The new Star Wars Saga: Missed opportunities and the subverted expectations of the puppet masters

So I saw all the episodes of the new Star Wars trilogy at least twice: Episode 7:The Force Awakens (TFA), Episode 8: The Last Jedi (TLJ) and Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker (TRS). I want to take a deeper look at the stories from a writer’s perspective – as I’ve written and published several books I might have some experience to light the discussion-fire regarding the flaws of plot and story in the new trilogy.

Star Wars is the Saturday matinees of our lives rolled into one irresistible fantasy seductive enough to make lifetime movie addicts out of the young and born-again innocents out of the rest of us.
Richard Cuskelly
Film Review, May, 25th 1977

So, The Force Awakens is the first episode of the trilogy and is more or less a rehash of Episode4: A New Hope (ANH) from the original trilogy. Disney, who bought the franchise from George Lucas in 2012, played it safe, hired former Star Wars script writer Lawrence Kasdan and Star Trek soft rebooted franchise director JJ Abrams, who did what he can do best: forming an original material into good looking films (lens flare) with lots of fast paced action (dynamic camerawork) and delivering mystery boxes (TV-Series Lost!) along the way.

Rian Johnson took over for Episode 8: The Last Jedi and disregarded almost all the questions JJ Abrams and TFA left unanswered and subverted the expectations of the audience who believed to get a rip off of one of the best Star Wars movies: Episode 5: The Empire strikes back. Instead, Rian Johnson played it risky and turned beloved Star Wars tropes upside down. The film divided the fan base and was so hated that Disney and LucasFilm played it safe again for the last episode of the new trilogy: The Rise of Skywalker.

They hired again JJ Abrams who almost undid TLJ, gave the fans what they wanted and Rian Johnson the middle finger: a very fast paced action adventure, similar plot like Episode 6: Return of the Jedi and a well known villain. Despite the fan service, all is not good again. It’s a mixed bag now. It will be seen how Disney can handle the backlash of the fans and the diminishing box office revenues:

  • TFA = domestic opening: 248 Mio ($ 2 Billion worldwide)
  • TLJ =  domestic opening: 220 Mio ($ 1.3 Billion worldwide)
  • TRS = domestic opening: 177 Mio 

And now let’s dive into the problems of the new trilogy.

A female empowerment story you have to tell

First of all, what was the direction and intention regarding the whole story of the new trilogy? For what I have seen there was no road map for the three episodes which is sheeve madness. I assume LucasFilm and Disney tried to play it safe: „Let’s begin with a copy of A New Hope, because we know for a fact that the audience will love it. Then we figure out what to do next and how the story unfolds.“ But despite having no overarching plot for the new trilogy, they had a clear vision and orientation for the new Disney Star Wars franchise: the stories should focus on female empowerment and, as a side note, should be hinting at LGBT-themes (see the short same-sex kiss in TRS; see Lando’s pan-sexual untertones in Solo; actor Oscar Isaac who played Poe in the new trilogy told Metro:  „I thought there was an opportunity for an interesting romance between Poe and Finn.“) Perhaps, Disney will pull a Dumbledore in the near future 😉

In that sense, before the first line of the script for TFA was written, the decision to focus on female empowerment hindered the writers to tell a hero’s journey. From a writer’s perspective, this is a horrible decision and might be the reason why the new trilogy was for at least half of the audience disappointing. So, when you think that the character of Rey is a so called Mary Sue (an overpowered, almost perfect character, to good to be true – Gary Stue for male heroes) than I have to remind you, that a female empowerment story demands this kind of idealization. On paper, it sounds generous to give a female protagonist an almost flawless character to inspire girls and women but in reality, we, as a human being, can not relate to godlike and flawless characters because we know one thing for sure: that we are far from perfect.

In the whole movie of TFA it seemed that Rey didn’t need any help at all to overcome obstacles. No one taught her or told her how to use the force – or that there is a force at at all („I thought it’s a myth“, says Rey about the story of Luke and Han replied: „No, it’s all true!“) but she succeeds when using the mind trick for the very first time and withstands Kylo-Ren’s mind reading. It’s hard to believe. The hero needs a mentor to overcome his or her weakness. But in TFA there is no mentor like Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) in ANH and there is no deeper struggle for Rey (which might have terrible consequences for her) and no deeper motivation to go on a journey.

So, without a mentor there can be no growth – but a female empowerment story rejects a (male) mentor. This „plot problem“ was solved in the last episode (TRS) when Leia trains Rey. But it was too little and too late.

comment Schlummerkatze: It’s not the story decisions that made me angry about this movie [TLJ]. It’s the discontinuation of story threads from the previous episode. And the way they framed „strong empowered women“ as „like the boys only better and smarter and always right“. (I happen to be a woman and this trend makes me mad. Why can’t female heroes fail and grow and become stronger like everyone else? Why have they to be perfect and strong and secretly brilliant from the beginning to the end?) […]

And so, because Disney decided to tell a female empowerment story in the Star Wars universe from the get-go, a „happy ending“ for Rey was never possible. Her hero’s journey would have been to accept to sacrifice her Force powers to redeem and rescue Ben Solo and to become a woman. In the beginning of the first Episode Rey is alone and waiting for her family to come back. In the last Episode, she would have turned Kylo Ren into Ben Solo, her soul mate, would have given up all of her Force Powers to become a woman in love and nurturing mother. But a female empowerment story gives you nothing of that sort. It treats girls and young women like men who are longing to become soldiers, knights and generals – in a sense canon fodder. That makes sense for men. Mind you, men are dispensable, fertile women not so. Imagine a small tribe on an island. Only idiots would sent out young women for dangerous tasks. But Hollywood thinks otherwise, they tell you about equality to trick you. And to make matters worse, in the movie Captain Marvel a single mother goes voluntarily on a highly dangerous mission and leaves her young daughter behind. What kind of motherhood is that?

comment galah cockatoo: : It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one crying over a movie (TRS) this whole weekend. Thank you both for this podcast and all your advice and support. Ben Solo didn’t deserve to disappear and be forgotten, and Rey from other 2 movies would not act like he never existed after he gave his life for her. If they were a true dyed, shouldn’t she mourn the loss of her other half. I didn’t hate the movie, but it wasn’t executed well. It left me hollow. Xoxo

To go on a journey you must do.

In ANH Obi-Wan asks Luke for help: „I need your help, the princess needs your help“. We, as audience, know, that Luke wants to attend flight academy and to leave farm and planet. We saw him earlier discussing this point with his uncle, who dismissed Luke’s wish because of harvest season. The audience can relate to Luke, because most of us are daydreaming about going on an adventure but we are afraid to lose job or family. Now, compare that to TFA: Rey is alone. There is no family, no job she couldn’t do on another planet, so what is her holding back? A delusion. Rey thinks, that her parents who left her behind as a kid, would return, but we are not getting any more information or explanation why her parents left her 15 or more years ago and whether or not they promised her to  come back. It is a weak reason not to go on an adventure. So what changed Luke’s mind? The murder of his family by the Empire. Now we not only understand why Luke has nothing to lose anymore but we are emotional attached to the character and rooting for him, to fight the „evil“ Empire.

What about Rey? What changed her mind? Nothing changed her mind. The plot left her no choice, she had to flee the First Order. Then, in the middle of the movie she is still thinking to go back to her former life despite a job offer from the legend Han Solo and a kind of relationship offer from Finn. She runs into the woods („I don’t want any part of this“),  is kidnapped by Kylo Ren, escapes without much effort, sees Han Solo murdered, bests Kylo Ren in her first lightsaber duel, is picked up by Chewie in the Millennium Falcon and is flown to the Resistance HQ.  Despite seeing Rey the first time, General Leia is connecting with her at once (ignoring Chewie, the „big walking carpet“ she once called him in ANH). But no explanation is given, why they are connecting so well. And we still have no clue, what changed Rey’s mind to not going back to her former life.

Lightsaber fight it must have

Mind you, that lighsabers are a very special weapon for very special people. Obi-Wan tells Luke about his father’s lightsaber: „This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or as random as a blaster. An elegant weapon for a more civilized time.“ So, we as an audience, understand, that this special weapon needs training and understanding, comparable to swords for knights in medieval times. We accept that an untrained person could not handle this weapon but in the right hands it must be powerful and deadly.

But in the last minutes of TFA Rey (and Finn) despite wielding a lightsaber for the first time, defeats a trained combatant. Unbelievable. I would assume that Disney/LucasFilm instructed JJ Abrams to put a lightsaber fight in – because the audience wants to see one. But compare that to ANH: It is Obi-Wan, the mentor of Luke, who fights Darth Vader. Luke will not use his lightsaber weapon in combat until the next episode (and we know how well that went for him). Imagine instead, Luke and Darth Vader were fighting in the last act of ANH and Luke would have been winning after he closed his eyes and tapped into the Force without anyone telling him anything about it. Where to go from there?

Who needs a pilot, when you can fly the Millennium Falcon?

In ANH, Luke and his mentor Obi-Wan are looking for a pilot and a spaceship. Despite the fact that Luke could fly „airplanes“ (Han: „Traveling through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops, farm-boy!“) doesn’t mean he could pilot a spaceship for intergalactic travel. But in TFA Rey is able to pilot the Millennium Falcon despite the fact that we never learn in the movie(s) why she could do that („How did you do that?“ „I don’t know! I’ve flown some ships, but I’ve never left the planet“)  In the end she is an equal or almost better pilot than the legendary Han Solo (and understands Wookie language). Unbelievable. So the question is, why is Poe – the „best pilot of the Resistance“ – almost forgotten in the plot? Why couldn’t he fly the Millennium Falcon instead of Rey? She could still be a better mechanic than Han. And we would have gotten the trio interacting with each other from the beginning. It seems, it was never intended to get the three together in the first place.

Trust you must have in Rey and Finn

Rey, a nobody from nowhere and Finn, a Stormtrooper going rogue, are on the run from the First Order. Han Solo and Chewie have no problem trusting both of them despite the fact that they know nothing about them. In theory they could be secret agents of the First Order or bounty hunters. In ANH it is Obi-Wan, a Jedi-Knight of old with lots of connections, who opens the door to the Rebellion Army through Princess Leia („Skywalker who?“). But why is Rey and Finn trusted immediately by everyone they meet? Unbelievable. Compare that to Rogue One, where the protagonist of the movie, Jyn Erso, in a way a nobody but with family ties to the Empire, is not trusted by the Rebels and couldn’t convince the Generals to green-light a risky mission. But because of female empowerment you can’t show other characters distrusting Rey. This is exemplified by one scene in the last Episode where Rey strikes down a ragtag group lead by Zori Bliss but none of that group is mad at her. „You are okay“, is Zori reaching out to Rey. Really?

Rey is special, so everyone treat her special

Why is Rey given one of the most important missions at the end of TFA: to find Luke and bring him back to his sister Leia. The better question would be: Why didn’t Leia go? So Rian Johnson asked JJ Abrams through Luke why Rey was sent to him („The Resistance sent you? What is so special about you?“). Interestingly, a little later, Rey asks Luke to train her. But it is never established beforehand that she wants to be a Jedi Apprentice or that she knows what it means to be trained by a Jedi Master. True, we, the audience see her doing some force stuff and Kylo-Ren says that the force is strong with her – but that’s it. Maybe there is some dialogue in TFA missing where Leia persuades Rey to go to Luke to find out why she has a strong connection to the Force. In the last Episode (TRS) it is revealed that Rey is the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine, but we never see her struggle with the Dark Side in Episodes 7 and 8 or overcoming a strong longing for her darker side. It could have worked perfectly had the creative people of Lucas Film and Disney thought that storyline through and wrote the script for all three Episodes accordingly. But that didn’t happen. Instead the audience is lectured in an almost half an hour „sidequest“ (TLJ), that war profiteering and animal abuse are bad, while a further characterization of Rey and a deeper look at Luke’s past fell short.

Kill your Band of Brothers with a vengeance

The one thing TFA subverted the expectations of the audience in a good way is the revelation of a Stormtrooper who goes rogue and deserts the First Order. For the first time, we, the audience, see Stormtroopers as humans, not the canon fodder they were in the previous Episodes. On paper, that idea must have sounded great: Stormtroopers are frightened and insecure men and women (!), who were kidnapped as children and brainwashed into soldiers. But then what? We kinda feel for Finn, who lost a comrade and friend, who is afraid to be in battle and follow orders. But within minutes of the movie we see this former Stormtrooper murdering his comrades in a killing spree as he and Poe try fo flee with a T-Fighter. Finn has no remorse, he doesn’t hesitate to shoot his fellow comrades.  It seems, the writers tried to do something new but had not the balls to go along with it (or were not allowed to go this route). Finn, who is one of the most interesting characters in the new trilogy, becomes a side-kick of Rey and – in Episode 8 – a laughing-stock. Disappointing.

Imagine a movie, where Finn would do everything in his power to free his former comrades but not killing them! There is a conflict the authors could draw upon. Finn’s character arc would have come to a satisfying end in helping to destroy the First Order. In the last Episode, this idea was shortly touched on with the introduction of a group of deserted stormtroopers. Too little, too late

The Force is Magic

In ANH we only get a glimpse of the Force. Han Solo is making fun of it („It’s simple tricks and nonsense“) and Obi-Wan and Darth Vader are talking a lot about it but don’t show off. It is the right kind of space magic. Mysterious for the audience, but well accepted, because it was understood, that there were limitations in place. But in the new trilogy, the Force is all over the place and it seems, that it can do whatever the plot demands. There are no rules or limits in place – one of the first mistakes rookie writers do, because they are playing god and run with it. But for readers, it is a big disappointment, because now anything can happen out of nothing, so they feel cheated. The more deus ex machina the author creates, the less thrill the reader will have. In the end, the audience will lose all interest in the (god like) characters and in the (unpredictable, but not in a good sense) story.

Love is nowhere to be found, so kill it

Despite the fact that ANH was a kids movie there is sexual tension between the trio of Han, Luke and Leia – or, in other words, a love story in the making. Compare that to the new trilogy and you find nothing of sorts. Rey, a young and beautiful human on a harsh desert planet is more fighter than woman. The only time there could have been some sexual tension is cut short (Finn: „You got a boyfriend? A cute boyfriend?“ Rey: „None of your business, that’s why!“). Some will say that there is a subtle love story between Rey and Ben Solo and that might be the case.

But a strong female empowerment story doesn’t need a love interest for the heroine. Mind you, a woman in love tend to be weak (or seen as weak). The last minutes of the OT in TRJ show us a victory party. Luke, Leia and Han are together and you can feel that a great future lies ahead of them. The last minutes in the new trilogy show us Rey alone in a place full of sand, accompanied by a droid only. As an old lady walks by asking for her name we are reminded on the beginning of the trilogy in TFA as Rey sees herself as an old woman, still working for Unkar Plutt. Is that her intended character arc? To start and to end alone in the desert? The one thing she longed for in the beginning of the new trilogy was the return of her parents or in the words of Maz Kanata: „Whomever you’re waiting for on Jakku“.

In order of appearance: Empire – First Order – Last Order

Every Star Wars story needs a villain. In the old trilogy it is the „evil“ Empire, lead by Emperor Palpatine, accompanied by one of the most iconic villains in movie history Darth Vader and a ruthless General Tarkin played by the great Peter Cushing. Compare that to the new trilogy.

The First Order is led by Snoke, Keylo-Ren and General Hux. How this new „Empire“ could take over the remnants of the old Empire, built a huge Death Star and defied the army of the New Republic is never properly explained. In TRS we learn that it was Emperor Palpatine all along who created the First Order, Snoke and the Last Order. It’s confusing. The problem starts in TFA. The First Order is more or less a copy of the Empire. But instead of showing ruthless and competent officers, we get a General Hux, whose appearance is never threatening or intimidating, a Leni Riefenstahl impression of a victory speech falls flat, the destruction of several planets is absurdly over-the-top and as soon as Kylo Ren takes off his mask he kinda looks like an emo youngster. Snoke feels intimidating but had not much screen time in TFA and is killed half way through TLJ.  The return of Emperor Palpatine in TRS is more or less a last effort from JJ Abrams to provide a strong villain but feels forced. So, the weaker the villains are portrayed in a movie the less satisfaction we get as an audience from their downfall.

Return of the jokes

The Star Wars Saga was always cheesy of sorts but this cheesiness didn’t ruin the flow of the scene or undermine an established tone. With the exception of over-the- top Han Solo banters, TFA didn’t overdo it. In TRS, the humor is okay („They fley now!“) and it doesn’t ruin the movie. But in TLJ the jokes are all over the place. In the beginning of the movie, there is a tense moment of a bombing run on a Dreadnought Star Destroyer. Highly influenced from World War 2 footage, the execution is good – despite the fact, that it makes no sense regarding Star Wars lore (Y-Wing Bomber). But whoever thought that it would be a good idea to lighten the tragic moments with childish jokes and later on with a slapstick scene should be fired immediately. See Bathos in How comedy killed The Last Jedi for further explanations

I have no information on this but I can only imagine that Disney Execs were afraid of this dark and tragic beginning in a kids and merchandising movie – so they forced director Rian Johnson to put some jokes in. Rian was so infuriated about it that he did as ordered but – as a spoiled brat – overdid it. Maybe it’s the fault of Rian Johnson all along, I have no idea.

But fact is, the unbalanced over-the-top humor in TLJ ruins the whole movie and – in a certain way – the whole trilogy.

You do not shit on a hero’s legacy

The moment in TLJ where Luke is throwing his father’s lightsaber over his shoulder was for the fans a heartbreaking moment – but not in a good sense. It baffles my mind that this scene was green-lighted by LucasFilm and Disney. That alone shows that those responsible have had no clue what Star Wars means to the audience who adore Luke Skywalker from childhood on: He is a hopeful hero who defies an empire against all odds, rescues his father from the Dark Side and give  peace to the galaxy.

Mark Hamill in an interview about his role as Luke in TLJ: Who is this guy? How did the most optimistic, hopeful character in the galaxy turn into this hermit. That’s not what a Jedi does. I mean a Jedi is optimistic, he has tenacity, he never gives up.

The idea that an old Luke would give up on his hopes and dreams and would become a depressive hermit is farfetched and almost unbelievable – but it could have worked in the hands of competent writers.

In ANH, Luke thinks of Obi-Wan as a „kind of a strange old hermit“, too and in the eyes of Uncle Owen he is „just a crazy old man“. Obi-Wan says of himself: „I was once a Jedi knight“, so it implies that he might no more be a Jedi. Imagine during filming of the original Star Wars movie a young George Lucas told Sir Alec Guinness to do a slapstick comedy routine for a good laugh. It wouldn’t have happened. But Mark Hamill – who was not okay how the script treated his character of old – is no Sir Alec Guinness and therefor, Rian Johnson could do whatever him pleased with actor and character. Or he and those responsible thought so. Big mistake!

As I said, the idea that the once so hopeful farm-boy, becoming one of the greatest Jedi, loses all his hopes and dreams, is an interesting one but this story alone could only have worked when it were told in a trilogy of its own. But instead Luke’s downfall is told in a side plot which was for the filmmaker as important as a boring chase scene in space and a forgettable casino „heist“.  See Wisecrack Edition: Rian Johnson tried to revolutionize Star Wars and didn’t. Strangely enough, if you watch the trailer for TLJ you see a different movie and get The Empire Strikes Back vibes: dark, without the bad jokes, the ridiculous casino plot is absent and the focus lies heavily on Luke, Rey, Snoke and Keylo. That’s the movie the audience wanted to see.

You can’t cheat death, can you?

In TRS, the last Episode of the new trilogy Force healing is introduced into the Star Wars universe. So Rey heals Kylo from – I assume – a deadly wound she inflicted on him. Later Kylo resurrects Rey from the dead. The creative people behind LucasFilm and Disney allowed this cop-out to happen. The same with time travel – yep, Marvel has to fix that in some way or another. Death and destruction mean nothing anymore when you can go back in time and change the outcome. Same with godlike healing abilities. Interestingly enough, Disney doubled down and introduced this ability into the new Star Wars TV-Series The Mandalorian. But why introduce this new ability when you don’t have to do it? As a kid, I saw Superman (1978) in the theater, way back then, and the one scene, where Superman does the time reversing stuff, despite being a gullible kid, I smelled a rat. I felt cheated. The same when you read a thrilling story and on the last page it is revealed that the whole thing was only a dream. That’s not good storytelling, but you know that already, don’t you?

ReyLo, who?

Since TFA there are fans who see a love story between Rey and Keylo Ren/Ben Solo or in other words (I didn’t know the meaning of the following verb so I had to look it up) the fans began to ship Rey/Keylo. This relationship was nicknamed ReyLo and I assume the majority of these fans are women, but who knows. At first glance, this idea looked ridiculous (Lex Croucher: „you don’t kiss a murderous, genocidal fascists, who killed his father“). But we have to understand, that JJ Abrams did a lot to please the fans in the last Episode of the trilogy. Disney knew, after the failure of TLJ, they had to give the fans what they wanted to rescue the sinking franchise. So why not giving (female) fans what they wanted? After TLJ the new trilogy couldn’t be saved, because Rian Johnson put JJ Abrams in a corner:

There was no villain except Kylo-Ren, no Luke Skywalker to save the day, no Carrie Fisher, Rest in Peace, no interesting side characters (Finn and Poe were reduced to laughingstocks and Rose Tico was despised by half of the audience), the First Order is laughable incompetent and General Hux is a mere comic relief but not a threat), the Resistance is reduced to a dozen people, no explanation what’s going on in the Republic or how politics work on a grand scheme and Rey is already more powerful than Kylo-Ren (by the way, she could have kidnapped Kylo-Ren, who was unconscious after „the battle for Anakin’s lightsaber“ and could have brought him to the island to encounter Luke). So where to go from there?

It was clear and predictable that there would be a redemption arc for Kylo-Ren/Ben Solo in the last Episode. But is redemption only possible with his (meaningful) death like in the arc of Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker? That was the only decision JJ Abrams had to make. It was clear, that Princess Leia would get their funeral in that Episode. We know, that Disney didn’t want to kill off Chewie – because he might be the link to the old stuff in future Star Wars movies. And because there is no actor attached to that character, Disney can make use of him from now on to eternity. The same is (almost) true for C3-PO and R2-D2. The actors of Finn and Poe had good chemistry together, so their character’s death was a no-go because of possible future adventures in the Disney (TV/cinema) Star Wars universe. And we know for a fact that Rey would defeat the villain and not die because of reasons.

So, the only important question left was, will Kylo-Ren die in the end or will he live forth as Ben Solo? And should he survive his redemption, will he „hook up“ with Rey? I assume that JJ Abrams wrote both endings, perhaps shot both endings. But who decided the ending of the Episode and the new trilogy? Was it Disney? Was it the result of test screenings? We will never know.

The death of Ben Solo pissed off a lot of (female) fans who romanticized the Dyad, a special bond between two Force users („they’re essentially each one half of a whole“).

Article: Lindsey Romain, an editor at Nerdist and co-host of the podcast Heylo Reylo, noted how the fandom was feeling in the aftermath of the film: „There’s been a lot of outrage from what I’ve seen. I follow several stan accounts because of my podcast and they have mostly been in mourning. I think a lot of that has to do with Ben’s death. It’s also rooted in this weird sexism that we see a lot from male creators, where a woman expresses a desire for romantic love but it has to be tragic and they have to be alone at the end to be ’strong.‘ As someone into Reylo, it felt worse that they even acknowledge their mutual feelings at all if it was just going to end up that way. Punishing the heroine by killing her soulmate, etc […] The whole movie felt like an attempt to please several different camps at once but in a really unsatisfying way.“

Article: For Twitter user Laura, there was something unexpectedly tough about this ending that felt unfair and unsatisfying as a fan and shipper: „Their ends are so bleak. Ben, having never know true light, has finally found one in Rey, his ray of light. And he gets to enjoy that for mere seconds before he dies. And Rey… She ends up alone on a desert planet, just like the beginning of the series. All this searching, all these battles (physical and emotional) and for what? She’s still alone… I guess you can say it wasn’t about shipping them together as a couple necessarily. It was about the fact that the whole series pointed to them as being the place where they would find the happiness and belonging they searched for. The whole series alluded to that! And then it didn’t deliver. There’s some way to twist the ending and make it ‚hopeful‘ but I haven’t achieved that yet.“

Thinking about it now, it doesn’t make sense that Ben gives his life (essence) to resurrect Rey, because that would break the Dyad. Problem is, we never get an explanation what the Dyad is or what it does. So, it could have been established that one is as strong as the other – and that there is no possibility that one can overpower the other (as Snoke hinted in TLJ: „As Kylo grew stronger his equal in the light would rise“). So it would have made sense that a trained Kylo couldn’t beat Rey. Furthermore, they live together, they die together (Snoke in TLJ: „Darkness rises and light to meet it“). That would be a perfect explanation why they both survive Palps onslaught in TRS. And, more importantly, it would make a positive, hopeful ending – in line with Episode 6:

Rey gets what she wanted all along: a family. And Ben gets what he wanted all along: a new order for the Galaxy. It would be a perfect arc for both of them. And the name Skywalker would live forever.

comment  Jen: I’ve been a Reylo since TFA. At least we got a kiss and a brief moment of pure happiness. Ben and Rey were soulmates. They should have been able to have a family together. THAT would have been the perfect ending. Them going on to live happily ever after, being together, having a family and teaching a new generation of force users balance .

But the whole Dyad isn’t fleshed out in the new trilogy and JJ Abrams didn’t have the balls to go this route or wasn’t allowed to do it because of strengthening female empowerment and a possible backlash from male fans and radical feminists.

comment Trent: You want [Rey] to be reliant on a man but you won’t admit it. You’re trying to turn this into some political statement for a female hero but all you’re doing is ignoring that Rey does have a family in Poe, Finn, BB8 and the resistance because she isn’t romantically with anyone. Tell me whose sexist again I’m not even a woman and I can see how blatantly sexist your statement is. Maybe you should focus on more than who Rey ends up with, that would be treating women equally.

Missed opportunity!

Sadly, those responsible for the new trilogy had allegedly no clue from the beginning what to do with one of the most valuable franchise in movie history and with lovable characters almost every boy and girl likes. The original trilogy was and is still a cultural phenomena, it influenced generations in a good way.

comment of Travis: I remember my dad telling me that whenever he first saw Star Wars in 1977, he wanted to see a different movie. My grandparents thankfully dragged him to Star Wars and he became a fan forever and enstilled that same fandom into me. Thanks Nana and Pappy for dragging my whiny dad to Star Wars in 1977

Of course, Disney and LucasFilm must have had a tough time to restart the franchise, because they knew that they couldn’t repeat the tremendous success of the OT. But – as we know from Uncle Benwith great power comes great responsibility.

Kill the past? A Hollywood conspiracy!

It seems nowadays Hollywood is afraid to tell a simple story which rings true in all of us, because it is part of our christian belief and value system.

Luke Skywalker, a farmboy, who day-dreams about the rescue of a beautiful princess, never loses his hope and his optimism. Despite the odds he doesn’t compromise, he doesn’t give up and he believes always in the good. He stays the course, completes his journey, not because it was easy (or somebody made it easy for him) but because it was necessary and the right thing to do.

In a sense, Rey Nobody/Palpatine could have had the same hero’s journey in the new trilogy and redeems and rescues her soul mate (Dyad) Ben Solo from death in sacrificing her Dark Side Force powers and becoming lover and strong mother for a new generation of Skywalker. But Hollywood despises motherhood because it weakens their female empowerment agenda, therefor Ben Solo had do die and Rey had to shrug off her loss.

As a conspiracy nut, the only explanation I have, why Episode 8 makes fun of beloved characters and disrespect important Star Wars tropes, is this: It was intended to do so. „Kill the past, let it die!“

Thank god, that there was an outcry, a backlash from the fans after TLJ. It means that all is not lost. In that sense, the new trilogy subverted the expectations of the puppet masters, who thought they can do whatever they want with „their“ franchise and the audience will accept it.

By the way, before I forget, Todd Philipps JOKER is a masterpiece and the most profitable comic book movie ever made (despite it’s art house style and drama based approach). However the professional critics trashed that movie and applauded The Last Jedi which ruined the new trilogy. It’s a strange world we live in.

May the Force be with you the next time you buy tickets for a movie.


Some

youtube
videos

for more background and in depth analysis.

I focused heavily on The Last Jedi and a little bit on The Rise of Skywalker because The Force Awakens despite being a cheap rehash of A New Hope was a satisfying starting point and set the stage for the trilogy with interesting questions or mystery boxes. But the next Episode: The Last Jedi failed as a blockbuster movie in almost every way, it made a mockery of true fans and is – in my opinion – the reason why Disney and their new brand Star Wars got into hot water.

About
The Last Jedi
from a filmmakers perspective
[Note: I say it again, that I am sure there was a good movie in the script of TLJ – you only have to watch the trailer for that – but the end result, a Star Wars movie with lots of jokes, boring plots, plot holes galore, merchandising puppets and carelessness/recklessness for beloved Star Wars tropes is hugely disappointing.]
The 7 Basic Questions of Narrative Dram
Forcing change
The End of a dream (3 parts)
The most polarizing Star Wars Movie
Star Wars: The Last Plinkett Review

Funny!
Top 7 Dumb Star Wars Moments
The Last Forcebender

More funny!
The Pitch Meeting Series: The Force Awakens
The Pitch Meeting Series: The Last Jedi
The Pitch Meeting Series: The Rise of Skywalker

His laughter is contagious!
The Amazing Lucas rants about TLJ
Star Wars Rise of Skywalker are aMaZINg

Not for kids!
Did Disney ruin Star Wars?

Girls talking stuff!
Lee, Mary & Denise: TRS Review
Jenny: Oh no! The Rise of Skywalker was real bad 😦 

When young women cry over the death of a character
Podcast: The Rise of Skywalker Review

He goes off like a rocket!
HONEST Star Wars TRS Review [Epic Rant]
HONEST Star Wars TLJ Review [Epic Rant]

When a fan gets truly mad!
TRS is worse than TLJ?

When a professional critic gets truly mad with TLJ but likes TRS!
Roz rants against TLJ
Roz reviews TRS

Lots of hate!
I HATE STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER

Hate the haters!
The Rise of Skywalker Spoilers + Haters Rant

Is that all?
Star Wars The Last Jedi – Deleted Scenes

Really?
In Defense of The Last Jedi

Keep it sober!
Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker Review

Love, love, love!
ReyLo – fan made clip

When JJ hits Rian on the head and tells him to f*ck off!
Retcon: The Rise of Skywalker vs. The Last Jedi

Everything The Rise of Skywalker retconned from TLJ

A long and winding road!
Worst Star Wars Trilogy ever?

The most watched youtube critics you have to know!

Half in the bag! The trio is kinda unforgiving.
The 70-minute TRS Review

Chris Stuckman is kinda forgiving.
Review of TRS

Jeremy Jahn will never forget.
Star Wars: TRS

Mauler’s most comprehensive critique in 3 parts and 6 hours
The Last Jedi
Ripping the movie apart in 35 minutes
An unbridled rage

 

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