Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker disappointed many of its fans, because it’s a Star Wars film. The last installment of the decades-long franchise, also its ending, has severely underperformed this Christmas. Not commercially though, as it’s currently ruling the box-office as of this writing, with over $177 Million in its opening weekend. However, the critical reception is a little divided, to say the least. It seems like it’s the second Star Wars film after The Last Jedi, that is dividing its fanbase right down the middle. While the movie has an audience score of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, it seems neither fans nor critics are enjoying the film as much is usually expected of a Star Wars movie.
With a lot of back and forth on social media, fan reactions are contentious. So we take a look at the 10 ways that Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker disappointed its audiences.
Image via Disney.
Warning: This entire article will deal with massive Spoilers from Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker. Be warned.
General Hux Reduced To Comic Relief And Then Dismissed Entirely
General Hux (Domnhall Gleeson) was originally introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as the military leader of the First Order. Which stood-in for the Empire from the original Star Wars trilogy. Hux was wonderfully played by Gleeson as a ruthless, ambitious and fanatic man wielding too much power. His priority was to ensure that The First Order reigned supreme. The Last Jedi then portrayed Hux as the butt of many jokes, notably in the opening scene at the hands of Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). So when Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) becomes Supreme Leader at the end of The Last Jedi, he completely undermines Hux by Force whipping him in the last act. Hux had enough.
Image via Disney.
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker disappointed anyone that believed in Hux’s arc, by showing him to have become a petty and ultimately inconsequential character. He is a Resistance spy in the new movie, but not out of loyalty, but to see Kylo Ren fail. It’s behavior that is seems uncharacteristic for a character who’s supposed to be a loyal First Order soldier, despite his rivalry with Kylo Ren. It’s even more disappointing when he’s crudely killed in an abrupt scene, by Richard E. Grant’s Allegiant General Pryde.
Gleeson is a wonderful actor, and despite the supporting nature of Hux, his cruelty in The Force Awakens and manic depiction made him another intimidating villain. But by the end, he was a side-character that no one gave a second thought to.
Star Wars’ Greatest New Character, Rose Tico Was Unfairly Sidelined
Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) was one of the new characters introduced in Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The character was a Resistance fighter who believed in the cause. Rose Tico has, undoubtedly one of the best lines of the new trilogy. When asked why she risked her life to save Finn from sacrificing himself in the third act of The Last Jedi, Tico responded:
“We’re going to win this war not by fighting what we hate, but saving what we love!”
This was one of the greatest moments in the entire Star Wars franchise. It’s a line of dialogue the perfectly embodies what Star Wars is. Anakin Skywalker’s undoing was attempting to save what he loved, by fighting what he feared. Fighting death. Fighting loss and isolation. Luke Skywalker’s heroism came from fighting for what he loved. He loved the cause. Loved his friends. And he believed in the good still in his father. So Tico perfectly articulated one of the founding principles of the entire Star Wars franchise.
The Rise Of Skywalker, however, reduces the character to the background with barely more than a minute of total screentime. This is quite possibly the biggest way that Star Wars: Rise Of The Skywalker disappointed its audience. Even the chemistry between Tico and Finn, established in The Last Jedi, is but a footnote in this movie.
Image via Disney.
It’s even worse when you factor in the very real-life hate and racism that Kelly Marie Tran faced, simply for being in The Last Jedi. The actor was the victim of bullying on social media, for fans unjustifiably hating on her character. Despite that, she’s the first prominent Asian character of this beloved franchise. So for J. J. Abrams and company to completely sideline her in The Rise Of Skywalker is incredibly disappointing. Not just for fans of Tico, but for what she represented to the franchise as a woman of color. At least, Naomi Ackie as Jannah the ex-Stormtrooper played a larger role. Still, she’s not Rose.
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Disappointed LGBTQI Community
Speaking of representation, fans have been clamoring for some sort of LGBTQI representation in Star Wars for a long time. So much so, that they’ve even had to ship it themselves by wanting Finn (John Boyega) and Poe to get together. The two actors’ chemistry and the two characters’ friendship made fans want to seem them as more than friends in The Rise Of Skywalker. Isaac even admitted that he wished their relationship was ‘taken further’ in the movies.
Image via Disney.
Alas, it was not to be. Abrams clearly stated and Finn and Poe getting together was not going to be a thing. However, The Rise Of Skywalker did feature some sort of LGBTQI representation by two lesser-known characters. The ending celebration saw two minor characters of the Resistance kissing in joy, in a very brief scene. While great, it was sort of underwhelming and many fans accuse the film of pandering.
Finn’s Unspoken Force Sensitivity In The Rise Of Skywalker Disappointed Fans
One of the running jokes in The Rise Of Skywalker comes at the beginning of the movie, as the main group of heroes, Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn, Poe, C3PO, BB-8, and Chewbacca got stuck in quicksand. Finn attempted to reveal something to Rey but was unable to. His attempted dying wish was almost implied to be a confession of love for Rey. The scene is a source of humour through the rest of the movie, with Poe poking jabs at Finn about what he was going to say. The movie also makes clear by the end that Finn can at least feel the Force. When Rey ultimately dies defeating Palpatine (Ian McDarmid) Finn reacts, feeling her death across the distance between them.
However, none of this is in the movie itself. The audience has to understand that Finn could be Force-sensitive, but it’s never spoken of again. But apparently, as per J. J. Abrams in an interview, that is what Finn wanted to tell Rey. Sure fans can figure this out, but it would have been a powerful thing to see it stated clearly in the film.
Lando Calrissian Could Possibly Have a Long-Lost Daughter Now?
More revelations come from outside of the actual movie in The Rise Of Skywalker.
In one of the button scenes at the end of The Rise of Skywalker, an older Lando (Billy Dee Williams) is talking to one of the new characters of the movie, Jannah (Naomie Ackie). Earlier on in the movie, it’s revealed that Jannah is like Finn; a former Stormtrooper who left The First Order. While that kindred spirit feeling is completely glossed over, it’s established that Jannah is unaware of her lineage or background. In her meeting with Lando, she conveys that to him as well. With Lando then stating, in his cool demeanor, that they should find out where she’s from, together.
Image via Disney.
It’s a weird scene. Some fans wondered if Lando’s just being his own charming self and flirting with Hannah. But the scene makes much more sense when hearing about the novelization companion book of The Rise Of Skywalker. In it, it’s revealed that Lando himself had a daughter he lost. Implying that Jannah could be that very same long lost daughter. The scene is in The Rise Of Skywalker, with no way for audiences to make that connection from scenes in the movie alone. Or even understand the significance of these two characters, with seemingly no connection in the movie, to even have that conversation. Whether it’s yet another story beat that fell victim to the overload of information in this movie, or if deleted scenes exist, is unknown.
It’s Disappointing That The New Star Wars Trilogy Had No Seemingly Planned Outline
The new Star Wars trilogy seemingly had no larger plan or outline of how the story or arcs were going to play out. It seems that each filmmaker behind each movie made it up as they went along. Writer-Director J. J. Abrams wrote and directed the first, The Force Awakens, setting up story elements and plot points for the remaining two films. Director Rian Johnson then wrote and directed the second, The Last Jedi, abandoning, undoing those existing plot points, and creating his own. J. J. Abrams then wrote and directed The Rise Of Skywalker, and basically did the same all over again.
The Snyder cut fiasco is an excellent case of what happens when an original creator fails to carry out their vision to completion. And these behind the scenes changes within this new Star Wars trilogy is evident in the final product. The tone of the films of this new trilogy feels inconsistent. The story elements feel contradictory. Even the characters themselves seem to have perspectives that don’t align with their previous thoughts and tones.
Image via Disney.
For example: Luke Skywalker’s first scene in The Last Jedi is to carelessly toss his father’s Lightsaber over his shoulder when Rey hands it to him. Whereas, The Rise Of The Skywalker sees Force Ghost Luke catch the same Lightsaber as Rey tried to throw it into a fire, lecturing her on how to treat a Jedi’s weapon. While it’s clearly a joke, some are confused as to whom its directed at. While Luke might be making fun of himself, given The Last Jedi backlash, some read it as a shot to Rian Johnson. It’s a small example of the larger problem of not having a Writer’s Room of ideas and story beats that would follow from one film to the next, paying off in the final film. The Lucasfilm Story Group could have been a bit more hands-on in the plotting and drafting of this trilogy.
The Death Of Carrie Fisher Complicated The Story Of The Rise Of Skywalker
The Rise Of Skywalker is dividing the Star Wars audience left and right. The movie currently holds a 55% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But it’s not the filmmakers fault for their choices, when so much of it was out of their hands. The Rise Of Skywalker was to be a drastically different movie than what we got. But the untimely demise of Carrie Fisher dictated major changes. Changes very apparent in the movie.
According to Fisher’s brother, Leia (Fisher) played a huge role in the first draft of the last movie. This is evident in the movie itself, as we see Leia overseeing Rey’s final Jedi training. While the end result has Leia simply looking on as Rey does the physical challenges, it’s hard not to wonder how much more involved she was in teaching Rey about the Force in the original plans.
Image via Disney.
Especially when a very well executed flashback sequence proves once and for all that Leia received and completed intensive Jedi training from her brother Luke. Leia had even constructed her own lightsaber, which Luke then gives to Rey in the third act of The Rise Of Skywalker. A moment that should have been surprising and exciting, but felt cheap and expository, coming seemingly out of nowhere. A scene that would have have had a build-up before, if the original story was still possible.
Rey’s Origin In Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Disappointed Loyal Audiences
The biggest point of contention for Star Wars fans of the new trilogy is the origin of its new main character, Rey. Introduced in The Force Awakens, the new character has Jedi powers, but her lineage remained a mystery. The Last Jedi revealed this to be inconsequential as her parents were “nobodies.” This made a statement about that movie’s viewpoint that anyone can be a Jedi. The biological cells known as Midi-Chlorians, or the Force that comes from them can can be in anyone. It’s not exclusive to people who are born of other Jedi, or even Sith for that matter. However, The Rise Of Skywalker derails that ideology by making Rey the granddaughter to Emperor Palpatine, the main villain of the entire Star Wars franchise. This is disappointing for many reasons.
Image via Disney.
Firstly, it undoes the perspective put forth by The Last Jedi. Secondly, it further cements the nepotistic trend of the Star Wars franchise as only populated by people of a certain lineage or background. The original trilogy was about Anakin Skywalker. Its sequel trilogy about his son. And now, the next trilogy was about the granddaughter of their main villain. It makes a galaxy far far away, seem so so small.
The Concept Of Force Dyad Is Not At All Explored
One of the key plot points of The Rise Of Skywalker had very little exploration. Kylo Ren brings up the idea of a Force Dyad, in one of the many altercations between him and Rey in The Rise Of Skywalker. Ren explains that the connection between them is a Force Dyad. It’s a phenomenon that binds two equally powerful Force users, combining their strengths and power into one. Allowing each to draw power from the other, creating 1 powerful individual. It’s something that apparently has not occurred for a long time within the Star Wars universe.
Image via Disney.
Which should’ve have allowed the Force Dyad to have a bit more prominence, at least in the last movie of the new trilogy. It’s a concept that explains the connection between Rey and Kylo Ren throughout the films. The ability for Rey to look into Kylo’s mind in their first interaction in The Force Awakens. Their Force conversations during The Last Jedi. And how almost all of their fight scenes ended in a draw in The Rise Of Skywalker. All explained through the Force Dyad. Explained in 2 lines of exposition. First from Kylo Ren, then again by Palpatine himself in the climax.
It feels like an ad-hoc explanation for something that was building from 2 movies ago. It’s another element that falls victim to a movie bloated with exposition and information about the world and story.
No More New Trilogy Trio Is How The Rise Of Skywalker Disappointed Me The Most
Despite all these issues with The Rise Of Skywalker, what’s most disheartening is that we will not continue the stories of Rey, Finn, and Poe. This trinity of new characters finally coming together in the last movie was amazing. Their chemistry was one of the best things about The Rise Of Skywalker. And not featuring more of it, and not allowing these characters to become as iconic with more time together and more opportunities as the original trinity, is tremendously disappointing.
Image via Disney.
After the massive divide in the Force created by Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, it seems that J. J. Abrams was kind of expecting this. And was prepared for it. In reference to critics and fans of The Rise Of Skywalker, Abrams admitted that they’re both ‘right’. His point was that it’s hard to please everyone, and while some will have issues with the film others will love it. Each in their own right are justified in having either reaction. And he’s not entirely incorrect.
Despite Star Wars’ reverence in the pop culture zeitgeist, the new trilogy has been the point of debate for an entirely new generation of fans. The social media era may cause this new trilogy to be looked upon as less than the first two. However, something similar was said of the Prequel Trilogy during its original run. Whereas that trilogy spawned a whole other animated Star Wars universe, with massive success, which in turn led to the current The Mandalorian. The same might be said of The Rise Of Skywalker down the road, as other upcoming Star Wars content make their way to us in the coming years.
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker is now playing in theaters.
Did The Rise Of Skywalker disappoint you in any way? Let us know in the comments below.
Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.