The Rise and End of an Era: Star Wars Review

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Morgan Reed, Head Editor and Chief

Actually, I’ve got a pretty good feeling about this.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, directed by J.J. Abrams, ends what has been dubbed the “Rey Trilogy,” as movies one through three are referred to as the “Anakin trilogy” and four through six as the “Luke Trilogy.” Rey’s struggle with her identity and with her strange connection to Kylo Ren are revealed. And without giving any spoilers, her lineage does stir up some anger with fans, in that it links her power to her family, rather than her simply being a charming and strong scavenger with a connection to the force.

All of the dots are put together as to the fate of Kylo Ren and his struggle with good and evil, Snoke is finally given some semblance of a back story, albeit a weak one, and Rey’s true power is brought out into the open. Despite grievances fans had with previous films, The Rise of Skywalker wrapped up the saga beautifully, with a bow, and wrapping paper, and confetti, and balloons.

After the release of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, fans have been experiencing somewhat of a civil war concerning the new movies and their central characters. There is a rift between those who feel Kylo Ren is whiny and has a compulsive need for attention, and those who think he deserves all the love in the world. And between those who feel Rey doesn’t fill the shoes of the first trilogy, and those who believe she is a fresh face and just what the films needed. Fortunately, the ninth film of the series clears everything up.

There were several aspects of the movie that referenced the originals, one of which was simply the timing of the songs, most impactfully the “Force Theme”, known by some as Luke’s Theme, gives any Star Wars fan chills. The first films are such masterpieces of their time, impeccably assimilating comedy into scenes of intense battle or conversation, and create such a lasting connection with fans that even just the songs are a reminder of what it was like to see the films for the first time. A reminder of how important a fictional story is, and a reminder of the fact that there truly is a certain power a film can have on a person’s soul.

The title of the film in itself is very appropriate as well, the first film released began with Luke Skywalker, the story began with Anakin Skywalker, so it seems only fitting the film be connected to the name. The film also stays true not only to its characters roots, but to its own, ending on Tatooine, where the first film started, with the two suns setting over the Dune Sea, creating a lasting impression on the audience of cohesion between films.

New characters such as Babu Frik gave the audience a chance to breathe amidst the anxiety surrounding the plot of the film, and gave fans something to smile about as they watched Carrie Fisher, who portrayed Princess and General Leia Organa throughout the saga. Fischer passed away in 2016, after she had filmed all of her scenes for The Last Jedi. However, her storyline wasn’t finished, so the Leia seen in The Rise of Skywalker is completely digitally remastered, and in scenes depicting a young Luke and Leia, Fischer’s daughter, who has been in all three of the new films, stepped in as somewhat of a template in her mother’s place. To add to fans disparity over losing such an important actress for the series, many of the scenes depicting Leia are very emotional and feel like not only the characters, but Fischers costars and the audience, are saying goodbye.

The amount of new planets and peoples was a phenomenal surprise when watching the film. There were several more depictions of culture and traditions implemented into the characters travels throughout the galaxy.

Despite the fact that the prequels are likely the weakest of the three trilogies, the recurring theme of someone so powerful struggling so intimately with darkness was certainly a contributing factor in the satisfying end to the saga. And serves as a more universal reminder to fans that everyone, no matter how powerful, or strong they may seem, has dealt with hardships.

There will always be disagreements among fans, but there are some things all can agree on. The first being that Leia’s “force flying” out of the wreckage of her ship was still not the right move to emphasize Leia’s connection to the force. All fans also share a hate for sand and Jar Jar Binks, and were relieved to see Chewie make it to the end of the film.

Star Wars may have left us wanting more when it came to R2D2’s lack of screen time, Despite the fact that R2D2 definitely deserved more screen time, but overall was a suiting end to a saga that has touched the lives and hearts of millions.