Some people believe that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker serves as a course correction for the franchise after The Last Jedi controversially subverted expectations by “letting the past die” and taking the narrative on an unexplored path.
The last entry in the Skywalker Saga is currently playing in theaters across the world and even though critics are calling it an “uninspired” picture that relinquishes the values of The Last Jedi, fans are more or less enjoying the movie and its numerous callbacks to the past. Now, we all know that director J.J. Abrams loves a good old mystery, and the Sequel Trilogy was nothing short of an enigma wrapped around a hype train of anticipation and speculation, and while The Last Jedi disregarded these questions entirely, Abrams makes sure to answer them all in the sequel.
Needless to say, and regardless of how the last movie is being received, it’s an undeniable fact that it doesn’t tonally or thematically resonate with its predecessor. Whereas Episode VIII tried to educate viewers that lineage or legacy are two concepts that should be thrown away, Episode IX reinforces those ideas as it concludes a narrative that spans more than four decades of storytelling across different mediums.
But Abrams himself disputes the presumption that he backtracked from The Last Jedi in any way. In fact, during a recent event for the Academy, the filmmaker expressed his love for Rian’s work, saying:
“It’s been nothing but collaborative in a way, the perspective at least personally I got stepping away and seeing what Rian did, strangely gave us opportunities that would never have been there. Because, of course, he made choices that no one else would have made. Just as we all do, as any of us in this room do. In a way, it felt like a gift. And though there were challenges in every direction — some logistical, some narrative, everything — it was actually weirdly more helpful than not having that other energy, it felt like a sort of alchemy, because of the things that he did.”
The director also assured us that his work wasn’t “flipping off” The Last Jedi, adding:
“Another thing I’ll say is I think that people who say, ‘Oh, this film is flipping off The Last Jedi when Luke says the thing he does about the lightsaber.’ If the scene in The Last Jedi where Luke tosses the saber over his shoulder were immediately followed by Luke saying ‘A Jedi’s weapon deserves more respect,’ I’d think it was insane. But one of the many brilliant things that Rian did in Last Jedi is give Luke an arc. He learned something. He got somewhere. At the end of that film, he committed – recommitted – to the thing that at the very beginning of the film he was rejecting.”
Rian Johnson is still defending his controversial decisions to this day, but whether Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker backtracks on those decisions or not is ultimately for the audience to decide. So, make sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!