Shopping Maul said:
One of my main issues with TLJ is Rey’s character. She doesn’t actually go through any training, nor does the movie focus on her personal journey / inner struggles. Most of her time she spends just trying to get through to Luke and Kylo. Thus we are left at the end with a pretty bland protagonist heading in to the THIRD MOVIE, which is a shame because it feels like such a wasted opportunity for what could have been a really cool character.
Abrams didn’t do much better with her in TFA, but the first 10 minutes or so where she is introduced on Jakku - I thought that was a great introduction for the character. In fact, for me that’s really the only section in any of the Disney SW movies that feels like “Star Wars.” It features really solid, visual storytelling and we learn a lot about Rey in just a few short minutes. (John Williams’ theme here adds a lot as well).
Don’t get me wrong - I like that TLJ tried to return the Force to its roots as just an energy field used by space-Yogis. But it’s too late because Rey exhibits exactly the kind of exaggerated powers implied by ROTJ and the prequels - inherited abilities that belong to a chosen few even in the complete absence of Jedi intervention. The best defence for her Mary Sue-ness in TFA was post-ROTJ logic - you don’t have to live in space-Tibet and meditate for 6 months to hone these powers because you can automatically have a genetic predisposition.
Which is why everyone thought she was a ‘Kenobi’ or a ‘Skywalker’ or even a ‘Palpatine’. It’s annoying (to a fan like me who hates this notion of inherited Jedi-ness) but it follows logically from what’s been established.
But Rey gets to have her cake and eat it too, because she’s a nobody. She’s an everyman/woman like Luke was in ANH with the Force as a ‘mere’ energy field, but she has prequel-level powers. This in turn trivialises the Force because, if it’s no longer genetic, then it simply must be infinitely more accessible than the first films implied.
Conclusion? TLJ is silly, but ROTJ screwed things up in the first place!
There’s nothing in ROTJ that implies “exaggerated” abilities without having to train. The problems started in TFA. She didn’t have to be that powerful, but I think they just didn’t have time to get the script ready, and the end result feels like a rough draft.
Lawrence Kasdan said when they took over writing duties from Michael Arndt, that they basically “started from scratch.” That was in November of 2013, just a few short months before filming. They also said they had trouble figuring out Luke’s role in the movie as Rey’s mentor, as he was originally supposed to be, so they just decided to stick him on an island and be the mcguffin.
As a result of that decision, Rian then had to figure out the whole Luke-Hermit angle. So instead of the movie focusing on Rey’s character, she becomes more of a side character, helping to bring Luke back to the force.