Disney has had some uncontroversial hits since acquiring the “Star Wars” license — “The Force Awakens,” “The Mandalorian” Season 1, and “Andor” stand out — but on the whole, the company’s time with the franchise has been kind of a mess. Between “The Last Jedi” and “The Rise of Skywalker,” Disney managed to alienate pretty much every kind of “Star Wars” fan, leading to a terrified departure from movie theaters that has yet to end.
Even on Disney+, things have been rocky. “Obi-Wan Kenobi” has plenty of fans (and a few Emmy nominations), but it was far from the critical homerun that Ewan McGregor’s return should have been. Fervor around “The Mandalorian” has gradually dwindled, with each successive season buckling more under the weight of franchise tie-ins. Because Season 1 was so popular, Disney threw all of its hopes on the show, setting up disappointing spin-offs like “The Book of Boba Fett” and even trying to fix certain elements of the sequel trilogy retroactively. Unsurprisingly, that strategy has hampered the show. Season 3 failed to recapture audience excitement, closing out the Moff Gideon story with more of a whimper than a bang.
Put simply, Disney needs a hit. “Star Wars” can’t ride the perfection of “Andor” forever. If it’s going to become a big name at the movies again, the franchise needs to become an exciting, family-friendly brand again. It needs characters and storylines that get people invested. In short, “Ahsoka” needs to be a win.