Much Ado About Star Wars

By Shamus Posted Monday Nov 23, 2020

Filed under: Movies 383 comments

I just want to thank everyone who participated in the thread on The Last Jedi. It was great to hear people critique the movie for reasons that never occurred to me. It was great to hear from fans of the movie, who had lots of good reasons for enjoying Rian Johnson’s unorthodox take on Star Wars. And most importantly, it was great to hear from both sides without anyone being shouted down or insulted.

That thread is now one of my favorite discussions in the history of the site.

But I’m not here to talk about Last Jedi. Today we’re going to talk about…

The Rise of Skywalker

This movie felt like its own terrible videogame adaptation.
This movie felt like its own terrible videogame adaptation.

I should have watched The Rise of Skywalker before writing about The Last Jedi / Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order EA™. But I really didn’t want to.  I knew it was supposedly bad, and who wants to spend time watching something bad? This isn’t like Mass Effect where I had a strong attachment to the original and I needed to see how it turned out. I was largely indifferent to Rey, Finn, and Poe. I was content to know their story was over and I felt I didn’t need to know the messy details.

But there I was on Saturday afternoon.  I’d just finished my second binge through The Mandalorian, I was in a Star Wars kinda mood, and I figured I might be able to have some fun if I went in with my expectations sufficiently lowered.

This movie was… an experience? I guess that’s the most diplomatic way of saying it?

I don’t even know how to critique it. It feels like trying to review an automobile accident. This doesn’t feel like a movie. Instead it feels like something that can only be explained via analogy:

  • It’s like Abrams and his team held a brainstorming session on how to finish up this mess of a trilogy. After six hours of arguments and bitter debates over the contents of Wookiepedia, someone suggested they just take whatever notes had been scribbled on the dry-erase board and call that the movie.
  • It’s like someone opened up their pen, poured the ink all over the page, and then handed me the result with the request that I “Proofread this essay”.
  • It’s like babysitting a child while they play with their Star Wars toys. They run around the room shouting lines from the movies and hurling handfuls of action figures at the walls.  After two and a half hours of toy-smashing and ear-splitting screams, the parents get home and ask if you have any advice for the kid in terms of narrative structure and characterization.
  • It’s like watching a young man get dumped. He doesn’t even seem to understand why he’s being dumped, so he keeps flailing around and trying to say or do ANYTHING that might make the girl love him again. The longer he goes on, the more desperate and improbable his pleas become. In the end, he’s promising things he can’t possibly give her, but he won’t pause his mad filibuster for long enough to stop and listen to why she lost interest in him to begin with. PLEASE LOVE ME! I’LL GIVE YOU ANYTHING. DO YOU WANT CHEWBACCA TO HAVE A MEDAL? I’LL GIVE CHEWBACCAA A MEDAL!
  • It’s like J. J. Abrams wants to pitch another  LOST-style television show about Star Wars, so he shot one scene from each of the 26 episodes he plans to produce. Disney misunderstood and released the scenes as if they were a single movie.
  • It’s like Ian McDiarmid obtained a genie and for his three wishes he chose:
    1. I want to somehow play Palpatine again.
    2. I want Palpatine to be the most powerful character in the entire universe.
    3. I want the story to revolve around my character, from the opening crawl to the final scenes.

    I have to say: The genie did his best to bend time, space, and common sense to make these wishes possible. Whatever the rest of us think of this movie, it’s obvious that Ian was having the time of his life while making it. I know I will never be as happy as the great Ian McDiarmid getting to say “Do it!” for the second time in his career.

RoS had one or two moments of brief charm or wit. It had several ideas that – if one were inclined – could be developed into a story set in the Star Wars universe. But the central structure of the movie was an onslaught of contrivance, convoluted nonsense, manufactured conflict, and obvious desperation on the part of the storyteller.

What a mess.

The visuals were so dark I couldn't tell if the SURPRISE FLEET was buried in dirt or ice. Either way, this is a very unconventional way of storing a fleet. (Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of otherwise normal people to operate it.)
The visuals were so dark I couldn't tell if the SURPRISE FLEET was buried in dirt or ice. Either way, this is a very unconventional way of storing a fleet. (Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of otherwise normal people to operate it.)

The opening of the movie was so ridiculous I laughed. The last movie had us worrying about where fuel comes from for the first time, and this movie has Palpatine summon an immense fleet of STAR DESTROYER DEATH STARS, literally out of the dirt like an army of zombies.

Suddenly the Emperor has a whole brand-new galaxy-conquering fleet. Not just the machinery and supplies, but also a vast army of loyal battle-ready servants. All of this was apparently built in secret on planet TIM. I know I’m famous for always asking, “But what do they EAT!?”, but this opening scene had me asking, “But what do they MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX!?”

But that’s just the first scene. The movie got more implausible from there.

Where Did it all go Wrong?

Good question, Poe!
Good question, Poe!

Thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I just sort of took it for granted that once enough money is on the line, the Disney machinery will produce the requisite amount of Disney Magic™. (I guess I’ve been overlooking what a mess the live-action remakes have been.)  The Disney of my youthActually the Disney of my 20s.  Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Mulan, and a bunch of other now-classic movies. They seemed unstoppable. was a company that could do no wrong, but that was decades ago and their ambitions are so much higher now.

For decades, the Disney corporation has been the unrivaled masters of formulaic storytelling. I just sort of took it for granted that this company knows how to steer a trillion-dollar property. The Marvel Cinematic Universe just wrapped up a 12-year, 23-movie adventure. It wasn’t perfect, but it managed to glue all these disparate stories together to form a coherent climax and a mostly satisfying ending. The ending wasn’t too dark or too indulgent. Everyone got a moment in the spotlight. It ended with a huge special effects / fanservice blowout that felt earned. The story was constructed to fit with the realities of cast members and their various contracts, and yet none of that artifice intruded into the storyHaving Iron Man die at the end felt like a natural and thematically complete conclusion without resorting to out-of-story excuses like, “Well, RDJ’s contract was up, what could they do?”. The MCU put 23 movies on Rotten Tomatoes without a single entry ending up on the “rotten” list.

You see Rey, what I told you about your parents was true... from a certain point of view.
You see Rey, what I told you about your parents was true... from a certain point of view.

By contrast, the Sequel Trilogy looks like a cakewalk. They just had to make three movies in four years. Yes, juggling the needs of our new leads with the needs of our returning heroes was a little tricky, but that seems trivial compared to the absurd task of reconciling so many superheroes from the visually and tonally disparate worlds of the MCU. The Star Wars team was free to steal ideas from the EU, without being obligated to adhere to the parts of the EU they didn’t like. On top of that was a nice collection of Clone Wars alumni that could be freely integrated or ignored at will. They were free to essentially make a “greatest hits” mixtape of Star Wars adventures. The blueprints were there, the actors were all still alive, and all they needed to do was tell a coherent 3-part story in this world.

I don’t want to claim that making a new trilogy is “easy”, but it seems monumentally less difficult than the stunt Disney just pulled off with superhero movies. Comparing Disney’s success in Avengers: Endgame with Rise of Skywalker is like watching an athlete reach the top of Mt. Everest in record time, and then break their leg when they get back to the hotel.

The Future of Long, Long Ago…

This is The Way.
This is The Way.

It’s a financial certainty that Disney is going to keep trying, but I wonder what their Star Wars plans will be going forward.

If you’re a risk-averse Disney exec, then the most obvious move is to gently nudge JJ Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy off to one side and hand the franchise to Jon Favreau. I’m not saying that’s a good idea or anything. I love everything Favreau is doing right now, but I’m old and I’m not the future for this franchise. It’s smart to make some stuff for old-timers like me, but their big expensive tentpole movies really ought to be aimed at young people, and I don’t know if Favreau’s work is resonating with the younger set or not.

Actually, crediting Jon Favreau is over-simplifying things a bit. Favreau is credited as creator and executive producer on the Mandalorian, but the various episodes have been written and directed by a variety of people. Favreau is the most visible person to us non-Disney muggles, but it’s possible that behind the scenes there’s some other creative writer / director / editor who could rightfully claim credit for the overall success of The Mandalorian.  For example, Taika Waititi is also involved with The Mandalorian, and he’s also been on an absolute tear lately. For the sake of simplicity, when I talk about “Favreau” in the following paragraphs, I’m talking about any of these creative leads, whether or not that person is really Favreau himself.


Favreau is getting lots of acclaim for his work on The Mandalorian.  If you’re an executive with no idea how to correct the problems with the Sequel Trilogy, then the  most obvious way to stop the cavalcade of box-office let-downsYes, I’m sure all the movies made money. But you know how executives think. They’re not going to be delighted with making 500 million when their similar-sized franchise made $3 billion or whatever. and critical backlash is to give the property to whoever seems to be doing well right now. Which means starting with Favreau’s Star Wars as a baseline, and experimenting from there.

I’m really surprised this hasn’t happened already. Again, I’m not saying this would necessarily be a good move. I’m just saying it would be the most stereotypically Disney thing to do at this point. What I would expect is that Favreau would “join” Kathleen Kennedy’s team from a public relations standpoint. The company would make it sound like a team-up, while behind the scenes Favreau would be given a lot of creative control and would decide the cinematic direction of the franchise. This would let Disney course-correct without openly admitting error or throwing Kennedy under the bus.

Then again, it’s been a year since Rise of Skywalker was released. I think if this was going to happen, it would have by now. I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but I find this drama more interesting than anything that’s happened in the last 3 movies.



[1] Actually the Disney of my 20s.  Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Mulan, and a bunch of other now-classic movies. They seemed unstoppable.

[2] Having Iron Man die at the end felt like a natural and thematically complete conclusion without resorting to out-of-story excuses like, “Well, RDJ’s contract was up, what could they do?”

[3] Yes, I’m sure all the movies made money. But you know how executives think. They’re not going to be delighted with making 500 million when their similar-sized franchise made $3 billion or whatever.

From The Archives:

383 thoughts on “Much Ado About Star Wars

  1. Geebs says:

    Star Wars fans love to give George Lucas stick for being an (allegedly) mediocre talent with a knack for surrounding himself with more talented people.

    I submit that JJ Abrams is a case study in what happens when a mediocre talent surrounds themselves with people who are less talented.

    1. MerryWeathers says:

      Star Wars fans love to give George Lucas stick for being an (allegedly) mediocre talent with a knack for surrounding himself with more talented people.

      They basically act as filters that execute his ideas really well, Clone Wars is a great example of this. This is because George Lucas is a producer at heart, not a director or a screenwriter.

      1. DeadlyDark says:

        So, should we blame Francis Ford Coppola for encouraging Lucas to write his own scripts?

        P.S. For the context:

        1. MerryWeathers says:

          Well George Lucas had screenwriters like Lawrence Kasdan and a little but notable thing called improvisation to smooth out the rough edges of his scripts.

          I do feel he shouldn’t have approached big name directors like Spielberg or Zemeckis for the PT but indie ones like he had already done with the OT.

    2. Erik says:

      JJ Abrams is an amazing idea factory who has started multiple huge franchises with enticing scenarios, full of promise and potential story hooks.

      Few of the endings to these have gone well. Does anyone actually remember how many people complained about the ending to Lost? His endings have tended to be weak, or most often the series eventually isn’t renewed and just… ends, without a satisfying resolution. (That’s TV for you.) He’s very good about creating options and keeping them open, but that’s not the right skill set for an ending.

      Hiring him to finish a trilogy is like hiring Peyton Manning to play on your football team… and putting him at receiver. Yeah, he has good hands, and he can probably run the routes, but it’s not what he’s good at.

      1. Taellosse says:

        That’s because Abrams is essentially a 1-trick pony – he creates setups and never bothers to underpin them with anything, so he never knows how to develop or resolve them. He calls it the “mystery box” method of storytelling (he did a TED talk on it a while back, when he was first making his bones). He’s right that establishing really puzzling mysteries is a good way to get an audience engaged. What he doesn’t get is if you never pay off the audience’s investment of interest, they turn on you. Stringing them along (a la Lost) with an endless cavalcade of new mystery boxes – many of which directly conflict with earlier ones – eventually just becomes aggravating to the viewer. Not to mention “and then he woke up, turns out it was all a dream!” has NEVER been a good way to end things, perhaps especially if the wackiness factor has gotten severely out of hand (Hollywood figured that one out all the way back with Dallas).

        1. Joshua says:

          Which series did he do that with? Lost has a really odd ending, but it’s really not a “It was all a dream”.

          Well, on second thought, it kind of is. Basically half the final season where they’re doing the “Flash Sideways” of alternate universe is basically just the characters daydreaming in Purgatory while waiting for all of the other characters they met on the island to finally die so they could ascend to the afterlife together or something. Because their experiences on the island were the most significant ones in their lives.

          Yeah, Lost was weird.

    3. Cubic says:

      Btw, readers, it’s classic management advice to hire people better than yourself.

  2. Joe says:

    The first time I saw TROS, I walked out with no clear opinion. There was good, there was bad, I was torn. Second and third times I liked it more. Viewing four, a little less. Originally Colin Trevorrow was going to write and direct. But his indie project did badly both critically and financially. And Rian Johnson was too controversial, so Kennedy naturally went back to JJ. He was probably seen as a safe pair of hands. Only, a little *too* safe. He was intent on retconning half of TLJ away while still wrapping up the series.

    There are certainly some great moments. While I’m not a shipper, Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver do have a lot of chemistry. Driver is good at playing the hero. His big face turn was great.

    However, JJ just couldn’t commit to killing either Chewie or C3PO. As much as I like them, either kill them or don’t bloody tease it for five minutes. Again, I’m not a shipper. The big kiss at the end annoyed me. You could have given Finn one of three romances. Rey, Poe, or Rose. We got none of the above. Given their chemistry and joint custody of BB8, you could have paired Poe up with Rey. Instead we hint at Keri Russel. Yeah, JJ likes working with his friends. Dominic Monaghan gets more to say than Kelly Marie Tran.

    I do like the movie. Don’t be fooled. The glass is half-full. Only, it could have been *more* than that.

    Oh, and if Kennedy is shunted to the side, it’ll probably be Filoni. He’s the one who worked with Lucas on the TCW cartoon, and the other cartoons after that. Favreau is fine, but he doesn’t have all that previous SW experience and Lucas approval behind him.

    1. John says:

      I don’t know what Lucas has to do with it at this point. He sold the franchise. He’s done.

      1. Joe says:

        Star Wars can’t escape from Lucas. Sure he’s officially out, but he casts a long shadow. Many times there’s some new vehicle or alien drawn either from his early drafts or a MacQarrie drawing or some other early vision. It won’t end until every last idea has been completely mined.

        1. John says:

          There’s a big difference between Disney strip mining old drafts or old concept art for content and Disney giving Lucas some sort of actual, direct influence on personnel decisions, which is what you were implying earlier.

      2. MerryWeathers says:

        He visits production sets and stays for a day of filming from time to time. Some SW creators apparently also visited him for advice or approval like J.J. Abrams with TROS or Dave Filoni with Clone Wars season 7.

        1. Syal says:

          So what you’re saying is he’s become a directorial Force Ghost.

          1. John says:

            “Bob Iger, if you put J.J. Abrams in charge of Episode IX, I cannot interfere.”

            1. MerryWeathers says:

              It probably went more like “You gotta put midichlorians in it Jeffrey! They’re the doorway to which Jar Jar was the key to!” and then somehow that advice made it to Jon Favreau.

  3. MerryWeathers says:

    As someone who enjoyed The Last Jedi, the thing that irked me the most about TROS wasn’t even it retconning pretty much all the previous film’s plot but rather due to how unambitious and small-scale it was. The conclusion to the epic saga that started forty years ago ended in such an underwhelming way, it’s insulting.

    I like the first two movies of the ST and consider it to still be significantly better than the PT but I will admit the ending really sours the whole package.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      Personally, I wouldn’t mind more small-scale Star Wars movies. It’s a lot easier to make some film about a single warrior fighting some troop of baddies, than to try and constantly up the stakes with every movie. I think I only saw the first movie plus the empire-trooper spinoff from this recent batch of movies, but the one following the empire-trooper was very enjoyable. :)

      …the other movies had some Super-Duper Bigger-Than-Death-Star nonsense, that could destroy an entire solar system, instead of a single planet. :|

      1. Thomas says:

        I’d love to never see another planet / system / galaxy / universe destroying super weapon in Star Wars again.

        1. Henson says:

          The GALAXY GUN!!!

          1. CrushU says:

            The SUN CRUSHER!

            1. BlueHorus says:

              The QUADRANT DEVOURER!!!!

              1. Randint says:

                I feel like there’s potential in a premise for a game show-type question where contestants are given several names like the above and have to guess which one isn’t a real Star Wars superweapon. Also…

                The NOSTRIL OF PALPATINE!

              2. Shamus says:

                The UNIVERSE EXPLODER!!!!!

                1. pseudonym says:

                  The MULTIVERSE MANGLER!!!!!

                  1. Henson says:

                    The FRANCHISE DERAILLEUR!!!!

                    1. Zeta Kai says:

                      The DIMENSION DISINTEGRATOR!!!!!

                    2. Geebs says:

                      Turned out, what the Planet Smasher really couldn’t stand…was musicals.

                2. Radkatsu says:

                  THE DEFENESTRATOR!

                  (Bonus points to anyone who gets that reference)

                  1. krellen says:

                    I, too, enjoyed Marlow Briggs (because I didn’t have to play it.)

                  2. CloverMan-88 says:

                    I though it was Garth Ennis Hitman comic reference?

        2. bobbert says:

          Amen, to that, brother.

          1. Mistwraithe says:

            I was thinking exactly the same…

        3. John says:

          Conversely, I’d have loved if the new trilogy had been either Kyp Dutton and the Sun Crusher (a killer band name) or the Corellian trilogy with Thrackan Sal Solo, Talis, Tralis, and Centerpoint Station

        4. Rob says:

          The only superweapon outside of the OT that I feel was a worthy addition to the franchise was the Star Forge from Knights of the Old Republic.

          For those unfamiliar with the game, the Star Forge was an automated factory that could churn out an effectively infinite number of ships and weapons using material drawn directly from its host star. It broke the mold by being a logistical superweapon rather than yet another oversized gun. Possessing it would make materiel losses irrelevant, turning even crushing defeats into temporary setbacks and making lasting victory nearly impossible for the owner’s opponents.

          The Republic could barely hold against the onslaught once Revan and Malak claimed it, and even then their survival was largely due to a Jedi on the Republic’s side possessing the incredibly rare talent to spiritually link together entire armies to bolster their coordination and fighting prowess. The Star Forge was the only superweapon that felt like a genuine galactic-level threat.

          I especially liked that it wasn’t some invincible battlestation. It was a factory with minimal defenses, and nearly all of the trouble in dealing with it was discovering which system it was hidden in so a fleet could be sent to pound it into dust.

          1. Echo Tango says:

            That actually sounds pretty cool! :)

          2. John says:

            I like the Star Forge too, but people–including Bioware–too often forget that a fleet consists of both ships and crews. The Star Forge doesn’t do crews. It can replace your lost ships, but you are never getting your trained and experienced crews back.

            1. krellen says:

              Couldn’t the Star Forge mass-produce droids too?

              1. John says:

                Yes, but there’s nothing to suggest that the Sith ships are droid-crewed. The one Sith ship we do see in action, the Leviathan, appears to have a large human crew. If you want to say that all the rest are droid-crewed or that the Star Forge can produce droid-crewed ships, even if it isn’t necessarily doing that right now, well, I can’t prove you wrong, but it seems like a stretch to me.

              2. Decius says:

                It could mass-produce inexperienced droids.

                1. Radkatsu says:

                  Experience wouldn’t even matter that much when you have a pilot capable of pinpoint accuracy by simple virtue of being a literal mathematical calculator on legs (or wheels). And let’s be honest here, mass producing vessels to the point where any enemy fleet is outmatched based on numbers alone would swing things in the favour of the droids even if they were inexperienced. There’s something to be said for simply throwing bigger and bigger numbers at the problem, when you simply don’t care about the losses.

                  1. John says:

                    There’s two problems with this line of argument. First, there’s nothing to suggest that the droids that the Star Forge produces are particularly intelligent. None of them talk. There’s a Rakatan droid earlier in the game that resembles some of the Star Forge droids that does talk, but it’s fairly stupid. Second, none of the droids that the Star Forge produces have, y’know, hands. My sense is thus that Star Forge droids are a pretty poor substitute for humanoid crews on ships that are pretty clearly designed with humanoids in mind.

                    But I think that the most compelling argument that the Star Forge is not particularly suitable for a “Drown them in droids!” strategy is that neither Revan nor Malak try it. Some people–hi Rob!–have argued that Malak is just a big dummy. I don’t think that’s really supported in the game. But even if he is, Revan is supposed to be the greatest military genius who ever military geniused and Revan didn’t try to crew Star Forge ships with droids. I am forced to conclude, therefore, that either you can’t crew Star Forge ships with droid or it’s not a good idea.

                  2. Decius says:

                    The highest-leveled enemy pilots in X-Wing vs TIE Fighter would unerringly fire their lasers at the point where they would hit you if you didn’t change course, making them very, very easy to dodge.

            2. Rob says:

              Even without taking droids into account, Revan never had to worry much about manpower. Revan’s army was huge and mainly made up of loyal veterans that followed him during the Mandalorian Wars. As veterans they had more combat experience than nearly anyone else in the galaxy, so once they rebelled the losses were mostly on the Republic’s side. Revan’s forces were crushing the Republic to the point that the Jedi sent Bastila (the one person they absolutely could not afford to lose) to lead a strike team aboard Revan’s flagship in a desperate last-ditch attempt to take him out.

              Even if he were to take heavy losses, the galaxy hosted hundreds of quadrillions of sentients and Revan was a war hero with incredible charisma who could easily sway large crowds to join him (that’s how the Mandalorian Wars started after all), and a large number of old soldiers to train any new ones. And thanks to the Star Forge he had the advantage of being able to immediately equip every new recruit with full body armor and multiple weapons (we see basic troops with both blasters and vibroswords), increasing their odds of survival. He was basically playing with an infinite resources cheat turned on.

              It’s telling that Malak, Revan’s apprentice who lacked any of the charisma or military talent of his master, was still handily winning the war after he took over despite treating his troops as disposable cannon fodder.

              1. John says:

                I don’t dispute any of that. My point is merely that, while undoubtedly powerful, the Star Forge is not an instant victory machine.

            3. Decius says:

              Quantity has a quality of its own.

              Lots of poorly crewed ships can be a threat to a few expertly crewed ones.

          3. Alberek says:

            Yeah, suddenly you could be using the Zap Brannigan School of Tactics

        5. GoStu says:

          The whole “we will blast this planet clean out of the sky” move seems kind of counter-productive if you’re the Empire or nu-Empire too.

          Like, isn’t that your territory? Blasting apart five planets in a single shot destroys all those planets, but that’s also five planets you’re never reconquering or bringing back into line.

          1. Fizban says:

            If Stellaris has taught me anything, it’s that on a galactic scale all rulers are Evil. Spend a decade dragging a land army halfway across the galaxy to throw against a planet’s ground defenses only to have them fall 10 bodies short of wiping the place which will then fully recover its troops by the time you can bring in a new army, or even succeed and then have to deal with an entire planet of malcontents not optimized to match your empire’s productivity and tick up the strain on your administrative back end putting an income channel into the red. . .

            Or just blast the damn thing out of existence. You’ve got dozens more, who cares? Way easier.

            1. Decius says:

              This planet is rebellious.
              I throw it away and make a new one.

          2. Randint says:

            For what it’s worth, this was justified for the original Death Star. Tarkin’s philosophy was “Rule through fear of force rather than force itself,” so the idea was that you’d just have to actually use it once or twice, and after that everybody else would be so afraid of having their planet blown up that you’d never have to actually blow up a planet again. The other use was blowing up rebel bases, which tended to be on otherwise deserted (Yavin IV’s exports are trees, former jedi corrupted by ancient ruin-dwelling evil space wizard ghosts, and grandchildren of Palpatine. The empire will not miss any of these).

            I don’t think the second death star had any such justification, though.

            1. Decius says:

              The second Death Star was originally a trap, then it was briefly secretly a tool of a rebellious droid (Tales of the Bounty Hunters), and finally it was part of Palpatine’s Xantos gambit.

  4. Michael G says:

    Star Wars 9 felt like two decent movies desperately crammed together into one movie. I honestly think JJ might have just taken a rough draft they made when planning the trilogy and then just take the second and third film drafts and stuffed them together into a finished film. That’s assuming the tilogy ever had a plan to start with which judging from “The Last Jedi” they clearly didn’t.

    I agree with something Red letter Media said. The Star Wars sequel trilogy will go down as an example of how not to handle a franchise and will be compared directly to the MCU films

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      To be fair, the original trilogy didn’t have much of a plan either. Neither did the MCU, for that matter. But both were clearly handled way better than the sequel trilogy. You don’t really need a plan if you have common sense. Unfortunately, Disney doesn’t seem to have it.

      1. The Puzzler says:

        Empire Strikes Back did a decent job of setting up a finale. They established who the villains were, and what the conflict was about. It might not have been a complete plan, but they’d clearly thought ahead.

        I’m curious as to what they thought they were setting up during TLJ. Was there no plan? Did they have a different plan but abandon it? Or was this the plan all along, and they just didn’t feel like doing the usual amount of foreshadowing?

        1. Gethsemani says:

          As I said in the other thread a few times, TLJ has obviously set up a lot of hooks for the third film:
          * Kylo Ren has given himself a Klingon Promotion and it is obvious that Hux and the rest of the FO doesn’t care for it. The power struggle there is a great plot hook.
          * The Resistance called on its allies but none showed up. Why? This is a really open hook, it can be anything from the FO jamming the signal to the allies all getting cold feet. But either way the Resistance needs to find old or new allies to take on the FO.
          * Leia and Rey are now the heirs of the Jedi, but neither is one. How will Rey be trained? Can she merge the light and dark side as was hinted in TLJ?
          * Will Rey and Kylo work out their weird relationship? Is Kylo beyond redemption or can he be swayed from the dark side? Will Rey fall to the temptation of joining him?

          The problem seems to have been that all the hooks in TLJ also doubled down on the parts in TLJ that people found controversial and thus JJ made the safe bet of simply hitting the reset button and pretending as if TLJ was never there.

          1. Soldierhawk says:

            I think this is a great take on it.

            As I said last thread, I adored TLJ. In fact, I will come out of the closet (so to speak) enough to say that TLJ is not only easily and by far my favorite Star Wars movie, it’s one of my favorite *films* of all time. It’s a weird case of a filmmaker taking almost every one of my favorite tropes, archetypes, and story beats, wrapping them up in Star Wars costumes, and then executing them in a way that is (to me) nigh-on perfect. I couldn’t NOT love it.

            For all that, ROS left me kind of cold, although like you, I enjoyed it more after watching it a few times. There were MOMENTS I loved, absolutely–but as a whole it left me with a resounding, “ehhh.” Funnily enough, it seems like people who were NOT fans of TLJ had about the same reaction, although I suspect we “ehhh” at very different parts.
            I, as a fan, was so very, very disappointed that so many of the (to me, awesome) hooks you mentioned weren’t really followed up on–and actually really sad about some of the retcons. (Palpatine’s daughter??? REALLY???? Being abandoned by her parents like Kylo implied in TLJ was so…so…much…better. I mean yes you can absolutely EXPLAIN why he said that, and how he arrived at that conclusion–I DO think he was actually being sincere and not lying to her, there–but god does the Emperor’s Daughter bit kill one of the very best scenes in TLJ for me.) I imagine that someone who disliked TLJ feels the opposite–they probably loathe the parts that DO call back, however briefly, to those hooks and moments in a movie they hated.

            I’m not sure there was ever a world in which ROS pleased everyone, but its kinda stunning they managed to make a film that made NO ONE truly happy. Although, like you, the glass is definitely half full for me. There are enough great moments in the movie, and the performances are universally SO good, that I can forgive just about everything, including the bloody freaking kiss at the end. Grrrrrr.

            (I have nothing against folks who were rooting for Rey and Ben to get together, but man I was hoping that just this one time we could have a platonic relationship between two heroes that doesn’t involve THAT kind of love. But I guess I can’t be too mad; Hollywood gonna Hollywood.)

          2. Tyler says:

            The problem seems to have been that all the hooks in TLJ also doubled down on the parts in TLJ that people found controversial and thus JJ made the safe bet of simply hitting the reset button and pretending as if TLJ was never there.

            This is a good take. I agree that these were setups, but to follow-up on them you’d have to create a movie that would go further down the “more complicated” direction of TLJ which also includes a lot more risk than a “memberberries” sequel à la Abrams.

            A first order that might cripple itself once the strong leader is gone? A resistance that nobody wants to help because people are too tired/too afraid/can’t be bothered? Both ideas _weaken_ the villains as well as the heroes and would even blur the lines. Maybe the resolution would’ve been a “get the hell out of our galaxy” moment (see: Babylon 5) of the galaxy’s citizens telling the resistance/first order/jedi/sith to scram and leave them be with all that bullshit.

            While I personally would’ve enjoyed that _very much_, that’s just not what Star Wars has dabbled in so far and I hold no grudge with people that don’t go to see Star Wars movies for that. I _wanted_ Star Wars to change, to tell us that you can’t wait for heroes to fix things and that there will be “collateral damage” (a topic was handled in comics and the MCU for that reason). But I also wouldn’t have minded this being the topic of a separate movie(s) by Rian Johnson that were made precisely for that purpose..

            1. wswordsmen says:

              Maybe the resolution would’ve been a “get the hell out of our galaxy” moment (see: Babylon 5) of the galaxy’s citizens telling the resistance/first order/jedi/sith to scram and leave them be with all that bullshit.

              That can’t work because the reason it was possible in Babylon 5 was the targets of the “get the hell out” truly thought they were trying to protect the ones telling to GTHO. The First Order certainly doesn’t give a damn about public opinion and so that sort of ultimatum wouldn’t work. The Resistance’s whole characterization is “they bad we fight them because they bad” so telling them to just leave doesn’t make sense either.

              1. Radkatsu says:

                Eeeh, initially the Shadows and Vorlons thought they were protecting and helping the younger races. The whole point was that they’d both FORGOTTEN that and had become so embroiled in their own idea of whose ideology was right that they completely missed the point of what they were originally meant to be doing.

                There was a very clear theme of excessive parental control, of order versus chaos, of light versus dark. Ironically, JMS handled the light/dark theme far better than Star Wars. No surprise though, given JMS trained as a psychologist, so he knows what makes people tick, and he’s a god tier writer, so he also knows how to portray it on the screen.

                Disney has no such writers. They hire hacks who basically fall into the same trap as the Vorlons and Shadows did, fighting over whose ideology is right instead of actually telling a good story.

            2. Boobah says:

              Maybe the resolution would’ve been a “get the hell out of our galaxy” moment (see: Babylon 5) of the galaxy’s citizens telling the resistance/first order/jedi/sith to scram and leave them be with all that bullshit.

              Shades of The Old Republic‘s Star Cabal, a secret organization dedicated to the destruction of the Jedi and Sith. Not nice people in the least; their method involves carefully arranging things so that the end result is mutual annihilation, with muggles making up the balance of those killed. With the Star Cabal stepping out of the shadows to rule over what remains.

              I don’t think it’s outright stated whether their objective was to destroy just those who follow the Jedi and Sith philosophies/religions or to purge the galaxy of all force sensitives.

          3. Rariow says:

            This is absolutely the case. I think guessing at goes on behind the scenes is a bit of a silly thing, since unless you were there you have no way to know and the only thing that matters is the end product anyway, but The Rise of Skywalker really makes it impossible for me to hold back my impulse to do so. This is a film that feels like it knows TLJ exists but is conspicuously and performatively looking away from it and trying not to acknowledge it. It really feels like an attempt to regain lost good will (as much as I personally love TLJ I do think more people disliked it than liked it) by very publicly throwing TLJ under the bus. There’s even shots fired that are straight out of Internet discourse, like making fun of the lightspeed ram, Luke saying throwing away a lightsaber is bad, and retconning Rey’s parentage. The problem is that this means TRoS essentially has to be two films: It has to play the role of both the second and third film in a trilogy. I think that’s why it’s such a mess, there’s two films worth of storytelling crammed in there. I remember walking out of the cinema with a friend who writes about movies semi-professionally after our first watch of the film, and the way he described it to me was “breathless”, in the sense that there isn’t a single moment to relax and catch our breath, which has really stuck with me.

          4. MerryWeathers says:

            The Resistance called on its allies but none showed up. Why? This is a really open hook, it can be anything from the FO jamming the signal to the allies all getting cold feet. But either way the Resistance needs to find old or new allies to take on the FO.

            It’s explained in the movie that their allies have literally abandoned them on Crait as all hope is lost. It’s not until Luke arrives and becomes the spark that not only is there a chance the Resistance can regroup with it’s allies but now the entire galaxy will join the fight against the First Order too.

            1. Rho says:

              This is a terrible explanation, of course, because, if course. Because even enthusiastic allies couldn’t necessarily send reinforcements within literal minutes.

              1. MerryWeathers says:

                It was the fact that they weren’t responding that sealed the deal that they weren’t going to come at all. Though in a universe where hyperspace is a thing, I think sending reinforcements in minutes is something that could be done.

          5. Falling says:

            I take a different view on these supposed plot hooks.

            Re: Kylo vs Hux.
            RJ had too thoroughly undermined the remaining villains, that the series lacked a credible villain to carry the trilogy to its end. Hux was a ragdoll to be thrown around for jokes and was a nothing villain. This was deliberate by the way. In the commentary, RJ said he didn’t think he needed Hux as a villain and so used him for comic relief. You are writing a trilogy and not a one-off, RJ… And Kylo has been cut down to size for most of TLJ, being shown to be no more than a petulant child… and then the big bad get’s offed and there’s nobody left. Sure offing Megatron and allowing Starscream to take over is surprising, but Starscream is not a sufficiently impressive villain.

            TLJ desperately needed to commit to their tease and have Rey break bad. Have her save Ben and lose herself in the process. She is impressively powerful and growing by leaps and bounds (easily explaining her sudden increases because tapping into the Dark Side is supposed to progress your faster.) Rey as an end boss would be epic. TLJ left us with nothing.

            2) For no allies showing up. This no hook at all.
            “Our distress signal’s been received at multiple points, but no response.”
            “They’ve heard us, but no one’s coming.”
            “We fought till the end. But the galaxy has lost all its hope.”

            It was at this point I wanted everyone to die and we could just start the rebellion over again. The galaxy is filled with cowards. If they wouldn’t rally after Death Star 3.0 committed genocide or after Empire 2.0 was weakened when Death Star 3.0 was destroyed or after they were weakened again with the Dreadnought or the death of Snoke and his capital ship, nothing will budge them. Game over. Try your rebellion again in forty years when Galactic Gorbachev takes over from Space Stalin and weakens the empire sufficiently with reforms that you can try again.

            3) Training in the Force is irrelevant with Rey as far as TFA and TLJ. According to Yoda she already has what she needs, so this is not a question set up by TLJ. And regarding the light and dark merge- TLJ didn’t even do anything with that. Immediately after we go back to the same old set up. It’s all tease and no delivery with RJ.

            4) Kylo redemption- is left in the same spot we were in TFA. We didn’t progress anywhere. It’s still a will he won’t he. And after TLJ, I didn’t think there was any chance Rey would switch. TLJ was the best chance to switch things up for Rey and RJ failed to deliver. Saving it for Rise was too little too late.

            1. Lino says:

              Hard agree on those points. Those were yet another reason I hated TLJ – it destroyed everything that came before it, and left us with nothing.

              1. Parkhorse says:

                “Let the past die. Kill it if you have to.”

                1. Lino says:

                  “And, apparently, piss on its desecrated corpse, and leave no interesting sequel hooks behind. And also, fuck Ackbar!”

            2. Bloodsquirrel says:

              I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If Rian Johnson actually knew how to be subversive, TLJ would have ended with Rey joining Kylo because, hey, why try to defeat the First Order if you can take control of it instead? It would have set up a potentially great story about how, for whatever her intentions going in were, wielding that kind of authoritarianism is inherently corrupting. Your climax could have been Rey deciding that she had made a mistake, and trying to convince Kylo to join her in destroying the First Order from the inside. Or maybe have Kylo realize that the dark side is destroying Rey, and have him try to convince her to step back. There are tons of interesting things you could have done with that idea, and it wouldn’t’ have required you bring Palps back to have a main villain.

              But, nah. Instead we just end with everything back to square one, right as it was in the beginning of A New Hope. Because nothing says “let the past die” like hitting the rest button so hard that it breaks your entire franchise.

              1. Rho says:

                I agree with this; while not very well setup in the movie as it is, an altered version could easily make this a compelling story. After all, Rey has no loyalty to the Resistance and barely even knows them. Why *shouldn’t* she try taking what she wants? of course, this also begs the question of what *does* she want – I never had any sense of what she actually might do apart from “what the script says”.

              2. stratigo says:

                The last jedi is a reconstruction, not deconstruction. It ends on a reaffirmation of all the themes of star wars after it explores and takes apart those themes. I think people missed that.

                1. Pink says:

                  I don’t think people are missing it so much asvseeing the same things and disagreeing about what they mean. Reconstruction might possibly be the intent, but if so it doesn’t succeed at it much at all for me.

    2. kunedog says:

      Shamus summed it up well: “What a mess.”

      For once I’m thankful I followed the (accurate) leaks and had most of the plot spoiled (and my expectations tempered), because otherwise I couldn’t have followed half of the film. It’s supposed to be the culmination of a trilogy, but you can feel its burden of acting as a trilogy onto itself, with all the story elements (except a handful of aimless protagonists) severed going in. The wrong Skywalker twin is dead. Because Snoke is dead, the first act has to retroactively introduce the new main villain of the trilogy, complete with overpowered army/fleet out of nowhere. And the third act conjures an even larger rebel (or republic, who knows) army/fleet . . . the trilogy’s worldbuilding has been trash.

      I mean, if star destroyers are now . . . uh . . . “upgraded” to planet destroyers then wouldn’t four or five still be a terrifying, existential threat? Five would also be a lot more plausible than hundreds (where did the crews come from?), and the opposing rebel fleet could be suitably smaller too.

      Chewy and C3PO die only to–wait for it–not die (I still hate this cliche). Rose and Maz are there . . . because they are there.

      A few of the most severe flaws (and offenses) of The Last Jedi are explicitly reversed or dismissed. IMO this open rebuke of TLJ is a clear sign that Disney acknowledges it as devastatingly costly blunder, and has probably privately understood it as such for a while (and by “a while” I mean all the way back to TLJ’s massive weekend-to-weekend box office dropoffs). The marketing downplayed TLJ and even the cast was allowed speak ill of it.

      The force link was the only part of TLJ that I liked, and I love how it’s expanded here into affecting the corresponding environment and transporting small items. KOTOR-style unique/rare force abilities would be a good way to have some variety in Star Wars without breaking the universe, but it also has to be done without evoking the X-Men too much.

      No getting around it, Rise of Skywalker is a mess, ending the trilogy in a crash landing, and a hard one. As best it pulled up out of the nose dive of TLJ and it’s possible (but doubtful) that something might still be salvageable.

    3. kunedog says:

      Other random points:

      – The Rebellion succeeded, but that got retconned. The New Republic was a complete failure, allowing the First Order to rise and obliterate it. The Resistance accomplished nothing after TFA except to serve as a life support system for Rey, who AFAICT doesn’t even need them (or anyone else).
      – Force healing is almost as galaxy-breaking as hyperspace-ramming, but at least it’s limited to jedi.
      – I don’t buy the official explanation for Rose’s sidelining (to “anchor” her to Leia). Given the recognition of the rest of TLJ’s flaws, IMO the filmmakers knew going in just how unpopular her actions had made her and decided to dodge that bullet this time.
      – I have been a Star Wars fan most of my life, but definitely not hardcore enough to recognize a dozen jedi from voice clips, some of which were less than a second long. Could’ve used some faces or other visual effects, but I’ll bet the minimalist star field shot was the best thing they could do because of rewrites and short notice (and whatever).
      – No dice. Someone in some video somewhere mentioned Solo, and I suddenly remembered the 30 closeups of the gold dice, and how AFAIK they aren’t (noticeable) in this movie at all.
      – Did Leia project herself as a Han-shaped force-ghost, or did she connect to Kylo’s mind and make him hallicinate? Basically I wonder if other people would have seen Han if they were standing there with him.
      – Kylo’s mask is strangely more symmetrical after being smashed to pieces and repaired.

      1. Thomas says:

        The Rebellion and the First Order’s relative strength through the trilogy has fluctuated like a metronome. Each time the good guys win, the Empire just pull a whole fleet, or a whole death star or a whole fleet of death stars out of Palpatine’s rear end and it starts again.

        1. The Puzzler says:

          So, trying to make sense of it:
          (1) The First Order defeats the New Republic with their secret Star Exploder weapon (or whatever it was called) because they foolishly put all their stuff in one place.
          (2) The Resistance destroys the Star Exploder, but this is just the opening of the war. We have no clear idea of what the relative military strength of the two factions are.
          (3) During TLJ, the Resistance is basically destroyed, aside from a couple of small ships and a few protagonists. The First Order suffers some losses, but it seems like there’s no military force opposing them now.
          (4) By the start of TRoS, the Resistance exists again. I guess they must have bought some new ships and recruited some new guys? It’s implied The First Order actually needs Palpatine’s fleet of new Star Destroyers. Maybe those ships are needed for ruling the galaxy, because without them The First Order only has enough stuff to intimidate one or two planets at a time?

          1. Thomas says:

            There’s also
            Step 0) The Empire was defeated, totally enough that the New Republic rules the galaxy and the remnants of the Empire are a small faction

            And Step 0.5) But the New Republic won’t fight and some members of the Republic have set up an even smaller faction to ‘resist’ the First Order

            And these two steps are barely explained anywhere, and are almost immediately contradicted by the film (how does the First Order have a Star Exploder?)

            1. Decius says:

              The Galaxy is big. There has been a lot of precedent for secret weapons being constructed without anyone’s knowledge.

              1. Thomas says:

                So the tiny remnants of the Empire which are insignificant enough that the New Republic isn’t at war with them and they seem(?) fairly matched by a small splinter group of the New Republic, also managed to build a super weapon that was much much bigger and more powerful than the one the Empire built at its peak?

                1. Joe Informatico says:

                  Starkiller Base was built on the planet Ilum, which had rich deposits of khyber crystals the Jedi used to harvest to build their lightsabers (The Clone Wars, Fallen Order). Khyber crystals were also the main component of the Death Star’s superlaser (Rogue One) and presumably also of the Planet Exploder, which is why both the Empire and the First Order occupied it in the first place (The Force Awakens). Luke and his students were the only Jedi known to the Alliance/New Republic and thus the Resistance, and he was probably ignorant of Ilum since Kenobi and Yoda likely never told him about it. The First Order and the Resistance were both supplied by the war profiteers on Canto Bight (The Last Jedi) who amorally stoked the conflict to increase their profits, because they knew it wouldn’t affect them.

                  Thus the First Order, founded by remnants of the Galactic Empire, was able to build the Planet Exploder on an old Imperial base their enemies had no knowledge of, that was already a rich source of the weapon’s primary component, while being supplied by financial interests hidden from the auspices of the New Republic.

                  …Is my theory anyway. It’s not the most satisfying explanation, but it is supported by the text of the official films/shows/games. I have nothing for Palpatine’s galaxy-wrecking fleet.

          2. ChrisANG says:

            This seems basically correct, except I believe that the huge fleet of Resistance ships at the end were all the “allies” they were hoping would save there bacon at the end of TLJ?* Poe’s actions at the beginning of TLJ (where he throws away most of the Resistance starfighter force going after that one “dreadnought” or whatever-the-called-it seemed premised on the idea that the First Order only had a few of them. TRoS’s ending seems premised on the idea that the First Order is much stronger than any one of the independent systems that now seem to dominate the galaxy, but much weaker than an alliance of all of them (and the huge fleet of Death-Star-Destroyers would be stronger than the whole-galaxy alliance, if not for the fact that there shields don’t work in atmosphere or whatever >_<).

            *I have never seen TRoS, TLJ killed my interest in the franchise :/
            (er, which is not to say that TLJ didn't have redeeming factors. It's just that I personally was no longer interested in seeing more PT movies after watching TLJ)

      2. Matt says:

        Is Force healing galaxy-breaking? I think it absolutely makes sense thematically that the so-called Light side of the Force can be used to heal the sick or injured. A common (Western?) idea of Eastern mysticism is that meditation and knowledge of the self leads to superior function of autonomic body systems. Force healing has been featured in most of the games with Jedi and the setting already has super-science medical tools and drugs, including bacta.

        On the other hand, it runs into that narrative problem I often counter in tabletop RPGs: this NPC is supposed to be injured, slowing the party down, or mortally wounded for a dramatic and revelatory death scene, but healing potions exist.

        1. Thomas says:

          I wish they’d kept it to healing moderate wounds, instead of something that looked like it should be fatal.

          1. Decius says:

            That’s movie symbology at you- wounds are either insignificant scratches or fatal, with very little in between.

            If someone cracks their sternum, there will be a magic healing device that has them functional right away.

        2. Nate says:

          Is Force healing galaxy-breaking? I think it absolutely makes sense thematically that the so-called Light side of the Force can be used to heal the sick or injured.

          I agree. In fact, I wouldn’t have minded if Rey had been set up from the beginning so that her Force gift was healing, rather than warfighting, and then the whole trilogy could have been about “what happens when someone who is an empathic healer and not a fighter is thrown into a war that maybe shouldn’t be happening, and looks for alternate solutions”.

          But unfortunately there wasn’t enough commitment from any movie to this idea. War is great, but it’s also bad, but it’s also the spark that will light the fire, etc, etc, but also let’s have giant space battles, with horses.

          Even the whole idea of a Dark/Light romance could have worked well, *but*, the trick of that is you have to make it natural and something that could actually happen, and not just sort of smash the two leads together like action figures and pretend that that was a love story.

          This is my problem with the Disney trilogy: it *makes* things happen for plot reasons, and if the characters really aren’t suited to the actions the script wants them to perform, then the script just increases dramatic force until the characters have no alternative. Things don’t ever seem to flow naturally; the plot is fighting the characters every step of the way. This doesn’t lead to great stories that resonate with the audience.

      3. baud says:

        Regarding Rose, as much I didn’t like TLJ, I think I preferred her as a character compared to Rey, so it’s a shame she didn’t get more time in the limelight in rots.

        1. Syal says:

          in rots.

          Just going to mention I’ve been having this problem ever since the movie came out; we’ve got two Star Wars RoS movies now, and the only way to distinguish them is to include the ‘the’ in the acronym. They’re even both the final movie in a trilogy. What a bad naming scheme.

          …although I guess Path of Skywalker would just be asking for it.

          1. Mr. Wolf says:

            First time I saw the acronym for The Rise of Skywalker, I spent ages wondering “What is TROS?”

          2. houser2112 says:

            Just use the Episode numbers.

      4. Rho says:

        So, Rose is an issue for any storyteller. In fact she was a huge problem for TLJ as well. Forgetting anything about what her character does, there’s just not that much there. She has no unique skills and while the idea of a woman grieving for her sister is a good one, it is dropped immediately she doesn’t have any characterization beyond Plucky Heroine. Then, layered atop that her actions are entirely destructive. This makes rather difficult to include her going forward, as the objective situation is that she is a massive liability that adds nothing to compensate. Well, she does somehow sort of warp space, time, and logic around her so maybe she’s also a Super-Jedi or something.

        This should not be taken as a criticism of actress Kellie Tran, who apparently got a great deal of hate for… existing. And there was apparently racially-motivated aggression towards her, which is both *extremely* morally wrong and just… stupid. She did fine in the role, but the character was all over the place making it difficult to craft an excellent performance.

        1. Syal says:

          You know what they could have done with her? Used her engineering talents to hack C-3PO. Make her the Star Wars version of Scotty.

          …she was an engineer, right?

    4. Joshua says:

      RLM also said it felt like six different decent films jammed into one, which did it no favors.

  5. jurgenaut says:

    As I swore to not pay for Star Wars movies again, I was actually invited to see it in the cinemas as a developer recruitment event. I sat there and was bombarded – nay, overwhelmed -with thing after thing after thing, and finally walking out of the cinema somewhat happy with what I had seen.
    It wasn’t until I got home and had something to eat that I had time to think about the movie – I genuinely felt like I had been hustled. Like someone had sold me a repainted SAAB at the price of a lamborghini.

    Abrams really had a machine gun of happenings aimed straight at us, and because things are happening at such a high frequency – we don’t have enough time to process what’s going on, and you sort of shut off – reverting to an unquestioning child-like “explosions good!” state.

    It’s not until after everything quietens down, you get a chance to think about what you saw – and you feel shame for having been entertained by it.

    1. Daimbert says:

      I haven’t seen RoS, but that was how I felt about TFA. I wasn’t all that fond of it when I was watching it, but the more I thought about it afterwards the less I liked it. That might be a consistent thing for Abrams.

      1. krellen says:

        That’s definitely how I feel about Abrams’s Star Trek.

        1. Ranamar says:

          I enjoyed the Abrams Star Trek movies because I haven’t seen much of the first revisions of Star Trek… but between the reaction of long-time fans to those and what I saw out of The Force Awakens, I concluded that JJ has the reverse Midas touch and basically refuse to see anything he’s worked on since then.

          quick edit to add: I should make it clear that I enjoyed TFA, but also it was obvious as soon as I got to the fridge logic zone that it was processed Star Wars Food Product, which was disappointing.

          1. John says:

            “Processed Star Wars Food Product” is an unexpectedly beautiful turn of phrase. Bravo!

    2. Echo Tango says:

      I stopped watching JJ after the second nu-Star-Trek. No shame for me! :D

      1. Daimbert says:

        I abandoned Star Trek after the first one and Star Wars after the second one (which wasn’t Abrams, but still).

    3. Gethsemani says:

      I believe it is Film Crit Hulk who likes to tell the story of Chris Pine being on JJ’s Star Trek set and having a scene when he rushes onto the bridge and starts barking out commands. Pine apparently had some trouble following the narrative of the action and asked JJ about what was going on in the scene so he could better tailor his acting, at which point Abrams told him that it didn’t matter, as long as he did it with enough urgency the audience wouldn’t question it.

      I am inclined to agree with FCH that that is the essence of JJ Abrams movies: He isn’t too fuzzed with how things logically tie together, he just wants to maintain a constant breakneck pace that will take the audience along for a great ride. If it doesn’t hold up when the audience gets home and is looking into their fridge, who cares?

      1. Thomas says:

        I like FCH point that JJ is good at extracting emotion from individual scenes, but not how to build that into an overall narratives.

        ROS is the flanderised version of JJ. It’s every aspect of his public character turned up to 11 (except perhaps with less lens flare)

    4. MelTorefas says:

      This was PRECISELY my experience with TFA. I wasn’t thrilled while I was watching it, and as soon as I had time to analyze it the whole ‘narrative’ immediately collapsed. It felt like a bunch of action scenes loosely smashed together, with no moments of quiet downtime to let the characters bond and for us to get to know them. I had zero connection with anyone or anything in the movie except the characters from the OT, and no desire whatsoever to keep watching the new movies after TFA. Pretty much everything I have heard about them since then has justified that decision for me. RoS in particular sounds like a disaster.

      Oh well, at least it made some interesting discussions on this site!

    5. Warladle says:

      This is my big complaint with JJ Abrams in general.

      For example, if you’ve seen Star Trek (09), do you remember the scene where Chris Pine is chased around on a random ice planet by a giant lobster?

      Because I didn’t until someone else brought it up to me. The scene serves no purpose, except to distract the audience and keep the tension running high, so that the reveal of Old Spock happens while your adrenaline is still pumping, instead of trusting that reveal to excite the audience in and of itself.

      JJ’s entire writing and directing style hinges on these moments. He can never trust his movies to hold your attention by their own merits. He relies so heavily on the emotional investment from out of place action scenes and mystery boxes that once you stop to think about it, the movie starts to fall apart.

  6. Mako says:

    I’m really happy someone echoes my feelings on TROS almost to a fault. What a trainwreck of a movie.

  7. MerryWeathers says:

    I feel the key to The Mandalorian’s success, as Favreau himself put it best, was that they took inspiration from the stuff that inspired Star Wars rather than from Star Wars itself (which is what the ST did).

    It’s a fun pulpy space adventure show that makes me feel like a kid again and there’s nothing quite like it on TV (or streaming services?) nowadays.

    That said, it still had some major flaws that kept me from even saying it was solid. The first season’s pacing was fucked where there was a narrative established for three episodes before suddenly getting halted in favor of stand-alone episodes and then awkwardly returning to the story in the last two episodes. It’s like the show forgot it had a story and then suddenly remembered it needed something to wrap the season up. Season two so far is an improvement, the narrative is consistently progressing in each episode while being properly balanced with the “adventure of the week” stuff.

    1. John says:

      I think I prefer the stand-alone episodes. I am not a binge-watcher. I watch an episode here and an episode there whenever I get the chance rather than a whole bunch of episodes at once. The stand alone episodes are great for that, because each one is a complete story in the form of a little mini-movie. There’s nothing wrong with serialization, but it seems to be the default these days, even when it shouldn’t be.

      1. MerryWeathers says:

        I do enjoy how each episode is mostly
        it’s own stand-alone adventure but I feel they should flow into each other more organically since there is a storyline that has been established.

        For example, I thought Chapter 7 was one of the weakest episodes because it felt like the show suddenly jerked back to resolve a storyline that hadn’t progressed in a while so the episode was frantically putting all the pieces for the finale back in place at the cost of the pacing. Meanwhile, Chapter 10 was a mostly stand-alone episode while still being able to more naturally progress into the next episode.

        1. John says:

          See, I don’t think that the episodes necessarily do need to flow from one to the next. The Mandalorian has an adventure on Planet A. The next episode he has an adventure on Planet B. If the two adventures don’t have a lot to do with one another, well, what’s wrong with that? I think Mando’s career as a bounty-hunter and odd-jobs man of space gives the show the perfect excuse for an episodic, adventure of the week kind of format.

          If you’re frustrated that the show doesn’t spend enough time on its serialized over-plot, then I suggest that the writers’ sin is, ironically, too much focus on the over-plot. It’s okay to have a mystery hanging over the protagonist’s head–it’s fun, even–but only if the show doesn’t make the mistake of harping on it constantly. It’s okay for things to just exist in the background and only occasionally step in to the foreground.

          1. Randint says:

            It’s somewhat counter-intuitive, but I think part of the problem is the short length of each season. There’s plenty of TV shows that have a pattern of “Set up the plot in the first few episodes, resolve it in the last two, and occasionally throw in some advancement in the middle so that about half of the total show is the main plot and half is standalone episodes.

            Unfortunately, season 1 of The Mandalorian is only eight episodes, so this works out to “Three episodes of plot at the beginning, two at the end, with this awkward period in the middle where nothing advances.” It doesn’t really feel like a proper episodic show because you’re spending more than half of your runtime on serialized plot, but it also doesn’t feel like a proper serial because they just put the plot on hold in the middle of the show. I think if it were more like twelve episodes, the larger gap between the intro and the finale would have allowed for some middle-of-the-series episodes that gave minor plot advancement.

            1. Michael says:

              What your description suggests to me is not that “3 episodes introducing the plot, 2 episodes wrapping up the plot, and 3 episodes of filler” is an inherently bad setup that should be fixed by adding more filler.

              It’s that the filler should occupy episodes 2, 4, and 6 rather than episodes 4, 5, and 6.

    2. Ander says:

      “they took inspiration from the stuff that inspired Star Wars rather than from Star Wars itself”
      This is similar to what was actually bring said when Miyazaki “said” that “anime was a mistake.” He believes a lot of younger anime artists are inspired by the anime they grew up on more than non-media or even non-anime life experience.

    3. Christopher Wolf says:

      I call this a “Burn Notice” narrative.

  8. Dreadjaws says:

    I don’t know, I don’t know. Disney and many other companies these days seem to be in the business of being unable to accept their mistakes and doubling down on their poor decisions. Yeah, the smart thing (or at least the normal thing) to do when a business is performing poorly (or, like you said, “their idea” of poorly) is to push aside the current leaders and put new ones in their place, but yeah, if it was going to happen it would have happened by now. And the Rian Johnson trilogy is still not officially canceled either, despite the fact that it’s clear by this movie that they’re trying to divorce themselves from his work in the franchise.

    The MCU put 23 movies on Rotten Tomatoes without a single entry ending up on the “rotten” list.

    While this is literally true, I’m of the opinion that at least a few of those films should have a rotten score. I don’t want to start an argument here, so I won’t be naming them, because people get irritatingly mad if you say you don’t like a product that a) they love and b) is popular, as if the latter was confirmation that their opinion is the only valid one.

    My point is, I’m not so sure the MCU triumphed so much because Disney was capable of their “magic”, but because people have become too invested in these movies to give honest criticism when they deserve it. Surely a few years from now when the dust settles and people get to watch these films with a more critical eye they’ll start noticing their flaws more prominently. This happens all the time (this isn’t a movie, but surely you remember your experience with Tomb Raider 2013).

    In any case, I’ve frankly lost all interest in new entries of classic movie franchises. I don’t even remember the last time when one of these came out and wasn’t embarrasing. Terminator, Predator, Alien, Star Wars, Jurassic Park… Executives have the right idea in playing up nostalgia, but they seem to make absolutely no effort into understanding what is that people liked about them in the first place. In some times, sadly, it’s by the same creators (such as is the case for Ridley Scott with Alien). There’s a new Ghostbusters coming up soon and while I’m sure it can’t possibly be anywhere as awful as the disastrous reboot of 2016, I just can’t gather any excitement for it. They’ve managed to turn all my hype for nostalgia into apathy.

    1. MerryWeathers says:

      My point is, I’m not so sure the MCU triumphed so much because Disney was capable of their “magic”, but because people have become too invested in these movies to give honest criticism when they deserve it.

      So the MCU is kind of like the modern OT?

    2. Echo Tango says:

      I haven’t watched like, half of the MCU movies. From the reviews and synopses I’ve read, and from the ones that Red Letter Media covered, they were apparently all pretty mediocre. I walked out of Infinity War, after the scenes of blatant pandering, when they inserted a goddamn time-machine deus ex machina. I’m glad I did! XD

      1. Fizban says:

        Meanwhile I hit Infinity War and go “Time machine? Fuck yeah, I love time machines!”

        1. Echo Tango says:

          I like time machines too, but this one had no setup at all, so it felt like an ass-pull. Like, they had a scene referencing the previous film (which I didn’t watch), which in and of itself would be fine…but none of the characters remembered that they have time-manipulation crystals? These should have been defended to the death in the previous film or the start of this film, because it should have been obvious how powerful they could be. Instead we get, “Boy howdy, I think we could save the day with these time-crystals! What a twist!”

          1. Fizban says:

            Eh, I never watched the Ant-Man stuff, so I just wrote it off as stuff from one of the movies I didn’t watch. It was clear they’d need to do *something* to retcon half the popluation dying, and Dr. Strange already had time powers, used in the previous movie, and they used a fridge’d character and time skip to justify the delay. Can’t use this thing from side-character’s (Ant-Man) movie until they’re back to make it work, or even mention that it exists. Pretty standard crossover expectation, characters from one thing are only expected to know the barest hints of stuff from someone else’s thing.

            But if you watched Endgame without having seen Infinity War (I repeated your use of Infinity War, but the time machine ass-pull is actually the start of Endgame). . . yeah, all accounts of people I’ve heard doing that were that it didn’t go well. It’s the second part of a two-part finale, why would you expect it to make any sense? Of course the big blowout pandering finale is going to be awkward without the gravity of the previous two hours of watching everyone get their asses kicked directly and straight up losing. Of course the hail-mary time machine ass-pull will feel un-forshadowed if you didn’t watch the part where they forshadowed it by having the character with time powers straight up guarantee that he had a plan.

            1. Syal says:

              but the time machine ass-pull is actually the start of Endgame

              Aw, I was really hoping it was about the Time Stone in Infinity War, the part that happened like a minute before the credits roll. That would have been an incredible time to walk out.

          2. Daimbert says:

            Actually, if I recall correctly, they didn’t KNOW that they had time crystals until Ant-Man came back shifted ahead in time and not just in location. And even then, Stark at first insists that it could never work with them, and Hulk shows why it’s not all that easy until Stark gives them the answer. So it comes out of nowhere precisely because it is supposed to come out of nowhere: it’s an unexpected new chance to set things right.

            1. Shamus says:

              As someone who has watched both movies more times than they deserve: This is exactly right. Nobody even knew Pym Particles were useful for time travel until Ant-Man discovered it by accident, and that only happened because THE SNAP trapped him in the Quantum Realm.

              BTW: These movies are very silly.

              1. Echo Tango says:

                I’d forgotten the exact details of how the time-shenanigans happened. However, the film still feels like a deus ex machina. Like, the solution to all of their problems comes out of nowhere, because The Writer Said So. OK cool, now you have a time-machine for no reason. It begs the question – why is The Writer stopping at this specific level of magic? They could have just as easily said And Then Thanos Got Hit By A Stray Meteorite That Travelled Through Time By Accident.

                1. Shamus says:

                  Oh sure, it’s still a massive contrivance. And even then, the movie plays fast-and-loose with its own time travel rules. Like I said, it’s all very silly. :)

  9. EOW says:

    I think the biggest problem is how there is no thematical coherence between the three movies. TLJ beats you over the head with “the past doesn’t matter, you are yourself, forge a new future” and TROS went “no, past is actually importnat and you should continue the legacy”
    People give crap to Lucas, but at least the prequels managed to mantain a single story with a clear start and end and internal coherence (i mean, at least they tried).

    The biggest problem with this trilogy is that the management didn’t bother to even outline a basic plot. Everything was reactionary, the movies were made with “what do the fans want?” and stopped there.

  10. Henson says:

    I hate to be that guy, but Toy Story wasn’t a Disney movie back in the ’90s. Pixar didn’t become a Disney company until 2006.

    1. Shamus says:

      I’ll get you next time, THAT GUY!!! *shakes fist*

      (Also, Imma amend the post.)

      1. Randint says:

        Let’s be honest: here in the comment section of Shamus’s blog, we are all that guy.

        1. Henson says:

          *Insert meme of two Spider-Mans pointing at each other*

        2. wswordsmen says:

          Best part of the community we are a bunch of “that guys” reacting to another “that guy”.

          And presumably there are a few “that gals” as well.

  11. Dreadjaws says:

    Can I say just how utterly groan inducing the “giving a medal to Chewie” scene was? You can tell someone, maybe Abrams himself, was patting themselves on the back for it, thinking “This is what they’ve been asking for years. You do this and they will LOVE YOU FOR IT.” Of course, then they just stick the scene right in the middle of a bunch of rapid-fire reactions, completely out of context and they somehow expect people to be excited for it.

    This is the exact sign of filmmakers not understanding what fans like yet somehow believing themselves experts on the subject. Videogame movies have been doing this sort of thing for years, where they stick a known element from the games entirely devoid of context and expect praise for it.
    “Hey, check it out, guys. It’s a goomba! You remember goombas, right?” I mean, I remember them looking like small angry walking mushrooms and not huge lizard men in trenchcoats, but sure.
    “Hey, check it out, guys. It’s Dhalsim! He’s bald now, just like in the game!” Sure, literally in the last few scenes of the movie, and for literally no given reason. He still acts nothing like in the games, though.
    “Hey, check it out, guys. It’s fan favorites Kabal and Stryker!” Are you kidding me right now? You’re not even showing them, you’re just mentioning their names. Once.

    And hell, I know people joke about Chewie’s medal in Ep IV, but leaving aside the fact that there’s actually a canon explanation for it not being there, it’s not like people were angry about it and demanding a retcon or anything like that. It was just something people like to joke about. But what do I know? They made a whole movie about fixing a non-existent plot hole in the series and people loved it.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      This is why I always read reviews of movies and games before watching or playing them, even when they’re brand new. There’s just too high a risk, that they were made by people who don’t know what they’re doing, in the name of fanservice or brand-appeal. :)

    2. Randint says:

      There’s a term which was coined in an essay nitpicking the other major sci-fi franchise with “Star” in its title, “Oneshot Revisionism.” The idea behind the concept is that the audience will often give logical errors a pass if attention isn’t called to them. One of the initial examples given was how all space combat in Trek acts as though ships were on a 2-D plane: most people wouldn’t think much of it, and those that notice will still be willing to dismiss it as a convention, but then Wrath of Khan comes along and explicitly states that no, all of the starships you’ve seen actually stick to a 2-D plane, Khan doesn’t even consider the idea that a ship would do otherwise, and Kirk is a genius for realizing that you can move in the third dimension.

      The main focus of the concept was situations where a recurring issue is solved in only one case, calling attention to all of the other unsolved ones, and while I think this isn’t entirely irrelevant it does seem adjacent to the more relevant issue: some plot holes (or whatever we want to call these minor issues) just aren’t worth the effort of fixing them. Just let them think “Shouldn’t this have happened instead?” and move on from that train of thought. Having a character who wasn’t even present at the initial ceremony give Chewbacca a medal after several movies of him not seeming to care and none of the people who were practically family to him seeming to care is basically Streissanding your plot holes: nobody really thought it was that much of a problem until you made a scene declaring that it was canonically a problem.

      With that being said… I mentioned earlier that Oneshot Revisionism isn’t entirely irrelevant. It is now time to bring up the awkward topic that even after Chewbacca’s medal deficiency was corrected, R2-D2 still has not received any awards for his service during the battle, and in fact was not even allowed to stand alongside those who received medals (he is instead standing with those presenting the medals). Frankly, I feel that this is even more of an injustice, given that unlike the three who received medals, R2-D2 was wounded by enemy fire in the course of carrying out his duties. #GiveTheTinManHisPurpleHeart

      1. Radkatsu says:

        “Khan doesn’t even consider the idea that a ship would do otherwise, and Kirk is a genius for realizing that you can move in the third dimension.”

        I think you missed the point of that scene. It’s not that everyone works in 2D in space, it’s that Khan is from an earlier period and doesn’t have the experience of fighting battles in 3 dimensions, hence his limited tactics. The only reason for the 2D battles in the show was because a) it makes it clearer who’s where and doing what, and b) simplicity of shooting and budget concerns, plus the issues of moving massive models around in three dimensions when they’re being suspended from wires or whatever.

        1. Sleepyfoo says:

          Also, from my vague memories of Star Trek most on screen battles were 1 v 1s, with the occasional 1 v 1 v 1 or 1v2 in open space. As such, no matter how you look at it it will look like all the combat is on a single plane and no one can hide from anyone (except those people with cloak tech).

          There might be a case for the maneuverability of a ship being different up/down than side/side or angled, but I suspect not.

          The Khan case is is an exception because it’s in a magic sensor frustrating nebula and one of the combatants is explicitly from a different era of thought on naval battles such that “down” is not an option.

    3. EOW says:

      i will never understand why they bother to buy the rights for something (which you suppose they would do to cash in on the popularity) and then changing it completely.
      The sonic backlash was basically the final straw that made social media explode

  12. Redrock says:

    I must admit that The Rise of Skywalker has some legitimately great stuff with Ben Solo, even if most of it seems to be completely unearned narratively. The scene with him and Han is just great stuff, if only because it involves two extremely gifted actors playing out a very simple, yet powerful emotional moment. Adam Driver is just a joy throughout.

    That said, the whole Force couple thing is just terrible. The application of it, what with using the Force to teleport physical objects – is actually kinda cool, and it’s one of the few things that feel properly built up over the course of the trilogy. But the underlying concept of two characters being a Force couple “just because” it’s somehting that happens once in a blue moon, apparently, is a bunch of YA-fiction nonsense, if not worse. I mean, I’ve seen more nuanced “Chosen one” plots in Harry Potter.

    And, once again, I can’t help but feel that everyone confused each other about the importance of the Skywalker name/clan/family in this whole sorry debate. Some people wrongly assumed that Star Wars revolved around the Skywalkers, proceeded to wringly assume that unbinding Star Wars from the Skywalkers would be somehow subversive, the assumed that people got angry because TLJ dared to undermine the importance of the Skywalkers and not because of, I dunno, terrible characterization, which all led to J.J. Abrams somehow, inexplicably, bizzarely assuming that somehow making Rey a Skywalker is what was required. It’s just an endless cascade of wrong assumptions. At least with the prequel trilogy Lucas had a clear understanding of what he wanted to do, if not what the audience wanted. I can respect that. But the creators of the sequels never had a story to tell and never understood the audience well enough to make a crowd pleaser. What a mess.

    1. Thomas says:

      The Harry Potter nerd in me wants to point out that the series ends up setting up it’s camp in the ‘no chosen one’ end of things. In-universe prophecies don’t necessarily come true, it’s people believing them making decisions out of their belief that bring the results about (i.e. Harry could have easily been Neville).

      1. BlueHorus says:

        Well, not to speak for Redrock, but he did say Harry Potter was better.

        Also, despite Harry not being destined to kill Voldemort – he’s still pretty damned Chosen. That kid saved the school every year he was there, was the star player on the school sports team, survived the unsurvivable death spell…etc etc.

        (Not that I’m saying that’s bad; I like those books.)

        1. Dreadjaws says:

          Yeah, but, you know, even by his own admission, he receives constant help.

      2. Redrock says:

        Pretty much exactly what I meant – HP’s take on it turned out to be surprisingly nuanced in the end. Hell, even Anakin’s status as the Chosen One was more or less ambivalent within the lore. Could be engineered, could be real, could be both, since the Force works in mysterious ways. But Rey and Ben being a Force power couple? Just, you know, born that way.

      3. Fizban says:

        I kinda have to disagree, at least by the end. While HP does have a more nuanced concept of prophecy and whatnot, by the end of things, Harry doesn’t win by anything other than authorial Chosen One fiat. He just so happens to have somehow stolen the “allegience” of the enemy’s weapon, and also duplicates the unknown impossible feat of his mother’s protection over all the good guys, and all the enemies suddenly pick up idiot balls and fail to do anything useful. It’s quite literally a big blowout final battle where none of the battle actually matters except a bunch of named characters dying offscreen.

        The “power levels” of various characters are never really defined in the original books, and don’t really need to be, but the finale is just a mess. It worked when I first read it, but mostly just because it was the end of a long journey at the time, in the sense of having taken years for the books to come out. Looking back now, and having read a zillion far better organized and justified fanfics and other long series, the seams in the HP series and the weakness of its final battle are readily apparent. Even if Dumbledore just took some explicit credit for setting that stuff up, it could work better, but he doesn’t (not that I remember anyway). It kinda gets by a lot on the sudden revelation that there’s totally an afterlife and the implication of God therin that suddenly suggests everything is exactly at it should be and will work out, and then it does.

        1. Drathnoxis says:

          So much this. The ending of the Harry Potter series was my first step to becoming the bitter and cynical individual you see before you.

          It was clear Rowling had no idea how to actually wrap things up and just wanted to get it over with. She basically tried to write the book with the same structure as usual, introducing new mysteries and macguffins to chase until the very end where she had to do a mad rush to wrap up an entire series worth of dangling plot threads. Characters begin developing new miraculous powers, previously clever and intelligent villains grab the idiot ball and refuse to let go, the rare few things capable of destroying horcruxes are always conveniently within arms reach. In short the entire world seems to contort itself so that Harry is in a position to destroy Voldemort, or rather, for Voldemort to destroy himself using Harry.

          1. BlueHorus says:

            I liked the way that Ron and Hermione in the final book went back to the Chamber of Secrets and took a fang from the giant snake body that was lying there and used it to destroy a horcrux.

            On the one hand: Hey, the author remembered something that happened in a previous book that’s relevant to the story here and used it! Good on her!
            On the other: Wait…so two people who CAN’T speak snake language broke into the super-secret hideout of a powerful historical wizard…
            …that no-one’s bothered to go into despite it being a) related to one of the school’s founders and b) the base of the giant snake attacks that threatened to close the school down a few years ago…
            …and there they found a four-year-old snake body that still had magical venom in it, pulled out a tooth safely, and destroyed a magical artefact…
            …all offscreen, to make the plot go faster.

            I don’t think it’s bad, it’s just kind of amusing. And very convenient.

            1. Drathnoxis says:

              Don’t forget that Ron managed to remember the exact pronunciation of a word he didn’t understand in a magical language that he heard once months earlier in the middle of the night during a very tense struggle with a magical artifact.

              Why were Ron’s grades so bad if he’s capable of such extraordinary feats of recollection?

  13. CJK says:

    No matter how you feel about The Last Jedi, I think we can all agree that the biggest problems with TROS come from trying to retcon TLJ away – essentially, in JJ’s vision all the events of TLJ happened, but none of the lessons of TLJ were learned. Our characters are back to whether they were at the end of Force Awakens. Except for Finn, who is rewound as though he actually got some development in TLJ, overshoots somewhat, and is now an insecure 13 year old with a crush on his hero. I don’t think I need to explain further why this is super frustrating!

    The second biggest set of problems boil down to including Leia – one of the few things in the Nu Trilogy that was clearly mapped out from the start is the role of the OT trio. TFA is the Han movie, TLJ is the Luke movie, and TROS is….well, it’s meant to be the Leia movie. But Carrie Fisher died before even completing the ADR for TLJ, let alone recording anything intended for TROS. So we have a major character constructed entirely from recontextualised outtakes, AND the other two characters that might have shored up this role can only appear as ghosts because they’re dead.

    Actually, I’m not sure the outtakes thing is entirely true – I think they might have banked a few hundred very generic phrases as insurance against exactly this kind of scenario, so some of it feels less like outtakes and more like a 90s adventure game (think STARSHIP TITANIC) trying to appear clever despite a very limited pool of dialogue. Leia’s first scene in TROS is made entirely out of lines that mean NOTHING:

    REY: … Got distracted. I’m just not feeling myself. I know it looks…. it looks like I’m making excuses.
    LEIA: Don’t tell me what things look like. Tell me what they are.
    [Rey hands back Luke’s lightsaber to Leia]
    REY: I will earn your brother’s saber…. one day.
    [BB-8 chirping]
    REY: No, you can’t do it for me.
    LEIA: Never underestimate a droid.

    That last one really stands out for me. There’s no reason for Leia to be talking to or about BB-8 in this moment – if they had dialogue where she directly addressed Rey or spoke about Luke they’d use it. And this isn’t really setting up anything that happens later. So far as I can tell, BB-8’s interjection is reverse-engineered around getting to use this line of existing Carrie Fisher dialogue.

    Later, they have to engineer Leia’s meaningful death around a single reading of the name “Ben” – everything else that happens in that scene has to be explained by another character, and frankly it’s such a mess that I’ve heard at least 3 conflicting reads of what happens.

    Ultimately I think JJ’s messy jumble of mostly-dumb ideas is only the third most significant force acting against the movie. I think the story he’s trying to tell is garbage, but any story that staggers on without addressing those first two points was going to be garbage.

    1. Syal says:

      I think we can all agree that the biggest problems with TROS come from trying to retcon TLJ away

      I guess, maybe, technically… if you want to include the entire knife adventure as part of retconning Snoke’s death.

      I spent the first 20 minutes of Rise remembering Plinkett’s Ghostbusters review: “Stop. Talking!”

      Pulling a ship in flight out of the sky is way too big an increase in Force powers.

      Why is C-3PO programmed to understand a language but never translate it? Who even knew the Sith language existed, to program that? Are Sith runes actual magic spells now, that are dangerous just to hear? The whole thing is nonsense.

      1. BlueHorus says:

        Why is C-3PO programmed to understand a language but never translate it? Who even knew the Sith language existed, to program that? Are Sith runes actual magic spells now, that are dangerous just to hear? The whole thing is nonsense.

        Wait, did that actually happen?! Why would C3P0 know that?

        …Still, that sounds like someone missed a perfect opportunity for C3P0 to either grow tentacles and/or start runing around screaming gibberish, HP Lovecraft-style.

        1. Syal says:

          That was in fact an entire planet’s worth of plot. They have to go to a completely different planet, and meet new characters, just to hack C-3PO into translating the writing on the dagger.

          Also stupid; the instructions for winning the movie are carved on a dagger. Of all the things to write on. Like, you’d need a second, stronger dagger to carve the first one, right? The whole thing is nonsense.

      2. Lino says:

        That explanation still doesn’t make sense – when you’re translating a language, you don’t speak/write the words of that language – you speak/write the words of your own. So, if the Sith language is using some dangerous, eldritch runes that are too dangerous to even say (not a bad idea, actually), then it STILL wouldn’t be a problem to translate it. If anything, it would make sense to make him unable to translate TO Sith, rather than FROM Sith.

      3. Radkatsu says:

        “Pulling a ship in flight out of the sky is way too big an increase in Force powers.”

        I wonder… did you ever play Force Unleashed? You want insane Force powers, that game is it, heh.

        1. Syal says:

          I read about it, never played it myself. Games are fine because they’re silly non-canon spinoffs; I like KOTOR 2, but the canon adding Force Vampires and Force Zombies (which Rise has now done) is much more irritating.

    2. Topher Corbett says:

      No, we don’t have to agree with that at all.

      Finn didn’t get development in TLJ. If anything, TLJ erased all the development he got in the first one by making him a cowardly buffoonish deserter again, who only cares about Rey (again.)

      1. CJK says:

        > Finn didn’t get development in TLJ.

        That’s…what I said?
        Every other character has their development from TLJ rewound. Finn didn’t get any development in TLJ, but they set him back anyway, leaving him even less well developed than he was at the start of TFA. In TROS he’s a complete non-entity – he doesn’t get to have a character, let alone any character development.

  14. Mephane says:

    I know the movie has more flaws than positive points, but my biggest personal peeve was the very ending, when Rey called herself “Rey Skywalker”.

    Now to be clear, I don’t give much about biological heritage, so I am not in the “Rey Palpatine” camp. But Luke wasn’t ever really a father figure for her, heck it would have made more sense for her to take on the name Solo if she were so hell-bent on carrying a famous name.

    But in my view she should have said “I’m Rey, just Rey”, thereby finally cutting off the ties to a past of dynasties and bloodlines, and truly embracing the one big positive theme that the sequels established – that you don’t need famous or powerful parents (or grandparents) in order for your life, your word or your actions to matter. A theme which, by the way, A New Hope seemed to start out with only for The Empire Strikes Back to shatter it by revealing galactic co-dictator and, allegedly, one of the most powerful force-users in history, Vader, as Luke’s father, and literally princess Leia as his sister.

    1. CJK says:

      Even putting aside the name, that whole final scene is a thematic disaster.

      1) Rey has no connection to this place except for Luke
      2) Luke had no agency in this place. He hated it, and wanted nothing more than to leave
      3) Leia has no connection to this place except for Luke, see (2)
      4) There’s no particularly great reason to lump Luke and Leia together like this anyway. Leia’s role in these films has more to do with Ben than with Luke, and you can certainly make an argument for Han too.

      The only reason to include any part of this scene is to put Rey in front of a binary sunset for the pure iconography of it. While they were at it, they threw in one callback shot to TFA, to show that Rey….went from being discontent on one shithole planet to inexplicably content on another? This whole thing is thematic gibberish.

      1. MerryWeathers says:

        Not to mention TLJ already did the Twin Suns thing first (and significantly much better in my own personal and insignificant opinion).

      2. Joshua says:

        Plus the awful story issue of some random person not only asking who Rey is, but rudely demanding to know her last name. The contrivance is strong with this one.

        1. CJK says:

          Oh, yeah. I just wanted to focus on “this scene exists” problems before even starting with the “the things that happen in this scene are unmotivated or actively stupid” problems.

          1. Lino says:

            You guys are amazing! How do you remember this stuff?! I watched this movie 2 or 3 weeks ago (tops), and I even forgot Chewie almost died! I even forgot about the Force healing! Although now that some of you mentioned it, I do remember something about Chewie receiving a medal…

            1. Radkatsu says:

              Reminds me of the Fallout 4 Spoiler Warning season where Chris said exactly the same thing about the quests in that game. The others were throwing out quest titles and things, and Chris was just like ‘yeah, I don’t remember any of that.’

    2. MerryWeathers says:

      Colin Trevorrow (the same guy who wrote Jurassic World) ironically summed up what her character arc should have been in a better way in his own Ep. IX script

      Kylo Ren: “You are nothing! You are no one!”
      Rey: “No one is no one”

      1. Syal says:

        That’s where I’ve seen Colin Trevorrow’s name before! It was so familiar and I had no idea why.

      2. Geebs says:

        Everyone’s no-one to someone.

        1. Henson says:

          No one’s no-one is everyone’s no-one.

      3. Bloodsquirrel says:

        Reminds me of one of the Doctor’s better lines:

        “I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important.”

        1. Thomas says:

          That’s either a heartfelt saying or the slogan of a snob with a good screening process.

          1. Pink says:

            With the Doctor it is both.

    3. Christopher Wolf says:

      But if she didn’t say that then the title wouldn’t make fit as neatly and then…..

      Hmmm…. I guess they could have used a different title.

      Oh well.

      1. Syal says:

        Star Wars: Rise Of Nobody.

        1. Randint says:

          It’s a little known fact that Palpatine being brought back as a villain was actually the result of a miscommunication. What was actually suggested during a brainstorming meeting was that the villain of Star Wars IX should be Emperor Polyphemus.

          1. Pink says:

            “NOBODY can defeat the Final Order!”

    4. Bloodsquirrel says:

      I think part of it was because of the desperate effort to give the ST some kind of meaning as being part of “The Skywalker Saga”. It’s something that popped up in the marketing for RoS that had never been mentioned before, and it was obvious that they knew that they had a weak hand and were trying to lean on the previous six movies as hard as they could. Nobody cared about how the Rey Trilogy was going to end, but how about The Skywalker Saga?. Which, of course, is just awful, seeing as how the sequel trilogy kills off the Skywalker line in complete ignominy and undoes all of their previous victories.

      It’s just another thing about ROS that screams “We know we’ve got a complete disaster on our hands but we have no clue how to fix it”.

  15. Thomas says:

    I love just how much of a trainwreck RoS is. It’s not often you see a massive Disney blockbuster competing with 80’s horror movies for “so-bad-its-good”.

    JJ must have heard that Raymond Chandler quote “When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand.” and wondered, what if you did that but for every problem in the film? JJ’s got no script, but a lot of doubts.

    The way it’s edited is magical, whenever the characters reach a plot dead end or the film is worried you’ve had a second to think, the characters just slightly to the left or right of the frame and something magically appears. My favourite one is where they’re in a desert alone and not sure where to go – and then they look left and there’s suddenly an entire desert festival that must have been hiding behind the nearest pebble.

    Or where they’re in another bit of desert, and the plot has nowhere to go, so they DROP THROUGH the sand into a secret chamber with exactly what they need, but wait this doesn’t make any sen- LOOK RIGHT SPACE SNAKE. And then they deal with the space snake but what do we do nex- LOOK LEFT MAGIC DAGGER. But how on earth would the guy know to put the coordinates on a dag-SMASH CUT we’re out of the sand cave, the plot has moved on stop thinking about it.

    Also, when going into the film, I jokingly hoped that after Rian Johnson had thrown out all of JJ’s plot threads, JJ would respond in the most petulant way possible and go “Actually, it was all Rian Johnson’s plot threads that were wrong, mine are back in”. Not because it would be good, but because it would be funny to watch two directors being pissy with each other over hundreds of millions of dollars of summer blockbuster.

    And oh boy did I get what I wished for. There were whole scene in ROS that existed just to bring back something from The Last Jedi only to immediately send it away again. Luke threw away a lightsaber? Let’s have a whole scene of someone else throwing away a lightsaber and Luke picking it back up and telling them that it’s bad to throw lightsabers away.

    It’s an awful, if sometimes entertaining film, but it’s the funniest thing I’ve seen in cinema in an age.

    1. Thomas says:

      *the characters just look slightly to the left or right of the frame

    2. Shamus says:

      Yes! The desert is where I realized this movie had lost its mind. The whole once-every-42-year-party for no reason leading to absolutely everyone falling into a pit that contained the next TWO plot coupons plus a giant snake to establish Force-healing right beside the exit…

      It doesn’t just feel like they had no plan. It feels like JJ was writing each scene the day they were supposed to shoot it. It’s a stream-of-consciousness played in fast forward.


      1. MerryWeathers says:

        It feels like JJ was writing each scene the day they were supposed to shoot it. It’s a stream-of-consciousness played in fast forward.

        That’s what literally happened during production. They were writing, filming, and editing the film all at the same time.

        1. Lino says:

          Wait, are you joking? Sometimes it’s hard to tell over the Internet :D

          Because it doesn’t make sense – TLJ came out two years after Force Awakens, and Rise of Skywalker came out two years after TLJ. And as far as I know, TLJ had a standard way of production. Why would they change the process for – arguably – the most important installment of a trilogy?

          1. MerryWeathers says:

            You have to remember Lucasfilm fired the film’s original director and ditched his script as well so they essentially had to restart pre-production around the same time as when previously, TLJ was already starting filming.

            There were also other factors complicating things like Carrie Fisher’s death and how she would appear in the movie, executive meddling taking a more active role after the divisive reception of TLJ, and Bob Iger not allowing the film to get delayed to 2020 because “2019 had to be his big year” or something along those lines. Really, what happened to TROS was the worst thing that could have happened to that movie.

            1. Gautsu says:

              Could you imagine how much worse 2020 would be with having to wait to see RoS because of theater closings only to be disappointed in 2021 when it got released…

              1. Lino says:

                If it was slated for release in 2020, then it would have definitely been released in 2020! The way the year’s been going, I won’t be surprised if they decide to re-release it for Christmas, just to make sure the year ends with something horrible (because all the horrible things that have already happened clearly haven’t been enough)!

                1. Philadelphus says:

                  I won’t be surprised if they decide to re-release it for Christmas

                  “Hey guys, we know you love Star Wars, and 2020’s been awful, so we’ve got a huge surprise for you this Christmas, bringing back a piece of classic but little-known Star Wars that we know you’ll love! It’s the Star Wars Life Day Special 2!”

                  1. MerryWeathers says:

                    A Lego Holiday Special released just a week ago on Disney+ and apparently it’s actually fun but I have yet to see it.

    3. BlueHorus says:

      You know what? You might have just convinced me to watch this film.
      When I heard they were bringing back Palpatine, I shoook my head and decided to give it a pass. But I do love a good-bad movie, and it wouldn’t be the first Star Wars film to reach that level…

      1. Philadelphus says:

        Same. I disliked TFA, but TLJ, rather than inspiring more hate, simply left me apathetic to the continuation of the series. But I might check RoS out this weekend after hearing about it here (I haven’t explicitly avoided spoilers since it came out, but I also haven’t sought them out so a bunch of this was new to me).

        1. Bloodsquirrel says:

          Spoiler alert: If you know about Palps, you basically know the only “spoiler” that matters. The only shocking thing about it is how- despite how off-the-wall loopy it can get- it’s so utterly predictable in all the stuff that actually matters.

          1. Sam Agyagi says:

            Is it a spoiler, though?
            It is the first line of the scrolling text, “Somehow, Palpatine returned.”
            This first second of the movie can already be dissected for ages. The most important character reveal is done in the dumbest, laziest, worst way possible and with zero explanations given. “Somehow.” But boy, does it set the bar for the whole movie….

    4. Bloodsquirrel says:

      The funniest thing to me was JJ redesigning Rose Tico’s character to make her look like an extra. You can try to excuse a lot of his other digs at TLJ as “We’re showing Luke’s character development” or something like that, but getting rid of Rose’s distinctive hair cut and outfit is an absolutely undeniable F-U to Rian Johnson. There’s just no other explanation for it. He didn’t even give her the more subtle distinctions that main characters usually get to make them stand out from the background characters. If you hadn’t seen TLJ, you’d never know she was a named character, let alone a major one.

      1. Thomas says:

        That’s a good one! The total apathy in creating an excuse for her to stay away from the plot too ‘Yeah, I guess I have… more important engineering …stuff to do…off screen’

  16. Thomas says:

    I’m so impressed with how The Last Jedi thread turned out Shamus. I haven’t always known how what to feel about your moderation approach, but the fact you were able to get so much good conversation out of such a touchy topic is a real validation of how you do it and also the worth you can get out of it.

    I feel like a smaller corner of the internet is better off for having had a chance to discuss a film that has been so scarring in other places, and hear a whole range of perspectives on it. I want more places to work out how to do this

    1. krellen says:

      Counter-point: the thread was absolutely dominated by those who disliked it and voicing contrary opinions was not welcomed.

        1. Daimbert says:

          For what it might be worth, _I_ think you succeeded. I had a lot of discussions with people who liked TLJ and read a lot of comments from the people who did.

          1. Liessa says:

            As someone who’s only seen TFA and is therefore neutral on TLJ: Seemed to me that there were quite a few people defending it in that thread. Shamus isn’t to blame for the fact that most people here dislike the movie. No one likes to hear contrary opinions on something they feel strongly about, but the discussion was perfectly civilised from what I saw.

            What I find most bizarre about the sequel trilogy, regardless of the quality of individual films, is that Disney didn’t seem to have a proper plan for it. Why on earth wouldn’t they plot out the storyline in advance and hire the same people to write and direct all three movies? It’s just baffling to me.

        2. Wolf says:

          What impressed me most was the overall high level of admitting weaknesses of the movie by people that liked it and conversely talking about strong points from people that disliked it. Also a good showing of phrases like “this is the point that made it not work for me personally” leaving open the option to be of different opinion without being dumb.

          There was some slightly entrenched discussion about specific scenes that either “made no sense from what was shown” or where “clearly established in subtext”, where people argued strongly while at the same time sounding like they basically agreed on everything but the efficacy of the movies relatively thin support for some of the plot points.

      1. Tyler says:

        Shamus was IMO right on the money about the reasons why people seem to sort themselves into two camps about this movie, but what surprised me a lot (since the movie came out) was how important it was for lots of fans to make sure that everyone would see how bad this film is (not only in Star Wars, but also film terms) and that it is an “absolute nose dive”, a “low point”, a “disaster”, “the worst Star Wars movie” and other hyperbole.

        Whenever I mentioned that I actually liked TLJ I was met with a missionary furor to convince me how “wrong” my opinion is and that I neither understand films, nor Star Wars, nor an assortment of other things. Me liking the movie was a reality that could not be allowed to exist. And that’s what it feels like reading discussions about TLJ for me.

        1. wswordsmen says:

          As someone who probably contributed to that, although not likely for you personally, sorry. Honestly a lot of my “missionary furor”, which I 100% have, is from so many people who generally know what they are talking about in regards to movies and media saying “you missed this, which makes it awesome” when generally the point they were making had a foundation on a point that could be disputed and would make the whole thing fall over if rejected.

          Anyway I wish these conversation didn’t come off that way.

          1. Nate says:

            Honestly a lot of my “missionary furor”, which I 100% have, is from so many people who generally know what they are talking about in regards to movies and media saying “you missed this, which makes it awesome” when generally the point they were making had a foundation on a point that could be disputed and would make the whole thing fall over if rejected.

            This. I feel like almost the entire American pop culture critical industry just… failed to do their jobs with these movies. In an extremely weird way. I mean that if you’re a critic, and you talk a LOT online about how story writing matters, and you have an analytical schema for analyzing movies (like Film Crit Hulk’s system of “what does each character WANT vs what does each character NEED”) and you aren’t at all shy about absolutely pulling recent popular movies apart and pointing out their story construction flaws, and why scenes don’t flow, and talk about missing logic…

            … and then a movie comes out which is riddled with strange story construction flaws and missing pieces and scenes that don’t connect and entire scenes and dialogue lines literally copied from an older movie, but one of the “critical commentariat” mention any of this, they just weirdly all talk in unison about how this is a perfect movie and… they completely invert their whole critical analysis schema, just for this one movie, to argue the exact opposite of what they’ve said about other movies only a year before…

            Well. Other people’s mileage might vary, but this behaviour caused me to lose a LOT of respect for people who pose as film critics online.

            I can understand saying “yeah, I know a lot of this movie doesn’t hold together, but I like this scene here? and this line there?” But…. the arguments that came out in 2018, the defenses, it was just strange.

            And now that a few years have passed, it seems like the vocal online people writing from positions of pop culture authority did NOT actually speak for most of the audience? I mean, at best they were speaking for 50% of the audience? But actually maybe more like 10%? But they sure argued, then, very passionately, as if people who loved this movie and saw it as perfect were a 99% majority of the entire world and if you weren’t in that group, you weren’t *wrong*, you were *bad*.

            I’m more baffled than I am angry. I just want to know, how did this situation happen? And how many professional story-construction experts *actually* liked this movie, versus how many were just pretending to because they were scared to be seen in public NOT liking this movie?

            I kind of like the moment before the Throne Room, before Snoke literally starts quoting Palpatine’s lines? That was a part that felt like it was the movie that TLJ wanted to be. If we could reverse engineer from that moment to a much better TLJ, I’d probably like that movie.

            It’s just that I feel a lot of people who so passionately defended TLJ in 2018 were actually responding as if they watched that other, alternate-universe, much better TLJ in their head, and not the one that actually showed up on the screen.

            1. Syal says:

              I feel I should mention that Film Crit Hulk also did the same thing with the Mass Effect 3 ending, however long ago that one was. Thee was something about wanting a different ending being the same as wanting pornography. So for him at least he just kind of goes off the rails sometimes.

              1. Geebs says:

                After reading your comment I followed a hunch and checked FCH’s opinion on Bioshock Infinite. It’s both predictable and disappointing.

                1. Nate says:

                  I can understand critics wanting to see films (and games) do something different and break the norms of storytelling and critique genre conventions. I often want this too.

                  It’s just that those norms are usually there for a fairly dull reason, which is that they work. If you’re going to do something different, that different thing also needs to work.

                  And if you critique a genre too hard from *inside* that genre, you risk making the audience feel like you’ve wasted their time. Either because your critique is incorrect, and so the movie/game just wasted your time. Or because your critique is *correct* and now the entire *genre* has wasted the audience’s time.

                  This is the fascinating problem I think TLJ poses: it asks the audience to accept that “everything they know about Star Wars is wrong”, ie, that the Jedi are bad, heroes cause more trouble than they fix, and the galaxy would have been far better off without Luke Skywalker or Han Solo (or anyone like them, such as “hotshot pilots” or “daring adventurers” or “criminals with a heart of gold”). “War” is just capitalism and only profits the rich, and we shold hate it. Even “rebellion” is actually a bad thing. No, we should all really just sit tight, obey our leaders, and never make waves; that’s the only way we can survive. Definitely do NOT seek to be a hero, or go on adventures. That gets people killed.

                  Which is all fine EXCEPT that the audience is left with this impossible logic problem: if the movie is right, they are bad people for ever liking Star Wars. If the movie is wrong, then it’s a bad movie.

                  And then on top of this, all the critical establishment roars out in unision “the movie is correct, Star Wars itself is exactly what’s wrong and needs to die / be reborn in glorious cleansing fire”.

                  The only possible conclusion, if you accept this, is “…. well then. This movie, and all the critical consensus, is very passionate and argues very strongly that movies about space heroes with laser swords is stupid and also bad. And it’s got a very good point. Star Wars teaches some very bad habits of thought. I guess I shouldn’t have ever liked Star Wars. Goodbye, then.”

                  And then Disney realises the impossible logical anvil they’ve dropped on the fandom and cries out “WAIT NO COME BACK!!!! We’ll give you anything we think you want! Just love us again!” (TROS)

                  Ennh, maybe it was just me that felt that logical contradiction. I suppose people are liking Mandalorian. But I literally can’t watch it (don’t have Disney ), and anyway, I sort of feel that TLJ was right, Star Wars is a bit stupid. We probably need better stories that don’t revolve around laser swords.

                  Still, I’m amazed that a large corporation really actually thought it was a good idea to make a giant franchise movie that passionately argues “you should stop watching this franchise”. It’s like hiring anti-corporate activists to do your ad campaign and they just make this absolutely brutal ad that crucifies your company. It might capture a specific young, hip, ironic set; but it might also put off a lot more people.

                  1. Syal says:

                    it asks the audience to accept that “everything they know about Star Wars is wrong”

                    I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what Rian Johnson wanted, but my take is “everything you know about Star Wars was true twenty years ago.” It’s not that the old attitudes were wrong, it’s that you can’t just blindly apply them to every scenario and assume it will work. The times they are a changin’.

                    1. wswordsmen says:

                      I don’t want to attack you but this may come off that way, sorry in advance if so.

                      Except that the time-skips happened off screen and the movie to set up what changed in the intervening time period, aka the one after the time skip aka TFA, not only didn’t say things are different now it said they actually reverted to exactly how you remember them off-screen, which means it doesn’t matter how.

                      Now I am not saying you can’t have a message like that in the second movie of a trilogy or even the ST of Star Wars, but you need to show the different circumstances are relevantly different first.

                      And have competent writing so the message sent isn’t self-contradictory. That line of thought goes off in a different direction and has been done to death.

                    2. Syal says:

                      it said they actually reverted to exactly how you remember them off-screen,

                      Nah, the first thing that happens in TFA is a Stormtrooper has a breakdown in the middle of a fight and flees the field. There are differences.

                      And the similarity is what makes the old strategies dangerous; it looks like they work when they won’t. Like switching from Chess to Shogi; you’ve got a lot of pieces that move similarly, but the pawns only capture forward and that completely kills Chess strategies.

                      …Shogi Wars.

            2. Radkatsu says:

              “This. I feel like almost the entire American pop culture critical industry just… failed to do their jobs with these movies.”

              … I mean, if you’re actually listening to hackneyed ‘critics’ who are on Disney’s payroll, then yes (though actually no, they did exactly what their job requires; to make the movies appear good even if they’re a steaming pile of exrement).

              Why would ANYONE still listen to so-called professional critics these days? They’ve been irrelevant for many years at this point. If you want proper critique, you should be on Youtube checking out the likes of Mauler or Critical Drinker or Voxis Productions. You know, people who actually care about being truthful and accurate and who aren’t above ripping a shit movie to bits.

              1. Shamus says:

                You might remember this advice from my previous post:

                “Hate on movies, not on fans and critics.”

                You’re obviously pissed off and not interested in listening to the opposition. Go watch some more Critical Drinker and sit this conversation out.

                1. Mousazz says:

                  That being said, in general I personally recommend watching The Critical Drinker. He’s like a light version of Mr. Plinkett, delivering scathing literary analysis (and praise for some older movies) while acting out a persona of being a dysfunctional drunk.

                  He probably won’t appeal to a lot of people, but I like his content.

                  1. Syal says:

                    Binged some of his stuff a few months back, but it feels like most of his reviews are heavy on race/gender politics. I don’t remember one that wasn’t. (Maybe Terminator Dark Fate? But probably not Terminator Dark Fate.)

                  2. Nate says:

                    I can’t really cope with Youtube critics. I feel if you’ve got something to say, you can write it, and then I can read it in a tenth the time it would take me to watch you slowly read it from a script, and also I can scroll down and skip ahead.

                    I’ve watched a few Red Letter Media videos but I really didn’t enjoy them. That whole genre of commentary is not to my taste.

                    I realise that Youtube commentary is a massive enterprise today and me liking to read rather than watch makes me an outlier. This is why I’m not a billionaire, because I’m not good at spotting what cultural trends will be popular.

                    1. Paul Spooner says:

                      On the other hand, textual commentary isn’t available to the illiterate, so audio-visual is all they have. Think of yourself as among the elite, protected from the plebeians by inscrutable magic runes, conversant in the arcane texts, and free of the sum of human knowledge and experience.

              2. MerryWeathers says:

                I mean, if you’re actually listening to hackneyed ‘critics’ who are on Disney’s payroll, then yes (though actually no, they did exactly what their job requires; to make the movies appear good even if they’re a steaming pile of exrement).

                I’ve always doubted them being paid considering these same critics shit on other Disney movies too.

              3. Nate says:

                hackneyed ‘critics’ who are on Disney’s payroll

                That was my initial explanation, too, in 2018. I thought “these guys must all be taking Disney money – or afraid of Disney’s influence – to lavish such praise on this mediocre at best movie”. It was at least the simplest, least weird explanation. It was a major tentpole movie in Disney’s biggest franchise, billions of dollars riding on it, and this was a time right when Disney had been caught threatening a newspaper for giving it bad press, so it wasn’t like they didn’t have form.

                But then TROS came out and the entire critical establishment, the some ones who’d rated TLJ 10/10, spun on a dime and turned against TROS. Just the opposite response. Definitely not good news for Disney.

                So no, it wasn’t Disney money or even fear of Disney blacklisting. What it was, I’m not sure. Maybe critics just really do see very different things in movies than audiences do. Maybe it was a kind of temporary groupthink running through a very online and self-selected group of people, some of whom didn’t much care for Disney but were extremely passionate fans of Rian Johnson himself and cheered him as “one of their own” – a bit like Quentin Tarantino, a film fan turned pro, and this was going to be his Pulp Fiction. Maybe it was some of the specific messages in TLJ that they felt were things the world needed to hear at that time regardless of whether they served the craft of story. Maybe there was intense corporate infighting within Disney between JJ and Rian camps, and much of the critical online sphere got caught up in this corporate war. I don’t know.

                There’s certainly a strong cultural disconnect between critics and audiences, and this is one moment where the disconnect became more obvious than usual. But I’m not really a fan of the loud angry anti-critic voices on Youtube either. I just know that for myself, some specific online film analysis voices I used to read and really enjoy their analysis, now don’t have my trust. And that makes me sad.

                I’m just interested in the construction of stories – always have been – and I would like to see dispassionate analysis of what makes stories work, and what makes them not work. I just want there to be more and better stories in the world.

        2. krellen says:

          Yeah, it did feel a little like this.

      2. Falling says:

        Not welcome in what sense?

        I know I interacted with you a bunch, and from your comment later today, I guess more than you wanted.
        But I, for one, welcome contrary opinions. I found it rather baffling why people liked TLJ, so I like to go up against the best arguments for that side with the best arguments I’ve thought through and see if I can find some sort of understanding. Knowing that there is such a contrary opinion, it’s a lot more fun to actually engage with that opinion in this sort of environment. A lot of other locations the arguments get tied up into weird mind reading of the other side, or attacks on character.

        In any event, as someone who contested a bunch of your comments in the last thread, I do want you to feel welcome.

  17. Joshua says:

    For as much as people complained about the various story and thematic issues with TROS, my single biggest complaint while watching it was its frenetic pacing. The only film that I can think of that’s remotely comparable is Run Lola Run, and the pacing is a deliberate stylistic choice that’s strongly tied to the story and themes. In TROS, it’s either there to prevent the audience from thinking too deeply about how absurd each scene is, or because JJ was trying to squeeze two films into one film’s run time, neither of which is a favorable statement about him.

    As much as I complain about TLJ, at least it felt like a film, not a 2 hour+ trailer.

    1. Lino says:

      Yes, absolutely. And I don’t think J. J. was forced to do this. Even if he wanted to retcon TLJ – which is a very tall order – he could have done so without making the whole thing feel like it was edited by a neurotic monkey on cocaine…

    2. MelTorefas says:

      Ha! I thought of Run Lola Run when I watched TFA. I definitely agree with your take here.

      (For the record I LOVED Run Lola Run. As you said, the pacingwas a deliberate and plot-relevant stylistic choice in that movie. In TFA, and apparently TRoS, the pacing was just a mangled mess.)

  18. Lino says:


    managed to glue all this disparate stories

    Should be “these”.

    any of these creative leads, weather or not

    Should be “whether”

  19. Lars says:

    watching an athlete reach the top of Mt. Everest in record time, and then break their leg when they get back to the hotel.

    That happened … probably. With George Mallory in 1924. He was probably the first to reach Mt. Everest top -> so it was record time. But he died on the way down. It is an ongoing discussion if he reached the top or not.

    1. Syal says:

      I guess there’s fifteen years in between, but Bobby Leach survived falling down Niagara Falls, and then died from injuries caused by slipping on an orange peel.

    2. Christopher Wolf says:

      Just to clarify. He was the first white dude who catalogued his journey. Sherpas over there have been able to reach the top for a long time.

      1. Randint says:

        Do you mind if I ask for a source on that? Summitting a mountain such as Everest requires much in the way of tools and stockpiles of supplies, and is usually done with oxygen canisters to get around the lower pressure at high altitudes. Sherpas are to an extent adapted to the conditions at higher altitudes, but not to such a degree that they could reach the summit without tools that either would have left evidence on the mountain that has never been found, or straight-up didn’t exist until recently.

        1. Lars says:

          The Everest was conquered without oxygen multiple times now. But only the best of the best/dumbest dare to do so. I think Reinhold Messner was one of them.
          Sherpas usually quit at the 5800m mark. I don’t know if a Sherpa ever reached the top. Finding evidence on that hill is quite a difficult task. Mallorys body for examble wasn’t found before year 1999. It is windy and snowy up there, with weather changes fast and severe.

          1. John says:

            I’d like to think that a Sherpa would have better sense than to climb to the top of Everest. There’s nothing up there that’s of any practical use to anyone.

        2. Christopher Wolf says:

          To clarify, I stated sherpas have been able to reach the top. We don’t have historical evidence one way or the other if anyone actually did it earlier. We can definitely say who the first white guy was, who the first person was is unclear.

  20. BlueHorus says:

    I know I’m famous for always asking, “But what do they EAT!?”, but this opening scene had me asking, “But what do they MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX!?”

    I LOLed at this, hard. And it’s worse than TIM Island, because at least in Mass Effect 3 Cerberus had Super Reaper Tech (including – not implausably – direct help from the Reapers), a refugee trap to make slave labour and a galaxy-wide apocalyptic war to hide behind. There were some attempts at hand waving.

    Palpatine literally summoning a fleet because Force is…pathetic.

    1. Dalisclock says:

      That was one of my issues with just hearing about it.

      I could hypothetically buy the Empire building a huge new fleet out in the galactic boonies, but how in the hell do you raise such a massive fleet without tipping anyone off that you’re building it? The logistical footprint should be enormous and yet the New Republic is caught completely flatfooted in TFA/TLJ, which means either the FO is either magicing all this out of nowhere or the NR is completely braindead.

    2. ChrisANG says:

      I thought the handwave was that it was literally the entire original Empire’s fleet? Like, the whole Imperial fleet flew off somewhere at some point after Return of the Jedi, and it was a big mistery where they went, and the answer is that they all landed on that one planet to be upgraded with Death Star guns.

      1. Thomas says:

        I figured they’re going to say it was some kind of Star Forge at some point. Although I’ve heard conflicting things about whether they’ve nullified that.

        Either way it wouldn’t save the film, you can’t drop something like that into a story without setting it up or even mentioning it.

      2. Boobah says:

        Not that the movie likely explains this, but the star destroyers in Palpatine’s fleet in Rise are a new class. Admittedly, the model is a reuse of the Imperial-class model made for Rogue One with a big gun bolted on, but officially they’re Xyston-class ships, and are about 30% bigger than the Imperials. Mind, they were such a rush job that none of the fittings or, more noticeably, windows, were scaled to match the new ship’s theoretical size.

  21. Lino says:

    With regards to Rise of Skywalker, I watched it about… two or three weeks ago, I think? And I barely remember it. The moment I saw Palpatine’s secret fleet, I burst out laughing. Which I did throughout most of the movie. I don’t think there was a single thing I liked about it. Really, I don’t know what to say. This whole trilogy was like the Mass Effect 3 ending, with all the problems it entailed.

  22. JDMM says:

    What this movie reminded me of, most of all, was a music video. The heightened sense of emotion, the utter abandonment of story logic, the just-so logic (how will the dagger allow Rey to follow the beacons? Because it will. How will the allies be enough? Because they will)

    It’s an awful movie but if you’re in the right mindset (you want to play The Force Unleashed but without all that restricted PS2 era level design) I can see it being enjoyed

    1. Syal says:

      Oh man I’d love to see someone turn it into a music video.

      Star Wars are you okay?

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        I always wondered what the Jabba scene in RotJ was referencing. Now I know I guess.

      2. RFS-81 says:

        “Ani, you’sa okay? You’sa okay, Ani?”

  23. Ninety-Three says:

    I know that making specific criticisms of the movie’s plot is shooting fish in a barrel, but I have to get this one in. TROS doesn’t tie up the plot of the trilogy. At the beginning of the movie, the RebellionResistance was down to a handful of ships and the EmpireFirst Order were threatening to take over the galaxy. Then Palpatine showed up to pull a thousand star destroyers out of the dirt, we spent the entire movie dealing with them, and we got a denouement like all the problems have been solved. But because the heroes spent all their time getting rid of Palpatine’s ships, the First Order still exists, almost in its entirety. The Resistance is just as screwed as it was at the beginning, the space Nazis are still about to win. The movie straight-up forgets what plot was going on before it started!

    1. Darker says:

      Presumably the giant fleet from all over the galaxy Lando managed to raise in 15 minutes will make short work of them.

      1. Falling says:

        Possibly. But it’s a very strange move to just straight up forget about the main antagonists of the last two films and never really come back to them. The Lord of the Rings movies actually built out Saruman as a recently joined lieutenant of Sauron, but the Red Eye is always there in the background as the big bad. (Plus it’s his agents, not Saruman’s that first test Frodo.) This means it’s not such a whiplash when they switch to fighting Sauron (even if non-extended kinda forgets about Saruman in his tower.) But that’s if there was an actual cohesive story to base the films upon.

        1. Lino says:

          I never actually understood why they cut the Saruman scenes from the theatrical version. Like, he was the main antagonist in the first movie, he was even on the poster for The Two Towers! And his death scene is only like two minutes long! Wouldn’t have killed them to put it in…

          1. Steve C says:

            I see several reasons reasons why that scene was cut. First is that it is an adapted edit. It wasn’t in the books. That tends to anger. (See Arwen having to be edited out of Helm’s Deep.) Second was that it wasn’t really necessary. It’s superfluous. Saruman is defeated. His power broken. It is not Tolkien’s style to kill off characters that way. Third is the scene is really silly. Saruman falls onto a water wheel then just goes round and round. It strikes the wrong tone at the wrong moment. Fourth is that LotR is really freaking long. Every 2min scene that doesn’t work 100% and can be cut should be cut for a theatrical version.

    2. Daimbert says:

      Yeah, after TLJ my proposal to finish the series was to show how the Resistance started to build themselves back into a force to be reckoned with and then make another trilogy to resolve that. There was no way to resolve the huge advantage the FO had in one movie even WITHOUT taking a detour.

      1. Falling says:

        Forty years. I figured a time jump of forty years would give the good guys a chance to re-establish themselves and maybe the enemy has weakend itself through infighting.

    3. Randint says:

      IIRC, there’s a montage at the end of various local forces defeating the First Order in various systems. Now, having said that, I would like to go on a short tangent…

      In the cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender, there’s an episode in the first season about a prison the villains use for captured earthbenders (mages in this setting can manipulate one of the four classical elements depending on their culture, so earthbenders basically have telekinesis that only works on rocks). These prisoners are kept on what is essentially an oil-rig type metal platform out at sea and prevented from having access to anything they could use their powers on (it’s slightly more complicated, but for the intents of this discussion it’s correct enough to say that earthbenders can’t use their powers on metal). The main characters inspire them to resist using the coal that was being burned as fuel, which none of the prisoners had considered because all of the measures being taken against their powers have broken their spirits, and thus they never realized that they still have a way to fight back, and that if they all revolted they could overpower the guards.

      When the first season of Avatar was adapted into a movie, they kept this plot but dropped the whole oil-rig part of it. Now the prisoners are in a mining camp, surrounded by things that they can use their powers on, but never notice that they outnumber their guards until the main character tells them they can.

      Now, back to Star Wars. I didn’t really like TLJ or RoS, but I did think the whole “Our resistance has suffered a major loss, but we won’t let this stop us” from TLJ was a good idea in theory (In typical TLJ fashion, the execution kind of brought down the general idea by turning it into “The people who were already our allies refused to help us out of fear when we had hundreds of people and a military fleet, but we’re somehow still optimistic that we can find new people to help us now that we have twenty people and a freighter with some illegal modifications”). RoS’s ending could have been a decent payoff for that optimism, and I’m pretty sure they were aiming for a tone of “Evil will never triumph if Good stands together.” Unfortunately, in typical RoS fashion, all of the plot advancement happened with no particular onscreen input or struggle from the main characters. Lando goes off for a while and comes back with a fleet, which is able to defeat the enemy everywhere in the galaxy easily.

      The end result is that my reaction to Rise of Skywalker’s final battle is the same one people had to the Avatar movie: It looks like the entire galaxy was able to trivially defeat the enemy, but everybody was too much of an idiot to realize this unless a Main Character could point it out to them.

      1. Falling says:

        “but everybody was too much of an idiot to realize this unless a Main Character could point it out to them.”
        Well, and offscreen too.
        How is it that Lando can snap his fingers and summon a horde of vessels in a matter of hours and Leia couldn’t conjure a single extra X-wing? What materially changed from one film to the next? All the inciting incidents had already occurred and fallen on deaf ears in TLJ. When Nazi tanks are rolling across the Midwest of America two years after flattening London and Moscow with nukes, it’s a little late for Poland to decide that NOW they are going to fight.

        1. Bloodsquirrel says:

          Well, you know-

          Given how the capitol of the galaxy gets blown up in TFA, and how TLJ took place immediately afterward, it would be pretty easy to say “Well, everybody was just a bit out of order when Leia called, and it took them a few days to figure out what was going on and be prepared to do anything.” I even said somewhere that if I had to write the end of the trilogy, I’d use that exact logic to walk back the impression TLJ gave that the First Order had somehow taken over the entire galaxy in the literal moments that separated TFA and TLJ, and have the third movie involve more of a peer battle between the First Order and the New Republic.

          But that would involve thinking outside of the tiny, tiny bubble that the movies take place in, and having the movies written by somebody who cared about logic and explaining important things about the background to the audience.

          1. Randint says:

            Let’s try to twist this concept into a humorous headcanon:

            The First Order are pretty small compared to the galactic scale. At the beginning of TFA, we see them sending high-ranking personnel to attack something that could charitably be called a village. This village is on Jakku, something that could charitably be called an inhabited planet. The fact that this is a mission deserving two leaders says a lot about what their maximum capabilities are. They still exist because as far as the New Republic is concerned, sending somebody to deal with them is like sending the military after a guy mugging people for twenties: they’re just so small in scope that the Republic doesn’t see it as a super high priority.

            The Resistance talk big, but they’re basically people who are the same scale as the First Order, but heroic. The New Republic never returns their calls because when you run a galaxy-spanning civilization, caring about someone knocking over a few villages on the fringe of the empire is as high a priority as going after someone who failed to report $100 that they made from a garage sale on their tax return.

            So anyway, somehow the First Order builds a planet-destroying superweapon and uses it. This catches everybody off guard, and defeating the First Order climbs way up on the New Republic’s priority list, right after they determine who had the most seniority among the capitol’s janitors that were on PTO that day, because that person is next in the line of succession for the new provisional government that needs to be established. Also, it’ll take a few days to mobilize forces, because when you’re a real military you can’t just bug out in 18 hours.

            The resistance is having none of this, though. They are the only people who will act, the galaxy’s last hope. They are the spark that will ignite the tinder, that will catch the kindling, that will light the fuel, that will spread to the underbrush, that will cause a wildfire, that will become the State of California, that will inspire the Rebellion!

            In the meantime, the New Republic has begun taking care of the First Order who doesn’t even stand a chance against a proper military. Lando shows up to the new government and is like, “Hey, these guys also have a fleet on Exogel,” and the New Republic is like, “Got it, we’ll send some of our guys right over to take care of that.”

            1. Falling says:

              Apparently in the actual canon the New Republic demilitarized because they are Lawful Stupid and all the remaining ships were in one location- that planet we got exploded in TFA.

              Of course none of this is in the film, so it hardly counts as far as I’m concerned.

              And then to leave no room for maneuvre, TLJ opens with:
              “The FIRST ORDER reigns. Having decimated the peaceful Republic, Supreme Leader Snoke now deploys his merciless legions to seize military control of the galaxy.”

              Welp. Guess the NR went out without even a wimper. Nazis have overrun the UK, US, and the USSR, and people are still deciding whether they should fight or not.

              In the Sequels people just disappear into an empty sector and conjuror up an even bigger fleet out of nothing. It’s all very silly.

              1. Lino says:

                Apparently in the actual canon the New Republic demilitarized because they are Lawful Stupid and all the remaining ships were in one location- that planet we got exploded in TFA.

                See, even THAT’S a missed opportunity! OK, have your badass, ex-guerilla fighters somehow decide that you don’t need a military, and that no other threat will ever present itself (even though they gained power mainly thanks to their military effort). Whatever.

                WHY would some Empire wannabes be the only ones who try to exploit that glaring vulnerability? Wouldn’t it be more interesting to have several factions vying for power, and trying to fill that power vacuum? That even makes more sense if you’re one of those people who feel that SW absolutely needs to be more “realistic” (for the record – a notion I strongly disagree with). Because that’s what usually happens in the real world – when there’s a power vacuum, there’s more than one faction that comes in and tries to fill it.

          2. Radkatsu says:

            “Given how the capitol of the galaxy gets blown up in TFA”

            Was it? Did someone move the capital from Coruscant and no one bothered to mention it?

            1. houser2112 says:

              Yes. TFA did pretty much NO worldbuilding outside of the opening crawl. The only way of knowing anything about the New Republic other than its name is to be familiar with outside sources.

      2. Nate says:

        Unfortunately, in typical RoS fashion, all of the plot advancement happened with no particular onscreen input or struggle from the main characters.

        I’ve noticed this recent effect in other movies (including Disney movies) – Tomorrowland was a classic example. All of the interesting plot happens offscreen, while the front-story is sort of just a fetch-quest with bland characters trying to learn about the real plot.

        I wonder where this trope comes from? Is this a result of modern film school grads trying too hard to do “nonlinear storytelling” so that when there’s a perfectly straightforward way to tell a story, somehow that’s seen as lesser, so they try to think of weird convoluted narrative structures that don’t work as well? Or is there some other more specific reason?

  24. Lasius says:

    Comparing Disney’s success in Avengers: Endgame with Rise of Skywalker is like watching an athlete reach the top of Mt. Everest in record time, and then break their leg when they get back to the hotel.

    Funny you say that. World-famous mountaineer Reinhold Messner, who did the first solo ascent of Mount Everest, broke his leg trying to climb the three meter wall of his own estate because he forgot his keys.

    1. Shamus says:

      That is amazing.

      …and is yet ANOTHER thing that would have made for a better story than RoS. :)

  25. Syal says:

    Just watched Jenny Nicholson talking about Rise of Skywalker so I might as well link that. The most entertaining bit was the “chaos bingo cards” where she’d put the dumbest stuff she could think of and then several of them ended up being in the movie.

    1. Bloodsquirrel says:

      Sounds kind of like when the Red Letter Media guys sat down to make predictions about Solo, made their guesses purely on the basis of what the laziest, least creative thing to do would be, and turned out to be shockingly accurate.

      1. MerryWeathers says:

        The fact that their Darth Maul prediction still turned out true was pretty hilarious.

    2. RFS-81 says:

      Pretty funny, but “Incel Rey”? What?

  26. Matt says:

    Will TROS, and nu-Wars in general, remain canon? The likeliest, and most boring, answer is, “Yes, almost certainly while Disney owns it, though it will probably be downplayed.” However, it does seem to put Disney into a bit of a corner story-wise for a new trilogy unless they do what I always suggested for a Star Wars sequel: set it in the distant past (a la Old Republic series) or distant future. More amusing is a Restoration of the Old Canon, a bit like the return of the Stuarts. I suppose this would be possible if Disney ever sold Star Wars, though the the EU has very uneven writing and is even more of a narrative straitjacket than nu-Wars.

    1. Thomas says:

      I think Disney will set the next film a couple of years afterwards but just retcon a bunch of stuff (after experimenting a bit with side content) and forget about the rest. It’s not like any of the new trilogy flow smoothly from the previous films.

      I liked the sound of The High Republic stuff they announced way back in the past, and would like to see more Star Wars media set in that time period. And I’m very up for some Old Republic.

      1. Matt says:

        The aftermath of TROS could be an interesting setting. With the First Order, Palpatine, the Skywalker family, and the New Republic all gone or in shambles, it could be a time of chaos. Lots of small factions with no central government, petty warlords, and weird, isolated planets with forgotten Imperial tech to misappropriate. A time for bounty hunters, gunslingers, and knights-errant.

        The High Republic seemed, to me, like an attempt to re-do the Old Republic, but with Disney assets. You’ve got a powerful, but ossified, Republic shepherded by the Jedi facing off against the Space Viking Nihil, who are invading. Who wants to bet that the first stories follow a young, promising Jedi named Naver who fights against them, learns their ways and earns their respect, but ends up betraying his Order while acquiring an Astral Foundry in the Unknown Regions?

        1. MerryWeathers says:

          Who wants to bet that the first stories follow a young, promising Jedi named Naver who fights against them, learns their ways and earns their respect, but ends up betraying his Order while acquiring an Astral Foundry in the Unknown Regions?

          From what I gleaned, it seems more like “the Jedi fight the enemy but slowly learn there’s more stuff going on behind the scenes before discovering some ancient evil threat was in charge all along”.

          1. John says:

            I’m unilaterally imposing a moratorium on ancient evils. No one is allowed to write a story in which the galaxy, world, or beloved peasant village is threatened by an ancient evil unless they first perform fifty hours of community service and then sign a legally binding document that prevents the story from featuring the quest for an an ancient MacGuffin and obligates the characters to defeat the ancient evil through some new and ingenious means.

            1. Syal says:

              And the ancient evil also has to have a Dr. Evil wake-up moment of “What the hell did I miss? The world got weird!”

              1. MerryWeathers says:

                Then there will be a scene where the ancient evil gets angry about everything it’s learned and then yells some grand villain statement about destroying everything.

                1. Nate says:

                  I demand ONE MEEEELION PLANETS!

                  Sir, there are now a trillion planets in the galaxy. One million planets is a small neighbourhood.

                  Very well. ONE BEEEEELION PLANETS!

  27. Dalisclock says:

    Still haven’t seen TRoS and from what I’m hearing, I don’t think i missed anything.

    Besides, I feel like I have plenty of SW content to binge on if I’m really in the mood.

    I mean, there’s 7 seasons of Clone Wars, 4 seasons of Rebels, Rogue One and the Mandalorian just for the recent shit and I haven’t even touched any of the new video games(Fallen Order and Squadrons) yet. Hell, I was reminded I never play much of Galaxy at War and I really should give that a shot too.

  28. bobbert says:

    Why does the red light-saber have 3 blades?

    1. Shamus says:

      I looked it up, and here’s all I could find:

      * Features three DuraComfort blades and an open-blade architecture for easy rinsing
      * Lubrication strip glides to help protect your skin from redness
      * Premium handle, expertly balanced and weighted for a great shaving experience

      I’m not sure I was on the correct site, but this really is selling me on the 3-blade design.

      1. BlueHorus says:

        Hey, it’s not just blades or crossguards on offer here…

    2. ChrisANG says:

      In-universe: I think the excuse given (by JJ in an interview) is that Kylo sucks at making lightsabers*, and so his needs to vent excess plasma, and he used it to make crossguards because he thought it looked cool.

      Out of universe: Why not crossguards? It’s certainly less dangerous to the wielder than a double-bladed lightsaber, and the hand protection might arguably be useful even if that was never shown to be a problem before.

      *He used a cracked crystal or an “unstable” crystal or something.

      1. Thomas says:

        Some cross guards might reduce the number of people in the Star Wars universe with robot replacement hands

        1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

          Also, it looked really cool, and allowed Kylo to use some different swordfighting techniques. (I would have loved to see some lightsaber HEMA -alas ’twas not to be.)

        2. Falling says:

          I didn’t like it because the point of contact where the crossguard would be useful wasn’t even lightsaber (the intersection). For it to work, the handle itself had to stand up against the lightsaber blade.

          But that’s a pretty minor nitpick, so I let it go. There are far greater issues with TFA, namely rebooting back to the OT political situation and limiting the possibility of lots of cool stories in between by having a big final battle and then 30 years of peace. That’s just shooting yourself in the foot for spin off books and films. Nothing else of note happened in between? Booo.

          1. Lino says:

            Technically, some things happened. Out of the new EU, I’ve only read the Aftermath books which take place immediately after episode VI. They deal with how the Alliance are fighting the Imperial Remnant and end with part of that Remnant going off to the Unknown Regions (or whatever they call them), and the rest having their final stand on the backwater planet Jakku. Which explains why it’s full of Imperial junk.

            In terms of quality, you’re not missing much. There are some cool moments, but overall it’s quite boring, and I don’t think it’s really worth the read. It’s also written in Present Tense, for some reason.

      2. Mephane says:

        In all the lightsaber fights we see in the movies, it is shown that their plasma blades do not slide off each other like metal swords do, eliminating one of the primary reasons for crossguards to exist.

      3. Radkatsu says:

        The crossguard is one of the few things Shadiversity actually approved of, lol.

  29. Adamantyr says:

    TROS was problematic, to be sure. It felt like someone had fallen asleep reading the old “Dark Empire” graphic novel series and then cribbed a bunch of it for this movie.

    My biggest fear, based on the trailers, was they were going to bring Palpatine back as a force ghost. Which would have lead to an embarrassing scene of me screaming in the theater “THAT’S NOT HOW THE FORCE WORKS!” just like I did at SW Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy. In fact, him clinging to life through artificial means in ways beyond even what Vader did was very fitting.

    1. Nate says:

      screaming in the theater “THAT’S NOT HOW THE FORCE WORKS!” just like I did at SW Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy.

      Because of the Staff of Ragnos “siphoning Force energy from locations” (that coincidentally happened to be famous ones from the movies not yet appearing in the game) and using it to “infuse the Force” into Cultists?

      Yeah, that was pretty bad.

  30. evileeyore says:

    I have been contemplating watching the movie, despite how bad every i know keeps saying ti was, just so i could have closure ont he subject, but…

    Thank you Shamus. This is the closure I needed and puts a pin my desire to ever waste my time on it.

  31. Ramsus says:

    I actually enjoyed ROS the best out of the new trilogy. Absolutely none of the issues you brought up are incorrect. But I just felt the characters actually felt like somewhat developed characters in this one and also importantly, even if the answers were dumb and terrible, this film actually let us know what was happening in this trilogy and why. Why we had to wait for the third entry for basic story premise information I have no clue. I was just happy to no longer be frustrated with wondering “what is going on in this story and why are any of these people doing any of these things?”
    And clearly, for me, these two qualities in a film (of this style anyway) have a lot to do with my enjoyment of it.
    This is probably why I prefer the prequel trilogy to this one. For all its flaws, the characters had personality and the basic premise of the story being told was never a mystery. (And certainly wasn’t a mystery most likely to be answered with: “the authors don’t know yet either”.)

  32. John says:

    Reading–well, skimming–people’s gripes and complaints about The Last Jedi and Rise of Skywalker has been an interesting experience for me. I didn’t watch the sequel trilogy. I read reviews of The Force Awakens and decided that I’d probably hate it. When you dislike both the premise of a film and the director’s previous work, you are almost certainly bound to dislike the film itself. Thus, for the sake of my sanity and my good humor I stayed home. If I had gone to see it I’m sure that I’d have found plenty to complain about within the film. Those complaints, however, would have been missing the point, the point being that The Force Awakens was a film that I very much did not want–to see, to exist–in the first place.

    So here are some questions for people who hated the sequel trilogy, or even just specific films within the sequel trilogy. What did you expect? Were you excited? Skeptical? Did you go because of a passion for Star Wars or for some other reason? How do you think your attitude going in affected your experience and your opinion of the film or films?

    1. Daimbert says:

      I came in as a huge Star Wars fan, although mostly in terms of consuming it rather than going in whole hog. I really just wanted the movies to be halfway decent and tell a decent story. I mean, I watch the prequel movies regularly so I wasn’t expecting it to be great or anything, just entertaining. I was looking forward to them and pretty much figured that I’d add them to my normal run of watching all of the movies. And after TFA I was pretty disappointed, mostly because it started out nonsensically given the end of RotJ and didn’t explain anything about how that all happened. TLJ didn’t actually progress anything or explain any more about the backstory, and made a nonsensical backstory itself.

      For me to be satisfied, all it had to be was entertaining, and it failed.

      1. pseudonym says:

        I feel the same. No Star Wars film is perfect, but they are all fun. Except the sequel trilogy. TFA is just a refactored new hope, with no world building. TLJ is the best of the series in that it has a plot and that it wasn ‘t nicked from the OT, but it is a very mediocre film. TROS was a trainwreck. They are all watch once, forget forever flicks. I do not feel strongly about them as a result. It is just a shame.

        1. Falling says:

          “that it has a plot and that it wasn ‘t nicked from the OT, ”
          You don’t think so? All I see is the ESB scrambled together with the Throne Room scene from Return.
          It even opens and closes with not Hoth cribbing from both parts of the Hoth sequence. (Salt- thanks, exposition)

          1. Philadelphus says:

            You don’t think so? All I see is the ESB scrambled together with the Throne Room scene from Return.

            Yes! This! This is exactly what I felt while watching TLJ, and yet I’ve never seen anyone else mention it before! TLJ feels like ESB backwards, with the Throne Room scene from RotJ haphazardly added in the middle. It’s actually one of the things I was curious about going into TLJ: after TFA was such a blatant reboot of ANH, would TLJ be a reboot of ESB? And it sort of was, except that it also started rebooting RotJ halfway through, which did make me wonder what J.J. Abrams was going to crib for RoS with that scene already taken. I should finally watch it to see how it plays out.

            “ESB starts with a rag-tag band of plucky protagonists fighting a base-defense mission against a militarily superior force fielding AT-ATs on a white planet using rickety ships not intended for combat, followed by a desperate evacuation. The movie ends with them on the run from their enemy.”
            “TLJ starts with a rag-tag band of plucky protagonists on the run from a militarily superior force, followed by a desperate evacuation. The movie ends with them fighting a base-defense mission against their enemy (fielding AT-ATs) on a white planet using rickety ships not intended for combat.”
            (Credit where it’s due, at least Crait wasn’t another ice planet, and I did actually like the visual effects of the red dirt beneath the salt layer!)

            It doesn’t fit quite so well with the mirror-structure, but you can also add “Yoda shows up” and “Luke Skywalker duels a red-lightsaber-wielding high-ranking figure in the opposing military” to both movies at the appropriate points.

            1. pseudonym says:

              I am so quick to forget. Yes indeed! Well then it is even more of a failure.

              I guess the watch once, forget forever point still stands though, quod erat demonstrandum ;-).

            2. Syal says:

              which did make me wonder what J.J. Abrams was going to crib for RoS with that scene already taken.


              (Rey is neither human, nor clothing.)

            3. Falling says:

              “Credit where it’s due, at least Crait wasn’t another ice planet”
              Sure. But I had to chuckle at how they had to highlight that while it was white, this not Hoth was DEFINITELY not Hoth.
              Rando soldier licks the ground. “Salt.”
              ‘Thanks, exposition,’ I thought.

              1. Shamus says:

                This bugged me in the theater because it was so clumsy. Like, why are you putting the local dirt in your mouth? Are you five?

                It seemed like such an easy thing to fix. He’s already in a trench. Have someone run by, kicking up some dust.

                Mook: (Recoils) Gah!

                Other Mook: You get dirt in your eye?

                Mook: It’s not dirt. (Spits.) It’s salt.

                1. Falling says:

                  Ha. That’s a way better way to get that information out.

                  1. Syal says:

                    Or even easier; have Leia refer to it as a Salt Planet when she’s explaining the escape plan.

                    Or… don’t describe it at all, it’s just for visuals anyway.

            4. Nate says:

              Yes! This! This is exactly what I felt while watching TLJ, and yet I’ve never seen anyone else mention it before! TLJ feels like ESB backwards, with the Throne Room scene from RotJ haphazardly added in the middle.

              Trust me, some of us certainly noticed this while the movie was playing in the theatre. It was so obvious, especially with Not-Hoth and Not-Speeders vs Walkers rubbing it in our faces. And it’s one of the weirdest omissions in all the critical reviews that hardly any of them mentioned how it was mostly an ESB clone. I was all: guys, you *specialise* in movies! How can you not notice that this movie is just cloning a classic and inverting a few things?

              My personal feeling – which may be wrong, but with such a cone of silence around how these movies got made, all we have is speculation – is that many things got changed around in production and that originally the script was supposed to mirror ESB even more closely. I think that Not Hoth was likely originally *first*, with the Not-SnowSpeeders being a desperate distraction attempt to let the troops get to the transports. Then we have Ahch-To as Not-Dagobah, Luke as Not-Yoda, even a Dark Side Cave Vision there, and Canto Bight as Not-CloudCity – complete with a betrayal by a sketchy crime figure who we thought was a friend. Finally then we have a confrontation with an evil leader and a duel… and my guess is that the movie was supposed to end on a cliffhanger with Rey joining Kylo. At least, that’s where the script seems to end. Everything afterwards on Crait feels just a bit out of place and not joined up (eg, how does Rey even get to Crait? If she and Kylo were knocked unconscious shouldn’t she have taken Kylo captive? Weird chunks are just missing there – or perhaps never existed in the original story.)

              Some leaked script outlines suggest that the big throne room duel scene was once supposed to be on Canto Bight – not on a spaceship – with that city being the seat of Snoke’s power, and that would make a LOT more sense (and a better mission justification) than the jumbled mess we ended up with.

              Just after TFA released, in early 2016, production on TLJ stopped for about a month so that Rian could rewrite the script and (oddly) “expand the roles of the new characters from TFA”. (TFA and TLJ were being made in parallel, with completely different writing and production teams, so that’s maybe not as strange as it sounds). They also added the characters of Rose and Holdo at this time. The production designer also noted in interviews that some time in the development process they realised that there were far too many practical sets needed, and that the script needed to be trimmed to reduce the number of locations.

              Also, Canto Bight was originally intended to be far bigger and kept getting trimmed down.

              My guess is that this is where a lot of changes were made that hurt the movie, but allowed it to get made under the intense time pressure and the self-imposed problems caused by practical sets.

              But it will be a long time before we hear the true story.

    2. Syal says:

      I saw TLJ in theaters with Star Wars fans, had no real expectations, didn’t know what Star Wars could do that it hadn’t already. TLJ impressed me enough to go back and see TFA, which was what I was expecting TLJ to be initially; just a big ol’ retread. Saw TROS at home with people who wanted to see it, and it was pretty much exactly as messy as I’d thought.

      So 8. TLJ is the standout best of the Sequels, but I think I’d take 1. TPM or 3. ROTS over it (2. AOTC is still really bad. So bad.)

    3. ChrisANG says:

      Disney had been having great success with the MCU at the time, and I’d grown up reading the Expanded Universe books. So, I was basically hoping to see entertaining Star Wars-ish movies drawing inspiration from the EU.

      JJ’s involvement did have me worried, because I hated what he’d done with Star Trek.

      I think a better-written version of TLJ would have been basically what I was hoping for (I didn’t mention it in the previous thread, but I do really like a lot of the scenes that fans of that movie point to. The bad stuff just outweighs the good for me).

      Even with RoS, I think “bring Palpatine back from the dead and do a version of Dark Empire” wasn’t an automatically-wrong direction to go in. TFA and TLJ between them had painted RoS into a pretty tiny corner with regards to the larger plot of Star Wars, since Snoke had defeated Luke and co. and reversed the victories in the OT offscreen in the backstory for TFA, and then TLJ killed off both Snoke and Luke before any closure could be had on that plotline. Revealing that Snoke was Palpatine all along was certainly one of their options for drawing a connecting line between the OT and the Sequel Trilogy. It just would have required much, much better writing.

    4. DraconicDak says:

      I went in as a huge Star Wars fan – Star Wars was a part of my growth and my identity, and was directly responsible for me meeting my wife, so I felt (and still feel) like I needed to go in on Star Wars, win or lose. Clone Wars had grown into a truly incredible, mature, and enjoyable series, and Rebels had continued that trend after Disney took over, so in theory, I had hopes for this new trilogy.

      The Force Awakens came and went like any Abrams event: Exciting in the moment, completely collapsed on the drive home. I gave it the benefit of the doubt; the first movie of the trilogy *had* to play it safe, to show that Star Wars was in hands that could make it feel like Star Wars.

      Rogue One came along, and was in my estimation fantastic. Tentative hope restored. Now *that* felt like Star Wars again. I was excited for The Last Jedi.

      I liked The Last Jedi, at least more than TFA. It went different places, it had clear themes that were new for Star Wars to explore and play with, and it ended on quite the cliffhanger. I was excited and curious to see where it could be going.

      Solo happened soon after, and was terrible. I skipped it in the theaters based on the reviews, which aligned with what my predictions had been: Disappointment. I watched it this year and I had been entirely right to skip it.

      As more info came out about RoS, my enthusiasm flagged. JJ was back, and more and more it seemed like he was going to ignore or downplay Rian’s themes and story. I went in expecting little, but at this point I needed to see the journey through, you know?

      There were some fun moments. But even in the theater, this time, it fell apart in the moment, not after. Finishing RoS was more like finishing a mission than it was completing a story.

    5. Lino says:

      Come to think of it, I don’t know why I went to see TFA. I didn’t like the premise. The characters seemed very boring. If anything, I was extremely disappointed that the movie didn’t do anything new, and that they invalidated everything the characters in the OT had done.

      But to go back to the question, I guess I went, because I’m a huge Star Wars fan, and I wanted to see what they would do.

    6. Nate says:

      So here are some questions for people who hated the sequel trilogy, or even just specific films within the sequel trilogy. What did you expect? Were you excited? Skeptical? Did you go because of a passion for Star Wars or for some other reason? How do you think your attitude going in affected your experience and your opinion of the film or films?

      I liked the original trilogy (long story, but although I’m of the generation who first saw them in theatres, and grew up surrounded with Star Wars in the wider culture, I actually didn’t see any Star Wars movie until the early 1990s, in my 20s… and I was blown away by how good the 1977 original was. So it wasn’t just a kid thing).

      I read Heir to the Empire and it blew me away likewise. It took the characters, the whole universe, and moved them forward.

      I played Dark Forces and Jedi Knight and was also amazed. This was Lucasarts at the top of its field. I started to think that Star Wars was *the* universal story universe, that you could take any kind of story and put it in that universe and it would succeed.

      I ran Star Wars RPG campaigns.

      On the down side: Before JJ Abrams and Rian Johnson, there was Kevin J Adamson. He was a comics guy who wrote a LOT of Star Wars books and I’m sorry, they were trash, Later he wrote Dune prequels and I think the entire Dune fandom also experienced this same pain.

      I saw The Phantom Menace in theatre. Three times, because after the first viewing I wasn’t at all sure what I’d seen and figured I must have watched the movie wrong, so I went again to try to make sense of it. Eventually it dawned on me that no, I wasn’t broken, the movie was. I watched the rest of the prequel trilogy because of my love of the original series, and each movie got steadily better than TPM, but I never thought of any of them as ‘good’ movies and I have never wanted to rewatch them. This was when I realised that sometimes, a good film director just isn’t a good writer.

      I came into TFA cautiously optimistic. I was glad that Disney bought Lucasfilm because after the MCU, I thought Disney would know how to do a good job, better than George Lucas. But I was worried because JJ was involved and I have never really enjoyed one of his movies. But I really really wanted Star Wars to be back, and to be on a secure path to a new future.

      I left TFA rating it about a 5/10. I thought it started well, it had the right “look and feel”, but it lost the plot midway though with the Starkiller base nonsense. And I didn’t like what they’d done with ruining Han and Leia’s marriage and making their only child evil. It all felt cheap.

      Then I saw Rogue One, and I thought it was about a 7/10. As a whole, it was just okay. I loved parts of it. But some parts of the story were just a bit stupid. But it was doing a war movie in a Star Wars setting and that felt like an improvement. After a rocky start, Star Wars was on the mend.

      So going into TLJ I wasn’t expecting too much… but on the other hand, EVERY critic on the planet was calling it a 10/10 masterpiece, so I thought it must be better than I’d hoped. I was a bit worried that it would be too dark, that it would turn Luke evil or something.

      I left the cinema rating TLJ 6/10, on the strength of it having a lot of emotion and almost feeling like it had some kind of point to make. It still wasn’t a *good* movie, nowhere near as together as Rogue One, but it felt marginally more focused than TFA? But in the days afterwards, as I tried to understand what the movie was saying, what its theme was, the whole movie unravelled in my head. I realised it just didn’t make any kind of sense at all. The more I looked at it the worse it got.

      The main feeling I had walking out of the cinema after TLJ though was confusion and *emotional exhaustion*. I felt like I’d been put through a rollercoaster of every possible emotion and then, seconds later, its opposite, to the point where I just didn’t care any longer. It was a very loud and shouty movie with very strong, and contrarian, opinions about…. something? But I wasn’t sure what. It was like living through a terrible argument with a lover that, walking out of, you feel good about because of its “emotional honesty”, but the more you think about it, the less good you feel. Like something inside that relationship just broke, and now there’s no trust.

      And that was what I felt. That an entire lifetime of my relationship with Star Wars had been zeroed out to nothing because of all that anger and shoutiness and deliberate setups and fakeouts in that one movie.

      And then I went online because I wanted to talk about this weird feeling of emotional numbness, and nobody on the big pop culture sites wanted to hear anything bad about this magic, wonderful, perfect movie. No, it was us, the audience who were wrong. We were watching this movie, and in fact every movie, wrong, and “we must learn a new way of watching movies” (that was a literal article, by Film Crit Hulk, I think).

      And so I have never read Film Crit Hulk or any of his friends since. And I still feel like I only just walked out of that theatre, just baffled and confused, wondering why a major film company would release something like this, what they thought they were achieving by burning an entire lifetime of interest in a film franchise to the ground.

      Since Disney have silenced the people who were writing books about the making of this trilogy, I guess I’ll remain baffled and confused for a while yet.

    7. Falling says:

      “So here are some questions for people who hated the sequel trilogy, or even just specific films within the sequel trilogy. What did you expect? Were you excited? Skeptical?”

      For myself, I think I was cautiously optimistic going into TFA.
      I’m a big Star Wars fan (after LotRs. Can’t beat that.) I got over my grumpiness over them decanonizing the EU and had thought, well maybe they’ll learn from the mistakes of the EU because there were certainly many (super weapon of the week, forgetting that Leia was equally powerful as Luke until the last minute… sounding familiar?)

      I think the scene in the trailer with the crashed Star Destroyer really sold me because I thought it was indicative of a storyteller that could imply a lot of backstory just with visuals (boy was I wrong on that.) I also knew of JJ’s reputation for poor endings (I’d seen Lost, albeit after it was all over and done with) and knew of his mystery box theory. I also knew Star Trek fans weren’t super thrilled with his films, but I had only seen the first (largely forgettable) and wasn’t that into Star Trek, so I couldn’t judge it well. So I went in with TFA with fingers cross. And I had a good time.
      I was enjoying it 100% until they revealed Death Star 3.0 and then I was enjoying it 80%.

      I walked out of the theatres and said to my friends- I really enjoyed it, but the follow up film is going to impact just how much I like it in the future. If this is the safe play ‘sorry for the prequels’ and then they move on to something else, we’re probably good. But if they just remake the OT then this will not age well for me.

      Rogue One knocked some more shine off because that scratched the itch I had for Rebel Alliance stories and I realized I really didn’t want a reboot of the Rebels vs Imperials. If we want that, let’s make more Rogue One type films, but TFA should’ve made better realization of the gains made from Return. It should be an actual war between two equal(ish) factions, not rebels all over again.

      I didn’t have a lot fan speculation on what should happen next. I just wanted a good story and a satisfying follow up on all those mystery box set ups in TFA. That and no rehash of ESB. I was intrigued by a grumpy Luke and wondered what could make him lose faith. A friend of mine who I really respect their opinion in story saw TLJ first and recommended it, saying it wasn’t an ESB reboot.

      So I feel going into it, I had a pretty open mind and was ready for a lot of things. What I wasn’t ready for was throwing away all those mystery boxes, now found to be empty (Chekhov’s Gun, what is thy name?). Nor was I ready for a scrambled rehash of ESB. I started strong but realized I was trying to like it, wondering what was wrong with me and realizing I actually hated it. (I described my story collapse on the other thread, but it was: Leia’s fakeout death, the baddies deciding to sit on their hands just when they were about to kill the Rebels, and then the crazy Finn-Rose Reading Ahead in the Script plan that killed the tension of the cruiser plot that knocked me out of the story.) It was all down hill from there.

      Oh yeah, and to top it off, some people like to mock the EU by going after the Dark Empire comics… and then we got an even worse iteration of it in Rise. I submit there is away of adapting the Dark Empire’s comic’s version of the resurrected Emperor that would be interesting (I would cut out all of the super weapons except the World Devastators because they’re cool) . But not in the last film with already established plots in play with zero foreshadowing in the previous films that old man Palps is alive. That is definitely worse than the comics.

    8. Thomas says:

      What I was hoping for were some good special effects, a sense of wonder and awe, and some world-building that spin-off material could latch onto.

      I liked the idea of telling ‘Westerns in Star Wars’ and ‘War films in Star Wars’, so I was more excited by the idea of the spin-offs than the main films, but I figured the main films would be a gateway to that.

      TFA was very very pretty and successfully (momentarily) detoxified Star Wars for the fans who were put off by the prequels. It didn’t have enough world building for me and the story was non-existent, but I figured it did the job.

      Something like the story of The Last Jedi but with the tone of mystique of The Force Awakens would have been perfect.

      I really like Rogue One and wish all the spin-offs had been like that, but even less relayed to canon.

      I really just want to play videogames on exotic alien planets whilst being a space knight.

    9. Sleepyfoo says:

      I was expecting a Mirror of the prequels, actually. I was expecting a movie world-building the New Republic, introducing the new characters (one or more of which were going to be Luke’s student(s) in the New Jedi) from their perspective as people that grew up after the war.

      Probably with an undercurrent of things aren’t as solid as they should be (shown through the not student new MC-han analog).

      Include an inciting Incident (that can be “solved” within the one movie) and the reveal of the trilogy villian/faction.

      Those broad strokes were all I really expected from the first movie. Instead we got A New Hope 2.0, and I was disappointed. It wasn’t terrible, and had lots of story potential, but it took the world in a different direction than I thought it should go.

  33. Crimson Dragoon says:

    If you’re looking for another name to attribute Mandalorian’s success to, it would have to be Dave Filoni. He was the creator of Clone Wars and Rebels, and is an executive producer on this. His work with Star Wars has been gold so far. He’s got a good knack for pulling from all parts of the lore (even the EU – like bringing Thrawn back) and making a coherent, consistent story. This season of Mandalorian is pulling in a lot of threads from his previous shows.

    He’d be my pick for creative lead in a heartbeat.

    1. Christopher Wolf says:

      He directs the next episode, so let’s see what he brings to the table when he is directly hands on!

      1. pseudonym says:

        I am really interested. It is called “the Jedi” so we will see Ahsoka again. Really interesting to see how her character has developed.

        I would like to chime in and credit John Favreau for the success of the Mandalorian. Creating a team of artistic people and providing an environment where they work happily together, bouncing ideas of eachother and have a lot of fun during the production is not something that can be taken for granted. There is a documentary on disney+ about how the Mandalorian was made. I recommend watching it, it is fun to watch!

        Having said that, I am a big fan of Dave Filoni’s work too. His influence is certainly one of the important factors why the Mandalorian is such a great success. Also composer Ludwig Göransson for creating the great music is a big factor in this.

        1. MerryWeathers says:

          His influence is certainly one of the important factors why the Mandalorian is such a great success. Also composer Ludwig Göransson for creating the great music is a big factor in this.

          I actually thought the episodes he directed were one of the weaker ones in season 1, chalking it up to simple inexperience with live-action stuff. I hope he significantly improved in season 2 like how Bryce Dallas Howard did with her episodes.

          I do wonder if Filoni is responsible for all the wider EU references in the show or if Favreau is just that much of a fan.

    2. CraigM says:

      This is the correct take. Filoni is absolutely the creative spark that gets the most credit.

      While I like most of the sequel trilogy (I really loved the idea of Rey being a nobody and hate that JJ backtracked that), if AI were calling the shots I would back up whatever money dump trucks are needed to get Filoni to take over.

  34. Cubic says:

    It’s like watching a young man get dumped. He doesn’t even seem to understand why he’s being dumped, so he keeps flailing around and trying to say or do ANYTHING that might make the girl love him again. The longer he goes on, the more desperate and improbable his pleas become. In the end, he’s promising things he can’t possibly give her

    For your final shot, young man, I recommend that you shout “I’ll even break up with my other girlfriend!”

  35. Grimwear says:

    I don’t follow Disney as a company much and I can’t say I know what their execs are planning but if I were in their position I’d be running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I know Covid hit their theme parks hard and that back in May their debt went up 11 billion so I wouldn’t be surprised if the execs are more focused on getting the parks going again. Restarting their movie and tv sets seems much easier and it’s possible they’ve decided to just let Favreau continue with The Mandalorian while they figure that out, then will move to movies. More importantly movies are in an incredibly awkward position. Nolan’s movie Tenet was supposed to bring people back to theatres but I don’t think many people showed up. James Bond and Wonder Woman got pushed back repeatedly. Everyone is scared of dipping their toes in the water and I wouldn’t be surprised if Kennedy and Star Wars films have fallen by the wayside since it’s too much hassle as is to figure out how to make a smash Star Wars hit. I’d personally be much more worried about when I can release Black Widow which prior to Covid would have been another financial success.

    As an aside I remember over the summer Dairy Queen was offering their Wonder Woman 1984 blizzards and the movie never came out. Marketing deals are made months/years in advance and can’t just be pushed back or postponed. I wouldn’t be putting any money into marketing when there’s no way to know when movies should actually be released. I recently heard that the new Wonder Woman is now being released in theatres and on hbo at the same time? So people can pick their poison. Not sure how it will turn out but it’s interesting to see these studios grasping at straws trying to determine how to successfully present movies in the Covid era.

    1. Richard says:

      Movies are in a very strange position.

      The movies that release at the moment cinemas properly reopen will make an absolute fortune, because the pent-up demand is massive.

      But the movies released just before that will flop.

      You can keep a nearly-finished movie or even completed master back for as long as you like – this is a pretty common thing to do, there are a huge number of movies that were shot, edited except for final FX (or even fully finished) and then shelved. Sometimes because the timing would suck (you don’t release a movie about a plane crash just after Sept 11 2001), other times for no apparent reason (most likely taxation).

      On top of that, it’s almost impossible to shoot a live-action movie right now – you need too many people in one place to safely do so. No big name cast/director/producers will risk it.

      So while there’s huge pent up demand, once the cinemas reopen they will very rapidly run out of new films to show!

      And yet – There’s still bills to pay, and Netflix et al have literal mountains of money, so perhaps the least risky route really is to release on streaming and cinema together – if you’re early to the cinema, you’ll still get the guaranteed Netflix gold, and the box office takings will help you figure out when the ‘real’ cinema reopening is going to be.

      1. Daimbert says:

        I heard that that is exactly what’s happening to Wonder Woman 84: simultaneous release on a streaming platform and into the theaters.

      2. Kathryn says:

        I don’t know about pent-up demand. One would have thought there was pent-up demand for sports, but sports viewing is WAY down from previous years. I wonder how many people decided that getting their evenings and weekends back was actually better. (I say this as a sports fan who is now done with all sports except F1, and frankly, I don’t think I’m going to hang around for that much longer, either.) Similarly, I wonder how many people have decided that the home theater experience is superior to the movie theater.

        It’s going to be very interesting to see how things shake out in the future.

      3. Radkatsu says:

        “The movies that release at the moment cinemas properly reopen will make an absolute fortune, because the pent-up demand is massive.”

        One problem with this: the theatres are never coming back. Nor are most of the other businesses destroyed during all this bullshit.

        Disney and the others clearly know this, hence why they’ve desperately been trying to dump the movies on streaming (Mulan was a catastrophe for a whole bunch of reasons, the new Bond is so bad that no one wants it, WW84 going straight to streaming, etc). Get used to it, the world we were all used to isn’t coming back. And it’s by design.

        (edit: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Apparently I did something to incur Shamus’s wrath :(

  36. Christopher says:

    The Mandalorian has been fun. I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan of any of the movies, and I just tuned out of the new movies after I watched TFA and thought it was a worse retread of the first one. But I think Not-Batman(or Not-Goblin Slayer, Not-your preferred masked morally somewhat questionably driven hero)bounty hunter adventures is the kinda thing you can get into regardless of your investment in the overall franchise.

  37. Paul Spooner says:

    The Disney of my youth was a company that could do no wrong

    Financially perhaps. There was some pretty vitriolic opposition to Disney’s… let’s say “social messaging” even back then.

    1. John says:

      I have no idea what Paul’s cryptically hinting at, but I’ll tell you all about my “vitriolic opposition” to Disney’s “messaging” back in the 1990s. Back then, Disney called absolutely every movie they released either an “animated classic” or a “family classic”, regardless of the project’s actual age or quality. Pocahontas? Another Disney animated classic! The cheaply animated direct-to-video sequel to Pocahontas? Another Disney animated classic! Better buy it for your kids right now, or it’ll go into The Vault and you’ll miss out! In short, Disney produced a whole lot of stuff that absolutely no one but Disney would ever call “classic” and then marketed it ruthlessly, unceasingly, and absolutely everywhere. There’s a clip from The Critic that summarizes my views pretty well. I’ve tried and failed to find it on YouTube, so you’ll have to be content with the script. Imagine a movie critic auditioning for a spot as the new partner of the late Gene Siskel:

      Auditioner: Tim Allen gives that same likeable performance we always love, once again proving Disney pictures have the magic touch that may not win awards but keep America smiling. How was that?

      Gene Siskel : You’re Satan, aren’t you?

      Auditioner: [Transforms into Satan.] You win another round, Siskel! But we shall meet again!

      The clip is specifically referencing various middling-at-best live action Disney films from the 1990s, the kind in which Tim Allen turns into a dog, Santa Claus, or whatever, and then presumably learns valuable lessons about being a better person. The thing is I feel or at least felt that way about most of the films that Disney produced in the 1990s, including most of the animated films in the so-called Disney renaissance. Disney’s marketing at the time was deeply irritating to me. The marketing in 2020 isn’t necessarily any better, objectively speaking, but at least I no longer feel as though it’s trying to bludgeon me about the head and neck with the phrase “another Disney classic”.

      1. Falling says:

        Yeah, in my youth it was a given that Disney was terrible at sequels. Really it was all that straight to VHS/ DVD garbage they would shovel out for their popular franchises. Low quality art and poor story telling- sometimes what seemed to be three disconnected episodes for a non-existent tv show. As a youth, I wouldn’t have been able to properly analyze what was wrong with their sequels, but I knew something was off and in my circles it was common knowledge that they were bad.

        Which is why Toy Story 2 (Pixar, not Disney) surprised me so much because by that point, I didn’t really think movies could do good sequels (aside from Star Wars, of course.)

  38. DaveMc says:

    Is there a Kickstarter I can support that will pay people ten cents per post if they promise to spell out the actual names of these damn films? Not every time, just once at the top of each post … Reading through this dizzying field of TFA, TLJ, and TRoS is a constant struggle for me, because I don’t do it often enough to just parse them as words in their own right. And OT is, what, the Original Trilogy?
    Letters are free on the internet, people, use a few of them to spare an ageing man some pain, could you?

    1. krellen says:

      PT: Prequel Trilogy, consisting of:
      TPM: The Phantom Menace
      AOTC: Attack of the Clones (the dumbest name in Star Wars canon)
      ROTS: Revenge of the Sith (sometimes ROS)

      OT: Original Trilogy, consisting of:
      ANH: A New Hope, aka “Star Wars”
      ESB: The Empire Strikes Back
      ROTJ: Return of the Jedi

      ST: Sequel Trilogy, consisting of:
      TFA: The Force Awakens
      TLJ: The Last Jedi
      TROS: The Rise of Skywalker (sometimes ROS because people are forgetful and like to confuse others)

      Does this help?

      1. Abnaxis says:

        I don’t think I will ever read TLJ as anything but “The Longest Journey” on the first pass. I sunny know why a game a played what, 20+ years ago (ugh, so long? ) but I guess it’s where I got my goto internet username from (mostly because it’s always free) so it makes a slight bit of sense…?

        1. Elmeri says:

          Hey, same here. After all these years, TLJ is still one of my favourite point-and-clicks, so it’s way closer to my heart than TLJ. (Your name sounded a bit weird so I had to check, and sure enough, the guy was actually named Abnaxus. :))

          1. Abnaxis says:

            Yeah 14-year-old me spelled it with an ‘i’ incorrectly. Not on purpose, just didn’t know any better…

            Now I recognize it as a (maybe well done? Been to long and nostalgia glasses are a thing) trope, but when I was young that character BLEW MY MIND.

          2. DeadlyDark says:

            And unlike sequel trilogy, this TLJ had a more or less competent conclusion, with Dreamfall Chapters. One of the best kickstarter projects, I spent my money on

            1. Thomas says:

              My favourite Kickstarter too I think

        2. Nate says:

          I don’t think I will ever read TLJ as anything but “The Longest Journey” on the first pass.

          Same here!

          But Dreamfall was extremely disappointing (and very bleak and bitter – a little like TLJ in that way) and Dreamfall Chapters seriously needed an editor.

          Still, I’m glad the story is finished, finally.

      2. DaveMc says:

        It does, thanks!

  39. wswordsmen says:

    I am going to take the unpopular, and probably bizarre, opinion of this thread.

    I liked the movie better than TFA and TLJ.

    Now pick your jaws off the floor, it was still the worst movie in almost every individual aspect of the 3, but I felt they got one thing right about the “feel” of Star Wars the other movies got wrong. It made the Galaxy a character again, which is one of the best things about SW IMO.

    Now I can’t explain why I thought it did this better than TFA, TLJ on the other hand I could, but something about the way it moved around the various planets, planet bi-decennial party and planet Poe’s backstory mostly, just made it feel like the characters were making choices on where to go, and yes I realize I am probably forgetting some contrivance about how or why they needed to go to them, as opposed to reading the script to find out where they were going. Ironic I know considering most of the rest of the movie only functions because the characters did in fact read the script.

    Also every time this movie tries to retcon anything about TLJ it offends me with my own opinion about TLJ, which is impressive for all the wrong reasons.

    And to answer a few questions:
    1. No I am not watching it again.
    2. I know it won’t hold up.
    3. Yes, on basically every level that can be objectively measured it is the worst of the 3.
    4. No, anything to do with Exo-Geni was horrible.

    Try not to roast me too badly.

  40. RFS-81 says:

    Well, it had some great visuals. My thoughts at the beginning were “This is awesome! The stupid makes my brain hurt, but this is awesome! Look at the weird mummy dudes!”

    If you were to make a PG-13 live-action version of Heavy Metal, the scenes on Exegol and the horse-archers riding on top of the spaceship would be A-grade material! Just don’t waste too much time on pretending to have a story. Over two hours of disjointed nonsense is a bit much.

    1. Shamus says:

      You know, I didn’t mention the visuals but I think you’ve made a good point: I think it’s the most visually interesting of the 3. The Last Jedi had some lovely visual moments – like with the red sand and the Holdo maneuver – but Rise of SkyLOLer really was a visual feast.

      Shame about the everything else.

      1. MerryWeathers says:

        I would say TLJ had a lot more variety in it’s shots, some in TROS are genuinely beautiful like the Sinta Glacier Colony but it was just a whole lot of blue for the rest of the movie.

  41. Abnaxis says:

    Isn’t there usually a 1 movie lag before you see a box-office hit after a stinker? Like, everyone who doesn’t research probably went to see RoS because they hadn’t been burned yet, now they’ve been disillusioned so they’ll pass on the next movie.

    Maybe they while thing Favreau thing will happen after the next sequel hits Disney in the wallet.

    1. Grimwear says:

      You’re right. The problem is just that where people fall off is very different. But looking at the box office numbers Star Wars was on a steep decline which is not what you want to see. Honestly Force Awakens doesn’t really give any meaningful information because it’s the return of Star Wars and therefore even if it was the worst movie ever it would make huge sums of money. But looking at the numbers we have:

      Force Awakens – 2 billion.
      Rogue One – 1 billion. Now this is a stand alone so it would always make less money. It’s like comparing an Avengers film to Ant-Man. You just don’t get as many viewers.
      Last Jedi – 1.3 billion. A strong showing numbers wise but also very divisive and this is where people start falling off. Honestly I’m willing to bet its divisive nature harmed it’s subsequent week sales more than helped them but we’ll never know. At any rate this is where I dropped off the Star Wars train.
      Han Solo – 400 million. Second stand alone. Now we’re alarmed because these numbers are horrid for Star Wars. But what’s the problem? Supposedly production had a lot of issues and reshoots. Maybe people just didn’t want a Han Solo prequel. Maybe people are still upset over Last Jedi. Either way Disney has noticed a distinct downward trend and need to find something that works. At this point they shelve all their other trilogies and stand alone movies in order to focus on the final trilogy film and make sure it’s a hit. It’s not really comparable but Marvel’s Ant-Man sequel made an additional 100 million over the previous. The second Star Wars stand alone made 600 million less. Not a good look.
      Rise of Skywalker – 1 billion. This is horrid. They made the least amount of money out of all the trilogy movies. And this was Disney scrambling for success. They held many test screenings and had tons of different cuts. Supposedly they even had a George Lucas cut though that would never see the light of day since Kennedy and him don’t like each other. And where does the problem lie? A lot of the blame was placed on Last Jedi. So Disney wants something for everyone. Something familiar in order to get the success of Force Awakens. So they bring back Abrams but Abrams is upset because he had all his tired cliche’d plot threads set up at the end of Force Awakens and Rian threw them all out the window and “ruined” everything. So now Abrams is stuck and must choose how to end this mess of a trilogy and he ends up taking the petty road of slighting Last Jedi and retconning all the giant changes that Rian made. Which makes everything even more muddled. But at the end of the day the damage is done. Most of the people who decided to leave after Last Jedi aren’t coming back. Some do, just to put an end to the trilogy but even then the numbers aren’t good. And Disney is in trouble knowing if they try and force another trilogy that it may even lead to a flop.

      So I’d say the burning already happened earlier and Rise was just the final nail in the coffin. If I were a Disney exec running Star Wars I’d be focusing my efforts on stand alone movies that take place in different places with singular characters. Essentially doing the MCU thing all over again. Different planets, different stories. If one movie doesn’t make money, drop it and those characters never show up again. If it’s successful you can then make a sequel. Then if you get enough characters people like seeing bring them together a la Avengers. But that takes time and effort. And Disney, having paid billions for Star Wars wanted to start making a profit off it immediately and we’re left with a muddled and poorly received universe.

      1. Lino says:

        Very good analysis. When comparing it with the Avengers, I think they forgot one very important lesson – regardless of whether you’re making one movie or a multiverse of them, you need characters people care about. Ones with actual flaws and character arcs. Ones that struggle, and suffer failure.

        It’s ironic how they made the same mistake every other big studio has made – launching a cinematic universe without thinking about launching a movie people will like. Or at the very least, a movie that most people find enjoyable. And regardless of our opinions on the ST, I think we can all agree that a large group of people didn’t find them very enjoyable.

  42. Wangwang says:

    I think you are a bit unfair when compare the MCU with Star Wars. Yes, 3 movies in 4 years compare to 23 movies in 11 years seem like a cakewalk. But those 3 movies need to satisfy 37 years of expectation, not to mention correcting the wrong of its predecessor. The MCU is literally 11 years old. People expect a lot less from a 11 years old child than a 37 years old man. (And yes, I know Superhero is around way longer than Star Wars, but the MCU is always a bit of its own thing rather than a part of the bigger franchise.)
    When people criticize the The Last Jedi, they don’t just compare it to The Force Awaken. They compare its to EVERYTHING Star Wars, from the original trilogy to the prequel trilogy to the EU. Those 3 movies does not just need to be its own thing. It’s need to conclude a 37 years old saga. Compare to that, I say Endgame has it easy.

  43. Falling says:

    What a mess indeed.

    I think TLJ was more damaging to the franchise and the sequels as far as upending established lore, plus it was rife with contrivances and incoherencies.

    Rise was… a wreck.
    My analogy is TFA put the trilogy in a very narrow cliff corridor with not much room to maneuver. TLJ put the series into a tail spin. And with the cliff wall rapidly approaching, Rise rips the steering away and flies straight into the opposite cliff wall.

    I’m glad I didn’t see it in theatres because my brother and kept pausing the video all the way through to exclaim “Why would you do such a thing?” (of the writers). What a baffling set of decisions. Silly fetch quests and a giant fleet that somehow rendered inoperable because of their stupid location and because the Emperor mistimed his announcement. Unforced error. You could accomplish the same with less ships and actually them to fight at full capacity. Bigger copy-pasted armies and fleets doesn’t mean better. Smarter battles are more interesting.

    But I largely lack the energy to pick apart Rise as vigorously as TLJ. Rise was the nail in the coffin that demonstrated with resounding finality that they never planned out this sequels contrary to the claims of the defenders of TLJ. But the series was dead on arrival with TLJ for me, so it’s hard to spend much time analyzing how bad the last nail was.

    1. krellen says:

      Where are these defenders of TLJ that claimed they had planned out the sequels? JJ Abrams is infamous for his disdain of planning.

      1. Falling says:

        The ones that claim that TLJ was the perfect follow up to TFA. And then the ones that were very excited for how IX would end, fulfilling the through line of TFA to TLJ to IX. At the time, there were lots of comparisons to the MCU- Star Wars had their own story group to keep things on the straight and narrow. (Not sure what they did? Sweet gig though.) Exactly when people realized their was very little planned, will vary of course. TFA I thought there was some sort of plan. In TLJ, I realized there was none. Some still think there was a plan. In the last thread we even had someone say that if you thought Palps wasn’t set up in the first two, you weren’t paying attention. They didn’t care to expand upon that point, but there’s a very recent example.

        It’s a fairly minor point all things considered, except to say Rise was the nail in the coffin for me.

        1. Syal says:

          In the last thread we even had someone say that if you thought Palps wasn’t set up in the first two, you weren’t paying attention.

          I’m fairly sure they were trolling with that.

          1. Falling says:

            Well, Poe’s Law strikes again in that case.
            Thing is, I’d run into enough people that thought along those lines that I could believe it was truly held belief. Most pro-TLJ tend not to take that view I will grant you and indeed took an equally dim view of Rise as us anti-TLJ folk. But there are the Everything is Awesome fans in Star Wars. All power to them, I guess.

  44. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    I hate-watched a matinee. I’d seen every star wars movie in cinemas (OK, I saw the rereleases of the OT in the 1990s) and thought I should see Rise, even though I didn’t want to. You know, sometimes you just have to see something through to the end.

    I didn’t particularly enjoy it -I’m pretty much done with Star Wars. I’d been working my way there since the New Jedi Order books, though. I now take my Star Wars a la carte.

    But I think this should be noted. When I left the theater I felt like Abrams had landed the plane. Both wings came off, the engines exploded, the aircraft spun out on the runway -but the plane was on the ground and more or less intact. There were survivors.

    After The Last Jedi, I thought the entire trilogy had been torched.

    My big knock on Abrams is that he sets up big puzzle boxes with no answer, and then sells them to suckers to figure out a satisfying ending. In Rise of Skywalker, he actually finished what he started and cleaned up the mess Johnson left him.

    It wasn’t a great movie -but compared to the nose-dive the series was on after Last Jedi, I think Abrams should get some credit that the series didn’t end in a smoking crater.

  45. krellen says:

    TROS didn’t need to be a disaster, but I think it was destined to be one as soon as it was titled “the Rise of Skywalker”.

    The path forward needed to be a divorce from the Skywalkers and the legacy of the Jedi (and Sith).

    Honestly, Abrams might have already screwed the pooch by using up the great “The Force Awakens” in the first film, instead of saving it for the last.

    My follow-up to The Last Jedi would have been a character exploration. We have Kylo Ren, rejected by his parents, his uncle, and the first-girl-he’s-ever-laid-eyes-upon-and-thus-has-a-crush-on, who has just seized control of the remnants of the First Order through assassination. We have General Hux, who (probably rightfully) believes he should take over the First Order. We’ve got Rey, who has failed to find the guidance she was looking for and hopes the Ancient Jedi Texts will be that. We’ve got Poe, who needs to rally the Resistance and their allies. We’ve got Finn, who has just found a new cause to fight for and a stronger way to fight for it.

    These are our main cast; the rest are supporting characters.

    The conflict comes in two storylines that will converge at the end. First we’ve got Kylo Ben and Hux struggling for control of the First Order. Hux is the tactician and the leader; the soldiers want to follow him. But Kylo is an uncontrolled ball of hate, fury, and pain, who can kill any one who disobeys him with a twitch of his hand. So their story line is their struggle for control of the First Order, with Kylo chewing scenery (Alan Driver is great at this) as he descends into the full depths of hate, while Hux keeps trying to manipulate things from the sidelines without being directly in Kylo’s line of sight (literally).

    Rey, on the other hand, is struggling to find her future with the Force. Rey is frustrated that the Ancient Jedi Texts just aren’t giving her the insights she needs. She’s also getting frustrated – we know she has a connection with Ben and a touch of the Dark Side – and the story hints she might be setting up for a Fall and maybe even going back to Ben.

    Poe and Finn (and Rose) are trying to keep the Resistance together and rally the allies. While travelling to different worlds to renegotiate the Alliance, Finn starts to notice more and more small signs of the Force around him – not only he himself using it, but others, like the broom kid on Canto Bight. Since the only people he knows who know about the Force are back on (whatever planet they started at), he goes back to ask advice of Leia and Rey.

    Finn meets Leia, who has been trying to advise Rey but keeps getting pushed away in frustration. He tells her about the Force Sensitives he’s seen all across the galaxy – the Force seems to be more alive than it ever has been. And he thinks Rey needs to know about it.

    Rey, meanwhile, has started losing control – her frustration at not being able to master the Ancient Jedi techniques overwhelms her, and she has been communicating with Ben again; there is a sense she is about to fall to her Dark Side. Interrupting an exchange with an angry Kylo who demands she come back to him, she starts hearing the voices of old Masters. This could be largely clips from earlier films -“Let go”, “Do, or do not”, even “Let the Past Die”. “No one is ever really gone.” And Luke screaming, “Father… please.”

    And through the phantoms of voices, a real voice. Leia. “Hope is like the sun. If you only believe it when you see it you’ll never make it through the night.” And Finn. “That’s how we win, Rey. Saving what we love.”

    Rey has a revelation, casting off her doubts – and the Ancient Jedi Texts. She has learned what the Jedi never did, but what Luke had: that casting aside your feelings is not the way. The Way is by embracing the Light – which is not serenity. It is love.

    Back to the First Order, Kylo has cobbled together a semblance of command, having finally stopped Hux (likely fatally). He knows where Rey is, thanks to the Force-link, and he’s gathering what’s left of the First Order to wipe her – and the Resistance – out.

    Poe has rallied an Alliance and we get a large space battle between First Order and New Alliance, while Kylo lands planetside to confront Rey. They battle, and we have a series of reversals. At first, Kylo is rage and fury but cannot touch Rey, who easily deflects or avoids his blows. She is One with the Force, but she at no point does she strike at Ben. Then the Knights of Ren arrive, turning the tide and forcing Rey to retreat and struggle. Then, Rey’s allies arrive – Leia, and Finn, and Rose, all wielding lightsabres and as One with the Force as Rey.

    Through the battle, Kylo just keeps raging and raging, eventually turning on Leia and lashing at her like Luke did at Vader in RotJ: just double-handed flails that, even with her one-ness, she can barely deflect. The Knights have Rose and Finn fighting back-to-back, but they manage to allow Rey to go to Leia’s defence. In a three-way conflict, Leia and Rey take turns blocking Kylo’s blows, until he feints at Leia, then turns to strike Rey. Unable to parry, Leia deflects the sabre the only way she can – leaping into the way, taking the blow just as Han did in TFA.

    Horrified, Ben tears off his helmet. “Mother?! Why?” And she looks at him and replies, “This is how we win, son. By protecting what we love.”

    Kylo rages as Kylo does, smashing scenery and screaming while being largely ineffective. In his rage, he strikes the Knights with various parts of scenery or lightsabre strikes, knocking Finn, Rose and Rey aside. Finally, he stops over Rey, heaving in exhaustion, his blade just above her throat. And then he sees the Force-Ghosts. Leia. Han. Luke. Even Anakin.

    Leia urges him to put down the blade. “This is not who you are, Ben.”
    Han reaches out a hand. “Make me proud, son.”
    Luke smiles with earned wisdom. “No one is ever really gone.”
    Anakin: “I came back. So can you.”

    Tears flowing down his cheeks, Kylo extinguishes the sabre and, sobbing, falls into the arms of the Force-Ghosts – who catch him. And then he’s one of them.

    The Fall of Skywalker is the ascension of the Skywalker Clan to be with the Force, leaving the Galaxy in the hands of a new generation, and giving us a new title.

    Poe can have a challenge in space I guess. It’d make good visuals and stuff, but I don’t really care about Poe so someone else can write him a good story.

    1. Thomas says:

      I’d watch that. How would you adapt it to Carrie Fisher’s death? I think the basic frame still works, but you lose the easy way to resolve the character arc for Kylo.

      1. krellen says:

        I mostly did that already with Rey pushing her to the background. They have the technology to mostly-composite her for any close-ups needed; the biggest problem would be getting new lines read. I’m not 100% how to square that circle; having an impressionist do it would be the traditional Hollywood trick.

        The film would, of course, be dedicated in her memory.

      2. Syal says:

        How would you adapt it to Carrie Fisher’s death?

        Important lesson for live-action filming; record a shot of every actor putting on a fancy helmet. Then if there’s ever any tragic off-screen stuff that means they can’t do scenes anymore, you can edit in the helmet scene, put the helmet on an extra and shoot the scenes anyway.

    2. Baron Tanks says:

      That…. actually works. Questionable or not how we got here, this is an outline that is informed by the characters and it’s compelling. And we’ll have space* to breathe and take it in….

      *my firm belief why so much of the Mandalorian works comes down to pacing. It doesn’t nail it every time, but when it comes to too condensed and breakneck (see the VAST majority of blockbuster film this day) and too drawn out (i.e. why am I watching all this filler?!) it gets the pacing right more often than not. Turns out that this gives room for the visuals, acting and sound design to shine. Who would have thought? Except nearly a century of cinema to fall back on…

    3. Lino says:

      I don’t know. No offence – maybe it’s because I never liked any of the new characters – but all of that sounds extremely boring to me. At least the Episode IX we got had some spectacle. It was many things, but boring it was definitely not.

      1. Thomas says:

        Sprinkle some set-piece dust over the script and you can fix that. This is an outline of the character arcs but I think there’s plenty of space to throw in some space fights and chases and set the various bits and pieces on beautiful alien planets.

      2. Falling says:

        I think it’s a valiant attempt, but really the series ran out of credible villains by the end of TLJ.
        TFA Hux could maybe pull off that rivalry (which is a good idea). But TLJ Hux is a sad shell of that man. He’s the comedic punching bag, the butt of the joke, the Charlie Brown of the Empire. This was deliberate.

        “Domhnall Gleeson, who we play with in this film, in a slightly more comic way than in the Force Awakens. I found the character of Hux, I don’t know, I immediately found him very funny. I saw a lot of the humour potential in him. And I knew Kylo was going to be front and centre as kind of the heavy in this movie. We didn’t need another heavy between Kylo and Snoke and so the notion of Hux being this foil that could add a slightly different flavour to everything, I thought could be more useful.”
        Rian Johnson’s TLJ commentary.

        Rian didn’t need another major villain (though he’d be killing the main one) and so turned Hux into comic relief, which erodes any capability of using him for dramatic purposes in the final film with any degree of threat. It was no surprise to me that they summarily replaced him with that other fellow and offed Hux post-haste.

        And Snoke showed that Kylo was a petulant child. Then he died.
        Kylo needed to power up after TFA, but TLJ made him go backwards. IX should’ve been either Kylo or Rey’s movie as the ascendant villain. The rivalry is a great idea had TLJ not sabotaged the two remaining villains so badly. Neither could fill main villain vacuum, so they turned to old man Palps. Still bad idea, but understandable given the circumstances.

    4. RFS-81 says:

      I would watch this!

  46. Bloodsquirrel says:

    I don’t even know how to critique it. It feels like trying to review an automobile accident. This doesn’t feel like a movie. Instead it feels like something that can only be explained via analogy:

    I don’t know, the actual reason seems straight forward enough to me:

    “It’s like they tried to make a trilogy with two directors who had completely different ideas about what they were doing, who didn’t talk to each other, and neither of whom cared much about having a plan for where it was all going, while the supposed executive producer was asleep at the wheel and did nothing to reign either of them in.”

    I mean, I predicted this exact result before RoS came out- it was pretty easy to see how hard it would be to find anywhere to go with the story with the way TLJ “subverted” all of the plot threads, and JJ Abrams can barely keep his own shit together. TFA was full of his trademark “mystery box” storytelling, which has a tendency to descend into incoherence even without a monkey wrench being thrown into his plans. Everything about RoS screams “desperation move” to try to deliver a trilogy’s worth of story in one movie while working with a lot of dead weight in the form of characters that he didn’t know what to do with anymore. Having Carrie Fisher die didn’t help, as they were clearly planning on relying on her to be the major emotional anchor to the OT, and neither did Billy Dee Williams being in too poor health to do much with.

    I even remember watching the trailer and commenting on reddit about how great the line from C3PO about seeing his friends for the last time was as a line in a trailer, but how I was sure that it would be completely meaningless in the movie because it was going to come out of nowhere without with no emotional groundwork to make it stick. And I was exactly right- C3PO wound up saying it to a bunch of people who barely interacted with him and basically treated him as disposable for the sake of a contrived heroic sacrifice that they promptly un-did.

  47. Nate says:

    but this opening scene had me asking, “But what do they MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX!?”

    Palpatine obviously just straight up bought his fleet on the Holonet from Canto Bight, because that’s apparently what everyone does in the Star Wars galaxy now. Something something outsourcing globalization Francis Fukuyama’s End of History…

    (I know, it’s a cheap shot, but the weird TLJ Canto Bight “they sell to both sides” nonsense never ceases to amuse me. Star Wars RPG sourcebooks in the 1990s were full of entire corporate espionage adventure campaigns about Imperial Companies Versus Rebel Companies because no, the Empire did NOT sell X-Wings to the Rebels, because that’s also not a thing that happened in World War 2 or in the Cold War. When you have a war, it becomes treason to sell to your enemies, so defense companies get nationalised and highly regulated. But for some reason Hollywood became obsessed with this bizarre strawman of “capitalist war profiteers sell weapons to both sides!” when in fact it’s what OUR side does with OUR weapons to our ENEMIES that racks up the body count.)

    1. RFS-81 says:

      We don’t know that the galaxy is neatly partitioned into Republic planets and First Order planets, so I wouldn’t call it nonsense.

      1. Falling says:

        We didn’t know anything at all about this galaxy because the Sequel trilogy is allergic to worldbuilding.
        I see a lot of this as a reaction against the Prequels, but they learned all the wrong lessons. They tried so hard to not be the Prequels, they copied forms of the OT without understanding how it worked. If you go back to IV, there’s very efficient worldbuilding in just a few hallways scenes with Imperial officers talking that reveals the wider world and creates a dynamic political situation as the Emperor seizes control from the Senate. And it’s all basically offscreen!

        The OT is very good and hinting that there’s more out there and does so quickly and clearly.
        TFA and TLJ especially feel like isolation chambers from the rest of the galaxy. There is nothing else out there because ‘politics (taxation negotiations) is bad and boring’ was the supposed conclusion from the Prequels.

        1. RFS-81 says:

          Yeah, I’ve been wondering if Politics Bad is the reason behind the whole But what even is a First Order? problem.

          1. Falling says:

            I think that is exactly right. Apparently the Empire even exists in some capacity, separate from the First Order. But you can find that information nowhere in the movies.

            The ironic thing is if they hadn’t tried to reboot the series back to the political situation of Episode IV, the set up would’ve been way simpler and required far less explanation. If what existed was a New Republic that controlled a part of the galaxy and a rump Empire for another part and everything else neutral, you can drop that information very quickly and move on. Using the natural momentum and direction of Return of the Jedi the backstory easy. Instead they had to twist into contortions to get the geopolitical reboot and add extra factions (New Republic- off screen, Resistance (relationship unclear with NR), Empire- sir not appearing in this film, and First Order (relationship unclear with Empire)). All of which should have meant more explanation… and then in this more complex political environment, they decided to explain nothing.

            Then for the final act they decide to ditch the First Order and add a new faction out of thin air. What a way to (not) build a secondary world!

  48. Nate says:

    I do want to say though that there’s one thing I love about all of the Disney Star Wars movie:

    Their ship interiors look fantastic.

    Whoever the designers were, they did a great job of taking 1970s aesthetics and updating them, especially with computer consoles, to look familiar and yet also not obsolete.

    I just wish there’d been a story to go along with the great backgrounds.

  49. Dev Null says:


    Don’t get me wrong; I thought Rise of Skywalker was a terrible nonsensical story with cool explosions. I just find it interesting that you’re spending so much time and effort contrasting it with Avengers Endgame – which I thought was a terrible nonsensical story with cool explosions. And the Mandalorian. I know I’m behind on the latter – I’ve only just seen the first few in season 2 – and I quite enjoyed season 1, but the first one in season 2 was a terrible nonsensical story with a cool scene where a glorified stormtrooper punches a sandworm to death from the inside for literally no reason at all. I mean, there is no reason for him to believe finding more Madalorians will help the kid, no reason for him to believe the demonstrably-backstabbing gangster about where to find them, no reason for our hardened mercenary to not just kill the guy defiling his religious relic and instead decide to help him, and their plan to kill it was clearly hatched by a 3-year-old. Who was drunk at the time. And talk about “what does it eat” moments; at least Herbert made his sandworms filter-feeders. The second episode appears to be about milking comedy value from eating potential sentients, while flying spaceships underground. They’re pretty still, but they’re not wowing me with the power and depth of their storytelling and character development so far.

  50. Thomas says:

    Going back on the ideas of TLJ was a real mistake. Perhaps ‘redeem’ Luke and sideline Rose if you really want to send a signal to people who didn’t like TLJ. You can even explain Snoke if you have to.

    But the ideas of ‘No-one is no-one’ and Broom Boy and letting the Jedi texts go were good, and the hard work had already been done to establish them. It made the film worse as a film trying to cram in retcon to everyone, and it made the trilogy worse not flowing from the themes of the second.

    It shows a lack of talent somewhere at Disney that they couldn’t identify the parts of TLJ that people could unite around from among the parts that a lot of people disliked.

    A good storyteller should be able to diagnose the problems, not blanket label everything.

    1. John says:

      Punching someone who punched you first more often than not is wrong. It’s an understandable impulse, but it usually just makes things worse.

    2. Bloodsquirrel says:

      Broom Boy might work for a new trilogy, but bringing in a new hero for the third movie of the current trilogy, which also require a sizable time skip since he’s currently way too young?

      Letting go of the Jedi texts was “subverted” already in TLJ, and RoS didn’t really have anything to do with them anyway.

      “No-one is no-one” doesn’t really give them anything to work with plot-wise. It would have worked as an overarching theme if it had been introduced in the first movie, developed in the second, and resolved in the third, but as it was it was just sort of a thing that was thrown in out of nowhere around the 2/3 mark of the second movie.

      I’ve seen lots of people suggest that there was plenty of material in TLJ for a third movie to be built on top of, but I’ve yet to see anyone give a fully workable example (There’s another post upthread that does the same, followed by a response that shows why none of the ideas would work). The fundamental problem is that TLJ ends like the end of a trilogy, not the middle of one. No matter how much you may have liked any of the ideas in TLJ, they didn’t leave themselves open for a third movie to pick them back up and resolve them.

      What they really should have done was abandon ship on the “trilogy” and start a new one. It’s not like there was anything of particular import left hanging after TLJ, and it would have given them the freedom to skip forward and, I don’t know, actually trying planning this time.

      EDIT: Also, it’s worth mentioning again that while TLJ fans talk about JJ abandoning TLJ’s “good ideas”, they don’t seem to notice that RJ himself fails to commit to them himself. Just like with the “sacred texts”, TLJ fails to actually follow through with the most provocative things it suggests, like having Rey join Kylo.

      1. Thomas says:

        I don’t mean to use that kid as a plot hook. But I think Krellen has got a very good write up above of how you get those themes into the next film.

        I don’t even necessarily mean they have to use the themes in the next film, and I’m definitely not talking about whether TLJ set up TROS well, I just think they shouldn’t have chucked out every idea.

        Rey’s parents are no-one? Keep that. Don’t waste screen time undoing it. TROS didn’t have enough time to do everything it needed as it did.

        1. Bloodsquirrel says:

          ROS didn’t have enough time to do everything it needed as it did.

          See, here’s the problem: RoS was overstuffed because the 3rd act of a trilogy is supposed to have a lot of things going on, but they’re supposed to have a lot of the groundwork laid by the previous movies. Rey’s parents being no-one might have been fine… except that they needed something to do with her character, and to have any weight behind it they needed something that was present in the previous films. But as of the end of TLJ, Rey has already had her tempted-by-the-dark side moment and come out of it, she’s already the most powerful force user in the galaxy, and she has nothing left in terms of any kind of internal struggle or need to grow.

          Krellen’s idea has a lot of problems, and this is one of them- it tries to tell us that suddenly Rey is struggling with the dark side and needs more training, but TLJ told us that neither of those things was true.

          Meanwhile, they needed some way to make more of a connection between Rey and Palpatine if he was going to be the main villain. You generally want there to be some kind of a more personal stake in the final confrontation, and not just Rey having a force battle with some dude she’s never met just because he’s the main bad guy. This is another problem that was created by TLJ- instead of using the movie to lay the emotional groundwork between Rey and the man villain, they killed him off, requiring RoS to pull something completely out of their asses to replace him.

          Going back to the well of “Rey’s parents” is the perfect example of the kind of shitty options that TLJ left JJ Abrams. Yeah, ideally, it’s not something you’d want to go back and retcon, but it was also one of the only pieces that Abrams had to work with. A better writer might have come up with something clever to do with it (and come up with a more clever main villain), but it was still the best solution available to the problem that Rian Johnson created by not giving a crap about how they were going to write a sequel to TLJ.

          This was one of the specific things that I predicted was going to be retconned pretty much immediately after TLJ came out, purely because of the above reasons. I wish I remember which thread it was in so that I could go back and link to myself, but I specifically said that it was one of the things that the third movie was going to walk back because they were going to need something to do with Rey’s character.

          1. krellen says:

            Rey refusing to abandon the Jedi Texts is actually the set-up for her struggle with the Dark Side. And the Force-bond with Kylo is the other catalyst. TLJ did not throw either of those things away.

          2. Gethsemani says:

            The thing is really that Rey’s arc is not finished at the end of TLJ. Not by a longshot. She leaves Luke without having finished her training, having come to heads with him about what the nature of the Force is and if the Jedi are even needed anymore. So she steals the teachings and goes to save her friends. As krellen said, the Force-bond with Kylo is the other piece of her character arc, she’s bonded to the guy running the FO and he’s struggling with his own morality just as much as she is with hers.

            At the end of TLJ she has chosen her friends and the light, but the issues with her not seeing the issue of tapping into the dark side and Kylo’s constant tempting her to do so remains. A better writer then JJ could have done something cool with this, but it would have required taking some real chances with the narrative. To be fair to JJ I also think that Disney was clamping down on him pretty hard not to take chances like permanently destroying the Jedi and Sith dichotomy.

        2. Bloodsquirrel says:

          EDIT: Yeah, RoS was overstuffed, but if they’d dropped the “Rey’s parents” storyline they would have just had to replace it with something else that would have needed to be built up from scratch, which would have made the movie even more overstuffed. What would have helped would have been walking back even more of TLJ. Snoke somehow surviving*, for example, would have relieved them of the need to bring back Palpatine, which was one of the things that needed to be explained a lot more than they had time for.

          *I had an idea that he was really an ancient Sith spirit that was coming back and possessing people- it would have explained why he seemed to come out of nowhere, his appearance (his possession slowly destroys the bodies he’s in), and gives him a way to come back. He could have been trying to posses Rey as a child, and maybe her parents had to abandon her because they were strong force sensitives, and being together made it easier for him to sense them out or something.

          It’s not perfect, but it would have given them something to work with that would have looked like it was being built up across three films.

          1. Thomas says:

            I disagree. Rey’s parents could have been cut from the plot with almost no rewrites and it would have still as held together as well as it ended up doing.

            You’ve brought Palpatine back, he can be a villain without having had to bone someone. He can just want Rey as a potential apprentice, or even as a vessel still.

  51. Brendan says:

    I loved this hilarious Youtube animation that “explained” Palpatine’s presence in the last film:

    1. Christopher says:

      Yeah that one is really funny.

  52. DarthVitrial says:

    I’ve always believed that force awakens was the real culprit. When you start a trilogy with “literally everything the main characters did failed – Leia failed as a politician, Luke failed to restart the Jedi, Han failed as a smuggler, Han and Leia failed as parents and their marriage also failed, the new republic failed utterly as a government, and in the end nothing from the original movies mattered anyway because the new republic got blown up, the empire is back, and all the original characters are either depressed failures or depressed dead failures”, you can’t make a good sequel from that foundation.

    1. John says:

      Yes. Very much yes. That’s why I mentally reject the entire sequel trilogy. The Force Awakens paints the entire original trilogy as an exercise in futility, which I cannot abide.

      1. wswordsmen says:

        Piggy backing off what you said.

        Name one meaningful difference to the galaxy c.30ABY if Luke had never left Tatooine. I can’t the ST reverses the OT that thoroughly.

    2. RFS-81 says:

      I’m honestly surprised that there was no noticeable fan backlash against The Force Awakens. Personally, I’m not mad that the original characters ultimately failed, but it’s just boring how everything snapped back to the rebel vs empire scenario. At that point, why not Lich King Palpatine?

      Apparently, there’s a heap of officially sanctioned fanfic* that explains how it snapped back, but why can’t the movies be about that?

      *Nothing against fanfic, sanctioned or otherwise.

      1. Falling says:

        I think a lot of people had faith that there was a plan for Star Wars.
        I was willing to suspend judgement for the first Hobbit and then started levelling critiques after the second was released. Same here. The trajectory is more obvious after two films and it becomes clear that they are not foreshadowing anything but making it up as they go along. Or there are apparent mistakes in the first, but maybe it’s just a misdirect and there is some clever explanation for it. You get to the second and… nope. It was just a mistake. They didn’t think it through.

        I came out enjoying TFA, but with lots of problems, but knew my opinion of it would change quite a bit based on what came next. And it did. I think there are a lot of very serious mistakes that limited the scope of the rest of the Sequels. It’s more obvious in retrospect with TFA, whereas I had a bery negative reaction to TLJ in real time in the theatres. I’ve actually never experienced it before because I’m very picky with that I see in theatres, so I’ve never seen a dud from something I thought I would enjoy. (I saw Eragon and Seventh Son, but I didn’t think they would be very great and went to see them for a lark.) I’ve never been so physically uncomfortable, hating something but not knowing if there was something wrong with me or the movie.

        Also, I think I was trying not to be a grumpy OT/EU fan for TFA. I wanted to give it a fair shake and so I wasn’t my usual analytical self. Suspend judgement. Wait. See what else happens. Turned out it wasn’t the changed lore that got me but some pretty basic plot structure issues and contradictory character work, so then TFA became fair game.

        1. Lino says:

          Yup. Same. I tried my best to come in with no expectations, and was left pretty neutral after TFA. Then the rest is history. What I find interesting is that even though I didn’t care that much about the OT cast, I still hated what they did to them.

          But if anything, what I hated most was the new movies’ total abandonment of all the Zen Buddhist and martial arts philosophy that permeated the OT. Really, for me, that’s the core of Star Wars. Everything else is just set dressing. Visually interesting and thematically unique, but still – set dressing to one of the smartest martial arts movies ever made.

      2. krellen says:

        I went in knowing it would suck because of who was helming the project. I had low expectations and it met them.

    3. Falling says:

      Agreed. When they announced that Lando was going to be in the last film my first thought was ‘great, now we get to see Lando as a failed businessman- drunk and depressed.’ It was a relief to hear Wedge likely wouldn’t be it because they couldn’t off him like Ackbar or get a loser ending.

      I was pretty out of it by the time the third rolled around. I was just hoping that Phasma would be back for the final film so she could be in it for thirty seconds and then trip and fall off a cat walk to be ‘dead’ again. No one’s ever really gone. It was getting close to a running gag, so you might as well just commit to the bit. What a whole lot of nothing for that character.

    4. MaxieJZeus says:

      I suspect it was always going to be harder to make a Star Wars sequel trilogy than people anticipated. There was a very difficult needle to thread. Basically, the sequel trilogy had to continue a story that had climaxed in a way that pretty decisively foreclosed any continuation.

      Stories are dramatized problems. That is, a story is about someone who has a problem, and the plot is about how they try to fix that problem. In Star Wars, this isn’t just true of the individual films, it is true of each trilogy.

      So in the OT, the problem was “Who is the legitimate galactic government, the Jedi-inflected Rebellion or the Sith-inflected Empire?” At the end of RotJ, the problem was solved when the Emperor was killed [* yes, ignoring tRoS], his second-in-command redeemed, and the Imperial forces routed. End of problem, end of trilogy-length story.

      When Lucas went to make a make another trilogy, he did something very shrewd. The problem in the PT was “The Republican government is defective,” and the problem was solved when Palpatine overthrew the Republican government and substituted an Imperial one. But though that solution gave the PT its decisive, end-of-trilogy ending, it also set up a new problem — the problem of the OT (“Who is the legit government”) because not everyone in the Star Wars universe liked Palpatines solution. In this way, the PT had a coherent, rounded-off story, and so did the OT, yet the two were knitted seamlessly together as the solution to the PT created the problem that generated the story of the OT.

      But the solution at the end of the OT — the decapitation of the Imperial government — does not set up a problem for the ST, not the way the end of the PT sets up the problem for the OT. So Disney/Lucasfilm had to come up with a problem to organize the ST without any obvious story hooks for it.

      To see how challenging this is, consider a very basic question. Should the ST’s problem be related to or independent of the OT’s story problem? It’s going to be one or the other, either a continuation or development of the OT’s story problem, or something new and unrelated. There are dangers with either approach.

      If the ST tries to continue or extend the OT’s story problem (which is the path the ST actually took), it risks diluting or negating the end of the OT. At worst, as many of noted of the ST, by showing that the galaxy still suffers the same problem as in the OT, it risks negating the end of the OT by rendering the Rebellion’s victory futile. But even if you avoid that, it risks reducing the ST to an exercise in janitorial clean-up. Yes, the Empire was decapitated, but look at the huge mess (Imperial resistance, rebuilding the Jedi order) that has to be cleared away. (It would be like making a sequel to “Twister” that isn’t about tornadoes, but about bulldozing away the wreckage left by the tornadoes in the first film.) Even if such a ST didn’t undo the OT’s ending, it would risk turning into an unnecessary and anticlimactic coda to the OT.

      But if the ST tried setting up a completely unrelated story, it would risk not feeling like a sequel to the OT — certainly not in the way the OT felt like a sequel to the PT. “Solo” shows the risks of that approach. One of the many knocks against that film was the complaint that, though it took place in the Star Wars universe, it felt unconnected to it because the plot had nothing to do with the plot of the PT/OT. An ST that felt similarly unconnected to the plot problems of the PT/OT would feel less like a sequel trilogy and more like a set of films that just happened to be set in the same universe, and would probably be met with the same raised eyebrows that the supposed “fourth” trilogy is being met with.

      Emphasis: I’m not trying to claim that it always was impossible to make a satisfactory ST. I’m only pointing out that the ST had to be written in much more difficult circumstances than I think is commonly assumed. It had to continue and develop a story — the OT — that had wrapped up with no compelling need for a sequel, and so it would be hard to avoid the fate of most sequels: to be, in Roger Ebert’s phrase, a “filmed financial deal.”

  53. Jabrwock says:

    The Mandalorian sometimes feels like the old “Young Indiana Jones” series. Where the creative teams (especially ILM) were free to experiment, because a bad episode doesn’t have the same impact as an entire bad movie. With that pressure off, they’re able to stretch their legs a bit and try things out.

  54. Daniel says:

    I’ve been waiting for you take on this ever since I idiotically decided to see this movie in theaters. I guess I just couldn’t resist the trainwreck.

  55. LoneLizard says:

    …I know I’m famous for always asking, “But what do they EAT!?”…

    This website sucks. Even the author forgets to read the byline.

    -A MrBtongue fan who misses him

  56. Nate Winchester says:

    RoS had one or two moments of brief charm or wit. It had several ideas that – if one were inclined – could be developed into a story set in the Star Wars universe. But the central structure of the movie was an onslaught of contrivance, convoluted nonsense, manufactured conflict, and obvious desperation on the part of the storyteller.

    Funny, I’d use that same sentence for Last Jedi.

    Nah, j/k. As I said at the time, I hate TLJ and tROS equally – but for very different reasons. Both are such insults to Star Wars and basic logical storytelling but covering such divergent aspects of both it ends up being quite impressive.

    At least we still have the ewok movies.

  57. Philadelphus says:

    Well, I finally got around to watching Rise of Skywalker today, and it unexpectedly put me in mind of Shakespeare, of all things:

    it is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.
    Macbeth, Act V, Scene V

  58. PPX14 says:

    Much Ado About Bothans

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