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.
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.