Why is it so difficult to write about the new Star Wars films?! In a perfect world, I would come here and start breaking down my thoughts of the movie discussing what worked, what didn’t work, and what has me excited for the future of the franchise. Yet, life within the Star Wars fandom is less than perfect. In fact, the levels of toxicity are Sarlacc Pit digestion levels of high and it’s cumbersome. The fandom has divided itself into sections in the post-Last Jedi world and neither side wants to come to terms. There are no conversations anymore but a whole lot of “you’re wrong” or “you’re not a true Star Wars fan” and after a couple of minutes online it just becomes exhausting. And instead of writing a review I find myself asking is it possible to have your own perspective or do you have to cater to the different sides of the fandom? It’s like Vader choosing Luke or the Emperor or the Ewoks deciding to BBQ or worship Threepio. It’s going to get messy no matter how you try but catering to toxicity is not the answer.
This doesn’t mean that every negative opinion is toxic. You can straight up not like this movie. I get it. I understand that. The problem is when those people who articulate their arguments and attempt to discuss with others are drowned out by those screaming of betrayal. How Star Wars let them down or ruined their childhood failing to grasp that Star Wars is currently speaking to a whole new generation of children. Freddie Prinze Jr. makes a compelling, f-bomb riddled argument on this type of toxicity and I’m hard-pressed to disagree with him.
I think it’s one hundred percent possible to have conflicting thoughts on The Rise of Skywalker. That’s life, no one ever just agrees on something… unless it’s Baby Yoda and how he needs to be protected at all costs. All. Costs. You hear that Mando?! But conflicting thoughts doesn’t mean that the person who disagrees with you needs to die, is wrong, or isn’t a true Star Wars fan. That’s beyond ridiculous. For those who need to hear this- if you love something and look forward to interacting/watching/reading/whatever with the property then you’re a fan. It’s that simple. Of course, there are degrees of fandom but just because a person enjoys something that you don’t doesn’t mean that their fandom needs to be questioned. Get off your high horse and try and understand it’s okay to like things. Some people take the Abed Nadir life philosophy to heart and just like liking things. And, that’s okay. In fact, I’m sure it’s a lovely way to live. Leave them alone. You can have your problems, that’s also you’re right, but in turn, it’s another person’s right to enjoy.
There is no happy medium when it comes to Star Wars fandom lately. Either you have the high ground or you don’t and that’s made writing this column difficult. I want to discuss this movie. I need to discuss this movie. The unfortunate side effect of these wants and needs is asking myself, “is it worth it”. Do I want to deal with the negativity that follows expressing one’s opinion about The Rise of Skywalker? How many other fans feel this way? When they just want to express themselves and choose not to because they don’t want to deal with the crap. Ultimately, I’m saying eff it. I’m going to do it. Some things just have to be done.
Hello, I’m Kevin Carey and I loved The Rise of Skywalker.
I’ve got zero shame in that statement. I loved the film. From start to finish. Is it a perfect movie? No, not everything is The Godfather II or The Devil Wears Prada. I went in wanting The Rise of Skywalker to feel like Star Wars. That rush of childhood. The mix of nostalgia and the wonder of where this story would take me next. I wanted the chills when the trumpets blare during the opening crawl. Most importantly, I wanted to feel. To sit in the theater and allow the film to transport me to a galaxy far, far away like it has done so many times before. In that degree, the movie delivered in spades. The nostalgia was rich while the movie attempted to maintain the majority of The Last Jedi’s mantra of killing the past while not ignoring the significance of what came before. The film tries to strike a balance between the two but for me, it was more that feeling of being at home amongst the wookies, lightsabers, and X-Wings was overwhelming. Everything felt familiar, while also introducing new elements and locations to explore, and it was hard for me not to be overcome with a variety of emotions.
Star Wars has always been what you make of it. What you choose to take away from it and The Rise of Skywalker shouldn’t be any different. I walked out of this film with feelings of hope and excitement for the future. What does Star Wars look like in a post-Skywalker Saga? I’m looking forward to a lot of the expanded canon. I want to see some of these characters again and with Marvel’s comic line and the novels, I’m very intrigued to what comes next in their stories as the universe continues to change. I also had feelings of fulfillment. This in no way felt like the end of things, to a degree yes but not completely. It felt more like a fresh start to something vast and thrilling. Sure, there are some serious plot holes and things left unanswered but I left with that want to discuss the possibilities. How did this happen? What does it mean? Not everything has to be given to me and if you think back to the original trilogy just how much did we know? We only saw the Emperor once with no knowledge of the power he possessed. Hell, we didn’t even know there were going to be more movies. Look up A Splinter In the Mind’s Eye which served as the novelization sequel to A New Hope. I get how the lack of answers can be frustrating but part of the joy in Star Wars is the theorizing. Forging friendships based on your thoughts, impressions, and passion for these characters and the world they live in.
I walked out of the film with strong feelings for Rey and Kylo Ren as I feel they are easily two of the best additions to the Star Wars universe. I’m not ready to say goodbye to them and because of this expanded universe we live in maybe, I don’t have to. That’s the gift of Star Wars. While this new trilogy might have been better served with some cohesive planning and plot pointing before filming any of the movies, it didn’t stop my enjoyment. Star Wars is what you make of it and I choose to take the joy out of it. If you start pulling on plot threads for Skywalker be prepared to do it to all the movies as well. Things can fall apart pretty quickly if you’re just looking to tear them down especially with Star Wars. Sometimes it’s okay to let yourself enjoy something. Sometimes the character moments out weight the importance of learning how to destroy another Death Star. And sometimes things just don’t make sense. It’s fiction. Not everything is perfect. We love Star Wars despite its imperfections. Look at the prequels, movies that were once loathed now have this weird place of affection amongst the fandom. We love them because they’re Star Wars. We love them because they’re a mess. We love them because they’re Star Wars.
My hope is that with the passage of time The Rise of Skywalker will be appreciated a bit more. I also wish this for The Last Jedi. Both films gave us something to celebrate whether we see it right now or not. It’s our duty as Star Wars fans to rise above the toxicity. Your opinion is what matters the most. How this movie or franchise makes you feel is what is most important. We all have deep connections to Star Wars and it’s those connections that drive our passions but it doesn’t give us the right to cut down other fans for feeling a different way. Discuss. Laugh. Debate. Make new friends. Star Wars is a story of hope after all. A story that has fed our imaginations, that has inspired us, expanded our love for storytelling and adventure, and has tightened bonds with some of our favorite people in the galaxy. I am forever grateful because of that. Star Wars belongs to everyone, that’s the beauty.
It’s time to heal. If you loved The Rise of Skywalker as I did then I hope you celebrate that love. If you didn’t like it, I understand and hope that you’re able to find some bright side to your viewing. But let’s do it together. Let’s be the spark that ignites the fandom in these toxic times. Remember the driving force here is Star Wars… something we all love. Let’s celebrate that for a change and maybe bring down the defensive walls. You might find you enjoy this new trilogy better that way.