Just as one’s dreams converge on the same situations (the pop quiz, the dentist’s office), so “Star Wars” seems to take place in a dream world in which old friends are perpetually reuniting and nobody can find his or her parents. For some fans, all this repetition makes a new “Star Wars” film an anxious experience. In a discussion about the “The Last Jedi” on the sci-fi Web site io9, viewers report “tensing up” when they hear musical cues evoking prior films and getting “flashes of the prequels” during the new movie’s lighter moments. They know the old movies so well that the new one is perceived not in itself but as a series of departures from a cherished template.


Perhaps the “Star Wars” franchise has fallen victim to an interpretive mistake. For many years, in trying to explain the appeal of the original films, fans and critics cited their mythic qualities; they read Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” and praised the movies’ supposedly “universal” dramatic shape. In fact, they had it backward. The magic of “Star Wars” was never the formula. It was novelty.

Joshua Rothman, Why Are All “Star Wars” Movies the Same?, The New Yorker December 23, 2017