Before you do read on, I have to let you know that I’m in the minority of Star Wars fandom: I like The Last Jedi. Yes, it’s weird that I enjoyed what is essentially the movie that practically killed the entire franchise. I do understand why the general Star Wars fandom absolutely revile The Last Jedi because it does a lot of weird things with the “legacy” characters, some lore was modified to fit the film’s narrative and there are tons of things you can nitpick. I made a list of five inconsequential questions I came up with after watching The Last Jedi and, in all honesty, I could’ve come up with much more. But that would be a very long list, indeed!
To say that fans were upset is a colossal understatement. It has the lowest audience score of all of the Star Wars films with 44%. You know it’s bad when Attack of the Clones is rated higher! The Last Jedi was the movie that made thousands of Star Wars fans to ragequit the entire franchise.
But all seems to be forgiven because of the recent release of Episode IX’s teaser trailer that was just released a few days ago!
There’s a lot to unpack after watching Episode IX’s first teaser trailer. But, after seeing the trailer, the most obvious thing to talk about has to be the final seconds of it. That’s because they show the movie’s subtitle: The Rise of Skywalker. That title is very important to Star Wars fans as it mentions one important name: Skywalker. For a lot of fans the entire Star Wars film franchise revolves around the Skywalker name… and they’re right.
The Original Trilogy focused on Luke Skywalker and his father. Spoiler Alert: his father was Darth Vader. The Prequel Trilogy shined the spotlight on Obi-Wan Kenobi mentoring a young Anakin Skywalker, the man who would eventually become Darth Vader. This new Trilogy… not so much. The new movies did show the Skywalker family, namely
Princess General Leia and Han Solo. But nary a glimpse of Luke Skywalker until the end of Episode VII: The Force Awakens. But his appearance did spark a lot of fanfare from fans, expecting Rey to recruit Luke back in the fold of the Resistance. Of course, if you watched The Last Jedi, you know this didn’t happen… but that’s another post altogether.
The thing is, Luke Skywalker died at the end of The Last Jedi. So which Skywalker is the one that’s supposed to rise? That’s the million dollar questions, isn’t it?
And that’s one of the reasons why Star Wars fans are pretty hyped for Episode IX. There’s so much speculation as to what The Rise of Skywalker could mean. Are they talking about Leia and her rise to power? Will Kylo Ren become a good guy and embrace his heritage as Ben Solo? Will Rey create a new faction called “Skywalkers” as a tribute to Luke and Leia? Will JJ Abrams retcon the “Rey’s parents sold her for beer money” storyline and reveal it was all a lie when she’s actually a Skywalker?
All of this speculation is fueling something that Star Wars fans hadn’t had since watching The Last Jedi: hope. You can even say it’s “a new hope.” (See what I did there?)
When I say that The Last Jedi crushed the spirits of Star Wars fans, I’m not kidding! Go ahead a dredge up those old Facebook posts around the time The Last Jedi came out and you’ll see all sorts of angry posts about it. They’ll mention how Disney destroyed their favorite geek property and how they just don’t understand Luke Skywalker and company. I can distinctly remember a lot of my Facebook friends just spouting many negative comments about it from days on end! It was both amazing and frightening at the same time!
Sure, critics loved the movie… which made a lot of Star Wars fans dig on them as well, saying that they don’t understand Star Wars. Chris Stuckmann, a very popular YouTube movie critic, loved The Last Jedi and the video for the review is just riddled with negative comments suggesting that he was bought by Disney! It took one positive review to make people turn against him in anger! That’s how much fan hated The Last Jedi!
But the new trailer for Episode IX seems to be doing an extremely good job of making fans forget all of that. Why? Because it hits a lot of nostalgic notes. Lando’s there flying the Millennium Falcon with Chewie. Leia hugging Rey. Most of the Resistance finding the remains of one of the Death Stars. Luke Skywalker telling everyone “no one’s really gone” in a voiceover. And, of course, we have Emperor Palpatine snickering at the very end. Fans see and hear this and it harkens back to when they loved Star Wars and it makes them hopeful that The Rise of Skywalker will make them fall in love with Star Wars again.
And, in all honesty, I get it. I was cautiously optimistic when Disney bought Star Wars from George Lucas. I was ready for a change, especially after the Prequel Trilogy. Disney seemed to show fans that they knew how to make a Star Wars films when The Force Awakens premiered. But after that, Disney seemed to be a little overzealous with Star Wars movies as they planned to make a new Star Wars movie every year.. and we all know how that turned out! I thought Rogue One’s positives outweighed its negatives but it was still very flawed. I really enjoyed The Last Jedi but most fans positively detested it. And Solo… well, that was just bad. Disney did something that no one thought possible: get fans to turn their backs on Star Wars.
Episode IX’s trailer was very important to Disney as, well, not only is it supposed to entice people to watch a movie they’ve spent millions to make and they hope to recoup the costs. But more importantly, the Star Wars fanbase had to like it because, well, they are the guys who are going to buying tickets to it multiple times. And by the reaction of the crowd who watched it first, I’m guessing they were pleased.
Star Wars fans saw The Rise of Skywalker trailer and they’re pumped to see it. Of course, that doesn’t mean that all is forgiven. It’ll be all for naught if Episode IX doesn’t match their lofty expectations. But for right now, excitement for the upcoming Star Wars movie is really high. Much higher than I expected it to be when The Last Jedi’s reviews came out. Hopefully, The Rise of Skywalker will be both get rave reviews from critics and fandom alike, because I don’t want Star Wars to die.
Then again, to paraphrase Luke Skywalker: No geek property is ever really gone.
What are your expectations for Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker? Are you hopeful that it’ll be good? Or do you believe Disney will fire two torpedoes in the franchise’s thermal exhaust port and blow it up? Let me know in the comments section below!