Warning! This entire discussion contains spoilers for Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker.



Scott Hardie | December 20, 2019
Here's an open discussion about Rise of the Skywalker -- ahem, I mean The Rise of Skywalker -- and I want to know what you think of it.

But I also want to know what you think of Kathleen Kennedy's recent interview with io9, in which she said that 1) there will be no more trilogies, and 2) they don't know what the future Star Wars films will be yet, as everything was halted after Solo and they're still figuring it out.

Evie Totty | December 20, 2019
About the Interview: It just seems to me that the Star Wars films are so... iconic... that they don't want to mess up and start a trilogy and have the first movie be a stinker (Phantom Menace, anyone?)

It might be easier (better) if they go the Marvel route and just put out films to see what will happen. And if they do well - put out a multi-parter. The Avengers was the fifth movie to be released on the MCU, correct? Though honestly, The Avengers films were not in and of themselves. They were literally 4 out of a 23 part series. You cannot really watch the 4 alone and get a congruent story (can you?)

What's next? Who knows, really. Rogue One worked because although it was outside of the Skywalker saga - it still pertained to it. But then, why didn't Solo work? I mean - it was Han Solo for goodness sakes. But it didn't feel like a part of the Star Wars universe. There was just something off about it.

LIke, look at The Mandalorian. Without giving any spoilers - the fact that they made the camerawork the same as the original Star Wars films is huge. It connects to the saga without being a part of the saga. And now they know another story will work. It just has to be well-written.

I'm rambling now I think.

Scott Hardie | December 22, 2019
As I discussed in my review, one of the big problems with Rise of Skywalker to me was being too heavy. It felt like the movie was under tremendous pressure to be the perfect epic ending to a trilogy and to a three-trilogy series. But here's the thing: When Disney first bought Lucasfilm and promised more films, I didn't see the need for trilogies specifically. Why limit yourself to three-film sets? Why even number the films any more? The Star Wars movies could be like the James Bond movies or the Marvel movies and just keep stretching onward, telling an ongoing story forever as long as the audience keeps buying tickets. And so I have to wonder what Rise of Skywalker could have been if it hadn't felt such pressure to end the series, if there was going to be a proverbial "episode X" afterwards. It would still have had to deal with the passing of Carrie Fisher, but I bet that most of the movie would have been very different as a result, certainly in tone and probably in story too. Oh well -- Disney made their bed and now they can sleep in it.

Since you bring up the Avengers, Evie, let's compare them. Endgame was the 22nd film in a series, and had elements of the entire series brought to bear in it, but it focused on beloved characters from the earliest core films. The sequel trilogy of Star Wars wants to be the ending of a nine-film series, but focuses on the less-interesting new characters to the detriment of the beloved originals, and lacks power because of it. Imagine if Endgame had a couple of scenes each from Cap, Thor, and Iron Man, and instead spent the rest of its running time on the adventures of Captain Marvel and Valkyrie.

I was hard on the movie in my review, but there were some things that I really liked. The reveal of Hux as a rebel was a clever retcon to justify his apparent incompetence and lack of fealty. The appearance of the immense Star Destroyer fleet from the black sea was like something out of a nightmare. The temporary mind-wipe of C-3PO, practically the movie's only source of levity, was a good way to give the old semi-forgotten character something new to do. (I was hopeful that the procedure would result in a personality change instead of mind-wipe, turning the cowardly droid into an aggro killing machine or something. I would have loved to see him waddling into battle with a blaster, hurling battle cries, the other characters surprised at his aggressiveness.) I loved the cameos like John Williams and the callbacks like Harrison Ford. And Palpatine, unnecessary though he was (Snoke's death created a vacuum, but the ending should have been Rey vs. Kylo anyway), was reliably creepy and frightening in his appearance, just as he should have been.

My advice to Kathleen Kennedy and other people in the Star Wars brain trust: Don't limit yourself to a trilogy structure unless you have a complete plan for all three films. Invest in character development, and figure out what future characters stand for and represent before you make movies about them. Spend time on world-building, using peripheral media like TV shows and video games to try out new elements with audiences to see what's worth developing further. Slow down and get each film right; embrace quality over quantity. When fans complain, listen to the substance of their arguments and figure out which are worth correcting and which are worth ignoring. And for goodness's sake, stop driving off great directors who want to develop new things with Star Wars; trust that they love the property and wouldn't break it.

Scott Hardie | December 24, 2019
The New York Times ran a thought-provoking article on the divided Star Wars fandom and what it means for an America in transition.

Evie Totty | December 24, 2019
Yeah that's what I mean by the Avengers: what if we only had those four films? Because we had 22 to come to love these characters, their fates (good or bad) meant something to us.

Evie Totty | December 24, 2019
NOTE: I'm crying right now, again, because of Tony since it reminded me.

Matthew Preston | December 29, 2019
It's interesting watching this discussion being from the outside (and one of those "divided" fandom folks). I liken it to finding a great deal of information about an ex online. We had our good times and I'm happy for them, but it still brings up feelings of pain and loss. Seeing the synopsis and reviews creates a sense of longing, but it reinforces the reasons why I left the relationship in the first place. Good luck to you Star Wars, it's been real.

Scott Hardie | December 29, 2019
I was curious whether you were going to see this finale, Matthew, or hold firm to giving up on Star Wars. I don't think you're missing anything here worth seeing. If it's ever of interest to you to know, The Mandalorian is the far better of the two current Star Wars releases.

Matthew Preston | December 29, 2019
That is of interest to know, thank you Scott! I do plan on watching The Mandalorian someday. Once there are several well established Star Wars and Marvel series on Disney+, I'll check it out.

Matthew Preston | January 3, 2020
Curious. Of all the spoilers, etc. that I've read/heard recently, I haven't found anything on Mark Hamill. I'm guessing he has a small role in the film?

Evie Totty | January 3, 2020
Very. He pretty much negates what he said in TLJ

Erik Bates | January 3, 2020
I wonder how/if things would have been different had Carrie Fisher not died. I'm glad they were able to include her, and I'm not going to lie, I teared up a little bit when her daughter was able to interact with her character.

But I am curious as to whether the story line would have been any different had she not died.

I mentioned it in my review, but the knee-jerk reintroduction of the Emperor really threw me off. That's what triggered my questioning the plot decisions. Was he always going to return? Has this whole 9-episode arc truly been the Skywalker/Palpatine story?

The fact that in Episode VIII, Kylo flat-out told Ren that her parents were nobodies, only to reveal that they were the children of the most vile, power-hungry person to ever exist. I mean, I suppose you could say that Kylo told her that to protect her? I don't know. It just seemed like an abrupt about-face.

Your parents? Oh, they were nobodies. Don't worry about it.

JK! Your dad is Hitler! Let's be friends!

Scott Hardie | January 3, 2020
J.J. Abrams said in interviews that Leia had the same story in the finished film that they intended before Fisher's death. I find this very difficult to believe, even if you assume he means her story arc was the same and not literally the scenes themselves. I have heard so much about how this was supposed to be Leia's movie, just like Han's movie and Luke's movie before it, that her contribution couldn't have been intended to be so minor.

I took the retcon about Rey's parents -- and it's most definitely a retcon, just like so many others -- to be a deliberate repudiation of Last Jedi. And I'm disappointed by that choice because of what it means symbolically (I liked the idea that anyone could be important), but also by how cowardly it was. Say what you want about the makers of Last Jedi; they were brave to tell a story that they thought was worth telling, regardless of how well it would be received. Rise of Skywalker feels more craven and corporate-approved and committee-designed with every choice to "fix" the series.

Evie Totty | January 3, 2020
What Scott said. I was very disappointed.

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