Recently I saw that a Star Wars fan posted a video titled “The Episode 9 Title Controversy,” and I couldn’t help but laugh at that statement.
Here’s why: there is no title controversy. None. I could pretty much end this article right here (but unfortunately for you, I won’t).
This idea that there is somehow a problem with the Star Wars title has been something drummed up by Star Wars fans in recent weeks, particularly when you get into places like Youtube and Reddit that tend to thrive on criticism. And the thinking goes something like this: Lucasfilm is just being terrible at teasing us without a title yet! This then turns into the easy clickbait about some alleged controversy (and yes, you’d better believe I’m capitalizing on it here!).
I want to make a few things clear:
- I’m as excited about a title release as anyone! I absolutely can’t wait for any news about Episode IX, and I’m so incredibly excited for it! Whereas others are looking forward to The Mandalorian or books or Galaxy’s Edge or something else the most in 2019, I am without a doubt most looking forward to IX. So count me very much among that group who is eagerly and desperately awaiting a title!
- There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being anxious for a title! Seriously. Let me say that again: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being anxious for a title! The passion of fans is a large part of what keeps this so exciting, and of course fans are going to be eager to find out a title for their most anticipated movie of the year! Of course! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that passion, that eagerness, that desire. Nothing.
- There have been some teases recently to make speculation run rampant! This past week, there has been legitimate reason to wonder what’s happening. Anthony Daniels teased something was coming. A Star Wars writer teased something interesting was coming. Disney’s VP of digital marketing teased he was working on something pretty cool. Chinese Theaters seemed to tease something Star Wars, too. Several other people on Twitter were making vague Star Wars teases, as if to simply flaunt themselves for knowing something cool. The Star Wars Show was returning Wednesday after being delayed a week. And Bob Iger had his earnings call on Tuesday afternoon. With all of this swirling around early in the week, it’s understandable why many fans thought something big could be coming. Nothing did.
- It’s ridiculous to use any of this to criticize Lucasfilm! This is really the main point that I want to convey in this entire article: it’s totally fine to be excited about a title coming, or to think that a title might be coming, or to be so eager for a title to come, but none of that should be used as justification for blaming Lucasfilm, criticizing Lucasfilm, or pretending that there’s some controversy. That’s my point. Don’t make Lucasfilm out to be the bad guys here when they really haven’t done anything at all to warrant that.
From what I have seen, the main reason why some do criticize Lucasfilm for there being no title yet is that fans are supposedly entitled to a title, especially since Lucasfilm should be extra eager to make amends with the fanbase due to The Last Jedi. On so many levels that’s pretty arrogant and entitled thinking that shouldn’t dictate our opinions. First of all, TLJ was an incredibly successful film that was really well-received by a significant portion of the fanbase. Secondly, a title is going to do nothing to make fans who didn’t like TLJ happy. Only the film can do that – and that’s only if these people truly are willing to give it a chance. And third, fans aren’t entitled to anything. We’re not entitled to a title, and certainly not this early on.
What do I mean by “this early on?” Well, let’s take a quick look at when the titles have been announced for the Disney Star Wars films so far:
|TITLE ANNOUNCED||RELEASE DATE||DAYS BEFORE|
|THE FORCE AWAKENS||11/6/2014||12/18/2015||408|
|THE LAST JEDI||1/23/2017||12/15/2017||333|
Currently, we’re 315 days away from the release of Episode IX. That wouldn’t be the shortest gap between title announcement and release date in the Disney Star Wars era. And it should also be noted that, at least when it comes to TFA and TLJ (the saga films), the title wasn’t announced until filming was completed. And filming isn’t yet completed on IX. So in reality, the title announcement is not overdue. Filming is still ongoing, and it’s not the shortest gap we’ve had.
Or take another film, a non-Star Wars film, Avengers: Endgame. This is probably the most anticipated movie of the year, right ahead of Episode IX, and the title for that film was announced on December 7, 2018. The movie releases on April 26, 2019 – meaning the title was announced just 141 days before the movie’s release.
So let’s even suppose that the title of Episode IX isn’t announced until the very last day of Star Wars Celebration, which is April 15. We’re almost certain to get the first trailer for the film at Celebration, so we should have a title at least by then. If we do get it that late (and I’d expect it earlier than that, to be honest), it would still be 249 days before the film’s release. So compared to some other releases, that’s actually not too late at all.
So compared to Solo (the most recent Lucasfilm release) or Avengers: Endgame (the one picture that rivals IX in terms of magnitude this year), the title isn’t all that late. Nor is it late compared to The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi (the other two Disney-era saga films), since both of those titles were announced after principal photography was completed. Since that hasn’t happened yet for Episode IX, the title isn’t all that late.
To sum all of this up, here’s my main point: I can’t wait for a title reveal and I’m hoping that we get it very soon, but regardless let’s not be ridiculous and criticize Lucasfilm for not announcing it yet. Patience. The title will be here soon enough.