5 reasons why the ‘Star Wars’ sequel trilogy is great

Star Wars Rise of Skywalker

When Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, it meant that a brand new era of Star Wars was about to begin, with a new trilogy of films alongside a myriad of new television series and comic books.

The first of the sequels was released to much fanfare in December 2015, with The Force Awakens bringing the franchise out of its relative slumber. Introducing the franchise to a new generation of fans, the trilogy didn’t win everyone over. The internet consensus on the films is heavily split, but here’s why The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and Rise of Skywalker make a tremendous trilogy.

It looks and feels like Star Wars

After the prequel trilogy picked up a lot of criticism for looking off, and lacking the visual humanity of the original trilogy, the sequels made sure to course correct with the trilogy shot on film. This, combined with the increased use of practical effects, led to the trilogy looking like a continuation of the story that ended 32 years prior in Return of the Jedi.

Also, that throne room scene in The Last Jedi is ridiculously cool to look at.

The lightsaber duels feel real

While the balletic duels of the prequel trilogy are visually fascinating, they lack a sense of realism and grit that allows it to have stakes. The reduced role of the lightsaber in the sequels, then combined with strong usage, makes it feel magical again. The duel between Rey and Kylo Ren on Starkiller Base is a great example of this, as neither of them are flipping around doing cartwheels, but instead are engaged in what feels like a sword fight. They get tired, lethargic, and eventually being strong with the force and remaining calm wins the day.

Kylo Ren

The tortured heart of the sequel trilogy, Adam Driver’s Ben Solo is Kylo Ren when we meet him, but his redemption arc is played out over three films – similar to his grandfather Anakin Skywalker. What makes him so compelling is the idea of a tortured, halfway there edgy teenager. Volatile with his emotions and prone to outbursts, he actually feels like a real person. His redemption feels earned, and by Rise of Skywalker he becomes the charismatic hero.

Luke’s arc

The arc of Luke Skywalker is one of the major points of difference in how the sequels are perceived by sections of fans. But, brutally honest, Luke’s arc is one of the best things in the entire Star Wars canon. Him going from a hopeful student who could see the best in people, to becoming jaded by the return of what he fought to end is great. His logic makes perfect sense, as the Jedi have mostly been at fault for bad things happening.

But he learns an important lesson through Rey and the younger generation about hope, and that failure is a tremendous teacher. The Last Jedi is a film about dealing with failure, and Luke encapsulates it perfectly.

Rey Skywalker

Star Wars as a franchise is heavily about family, and importantly, adopted family. Rey’s journey from being a scavenger from sand to becoming a hero also echoes something seen right across all three trilogies. But what makes Rey fascinating is that as a character she learns to properly balance the light and the dark, and is seen to struggle with knowing where she fits in.

Science fiction fantasy like Star Wars loves a good young person struggling with their place, and I think Rey is the best version of it in the franchise to date. Daisy Ridley gives a tremendous performance across all three movies, and it’s time for a Disney Plus show about her character.