To see exactly where this is going, instead of telling you the pros and cons of the Star Wars franchise, instead here is a simple chronological analysis of the Star Wars franchise. I have avoided video games, and have instead focused on the more commonly seen aspects of Star Wars.
Star Wars, Episode IV (1977)
Released in 1977, this was a pinnacle moment in science fiction. Finally, after many years, SF came to the forefront of cinema and, along with several other big-budget movies at the time, gave birth to the "blockbuster" mentality that the modern film industry has.
Oh, and it was a great movie.
Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
Ah yes. Who could forget. In the same year that brought us Battlestar: Galactica, we see the Star Wars Holiday Special (more info). The heartwarming tale of Chewie's family waiting for his arrival for the celebration of Life Day. Their grief at his tardiness is, of course, eased by the help of friends like Bea Arthur, Art Carney, Diahann Carroll and others. Right.
Star Wars, Episode V (1980)
Nothing needs to be said here.
Star Wars, Episode VI (1983)
Cute, furry little creatures with cute, high-pitched voices and funny mannerisms help the Rebels in their assault on the Empire. And shortly thereafter are the subject of millions of dollars of marketing tie-ins aimed at children. Plush dolls, oh yeah.
Ewok Adventure (1984)
Don't try and deny Lucas had anything to do with this atrocity. Helping to continue to capitalize on the marketing potential held within the Ewoks, we have this television special, written and produced by George Lucas himself, and helmed by John Korty, whom IMDB describes as a "principled filmmaker."
Ewoks: Battle for Endor (1985)
A sequel to Ewok Adventure, and again written and produced by George Lucas.
Star Wars: Droids (1985)
According to IMDB, the animated "adventures of C3PO and R2D2 before they joined Luke Skywalker." I remember seeing this as a kid, but most of my memory of it is blocked.
Star Wars: Ewoks (1985)
Paired with Droids to form the Ewok & Droids Adventure Hour, again, I don't remember seeing this much. But hey, its there.
The Star Wars Special Editions (1997)
The re-releases of Star Wars episodes IV, V, and VI are some of the most-argued about releases among Star Wars fans. Personally, with the exception of some of the cut footage that was added in, I thought they were rather trite and silly what they changed, Episode IV in particular.
Star Wars, Episode I (1999)
I'm not going to waste space discussing this movie. Its been done to death.
Star Wars, Episode II (2002)
Even before its release, this movie's been bashed. Between the plotline of a romance, people's opinions of the trailer, and the latest news about N*Sync being on screen for 2 seconds in a battle scene, no one has even seen the movie and yet everyone is convinced it's either good or bad.
So ends the chronology of Star Wars. I have not included the video game, novel, comic, and RPG adaptations, merely because they are extentions of a conclusion that can already be achieved by looking at what is here.
Star Wars, sadly, is no different than Star Trek is today. Artistic integrity is lost, and it is merely a franchise to produce money for the cash-cow that is Lucasarts. Does that mean Episode II "is gonna suck?" Not necessarily. It might be a great piece of cinema, although I doubt it.
Lucas became a sell-out a long, long time ago. Between the Ewok Adventures, the cartoons, the Holiday Special, and everything in between, its more than obvious what he's after: making money.
But in the end, am I still going to go see Episodes II and III?
Well, duh. Its Star Wars.