Sign In

Sequel Opinions

Author
Time

Although the sequels are far from perfect, I feel like Disney gets a lot of needless flak for trying to make another trilogy for another generation of viewers. All of the ideas from Lucas about what he wanted to do with the sequels sound ridiculous and terrible. They never got as far as the drawing board, but that’s kind of my point. Lucas had nothing concrete to go off of and people say that’s better than the three movies we have that were completed. As messy as they are in a few parts, they were still a completed trilogy.

Author
Time
 (Edited)

The Force Awakens wasn’t super radical, but it didn’t have to be. Their goal was to prove that one, post-buyout Lucasfilm was capable of making movies, and two, that the prequels didn’t kill Star Wars. It was a safer movie to bring people on board to future movies. It looks like it did its job, because most of the criticism made against it is done in retrospect.

The Last Jedi was the radical one, and that was a good thing. Episodes 8 and 9 were the ones that had to pick up the slack story-wise for the sequel trilogy, and the Last Jedi did its part. I really liked its story. It can be a little bit of a “good story, weird execution”, though. The bathos goes way too far in some places. But overall, its story is good.

I think though inevitably because TLJ tried to take Star Wars in a new direction, that was going to turn some people off. Not because they want Star Wars to stagnate, but because when you go in a new direction, that new direction might not be the direction they were wanting it to go in. And you kinda have to respect that.

It’s hard to take some criticisms against TLJ, like how it’s a complete cinematic catastrophe, or how the plot makes zero sense, or that Rian Johnson’s a hack, seriously at all. Because it’s not a catastrophe, the plot’s fine, and you KNOW Rian Johnson’s not a hack.

The Rise of Skywalker I don’t think picked up the slack at all. I think it reacted too hard to criticisms made against TLJ, and it ended up suffering for it. Bringing Palpatine back was dumb and Rey Palpatine was dumb. The plot of the movie is super uninteresting, and the characters have really lost any and all uniqueness they had in the former two sequels, except maybe Kylo Ren.

I think there’s a lot of people who were on board for the first two sequels, but TRoS kind of ruined the trilogy as a whole. That’s fine. But personally I just kind of put a wall between TLJ and TRoS. It’s the sequel duology and the weird bad one that came out afterwards in my mind.

The first two sequels do a lot of work in bringing back the fundamental things that make Star Wars Star Wars that the prequel trilogy threw away, and if they didn’t, I’d probably just consider myself an OT fan instead of a Star Wars fan. They don’t go so far as to outright contradict the prequel trilogy, because Rian Johnson and Kathleen Kennedy are big fans of the prequels, but they fix some of the damage the prequels did.

Death of the Author

Author
Time
 (Edited)

I really enjoyed TFA, though I had hoped they’d gotten the retreading out of their system and was glad JJ Abrams wasn’t doing the whole trilogy. It smelled like Star Wars, though it felt a little anemic. With a few particularly frustrating aspects, it bore its flaws pretty well and served to get me excited for what was to follow.

TLJ, while overly contentious and contrarian at times, offered something of substance grown out of TFA. I had a journey about this movie, going from displeased about muh hero Luke to digging the gist of it. It elevated the sequel trilogy somewhat. It took some risks, but let’s be honest: it still retreaded the OT pretty hard.

TROS was just silly, and that’s too bad. I think they would rather have put out something comfortably mediocre and uninspired than take up any real inspiration. I could only laugh, and I’m glad I could at least do that. It’s the anti-TFA, making you less excited about this whole thing and strangling the characters back into nothingness. Hindsight is 20/20, but it’s hard to imagine Trevorrow producing something worse, even with the sad passing of Fischer. JJ was the absolute incorrect choice in any artistic sense.

Well done. I will disengage self-destruct initiative.

Author
Time

It a strange thing to talk about, because a lot of the time my opinions don’t line up with my actual viewing experience.

The Force Awakens was, and is, the film I enjoy most out of the trilogy, but at the same time I feel like it has the least substance. I wildly disagree with most the story decisions, and I feel like it doesn’t contribute anything to the universe except for more of the same - more planets containing a single earth biome, more cool-looking species we’ll never learn anything about or even probably see again.

The Rise of Skywalker feels like eating too much junk food - it’s a bunch of good things way too quickly and in the wrong order. I like most of the fan-service elements, I like what it adds to the lore (especially the stuff about the Sith), but a lot of it doesn’t have time to set properly. The problem isn’t that it has too much nostalgia, the problem is that it focuses more on the re-used elements than on any of the cool new stuff (like the Knights of Ren, or the company of ex-Stormtroopers, or Rey’s father being a Palpatine clone.) As it is, it feels less like a satisfying conclusion and more like a set-up to even MORE expanded-universe material.

The Last Jedi is the one on which I have the most opinions, because it’s also the hardest for me to quite pin down. I feel like a lot of the criticisms people have center around the author’s intent, but it’s really hard to know what that actually was. I don’t think it’s fair how many people assume Rian Johnson was malicious with every choice he made, especially since the most controversial choice of all (Luke having lost faith in the Jedi) was undone by the end of the movie. If Johnson actually wanted to “let the past die” why would he have the villain say it? If he actually wanted Poe to seem like a sexist pig, why would he make Poe so appreciative of Leia, and have him overcome his flaws to be a great leader by the end of the movie?
But the main thing that I feel like people have misinterpreted about TLJ is when they say that it’s a) just a remake of Empire Strikes Back, or b) something unlike any previous Star Wars movie. Because the way I see it, The Last Jedi is actually a call-back to the parts of A New Hope that other Star Wars movies haven’t imitated.
And I’m not just talking about the same flute melody playing after the crawl, or spaceships requiring fuel, or Leia shooting Poe with the same “Stun blaster” effect that was used on her at the beginning. Those are things they have in common, sure, but so are a lot of the flaws:

  • The nonsensical space physics? In SW77, when Han shoots down a TIE Fighter in the Trench, its explosion is stationary while the background continues to move behind it.
  • The Supreme Leader not mattering? The Emperor was only mentioned once in the first movie, and the novelization described him as little more than a puppet for the Moffs.
  • The slow pacing? Luke Skywalker’s first ever appearance was 17 minutes into his own movie.
  • The on-the-nose, somewhat-preachy dialogue? Leia begins the third act by saying “It’s not over yet” to which Han responds “I’m just in it for the money.”
  • The distracting modern hair on Admiral Holdo? SW77 had extras with mullets. MULLETS.
  • The weird references to gender? Buddy, Han literally said “If we can just avoid any more female advice, we ought to be able to get out of here.” This was never a galaxy free of prejudice. Poe “mansplaining” their strategy and calling Holdo “Lady!” isn’t gonna break any sort of bubble.
    I’m not saying these things make the movies equal, I’m just saying they make it seem like TLJ is a lot more reverent than people gave it credit for.
    Even Luke’s weird characterization, which, I’ll admit, still hurts a little to watch, feels less like a tragedy for its own sake and more of a commentary on hope. As Mark Hamill said, Luke has always been sort of an embodiment of hope. So while it may seem pessimistic to show him having become so jaded, what does it say that he eventually regains his faith and helps the resistance? That even when the human representation of hope has lost all hope, he can still get it back? That even when all seems lost, when it seems like the “spark of hope” is out, things can still get better? That “hope is like the sun” - always there even if you can’t see it? That doesn’t feel cynical at all to me; it feels inspiring.

You’ve got to ask yourself one question: “Am I making Carrie Fisher’s ghost proud?”
Well, are ya, punk?

Author
Time

I enjoyed all three and continue to do so. I’ve seen them all multiple times. They’re not perfect, but nothing is. I loved seeing the original cast return to portray their classic characters one last time. I think the passing of Carrie Fisher impacted the last movie more than anything else, but they managed everything beautifully in my opinion. These movies and this franchise will outlive us all, and I like that.

Author
Time

My very summed-up thoughts on the trilogy:

The Force Awakens = a very well done, stylish and nostalgic ANH remake
The Last Jedi = a beautiful mess
The Rise of Skywalker = a mess

“Remember, the Force will be with you. Always.”

Author
Time

Actually I wouldn’t mind rambling about the sequels for a bit. Ed Slushie made really great points which I totally agree with. TLJ definitely has flaws, but I’ve always found them hard to pin down. I actually love Luke’s arc, and I think it fits with his character - I only wish we’d got Colin Trevorrow’s version of Luke haunting Ben in the next film. I think TLJ works fantastic in theory, devoting the film to character development, assigning a planet and a plot to each character. Unfortunately, Finn and Rose’s quest doesn’t actually result in anything plot-wise (although this is a film about failure, so you could argue that it’s deliberate) and to achieve the vacuum situation allowing tension between Poe and Holdo to become the focus, you have to make the First Order look like morons slowly chasing the Resistance across the galaxy for 18 hours. And of course at the end of it all, a single Resistance ship turns around and obliterates their entire fleet, and that’s funny to me (it shouldn’t be).

But I still love the film because it has magical moments and it’s thematically rich. The kind of stuff TROS lacked for me.

TROS was the movie that gave me new perspective on the sequel trilogy. Carried along by the revelations, I enjoyed it on a first watch, but later found it’s not a very rewatchable film. It has a forgettable, video-game like plot, it backtracks on some of the best creative decisions taken in TLJ, it has MAJOR missed opportunities such as a stormtrooper revolution led by Finn, and the climax is over-saturated and over-the-top and I like very little of this movie. Big let-down for me. But I follow a few TROS fans on social media, and they occasionally point out interesting parallels and meaningful interpretations that I never would have thought of, so I don’t entirely dismiss it.

TFA is well-paced, brilliantly edited, and very fun to watch. I had a blast watching it in cinemas in 2015, and living in the UK, it’s been my only experience of people clapping at the end of a film. JJ Abrams managed to honour original trilogy aesthetics and characters while bringing his own distinct style to the movie and making it work. Pretty much all I’ve got to say about it.

“Remember, the Force will be with you. Always.”

Author
Time

DuracellEnergizer said:

They are tales told by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

No come on - tell us what you REALLY feel - don’t hold back!

Author
Time
 (Edited)

The Force Awakens:

A New Hope 2.0. It introduces pretty interesting new characters while breaking lore and canon. It also disguises itself with nostalgia for the Original Trilogy to evoke feelings within us to give us the fuzzies.

The Last Jedi:

Interesting ideas, beautiful cinematography, great designs overall, some pretty cool new ideas like Force Projection, and yet continues the new tradition of breaking lore and canon. It at least acknowledges the Prequel Trilogy exists.

The Rise of Skywalker:

We’re sorry. We’ll make it better. Promise. A couple of good moments when you don’t consider context. Namely Leia training with Luke.

Having said all that I can enjoy each of them to some extent on the surface but really only if I don’t consider them as a continuation and conclusion of George’s six films.

Author
Time

TFA: Really enjoyed it on first viewing. Despite retreading similar story beats to ANH it has a lot of good things; the call-backs mostly land the chemistry between characters is great, and feels like Star Wars. My biggest grip with it is resetting the status quo of the galaxy to another “underdog Rebellion vs powerful Empire” conflict.

TLJ: Really enjoyed on first viewing, then my impressions of it soured, now it falls in a middle-ground. I love the cinematography and special effects, improves the worldbuilding, has nice themes and has a lot of intriguing ideas to offer, though their execution (and humor) is hit-or-miss. Maybe it’s a bit too subversive for its own good.

TROS: Decent first viewing experience, now I like it but not so much as TFA. I really think they should have spun the TLJ twists in a new direction instead of just retconning them. The plot and editing make it look more of a compilation of cutscenes from a videogame, and as the closing entry of the Skywalker saga it’s ending is a bit undisclosed and vague.