The final trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is out. It’s loud and moves fast. There’s lots of drama and spaceships. It has the signature visuals of the Star Wars series. It should be enough to satisfy casual and die-hard Star Wars fans alike. So why does it inspire a gnawing sense of emptiness instead of escapist joy?
The Star Wars franchise has exhausted itself and has nowhere to go, especially after Rian Johnson’s Last Jedi killed the villain, solved or scuttled the mysteries established in J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens. But there’s too much money riding on Star Wars to let the current franchise die. Here, in no particular order, are the biggest red flags in the trailer.
Why is this movie called The Rise of Skywalker? Haven’t we watched one Skywalker or another rise and fall over the course of eight movies? Shouldn’t Skywalkers be good and risen by now? And, since all of the known Skywalkers are dead (Leigh’s an Organa; Kylo Ren’s a Solo) it portends the possibility of two series-ruining plot twists: Luke (or Anakin) Skywalker is brought back from the dead or Rey turns out to be a Skywalker after all despite being told she was the parents of nobodies in The Last Jedi.
The Entire Cast is Back. But They Shouldn’t be
Yup, everyone made it (except Luke). There might even be a notable addition (which we’ll get to in a minute). But didn’t at least one of these people die? I could’ve sworn Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose Tico died trying to save Finn. Then again I feel asleep before the end of the last movie. She’ll wind up getting singled out anyway.
C3PO’s Corny Line About Friends.
The golden genius robot’s corniness is part of his charm. His “taking one last look … at my friends” line, however, was cringeworthy. C3PO became friends with most of these characters like ten minutes ago. And sure, it’s supposed to signify the end of the Star Wars “saga.” But it’s pretty impossible to feel nostalgia toward a trilogy and characters you don’t give a crap about in the first place.
”The Saga Will End” Nonsense.
Forced nostalgia is the worst possible kind. The connection between the latest trilogy and the original Star Wars movies died with Han Solo. Also, is anyone really buying this? Does Disney feel like this is a natural place for the story to end, or have they gotten pushback for releasing a Star Wars movie every year since they purchased the IP? And what’s stopping them from revving this profit engine back up after taking a couple years off?
Emperor Palpatine Returns … Maybe?
This would serve as the embodiment of modern Star Wars disappointment. Disney had a vast universe to draw from and wound up recreating the Death Star and Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker and pretty much everything else from the original triolgy. Bringing back the emperor would be the final signal that they have absolutely no good original ideas. So what if he died at the end of Return of the Jedi? One line of dialogue can explain that away. For now, let’s just hope the emperor’s voice appeared in one of Rey’s flashbacks.