Sequel trilogy star Daisy Ridley finally spoke out about the criticism that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker got from fans across all spectra of fandom. In fairness, this is all still very new to Ridley. For those of us who remember seeing the Ewoks dance to their victory while singing “Yub Nub” on the big screen, we know that (more often than not) Star Wars movies are met with vocal and passionate critique. Part of the fun of Star Wars, at least while we’re waiting for new films, is to speculate about where the story will go. Yet, some fans end up massively disappointed if the story goes in a different direction than they think it should. Whether it’s what happened before the original trilogy or what Luke Skywalker has been up to since we last saw him, fans have ideas.
Even though our reviews of The Rise of Skywalker were mostly positive, we acknowledge that there were plenty of things in it that disappointed fans. Still, there is something going on in fandom that is different than before. People are angrier and meaner about these movies they are supposed to love. Thanks to Twitter or Instagram they can direct their vitriol at the people directly involved (or their publicists, more like). While not being able to please everyone is nothing new, the volume at which the disgruntled can complain is much louder than it used to be. So much so, that Daisy Ridley finally addressed the massive criticism that followed the release of The Rise of Skywalker.
Daisy Ridley Wasn’t Prepared for the Amount of Criticism Following The Rise of Skywalker
Image via Lucasfilm
After her first run as Rey the scavenger Jedi, Ridley and the rest of the cast were met with almost universal praise. The worst anyone could say about The Force Awakens was that it “rhymed” a little too heavily with A New Hope. As you probably know, the real division in the fandom started with The Last Jedi and the backlash it faced. Thus, The Rise of Skywalker was supposed to be the movie that brought everyone back together again. Only, in some reviews and on social media, it seemed to disappoint both those who loved and hated The Last Jedi.
To prepare herself for the criticism, Daisy Ridley should have talked to George Lucas after The Rise of Skywalker debuted. If anyone knows how fickle (and, ultimately, meaningless) fans gripes about these movies are, it’s him. Young adult and grown fans had a hard time accepting the prequel trilogy, yet the kids who grew up with it love it just as much as any of the originals’ fans do. Lucas knew that he wasn’t making his second batch of films for his fans but, rather, the kids who weren’t fans yet. Where the sequel trilogy erred, it seems, was in trying to please the fans at all.
In a new interview, Ridley lamented about the lack of “love” from the fans and critics for this final film after her experiences with the previous two movies. After finishing the premiere of The Last Jedi, she and the cast went to work immediately on this new one. Still, the newest Jedi on the block recognizes that social media helps amplify the small-but-angry minority of fans who are upset.
As she told the Dragcast podcast:
“It’s changed film by film honestly, like 98% it’s so amazing, this last film it was really tricky…. January was not that nice. It was weird, I felt like all of this love that we’d sort of been shown the first time around, I was like, ‘Where’s the love gone?’
“You know, everyone’s entitled to not like something, but it feels like it’s changed slightly. But I think in general that’s because social media and what have you.
“I guess now conversations are just more public, so there’s stuff I wouldn’t have seen, but honestly trying to scroll through my newsfeed in January and trying to not see Star Wars stuff, I’d see headlines and be like ‘Oh my god this is so upsetting.’ So, it’s been tricky, but then it’s having that thing of I feel really proud of it, and I’m so thrilled to be part of it.”
Why the Immediate Criticism of a Star Wars Movie Doesn’t Matter
Image by The Pop Culture Geek Network via Flickr
As any storyteller knows, endings are tough. With less time that George Lucas had to wrap up his trilogies, director J.J. Abrams had to not just finish the new trilogy but put a capstone on the entire saga. The result was a movie with a frenetic pace and not enough time to sit with the emotional and expositional revelations in the movie. (Again, I attest that they should have abandoned the trilogy structure altogether, spreading this out over at least two films).
Yet, hopefully, Daisy Ridley realizes that this initial wave of criticism about The Rise of Skywalker or the sequel trilogy as a whole is fleeting. As evidenced by the evolved feelings about the prequels or Return of the Jedi, Star Wars movies age very well. Ridley’s true legacy in the Star Wars universe will not be written by adult fans or even Lucasfilm. Rather, it will be the children who grow up with Rey from nowhere as their Star Wars.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Featured image via Lucasfilm.
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.