I left this thread due to wanting to avoid the toxic fanbase a few months before Episode IX was released. But I decided to leave my own personal opinion on the film since I would like to share my voice on the film now that it’s been some months since then.
I have been a big defender of the Sequel Trilogy for a while, as I loved The Force Awakens and especially loved The Last Jedi. However, I didn’t like how The Rise of Skywalker turned out, and it unfortunately sank the trilogy’s narrative a bit for me. Of course there’s a problem that there was no clear story thread plan for the trilogy, despite that I felt some threads were consistent, there were still some that didn’t pull through all the way. While I still loved how VII and VIII went about their own ways of being confident and with a strong story, The Rise of Skywalker felt like damage control to appease fans who hated the previous two installments, and felt as if the film and every story decision was solely driven by fan service.
I will say that I personally hate fan service, and while it can be used in the right way, it can also tank the narrative and quality of a film. The film had very rushed pacing and couldn’t even stand still and let the audience take in what is happening. Part of me believes that the majority of decisions were not done by J.J. Abrams. Even if some of them were, it surprises me just how bad IX turned out compared to his great work on VII. Palpatine’s return was clearly a case of breaking the glass in case of an emergency since Rian Johnson killed off Snoke, and even their origins and return were not explained well. The opening went by too fast, and it makes me even more disappointed that Lucasfilm is not releasing the deleted scenes in an effort to avoid fan criticism for cutting them. Rey being Palpatine’s granddaughter was poorly done and unnecessary, Finn as a character was wasted, and even his reveal to Rey wasn’t fully resolved in the story. The Jedi speaking to Rey didn’t really grab me, and felt kinda corny based on how it was done to once again, appease fans. Ben’s character, after being redeemed, was completely wasted, as we never spent enough time with him. Palpatine’s plan wasn’t very clear, and his death was terribly done, especially in comparison to Return of the Jedi. However, I was pretty mad at how Ben’s story was wasted by killing him off. There could have been so many great stories to tell with him, but his death wasn’t rewarding. Anakin had lived a full life and had done so much, Ben had not, and he is completely glossed over and doesn’t even appear with Luke and Leia.
Overall, I wanted to at least show my own voice on the film. I, like many were disappointed, but even though there wasn’t a plan, I still think you could’ve made a great conclusion to the trilogy, not the saga. My last complaint for here would have to be how rushed the film felt to cap off the entire saga, when it would’ve been better to focus on ending the trilogy, not the saga. Many got excited for a fourth trilogy, but after The Last Jedi came out, most people seemed to want it to end rather than continue it. Real shame.
Anyways, those are just my thoughts. I hope some great fan edits can come out of it.
I feel very similar in terms of appreciating TFA and TLJ for what they were, and also staying away a bit due to the extreme toxicity.
More than just saying “I wish they stuck with Trevorrow”, I think you really touched on an important point how this movie felt like damage control. Everyone knows at this point that they didn’t plan out the trilogy, but I think if they stuck with their guns, and stayed true to giving each director their own personal unique take on how to progress the story forward, this film would have been much more successful. It all comes back to what Lucas always tried to preach about the “fear of creativity” on the part of the industry itself. And even though it is his fault that he sold his franchise, he is completely right. What is upsetting to me is that I personally enjoyed TLJ compared to TFA so much because it felt so creatively free. But then Lucasfilm turned right back around and got cold feet. But that was most likely due to “fan response”, so who really is the one at fault???