Remember when Star Wars used to mean something? There was a point where it was the peak of nerd culture, uniting fans across the globe in the joy of being a Jedi and dreaming to use a lightsaber to fight bad guys. Now it just feels like another sci-fi franchise that Disney has exploited to the nth degree. The wonder is gone and now we’re left with a series that after a very divisive eighth installment looks like it’s going to end on the safest and meekest note possible.
I understand that people took significant umbridge with The Last Jedi because of how it seemed to undermine everything set up by The Force Awakens and makes alterations to characters that were unpopular to say the least, but at least it felt different. It didn’t play it safe and give us another Death Star to blow up. At least there was a mysterious antagonist in Snoke with Kylo Ren being the most compelling new character in the sequel trilogy. But too much change was apparently a bad thing, because now it feels like we’re taking several steps back here.
Sure, all that was really announced of substance at Disney’s D23 regarding the final entry in the Skywalker Saga was a new poster, but taking a look at it pretty clearly states what Disney and Lucasfilm’s plan is here. Emperor Palpatine, the former head of the Empire that fell down an impossibly long chasm and DIED, is somehow back in Rise of Skywalker. While at first it was ambiguous whether or not he would appear in the flesh or if he would appear in flashback footage, the cast interviews all but confirm that he’ll be returning in the flesh to torment Rey and the Resistance.
At this point my interest in the conclusion of this trilogy is at an all time low. Look, I was there opening night for the first screening of The Force Awakens because I truly wanted to feel that magic of a Star Wars movie in theaters again. Four years later and I can hardly work up a muster for it. I think between a near toxic fanbase and a direction by Disney to make more, safer content for the franchise and I just don’t care about it anymore. Sure, Palpatine’s back, but why is he back? What is the point to him being back besides “he’s popular and people like him?” Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to see Rise of Skywalker, but only because it’s my job to see it. It’s work now, not pleasure.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker releases December 20, 2019.