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Top 5 Times Star Wars Exceeded Fan Expectations (& 5 Times Fans Were Let Down)

No fans in the world are most passionate than Star Wars fans. They can be pretty unforgiving as Disney and LucasFilms have discovered over the years. Some series’ misfires have caused loyal supporters to feel betrayed and walk away from the franchise altogether. RELATED: Star Wars: 10 Most Iconic Movie Posters From Outside North America But…

No fans in the world are most passionate than Star Wars fans. They can be pretty unforgiving as Disney and LucasFilms have discovered over the years. Some series’ misfires have caused loyal supporters to feel betrayed and walk away from the franchise altogether.

RELATED: Star Wars: 10 Most Iconic Movie Posters From Outside North America

But these passionate fans can also show their appreciation and joy. The best Star Wars projects have managed to stir the imaginations of its devoted viewer base and open the doors for lucrative follow-ups. The filmmakers behind the upcoming slate of Star Wars shows and movies had better heed the lessons of the past if they are to keep the fans happy.

10 Let Down: Attack of the Clones

Reaction to the Star Wars prequels remains mixed. While some seeing them as a disappointment while others find them to be good fun – especially after seeing them in a new light after the letdowns of the Disney sequel trilogy. Though it has its moments, the low point of the prequels is arguably Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

Unlike The Phantom Menace, Episode II was filmed almost entirely against green screens and had an over-reliance on CGI. The acting and directing were criticized as the romantic leads appeared to have no chemistry. The brilliant Christopher Lee is also wasted here with very little screen time.

9 Exceeded: Heir To The Empire

In the near-decade following 1983’s Return of the Jedi, Star Wars fans were left in the cold with very little in terms of new material. That all changed with the release of Timothy Zahn’s 1992 novel Heir to the Empire. Set five years after the destruction of the second Death Star, the story followed Luke, Han, and Leia in the Episode VII fans wanted to see.

RELATED: Star Wars: 10 Legends Stories That Are So Good They Deserve To Be Canon

Zahn soon rounded out a trilogy with Dark Force Rising and The Last Command. The books introduced readers to the villainous Grand Admiral Thrawn, who immediately became a fan-favorite character. Fans were devastated in the 2010s when Disney announced that the trilogy was no longer canon, but were relieved with the return of Thrawn in Rebels and the upcoming TV shows.

8 Let Down: The Battlefront 2 Fiasco

You don’t mess with Star Wars fans. EA learned this the hard way with their handling of Star Wars: Battlefront 2 in 2017. Fans were shocked to find essential characters like Darth Vader locked despite paying 80 dollars for the game. Further outrage stemmed from the presence of pay-to-win microtransaction loot boxes.

The criticism was met with a bizarre response from EA. They claimed that they wanted players to feel “pride and accomplishment” from achieving unlocks. The words became an internet meme and the post by EA remains the most downvoted Reddit comment in history. New changes were since made and Battlefront 2 has since become a success.

7 Exceeded: The Clone Wars

The release of Revenge of the Sith was seen by some as the end of ‘nerdom’ as we knew it, but then came the launch of a second animated program based on the Clone Wars. In the years between Revenge of the Sith and The Force Awakens, The Clone Wars was the main source of Star Wars content and it launched a new generation of fans.

RELATED: The Mandalorian: 10 Things Only Clone Wars Fans Know About Ahsoka Tano

The show finally gave fans the Anakin promised in A New Hope, “the best starfighter in the galaxy…a cunning warrior…a good friend.” It brought back fan-favorite characters like Darth Maul and made beloved additions to Star Wars lore with Ahsoka Tano and the dark-saber. Perhaps most important, it established Dave Filoni as Lucasfilm’s new golden boy of storytelling.

6 Let Down: The 1978 Holiday Special

Three years was a long time to wait between the releases of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. But right in the middle of it, fans were given a chance to see their favorite Star Wars actors in a new live-action story. They also got their first look at Boba Fett in a brief animated segment.

Aside from that though, the special was a huge disappointment. Long stretches of the program featured no dialogue except for the grunts of Wookie characters. The 98-minute special was mostly incoherent and uninteresting with downright bizarre segments. George Lucas later said that licensing the brand for this program “probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do.”

5 Exceeded: Star Wars A New Hope

In the decades leading up to 1977, very few science fiction films were made by Hollywood. While 2001: A Space Odyssey and Planet of the Apes were hits, George Lucas did not predict the rise of the film’s success, trading a percentage of his future returns with that of Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters.

Audiences adored everything about Star Wars; the space ships, the droids, the force. Word of mouth spread quickly and huge lines of eager viewers formed at theaters all over. It was a phenomenon and by August of that year, characters from the film had their footprints cast at the famous Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard.

4 Let Down: The Rise of Skywalker

Episode IX was supposed to be the culmination of the entire “Skywalker Saga.” The film was fighting an uphill battle with the backlash from The Last Jedi and the departure of intended director Colin Trevorrow. J.J. Abrams was brought on at the last minute in an effort to rescue the ship.

RELATED: Star Wars: 10 Ways Kylo Ren’s Story Could Have Played Out Differently

Fans were shocked to find one of the worst edited films of all time, with terrible pacing and reveals that felt unearned. Though the film had its moments, it failed to register its intended emotional reactions with audiences, especially in the third act. Worst of all was the reveal of Rey as a Palpatine and the ultimate triumph of the Palpatine bloodline over that of the Skywalkers.

3 Exceeded: The Empire Strikes Back

For three years after the release of Star Wars, audiences eagerly waited to see if George Lucas’s franchise could catch lightning in a bottle twice. Irvin Kershner was brought on to direct, allowing more freedom to the actors. The film went significantly over budget, but it would all be worth it in the end with the film considered one of the greatest sequels ever made.

Fans of the original were delighted with incredible action scenes including the Battle of Hoth, the asteroid chase, and the iconic duel between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher had great chemistry in their on-screen romance and Jedi Master Yoda became one of the series’ most iconic characters. Finally, there was the big Darth Vader reveal, the twist no one saw coming that the franchise has been trying to top ever since.

2 Let Down: The Last Jedi

With The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams did what he does best: build anticipation for the rest of the trilogy. Rey holding out the lightsaber to Luke Skywalker was the culmination of the entire film and audiences were eager to see what happened next. Their hopes and dreams were met with insult right off the bat, with Luke carelessly tossing the iconic weapon over his shoulder.

Fans were heartbroken by director Rian Johnson’s hopeless interpretation of Luke. He was not even a shadow of the optimistic character audiences knew. The film was also loaded with cringy childish humor that didn’t resonate. It ignored the rules of the franchise and also featured storylines that went absolutely nowhere.

1 Exceeded: The Mandalorian

But in the midst of the disappointing sequel trilogy, fans were given new hope. Hollywood icon Jon Favreau and The Clone Wars showrunner Dave Filoni brought together some of the most talented people in the business for a new show set five years after Return of the Jedi.

Fans loved The Mandalorian, which drew from the same western serials that inspired George Lucas. New characters Din Djarin and baby Grogu really resonated with fans. Familiar characters were done right too, with Taiki Waititi as IG-11, Temuera Morrison as Boba Fett, and Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano delighting viewers. And then there was the moment that where Luke Skywalker returned. The Mandalorian pleased fans to levels not seen since the days of George Lucas and Gary Kurtz.

NEXT: The Mandalorian: How Ludwig Göransson Has Evolved The Music Of Star Wars

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About The Author

Kevin Shirka
(11 Articles Published)

Kevin Shirka is a writer, filmmaker and actor. Originally from Columbus, Ohio he now resides in Southern California. Kevin is passionate about cinema, as well as soccer and video games. He is now working as a writer for Screen Rant and CBR.

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