When Will Disney Stop Gatekeeping Its Own Movies? – TheGamer

If you want us to watch your movie, don’t make us need to have years of lore under our belt first
I almost never use my Disney+ subscription, because there’s nothing that appeals to me on the streaming service these days. In the last year, I’ve watched two shows, one of them being The Bear (we don’t have Hulu in Singapore) and the other being Andor. Andor is the only Star Wars property I’ve watched apart from the theatrically released movies, and it’s also widely considered to be the critical darling of the lot. I’ve skipped every other television show in that universe, and I have no intention of watching them anytime soon.
I’ve been thinking about this because The Mandalorian & Grogu was announced last week, and there’s no way I’m watching it. While I normally want to catch new Star Wars films, this one will require far too much work on my part. The movie is based on the Disney+ series The Mandalorian, starring Pedro Pascal. According to anecdotal evidence, by which I mean the detailed arguments that my friends have had about it with me while trying to convince me to watch it, the first season was really good, and it’ll be worth my time once the show gets me to buy in.
I’ve also heard, however, that the series has gotten progressively worse over time as it struggled to incorporate characters from other places in the Star Wars universe. I’m not interested in investing time in a series that becomes markedly worse after the first season, especially when there are so many other things I’d rather be doing. The Mandalorian doesn’t even have a completely coherent timeline either, with a chunk between the second and third seasons being shunted into a completely different show, The Book of Boba Fett. This move suggests I’d also need to watch a second show as well, which I definitely won’t do.
Apparently, the film will not make sense without the background of The Mandalorian, a show that I won’t watch. If Disney needs me to watch four seasons of television across two different shows to understand a movie, I am not watching the movie. The whole point of a movie is that it’s a small slice of story, requiring significantly less time investment than a TV series. The problem is that Disney has adopted the Marvelfication of films – if you want to watch one of them, you’ve got to watch them all.
It was partly this that inspired me to binge every Marvel property when I caught Covid two years ago. I’m a known Marvel-hater, while my partner is a Marvel-enjoyer, and I felt that if my many criticisms of the franchise were to hold any weight, I’d have to watch everything Marvel has ever made. Watching the latest few movies wouldn’t cut it, because there’s no context or hand-holding in this series, and Marvel loves to throw easter egg cameos into its content willy-nilly. Nothing makes sense unless you’re already tangled into its extended web of television and films. Disney, of course, owns Marvel and this approach has historically worked well – so it makes sense that Star Wars is being subjected to the same treatment.
I hate it. This isn’t comparable to how the movies in the series often come in trilogies, requiring you to watch the first two before catching the finale. This is a new movie requiring tens of hours of viewing time beforehand. Films should be used as entry points into the extended universe, but instead they are being based on existing television properties, limiting the provision of context to those who are already hardcore fans. In this case, cutting out casual viewers is not good business, but it seems Disney doesn’t quite see that.

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Tessa is a Features Editor at TheGamer. Their favourite hobbies are lifting weights, reading books in the park, and complaining profusely about whatever they’re mad about this week. Find them on Twitter at @tessakaur or email them at tessa@thegamer.com.







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