Okay, so I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan. Not even close. BUT I do enjoy watching the films and have seen all of the ones in the main saga. With that distinction, I have a few thoughts (so take them with a grain of salt…or the whole shaker).
- Why is Palpatine back???
We handled that skeezeball back in Phantom Menace. I was looking forward to seeing what final showdown Rey had to fight off in order to ensure the existence of the Jedi…and then, surprise! It’s Palpatine. Bringing him back centered the story around defeating a dark external force that was presumed to already be dead rather than focusing on the internal battles Rey has to face: restoring Kylo Ren to Ben, mourning the death of Princess Leia (RIP Carrie Fischer) and carrying on her Jedi legacy. Palpatine being thrown in as the main villain seems too…easy. It focuses on the past and leaves the audience trying to perform story calculus to understand how this storyline works when they should instead be engaged in the emotional development of the characters.
- If Rey and Ben/Kylo Ren were supposed to be ~a thing~ then why wasn’t this emphasized more in “The Force Awakens?”
I began to question myself…
Were they always a thing?
Did I miss something?
Maybe I’m not remembering something from the last two films…surely that’s it.
Alas, I was not missing something. I leaned over to a friend I was seeing the film with to see if I hadn’t had a lapse in memory for what seemed like a crucial storyline. They confirmed I was not forgetting anything, and they were confused as well.
- The Same-Sex Kiss
Something else has been bothering me. Why hype up the film as featuring the franchise’s first same-sex kiss when the moment is shared by two almost entirely irrelevant characters in the background? Sure, to get a few more butts in seats from individuals who were unlikely to see the film otherwise, but these characters were practically extras. This is the kind of stunt that pisses everyone off and undercuts the LGBTQ+ community. Either give adequate and dignified representation or just don’t bother. We’ve had plenty of this half-way crap.
- Finn and Poe Should’ve Had Their Moment
Similar to the last point, everyone was rooting for Finn and Poe to finally share a romantic moment. The vibes were definitely there for all three films, and this would’ve been the pair of characters to share the same-sex kiss. Yet another great moment wasted.
- A Sexually Active Palpatine is Not Okay
My last main complaint is the storyline of Rey being Palpatine’s granddaughter. My friend remarked, “I don’t like how it is now canon that Palpatine has had sex, and that makes me very uncomfortable.”
In my version of Rise of Skywalker, we discover that Rey and Ben are twins (which makes sense because Luke and Leia were twins), destined to be the ultimate test of the light and dark. Knowing Rey to be of the light and Ben to be of the dark, they sent Rey away, knowing she would remain true to her Jedi roots. Meanwhile, they focused on Ben, knowing he would be troubled and hoping their undivided attention would prove that nurture can counteract nature. And as this story reaches its climax, the twins—much like they did in Rise of Skywalker—join forces to kill Palpatine and eradicate the Sith once and for all.
Sure, my story isn’t airtight and still includes Palpatine, but I also haven’t had over a year to write a script that received millions of dollars in funding to produce…and the real version did. You don’t have to like my alternative, but at least it offers more closure than what we got from Abrams’s.