencies throughout its films, showing the need for flexibility. Star Wars tried taking a similar approach with the sequels but has seemingly created a more concrete plan centered around Thrawn.
Star Wars’ new story plan is learning from its past mistakes from the sequel trilogy. It’s also setting up a stronger foundation for its overarching narratives than was initially seen in the MCU. This is largely evident with the recent live-action debut of former Imperial leader Grand Admiral Thrawn, set to become a major threat to the known galaxy in the aftermath of the original trilogy. As seen in Ahsoka episode 6, the former Imperial leader has been located following his 10-year exile in a completely separate galaxy.
Star Wars has been actively setting up Thrawn’s return as “Heir to the Empire”. As such, Thrawn’s return is expected to mark the beginning of an overarching narrative tying together several of the Star Wars shows set in this same era about 5 years after Return of the Jedi and culminating in the upcoming movie from director Dave Filoni confirmed to be taking place in the same era that began with The Mandalorian. Keeping that in mind, it’s becoming clear that Star Wars has learned from its mistakes while also having a clearly defined plan (as opposed to other shared universes like the MCU).
Star Wars’ Sequel Trilogy Showed A Massive Lack Of Planning
While there is plenty to love about the sequel trilogy, it’s no secret that it’s one of the most divisive and controversial elements of Disney’s ownership of the Star Wars franchise. This is largely due to the massively unclear and large lack of planning when it comes to the overarching narrative across episodes. Lucasfilm continually pivoted what they wanted the story to be and how they wanted the Skywalker saga to ultimately end.
The result was a very divisive final product, one that saw Emperor Palpatine resurrected from the dead in The Rise of Skywalker despite having zero teams or setup in the first two movies. Although the means of Palaptine’s return is something that has been supported by various explanations and retcons through various pieces of canonical Star Wars media in the years since, there should have been a far more concrete arc provided in the movies themselves. More than the original and prequel trilogies, each movie in the sequels feels more like its own entity despite starring the same characters.
Related: How To Watch Star Wars Movies In Order
The MCU Has A Reputation For Planning – But That’s Not Really The Case
The MCU is famous for its planning in the build-up to Thanos the Mad Titan, the overarching villain seen in the Infinity Saga. However, that planning is largely over-stressed. Case in point, large amounts of the setup for Avengers: Infinity War wasn’t paid off when Thanos finally took front and center in his quest to recover the Infinity Stones. The Mad Titan doesn’t exactly “court death” as was teased in Avengers’ post-credits scene, the visions of the future in Age of Ultron don’t play out as expected, and Thanos’ post-credits scene with the Infinity Gauntlet doesn’t make sense considering its origins in Infinity War.
While the broad strokes of the MCU’s first overarching narrative are still quite strong, it’s things such as the aforementioned elements that show how plans were changed project by project. The true genius of Marvel’s Kevin Feige is his flexibility and the ability to react to what’s working and ditch what isn’t. The MCU’s a lot more reactive than anybody thinks. As a result, it’s very likely that a similar reactivity is something Lucasfilm and Disney tried to emulate with the sequel trilogy, though that’s a lot harder to do when the narrative only spans three films compared to the MCU’s 23 movies that made up the Infinity Saga.
Ahsoka Is Ensuring Thrawn Is A Known Quantity – Because The Plan Is Real
Now, it seems as though Star Wars and Lucasfilm’s Dave Filoni are taking a new tactic with their Mandalorian-era shows and the upcoming movie set to cover an “era-defining moment” for the galaxy. Having been teased in The Mandalorian season 2 and now making his official debut in Ahsoka, Thrawn is set to become a true overarching big bad as this era continues to unfold, perhaps even providing a canonical adaptation of the Thrawn trilogy of books from author Timothy Zahn, albeit with many of these current heroes that have been introduced such as Ahsoka Tano, Din Djarin, and more.
When it comes to Grand Admiral Thrawn’s role in Ahsoka, this doesn’t seem to be a Guardians of the Galaxy scenario where Thanos briefly appears as the overarching villain in the background. Whatever happens in the final episodes of Ahsoka, Thrawn is stepping up as a major established character so that audiences will know what to expect from him going forward. This time, it really does look as though Star Wars has built a very concrete plan that’s centered on Thrawn and the danger he’ll pose to the galaxy in the near future.
Related: New Star Wars Movies: Every Upcoming Movie & Release Date
Star Wars’ Thrawn Plan Comes At A Cost, But It’s Worth It
Admittedly, it does seem as though there was some initial reactivity required before Star Wars’ new overarching narrative plan truly solidified. The plan seems to have been finalized after The Mandalorian season 2 when Filoni saw how well people had received the Ahsoka cameo as well as the tease that she’d been searching for Thrawn, following up on the finale of Star Wars Rebels where Thrawn went missing along with Jedi Ezra Bridger who them both to another galaxy. This likely led to some of the dramatic course corrections that followed, a price that was seemingly paid by both The Book of Boba Fett and The Mandalorian season 3.
That being said, it appears as though Ahsoka’s overwhelming success suggests that the long-term gain is worth it. The new plan for Star Wars’ overarching narrative for its Mandalorian-era shows is in place with Thrawn set to be the overarching big bad and a central threat that brings everything together. Meanwhile, room has been left for further explorations to continue happening in other eras such as James Mangold’s movie about the First Jedi in development as well as the post-sequel trilogy movie from director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy with Daisy Ridley set to reprise her role as Rey Skywalker.