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In Defense of The Star Wars Sequels

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Emmanuel chapter.

Everyone has a hot take right? Mine is that I love the Star Wars sequels. Yes, those movies. Those movies that some people call to be erased from canon, those movies that will get you raked over the coals for loving. I’ll admit that over the years since their release, starting with The Force Awakens in 2015, some of the negativity had gotten to me, and clouded my vision while watching these movies that I was trying so hard to love. But I’ve stopped trying. Now I just do love them. From every aspect to the behind the scenes, characters, and plotlines, these films have been picked apart and thrown in the trash, but I’m here to defend them. 

These films gave me one of my favorite Star Wars characters, Rey. From the beautiful introductory sequence of her climbing through a wrecked Star Destroyer, to the fateful uttering of “Rey Skywalker” (yes, I even love that. Hold onto your lunch, sequel haters. Star Wars is about found family), I was deeply invested in every moment of her arc. Her incredibly kind and adorably inquisitive nature paired with her ultimate struggle against the darkness in herself makes her a beautifully relatable character to everyone who feels conflicting things in themselves. I don’t think one could help but be touched as they watch Rey turn down months worth of food to save a droid she just met, or when she sees a planet covered in trees for the first time and utters, “I didn’t know there was this much green in the whole galaxy”. We watch Rey discover the galaxy and herself at the same time, and see a new, beautiful version of the hero’s journey. A hero’s journey that is paralleled to Luke’s at times, yet those same elements are attacked in Rey. How long did Luke train with Yoda on Dagobah after all, and yet no one was raging at his force abilities. 

The other two characters in our main trio get just as much love from me: Poe and Finn. Their first sequence together in The Force Awakens gives us a moment that still makes me emotional every time I watch it. A moment when Finn, a First Order stormtrooper kidnapped as a baby, defects and helps Resistance pilot Poe escape. As they fly away under fire, Poe asks the name of his unlikely savior, and Finn replies “FN-2187”. Poe promptly rejects the only name the First Order ever gave him, and asks if he can call him Finn. And just like that, Finn has a name, given to him from an unlikely friendship that would prove to be as deep as an ocean. Finn and Poe go from being shot down during their escape to becoming co-generals of the Resistance, but they each had to go through an amazing arc to get there. Poe goes from being a trigger happy fly boy who led a mutiny against the interim commander in The Last Jedi, to being someone Leia trusted to leave the rebellion with after she died. Finn goes from being someone who just wants to run and isn’t sure what to believe in to someone who almost sacrifices himself to fight against what he was raised in, and is beginning to believe in and feel the force. (Side note: Can Finn please become a Jedi in the upcoming movie?)

One of the biggest critiques of the sequels is in their conclusion, The Rise of Skywalker. Specifically, people love to attack the choice to bring Palpatine back from the dead and make him the central villain. I am here to defend that choice and tell you why I really loved it. I think my argument stems from his line, “The dark side of the force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.” Sick line, yeah? This is the first line we see Palpatine say in the movie, up until that point we only heard his voice, sitting on the edge of our seats and wondering if it was really him. You don’t have to be a die hard fan to know that this is the same line Palpatine says to Anakin in Revenge of the Sith in the infamous scene when he tells the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise, and is enticing Anakin into the dark side of the force. Hearing the returned Palaptine repeat this line during The Rise of Skywalker was, to me, the payoff of the century. It was seeing a villain, for once, actually achieve their grand evil plan. Palpatine’s entire strategy for bringing Anakin over to the darkside was the idea of cheating death, and to see him actually achieve it makes him that much more of a terrifying villain. Speaking of sick lines and great writing, another gem from his character that sent chills down my spine was his declaration to Rey, “Let your death be the final word in the story of rebellion”. The story of rebellion, by the way, does get an amazing final word in The Rise of Skywalker. The Resistance rising up, being joined by hundreds from across the galaxy, and motivating themselves after losing their beloved leader is incredibly moving to see. 

Other plot critiques include Luke’s depiction in The Last Jedi. I know it was jarring to see our picture perfect hero fall from grace, but it’s good to see our hero’s struggle. And it led to a great moment of Luke saving the Resistance, after we get to see him receive one final lesson from Yoda, “We are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters.” 

To top it off, the visuals and acting in these movies are amazing. Scene’s like the team-up between Rey and Kylo-Ren in Snoke’s chambers or The Battle of Crait in The Last Jedi are mesmerizing to see. The visuals truly take you to a galaxy far far away, and there are some wonderfully talented people in these casts, and  I particularly enjoyed Daisy Ridley’s performance as Rey. She acts wonderfully with her face, like in a moment where Finn asks her if she is okay after an attack, and the pause and confusion across her face tells you that, heartbreakingly, she has never been asked that question before.  The Star Wars franchise is expansive, and there is something in it for anyone to love. If the sequels aren’t your cup of tea, that’s perfectly okay. I, for one, was just tired of feeling alienated because the sequels are my favorite cup of tea. When Daisy Ridley walked on stage at the most recent Star Wars Celebration Convention and was cheered on as it was announced she would be in another Star Wars movie, my dreams came true and I had never felt more seen as a Star Wars fan.

Amelia Knowles

Emmanuel '27

Amelia Knowles is attending Emmanuel College (Class of '27!) and pursuing a double major in Writing, Editing, Publishing and Theater Arts. She is from Houston, Tx. She has been avid writer since her 4th grade teacher kindly encouraged her. Since around the same time she has been an avid reader as well. Currently she is watching a lot of TV and overcoming her recent bout of readers/writers block. Find her in the Discovery Lab at Emmanuel College, or crocheting somewhere quiet!