Where Has The New Trilogy Gone Wrong?
What is it about Rian Johnson's movie that has rattled the Rancor cage? Well, it could be argued that The Last Jedi has simply been crushed under its own hype. Heading into Episode VIII there were assumptions that it would effectively be The Empire Strikes Back of the Disney years. Abrams was called out for The Force Awakens being a thematic remake of A New Hope. Perhaps the new trilogy's biggest problem as a whole is the fact that it gets compared to the originals.
One frustration commonly expressed by those who disliked The Last Jedi is that there have been some annoying teases that so far haven't paid off - from the legacy of Kylo Ren's grandfather to Supreme Leader Snoke's identity. There were some major moments in Star Wars lore that were arguably glossed over and given too little set-up: Leia's Force-sensitive powers; the death of a long-standing character like Admiral Ackbar; Kyber crystal necklaces; and even the return of Yoda.
However, let's look at what has been done right so far. Yoda's return was done entirely with puppetry instead of restoring to Lucas' overuse of CGI that plagued the prequels. Daisy Ridley has cemented herself at the center of the saga as Rey, and supporting characters like Poe (Oscar Isaac) have also won over a lot of fans. From the fantastic design of Crait, with blood-red salt lurking just below its white surface, to Snoke's crimson chambers, there is no denying that the visuals have been stunning. The imagery of Admiral Holdo decimating the First Order's fleet is one of the most beautiful shots from any Star Wars movie, and filming Luke's hideout, Ahch-To, in the remote real-world location of Skellig Michael lent those parts of the movie an authenticity and tangibility that couldn't have been achieved with green screen.
Could Episode IX Be the Best of the Trilogy?
The new Star Wars movies can feel disjointed at times, coming from the wildly different directing styles of those behind the camera. Kathleen Kennedy may be supreme overseer of where the story is heading, but each director will bring their own style to the table - and that's ultimately a good thing. With The Force Awakens being generally held in higher (or at least, less controversial) regard than The Last Jedi, it's a positive omen that Abrams is back for Episode IX. The backlash aimed at The Last Jedi should be a call to arms for Abrams and Chris Terrio when it comes to Episode IX, but after an already troubled start thanks to Colin Trevorrow's departure, they have an uphill battle ahead.
Some are calling for an end after Episode IX, but does anyone really see it stopping there? Heading towards 2030 and beyond, Episode X, XI, and XII are almost a given - not to mention all those anthology movies and Rian Johnson's Skywalker-less spin-off trilogy. Under the umbrella of the House of Mouse (and with its own theme park on the way), the world of Star Wars is only just firing up its engines.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019