Star Wars is facing a crunch few months ahead with the release of the Rise of Skywalker edging closer. Disney are under pressure to get this one right with the sequel trilogy so far dividing opinion. The Last Jedi, while visually spectacular and containing some magical scenes, isn’t everybody’s cup of hot chocolate. And Solo tanked at the box office, with fans staying away from the movie starring everybody’s favourite smuggler.
It’s fair to say Disney’s trilogy need a win. But, given some of the things they’ve done in both. The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, that may be easier said than done. Here’s 10 things we wish they hadn’t done so far to make The Rise of Skywalker arguably the most-important part of the franchise so far.
10 Not Killed Han Solo
While Harrison Ford has, for years, implored that Star Wars kill off Han Solo (he originally wanted the character to die in 1981’s Return of the Jedi), audiences weren’t quite ready to say goodbye to the loveable rogue when he was impaled by son Kylo Ren during 2015’s The Force Awakens.
There’s no denying the scene is spectacular, with Ford and Adam Driver both emotionally exchanging dialogue and reeling audiences in to their complex father-son relationship. But Han was so good in that movie, acting as mentor to Rey, being a key player on the Takodana battlefield against the First Order and even stealing back his beloved Millennium Falcon. We wanted more. And there’s another reason for that too...
9 Reunited The Big Three
Once upon a time, Star Wars was just about a selection of characters, rather than an entire roster. And Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill were the poster boys and girls of Hollywood at the time due to their performances as Han Solo, Leia Organa and Luke Skywalker respectively.
When Disney announced that The Force Awakens would, indeed, be happening all these years on from Return of the Jedi, fans couldn’t wait to see the heroes of the original trilogy reunited on the big screen. But, unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Han interacted with Leia in Episode VII, Luke and Leia had a touching moment where they shared the screen in Episode VII but we didn’t get ONE single scene of the trio all back together. With two of the three gone, and Fisher sadly no longer with us, this doesn’t look like it’s going to be possible either.
8 Had Clarified Rey’s Parental Situation Earlier
But then, in The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson left us reeling by using Kylo Ren to tell audiences that Rey was, in fact, a nobody. Is that going to remain the case? Well that’s something only time can tell. But the shocking revelation has gone down badly with fans and many expect Disney to retcon the previous outing by revealing her origins in The Rise of Skywalker. By this point, though, patience is well and truly wearing thin.
7 Had Rey Live On A Different Planet
Another issue with Rey is that, simply put, she seems to be a female version of Luke Skywalker. Obviously, that’s no bad thing. But Disney have sold fans by giving her a near-enough origin story. Her parents are a mystery, she’s seemingly naturally gifted with the force and, lastly, she lives on a desert planet.
Seriously, did they really have to place Daisy Ridley’s character on ANOTHER sand planet? We’d already had Luke growing up on Tatooine, a place that features in two of the original three movies and two of the prequel trilogy too. In doing that, they’ve invited criticism upon themselves and shown little imagination as a result. The word rehash springs to mind - and that’s not the only rehash either...
6 Had Explained The Rise Of The First Order
Two whole movies in, and we’re still none the wiser who the First Order are, where they came from and even what the point of their existence is within the whole Star Wars sequel trilogy. While we were mostly in the dark about the Empire during the original three movies, that was OK but they were new, and their origins didn’t need explaining at the time. This time around, though, it seems very much like Disney have simply rehashed the same things as years before.
We don’t even know what their aim is. The Empire, though extremely villainous, had a code to stick to because they feared resistance and uprising across the rest of the galaxy. That’s why they didn’t just bomb Endor to pieces when they knew the Rebel Alliance were there in Return of the Jedi. But the First Order have carried out senseless acts of murder so far (yes, we’re referring to the Jakku scene in the Force Awakens) and it’s left people infuriated as a result.
5 Had Explained Who Supreme Leader Snoke Was/Is
Like the First Order, we’re two movies in and still know barely anything about Supreme Leader Snoke who, until his death at Kylo Ren’s hands in The Last Jedi, had spearheaded the villainous organisation. In The Force Awakens, his appearance and mannerisms sparked theories he could be Sith legend Darth Plagueis himself or even a clone of either Emperor Palpatine or Darth Vader.
And fans LIKED speculating on his identity. It was a talking point and one many believed would lead to a satisfying pay-off. Except...then Kylo Ren cut Snoke in half. And it appears the character who led to so much chatter was to be a dud, just a plot device to further Ben Solo instead. Will we get answers in The Rise of Skywalker? We certainly hope so...
4 Had Brought Darth Vader Back
The Skywalker saga is closing in The Rise of Skywalker, despite the misnomer of a title. Luke was the original, then it was revealed Darth Vader was one too in The Empire Strikes Back and then there came the revelation that Leia Organa was Luke’s twin sister. That was the original trilogy in a nutshell but, due to the release of the prequels, it established Anakin Skywalker, who would go on to become Vader, as the face of the entire saga instead.
But he’s been absent from the first two chapters of the sequel trilogy, with JJ Abrams abandoning plans to have him appear as a hybrid force ghost during The Force Awakens. Given how prominent Anakin is to the franchise, that has proven to be the wrong decision. Even if Hayden Christensen didn’t want to return, Vader himself should have - one way or after.
3 Had Not Cast Chewbacca Aside
So far, Disney have been somewhat a mixed bag when it comes to the heroes of the original trilogy. Han Solo was prominent in The Force Awakens only to die, while Leia was in the sequel far more than its predecessor. Luke Skywalker had to wait a whole movie just to say a line of dialogue, while droids C3PO and R2D2 have barely featured. Chewbacca, meanwhile, has been nearly overlooked completely.
He is in Episode VII a bit, fighting alongside Han Solo, but was snubbed throughout nearly the entirety of The Last Jedi. Everybody’s favourite Wookie deserves better than this and we’re hoping JJ Abrams is able to find a key role for him when the Rise of Skywalker releases this December.
2 Had Given Us The True Luke Skywalker
One of the many complaints fans have about The Last Jedi is what they perceive to be the character assassination of Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker. During the original trilogy he was gutsy, bold and a brave warrior. But, a whole 30 years on, the poster boy of the first three movies is reduced to a bitter, cowardly old man who would rather hide from the fight, rather than take part.
Why, Disney, why? Luke of the first three blockbusters would never have abandoned his friends, something we see for ourselves in Return of the Jedi. And he certainly wouldn’t have considered killing young Ben Solo, even before his full-on slide to the dark side. We wish they had given Luke a different storyline - and one that paints him in a significantly better light.
1 Had Hinted At Palpatine’s Return
Disney have well and truly pulled their ace from the pack. With the fandom divided following both The Last Jedi and box office bomb Solo, their bid to get the series back on track has led them down a very particular path. One that involves Sheev Palpatine, the biggest bad guy in Star Wars history, coming back into the fold.
The bigwigs over at the studios have insisted Palpatine’s return has been on the cards the whole time. But there’s yet to be one single clue. There’s only ever been one mention of him in both Episode VII and Episode VIII so far and that simply doesn’t back up their claim. The groundwork should have been laid by now, but it hasn’t, and that means Palpatine’s imminent return looks very much like a final throw of the dice.