Is Star Wars Only For The Fans?
But the latest trilogy has characters of its own that it needs to service and plots it should resolve. While The Rise of Skywalker does tie up plenty of loose ends and dole out poetic justice in many ways, there is still something to be desired.
At times, it feels like the characters are moving in a particular direction because it was something a subset of the fandom wanted to see, and not because it was the right choice for them. And other characters, like Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) are cruelly underserved. Was that in response to the racist backlash against her character? Hopefully not, but the question shouldn’t even need to be asked.
There are also moments in which the nostalgia threatens to swallow the current story entirely, forcing present characters to bend over backwards in deference to a past they have no reason to acknowledge. This also comes into play with the theme of The Rise of Skywalker, and how it fits into the Star Wars universe overall. “Choose love, not fear” is probably the most important and powerful message in the film, and it delivers on that front. But it does so by ignoring blatant instances of hope and love that sprung from The Last Jedi, ignoring them in order to build from the ground up in the final movie.
Meanwhile, there’s another theme that asks its characters to “embrace who you are,” which is an equally wonderful message. But it’s presented in a way that clashes with more inclusive nature of the Force that the recent years have created. It’s a problem that even crops up in the name: The Rise of Skywalker. Why does Skywalker specifically need to rise, when the most prevalent family bonds in this trilogy come not from blood but from faith?
As I ponder these questions, however, I have to admit that I loved (almost) every second of the experience. Laughter, tears, gasps and cheers abounded; and we’re sure to be talking about the many plot twists until Star Wars gives us another movie.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in theaters on December 20th with a runtime of 142 minutes. It is rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action.