The Skywalker Saga Rant


BY: Amanda Guarragi 

May the Fourth be with you all on Star Wars Day.

After four decades of Star Wars content, the Skywalker saga finally came to an end last year, with The Rise of Skywalker. Today Disney Plus released the final instalment on their streaming, two months ahead of schedule and the series finale of Star Wars: The Clone Wars was also released to celebrate today. Disney really had the right idea in mind to have a Star Wars party on the day that is treasured by so many fans worldwide. The Skywalker Saga is truly something special, so I thought I would do a breakdown, of what I think of the series as a whole.

Even if you haven’t succumbed to the hardcore nature of the fanbase, everyone knows who Luke Skywalker is and his story. It’s a tale as old as time now, considering that A New Hope came out in 1977, its lore is now embedded in pop culture forever. For those who have invested so much time, love, and money in the Skywalker Saga, it’s fair to say that when any new age Star Wars film was released, the fans were extremely critical of what Disney was doing to these characters.

Some have said that The Force Awakens was a carbon copy of A New Hope and in many ways it was. However, I found that having some similarities while introducing it to a new generation, helped them appreciate the original saga and the journey they were about to embark on with the new ones. There are similar personality traits with certain characters and it was entertaining to watch them interact. The Force Awakens presented a new, more diverse cast and it all seemed promising. Disney also marketed the new Star Wars saga extremely well and that was the driving force of this new trilogy.

The Force Awakens was my first Star Wars film that I watched in theatres and I think that’s why I enjoyed it so much. I didn’t think I would feel emotional watching the opening titles the way I did, but it was such a huge moment. I always envied the people who were able to watch Star Wars on the big screen and when I eventually did, I finally understood how powerful the Star Wars films were. I had become heavily invested in the characters and couldn’t wait for more content, I was hooked.

I would be considered a freshman to the world of Star Wars. I enjoyed watching the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy but I have to admit that I was never a die hard fan. It’s a franchise that everyone should watch in their lifetime and that’s why I did it. As much as people hate the prequel trilogy, it was great to see how Anakin and Obi Wan started. It made Luke’s story so much richer and then his encounter with Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back holds so much weight and it’s a very emotional moment. The new trilogy used nostalgia to pull on the heartstrings and that’s why the attachment to these new characters were different. The reason why we loved Rey, Finn, Poe and Kylo was because they were somehow connected to previous characters, whether it was lineage or similar character traits.

I became attached to these characters and I really enjoyed the story arc of one of them in particular. Even though Rey was the lead and it was great to see a woman, at the forefront in a Star Wars film, Kylo Ren still had the most interesting story in the new trilogy. He is the son of a Solo and a Skywalker, he is apart of the golden lineage that has graced the screen for the past four decades. He is a descendent of Anakin Skywalker and struggles with both, light and dark, within him because of who his parents were. Ben Solo was THE BEST character in the trilogy and it is because he is a Skywalker.

There has been so much controversy surrounding the new trilogy and it was because a woman was at the forefront. People also complained that the nostalgia overpowered the content of the film and they never had a clear plan for this trilogy. When The Last Jedi was released, I was blown away by the stunning visuals and the story involving Luke Skywalker. Rian Johnson added so many layers to the world and the meaning of hope in one film, but sadly others felt that the magic of Star Wars was ruined. After The Last Jedi the discourse did not stop until we all caught a glimpse of The Rise of SkywalkerThey didn’t really show much and the trailer seemed promising because it was the final film in the Skywalker saga.

The months leading up to The Rise of Skywalker were quiet. There wasn’t the same hype as the previous instalments. Even the marketing seemed more tame. You could say there was a shift in the force. There was an entirely different feeling going into the final film and no, it wasn’t the same as heading into Avengers: Endgame or gearing up to watch the Game of Thrones finale. No, there was a different type of dread that I couldn’t  understand. People were genuinely worried with how they were going to wrap up four decades worth of a story. Everyone had a right to be worried because, like I said before, there was no plan for this trilogy.

We went from a sequel that restored hope in the galaxy, showing that anyone can become a jedi and harness that power, to a film that completely erased everything that came before it. The Rise of Skywalker was a complete mess the second we found out about Rey’s lineage. I loved the first half of that film because Poe was finally at the forefront and Finn also had a bit more to do. I was gearing up for Rey and Kylo to be the balance in the force and work together, while Kylo turns back to the light. How can you call something The Rise of Skywalker and then cut the lineage? That’s what was so frustrating. No one wanted Rey to be anyone. The fact that she was a nobody and she wanted to study the Jedi way, was what made her story unique. The fact that anybody could harness that power is what made her special.

If anyone should get their own trilogy it should be Ben Solo because of the injustice they served his character. I just couldn’t believe the journey they decided to take him on and then just destroy it in the most irresponsible way. A name is important, you don’t just give away a name to try and make sense of the title you gave your own film. Rey had no right to take up the Skywalker name, considering her lineage of being a Palpatine, which is also just lazy writing. How can you give a Palpatine, the Skywalker name after four decades worth of a story? It definitely leaves a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth, it sure did make me angry when I walked out of that theatre.

Whether you loved The Rise of Skywalker or hated it, the Skywalker saga has made a huge impact on pop culture and will always have a place in everyone’s hearts. In a way the ending of The Last Jedi could technically be used as the last film in the Skywalker story. It did end with Luke dying and restored hope to the galaxy. This debate will go on forever, but don’t worry Disney has more things planned for the Star Wars universe. They won’t let it fizzle out after one bust. So I hope everyone enjoys their mini Star Wars marathon today and may the force be with you always.

*click here to see where I ranked each Star Wars film*

 

 

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review

The Rise of Skywalker is the “final” instalment of the Star Wars Saga. George Lucas created a strong story about light and dark, good vs evil and had family relations put to the test. The Skywalker Saga has always been about lineage and how those who came before you, influence your power with the force.

Lineage, especially the Skywalker name, has been the central force in this franchise. From Anakin, to Luke and Leia and now Ben Solo/Skywalker. It’s an important name, it’s a name that is known by everyone, even if you’ve never watched a Star Wars film in your life, you know their story.

This is the first Star Wars trilogy where I actually cared about the storyline, well one person’s storyline in particular, Kylo Ren. Being the son of a Solo and a Skywalker and still turning to the dark side, is a character arc that can be played with. I waited for the impact Ben Solo/Skywalker could make on the Skywalker legacy and I’m still waiting.

The first half of this film was visually stunning, had wonderful banter between Poe, Rey and Finn, was fast paced and perfectly choreographed. Everything I have grown to love about Star Wars was incorporated in the first half. Then towards the middle, when we find out about Rey’s past, the story became weak and the entire franchise seemed to waste away. The powerful lineage, the deaths that came before, the power of the Skywalker name, were wasted by the end of this film.

The nostalgia, banter and force ghosts/voices couldn’t save the story that I had been so interested in, since we first found out that Rey and Ben were linked. Then we heard the words “balance, the light and the dark” in The Last Jedi and that lead to the idea that Rey and Ben were that balance, since they were tethered together. It wasn’t hard to carry on what Rian Johnson delivered in TLJ, Abrams and Terrio just didn’t want to go that route and the back-peddling was evident.

4 decades worth of Skywalker’s and this is how the name will live on forever? I can’t seem to stomach it. Due to the impact of the lineage and who holds the Skywalker name at the end of this, just doesn’t sit well with me.

Ad Astra Review

First and foremost, Ad Astra is the most visually stunning film I’ve seen all year. Space is such an extraordinary imaginative area for filmmakers and James Gray delivered on all fronts. 

This story was very simple and the heart of the film was the father-son relationship. Not only was this a space film, it had an in depth analysis about how children are affected but their parents actions. It posed questions about the universe, life, human psychology and mental illnesses. The story is linear but the dialogue was rich in the development of these ideas. Brad Pitt gave a very subtle and powerful performance as Roy McBride and at times he brought me to tears. There was this overwhelming sense that he was in pain and he delivered it beautifully. 

What I absolutely loved about this film was the attention to detail and the inventive content about space exploration in the near future. I have never seen a film actually develop different textures of sediments on each of these planets. The lighting and sound design accompanied each planet differently and it was incredible. 

If you love space, this is definitely a film that elevates that genre of filmmaking.