Nearly four months after its release, the dust has settled on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The consensus is that Disney and Lucasfilm were spooked by the online reaction to The Last Jedi and attempted a major course correction. Whether that was the right thing to do or not depends on your opinion of that film, but the end result was a disjointed movie full of plotholes that disappointed damn near everyone.
Now, however, we’re finally getting an idea of what was going on behind the scenes. The Rise of Skywalker editors Maryann Bandon and Mary Jo Markey recently appeared on the Light the Fuse: A Mission: Impossible Podcast where they were asked their opinion of The Last Jedi.
Brandon kicked things off by saying:
“I feel very much like, in hindsight, that the trilogy, the last part of the trilogy, needed one vision”
Here it seems that she’s referring to the Sequel Trilogy as “the last part of the trilogy” – following the prequels and original trilogies to make the full Skywalker Saga. She’s not wrong, but it’s a bit mind-boggling that Lucasfilm apparently chose not to plan out the basic arc of the sequel in advance. By deciding to make it up as they went along, they opened the door for the kind of reactionary, playing-it-safe storytelling that sunk The Rise of Skywalker.
But Markey laid on the criticism more directly, saying:
“I couldn’t agree more. It’s very strange to have the second film … consciously undo the storytelling of the first film. I’m sorry, that’s what it felt like.”
It’s hypocritical to criticize The Last Jedi to “consciously undo the storytelling” of the previous film while explicitly doing that yourself. While The Rise of Skywalker isn’t the worst movie ever made, it felt unpleasantly spiteful towards The Last Jedi. The worst examples are throwing shade at the Holdo manoeuvre, minimizing Rose Tico in the plot and walking back the revelation that Rey’s parents weren’t important.
If you really wanted to highlight the flaws of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, maybe don’t consciously repeat the exact same mistakes you think it made?