WARNING! ALL THE SPOILERS!
I remember when the title for the next Star Wars movie came out. It was going to be “The Rise of the Skywalker” and that confused people. Luke was dead. Kylo was a Skywalker but also a bad guy, so was this going to be his triumph? Was it a reference to Rey? Now that the Jedi were ‘gone’ did that mean that heroes will now be called “Skywalker”? That would be neat.
The anwser is much simpler than that. The title is just a cool name. Rey calls herself Skywalker because they are her adopted family. Aww.
I was reminded of this partway through the final battle. See, the Emperor reveals he has like, a million shadowy guys in the shadows that are maybe ghosts, or cultists, or something else. He then tells Rey that she can kill him and he’ll possess her body and live on. But then Ben shows up so the bad guy drains their love maybe? Then he uses that power to zap thousands of ships in the sky without hitting any of his thousands of ships.
That was when it hit me: Stars Wars could be the sugar-high babbling of an eight year old playing with his toys. It is pretty indistinguishable. All of the theories that fans work on, all the clues they look for and all the damn arguing about where the story is going is meaningless. Star Wars is about gibberish. It is about inventing new powers to get that bigger explosion.
And that’s okay. Big sprawling epics scratch a certain itch. It is Star Wars, where logic hasn’t been a big part of any movie. I love Flash Gordon, and let me tell you, that universe might be even dumber
But what gets me is that Rian Johnson aspired to be something more with “The Last Jedi”. That movie introduced the idea of people growing out of the roles that begun with. It argued that you didn’t need to come from a special family or background to be special. It said that reckless heroes often get folks killed. It argued, over and over again, that life does not play out the way you expect it to just because it is like some story. It took the myth of Star Wars and said you got to forge your own way.
“Rise of the Skywalker” is a clear course correction away from those ideas. It turns out that yeah, you do need to have a special person in your gene line to be special. Turning Rey into Palpatine’s granddaughter reminds me of those idiots who insisted that Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare’s plays. They just can’t accept that someone can do something remarkable from their own hard work or innate talents. There has to be a secret advantage. If there isn’t, than ANYONE can be great, and then what excuse do you have for being normal?
Other truths from “the Last Jedi” get obliterated in order to return to the myths of the first movies. It turns out, being reckless saves the day after all! The mature hero has regressed back into his old role of smiling hero. That Rose character the misogynists hated? Don’t worry, they sidelined her and gave Finn a new girlfriend who is black like him.
I shouldn’t be surprised. Star Wars is not a piece of art, it is a blueprint for toys and movies. Star Wars movies are for kids. They are for adults who want to be reminded of the things they liked as kids. They are for that certain kind of fan who wants a story told about rebels and an empire told a certain way. Stars Wars is here to tell them that story, and will tell it to them again in a few years with new characters, new special effects, but don’t worry, nothing will really change. A lot of people like that.
I just don’t think those movies are for me anymore.
But I tell you, that Baby Yoda show is awesome.