Annlyel explores the gradual rise and fall of the Skywalker saga
In 1977 a grand story was created. It was called Star Wars. It could’ve ended there. Fans would’ve loved the film for eternity, heralding it as one of the greatest films of all time. George Lucas had other ideas. He made a second one, The Empire Strikes Back, and it shattered expectations. Some didn’t like it but overall it would become an astounding achievement of what a sequel could be.
Luke Skywalker was training to become a Jedi. Han and Leia professed their love for one another just before he was frozen in carbonite. C-3PO was at his funniest. A green wrinkled diminutive alien turned out to be a fan favorite (like a certain modern green wrinkled baby that we all know and love) and would become Luke’s wizened, benevolent master. And Darth Vader/The Empire was at its most threatening. Not to mention the jaw-dropping plot twist that I feel is still the greatest plot twist of all time.
Star Wars, which was already beloved by millions, had become legendary.
Three years later, he returned with the trilogy finale, a satisfying ending to a thrilling story that gave fans new worlds, old worlds, and a new teddy-bear-like, spear-wielding alien race that pierced the hearts of millions.
It seemed like Star Wars was over. The story was complete. But George Lucas felt his tale was not resolved. Fast forward sixteen years and the world was introduced to a new story. One that would tell the grim descent of one of the galaxy’s greatest Jedi, Anakin Skywalker.
This was when the downward spiral would begin.
It began with The Phantom Menace, a movie that while children (like myself) loved it adults rained on its parade. Jar Jar Binks was bashed for being what fans called a ridiculous character. And nine-year-old Ani was made out to be this “annoying” kid that left people wondering how this could end up being Darth Vader.
Three years later the trilogy would continue with Attack of the Clones. It was the sequel that would explain how Anakin would fall in love with the woman that would be the father of his two very important and powerful children, Luke and Leia. Boggled down by corny dialogue, an icky romance, and flipping Yoda (no one can convince me that Yoda’s clash with Count Dooku was cool) Attack of the Clones would become many fans’ least favorite film in the saga. At that point, die-hard Star Wars fans had become dissatisfied (or downright disgusted) with the prequel films as they tarnished the backstory of one of the coolest villains ever created.
It’s like learning that Thanos was a whiny teenager before he became a madman. That wouldn’t glorify his existence, would it? So, with many fans upset by the damage George Lucas had done to the Original Trilogy, Revenge of the Sith would arrive in 2005 to finish the Saga, at the time.
Revenge of the Sith was clearly the greatest film of the prequel trilogy, delivering a truly dark depiction of the Republic’s evolution into the Empire and the Jedi’s gruesome annihilation leading into Anakin’s fall from grace to become one of the most feared Sith of all time. Despite Revenge of the Sith‘s attempts to right the wrongs of its two predecessors, many fans were still left with a bad taste in their mouths. And then, seven years later, Disney bought Lucasfilm, hence buying Star Wars, and suddenly we were getting new movies! New movies that would tack on to the previous six films that had been made!
J.J Abrams would go on to create a movie that would not only reawaken fans’ love for the story they fell in love with in 1977 but would reinvigorate the franchise to astronomical levels. The Force Awakens was everything Star Wars fans could’ve wanted. We had Han Solo back, Princess Leia was now a general, Luke was the mysterious Jedi master that we always believed him to be, but most importantly, there was a new slew of heroes and villains to love and cheer for and despise.
These characters grasped our hearts and didn’t let go. We became invested in these characters’ stories. We began to theorize on their involvement in this saga and where their stories would take them. All of this theorizing and excitement was crushed when two years later Rian Johnson subverted expectations to create a storyline in The Last Jedi that he felt was impactful, different, and would move the story forward in an imaginative way. But along the way, he alienated fans of the franchise and scared Disney into making a movie that was solely dedicated to the fans.
What this did, however, was the exact opposite of what Marvel managed to do with Avengers: Endgame. The fan service was distracting, resulting in a storyline that was too safe for comfort. If you’re a proud member of the Reylo community you will be pleased with the direction this story takes. If you liked Finn and Poe’s bromance there is plenty to enjoy. If you thought Rose was annoying and many of the decisions in The Last Jedi were stupid you will be relieved with this film. And if you wanted Rey to be related to more than nobodies, well, you’ll like what happens.
The Rise of Skywalker is simply that; fan-service. No more, no less. Fan-service done right…and wrong. There are moments when the fan-service was heart-felt and downright tear-worthy and other moments when the fan-service amounted to absolutely nothing.
Before our very eyes, the story that began in 1977, ascended to supremacy in 1980 and beautifully concluded in 1983, has been turned into a fiasco of ideas that have never fully correlated into something meaningful. There are moments of brilliance in the murky fog of bad choices but overall, the Skywalker Saga has come to a crashing end and I’m relieved.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is playing in cinemas worldwide NOW!
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Annlyel James is a prolific Staff Writer for Future of the Force. She is passionate about Star Wars and Marvel but loves a wide variety of movie genres. Follow her on Twitter @annlyeljames where she channels the Force frequently!