Eli Sorensen, Senior Design Editor

Star Wars–the long-standing, flourishing, film franchise–is forty two years old this year. Now, four decades after the Skywalker saga first began, everything comes to a close on December 20th. “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is the ninth episode of the story from a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. It is the conclusion not only to the entire, original saga created by George Lucas, but also to the sequel trilogy of films championed by Disney, following their acquisition of Lucasfilm and its subsequent properties back in 2012. 

Beginning in 2015 with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Disney’s take on the Star Wars universe has received mixed reception, especially from the ardent community of Star Wars fans. Though the Star Wars fanbase is known to resist change, even the general public has reacted negatively to some of the most recent Star Wars content. While “The Force Awakens” was met with warm responses, even despite its obvious similarities to the story beats of “Star Wars: A New Hope,”  the Rian Johnson-directed “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” divided casual and invested fans alike, criticized for tossing established traditions and focusing on addressing controversial social issues which share little relation to the Star Wars galaxy. Still, some have noted that politics have always played a key part in the Star Wars saga–perhaps the context of such societal concerns was the true problem with their inclusion.

Yet, the most recent addition to the franchise, Disney’s new TV series on their Disney+ streaming service, The Mandalorian, has found widespread appraisal from diehard and casual fans alike. In addition, this final film in the original saga of Star Wars movies is being directed by J.J. Abrams, who previously directed Episode 7, which was also generally well-received. Until “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” premieres on December 19th, the question remains–is Disney a new hope for the next forty years of the beloved Star Wars franchise?