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Opinion: An Objective Look At The 'Star Wars' Sequels - What Didn't Work For Me And What Would Have Made Them Better

by Culture Slate about a month ago in star wars
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They Were Not All Bad But They Could Have Been Better.

There are many Star Wars fans who have a terrible taste in their mouth and strong emotions concerning the sequel trilogy. There are also those who love the sequel trilogy and find them to be the best. For the longest time, I was a part of that first group. However, I have recently started to notice that there are not that many things wrong with the sequel trilogy, and it is not all negative. 

The use of many practical effects, something that Disney has started to do more of in Star Wars, is one of the good things that the trilogy does. The casting was done well too because the acting was good and there was really great chemistry among the actors and actresses. Despite that, there are a few BIG decisions that Disney and the directors made concerning the trilogy, that if they had simply made a different decision, the Star Wars fan base would not have this gaping divide.

RELATED: Unanswered Questions & Mysteries from The 'Star Wars' Sequel Trilogy

“Godspeed, Rebels.”

One of the moments that really broke the immersion in this entire trilogy was Admiral Holdo saying, “Godspeed, Rebels” as the Resistance transports fled to Crait. First, the pilot of one of the Resistance freighters said it as he was blown to oblivion by General Hux. Then right before Admiral Holdo sat down in the chair to blast through Supreme Leader Snoke’s ship by going through hyperspace, she said the same thing! It made me crawl in my seat to hear her say it even today. I still cannot imagine why she couldn’t have simply said, “May the Force be with you” like everyone else does in Star Wars.

As a long-time Star Wars fan, it felt unnatural to hear someone so close to General Leia not say, "May the Force be with you." We know that Admiral Holdo is familiar with that saying since she said it to General Leia before she boarded her transport. It would have been different if it was said by someone not connected to someone so close to the Force as Leia and the Resistance was. You never hear it any time before or after this phrase was used twice in The Last Jedi.

Rey’s Unrealistic Power 

The next thing I want to mention is Rey’s power. When a person is both talented and trained in the ways of the Force, they can stand up against anyone in the galaxy and have a chance. However, that never happened in Star Wars until Rey in the sequel trilogy. She had zero training and just truly started believing in the Force a day earlier and BAM, she could use the Force to affect the minds of people. How did she even know that was even a Force ability? If it was that easy why did Ezra Bridger from Rebels have a hard time using the ability? Now the ability did not seem as impressive when Obi-Wan and Luke used it.

Then, you had Rey outdo Kylo Ren in the lightsaber duel on Starkiller Base. Sure, Kylo Ren was already injured from Chewbacca’s blaster shot, but that did not mean that Rey would be able to defeat Kylo Ren in a lightsaber duel so easily. Kylo Ren was trained by Luke Skywalker and Snoke. He should have been more able to at least make it challenging for Rey. Rey also was Force pulling that lightsaber to her like it was nothing. At this point, she had less training than Luke had by the time The Empire Strikes Back rolled around and he was struggling to pull that lightsaber out of the ice on Hoth. This was really the only serious issue from The Force Awakens that I have found common among Star Wars fans who dislike the sequels.

You can fix this issue by having Rey learn Force abilities and lightsaber dueling over time instead of being instantly amazing. You could have Kylo Ren suffering more injuries, which slowed him down and level the playing field more realistically. Find a way for Kylo Ren to be outnumbered or have him fully incapacitated and just seek to have Rey join him. It would also be more realistic for Rey to struggle to pull the lightsaber to her. 

With Rey successfully using the Jedi mind trick on the stormtrooper guarding her, the story could have gone a different direction. Of course, someone like her would not sit still and wait for someone to come and save her. Instead, she could use her skills and resourcefulness living as a scavenger on Jakku to free herself.  You don’t have to kill off Rey to prove she has some learning to do, you just need to keep her from seeming all-powerful.

Lightsaber Duels 

In general, the lightsaber duels in the sequel trilogy were fairly forgettable. The good ones did not stand out simply because they had mistakes or did not make sense. As stated earlier, Rey was way too powerful and should have struggled in her first duel against Kylo Ren. Furthermore, the lightsaber duel just was not up to the standard set by the prequel trilogy. In the prequels, you had fast, quick movements along with a mixture of clean choreography and consistent acrobatics. There was also a perfect soundtrack to go along with the choreography that enhanced the undertones of what was on the line in the duels (“Duel of the Fates” in The Phantom Menace comes to mind). In the original trilogy, you had an old man, half man/half robot, and untrained people fighting so they were generally slow fights. In the sequel trilogy, with all the technology at their disposal, and a duel between these powerful young people, you would expect a more exciting lightsaber duel.

The lightsaber duel between Rey and Kylo Ren in The Rise of Skywalker was one of the best of the trilogy, but it could have been so much better. According to reports, there was supposed to be a “Duel of the Fates” level fight between Kylo Ren, Rey, and Finn. They filmed it. John Williams had even composed a variation of “Duel of the Fates” for the scene. However, Lucasfilm decided to remove it from the final cut of the movie. This is disappointing because it would have been an epic duel that would more than likely redeem the sequel trilogy for some fans.

The fight scene between Snoke’s Praetorian guards, Kylo Ren, and Rey was one of the more exciting parts of The Last Jedi. However, even it had a major blunder. One of the guards that Rey was fighting started by pulling apart his weapon, making it two weapons. Then it disappeared in the middle of a move against Rey that would have killed her. Little blunders like that broke the immersion and just make the trilogy so frustrating.

The main way to fix this issue could simply be to put more emphasis on the choreography like in the prequel trilogy. They were smooth and entertaining to watch. The music further set the tone of the duels and pushed them to an epic and legendary level. If they would have kept the "Duel of the Fates" like the duel between Rey, Kylo Ren, and Finn that they had planned for The Rise of Skywalker, it very well could have changed a lot of Star Wars fans’ opinions of all of the lightsaber duels in the trilogy. Not to mention it also would have given us a legendary fight to close out the trilogy. 

Luke’s Exile On Ahch-To 

When Rey found Luke and finally gave him Anakin’s lightsaber, Luke threw the lightsaber over his shoulder. You do need to make a point to explain why the great Luke Skywalker ran from the Resistance and his family, but to make him out to be a deserter, cutting himself off from the Force, because of one mistake, is not what Luke as a character needed. Having Luke on Ahch-To working through depression and emotions of defeat is one thing, but Luke had completely run from his responsibility with no drive to fix it. It was a complete switch from the Luke we saw in Return of the Jedi and even in The Book of Boba Fett

Changing Luke’s character in this movie just slightly would make a huge difference for the group of Star Wars fans that greatly disliked The Last Jedi. Anakin’s lightsaber could be the “kick in the pants” he needed to put himself back into the fight. Having a character arc of Luke working through his emotions and actually going to Crait to help the Resistance would have done justice to such a legendary character. Using Rey and that lightsaber as the catalyst to make that happen would have been exactly what The Force Awakens was leading to.

Lack Of Direction

There should have been a single direction for the entire trilogy. When you had one vision in The Force Awakens, a completely different vision in The Last Jedi, and another vision in The Rise of Skywalker, there was no cohesion. It felt like you had the movies giving one direction, receiving new coordinates to a star system across the galaxy, but then get called back halfway to where they began.

According to reports, Kathleen Kennedy initially asked J. J. Abrams to do all three movies but he declined to do so. Kathleen Kennedy then was going to have three different directors. However, because of creative differences, she ended up going with two. If J. J. Abrams had been chosen to do all three movies, then it would have fixed the issue of cohesion, and possibly make the entire trilogy better for many fans. This brings me to my final big thing that could have changed to save the sequel trilogy.

Rey Skywalker

Rey Skywalker. The simple issue with this is that she is not a Skywalker. She was not born a Skywalker, she was not married to a Skywalker, nor is she related to a Skywalker through marriage, which could have made her a Solo. For her to just claim that name with no real family connection beyond the people that trained her seemed cheap. There was no valid reason why she should be called Skywalker. She did not have to claim that name to carry that legacy. She just had to carry the good heart that the Skywalkers had and continued the fight to make the galaxy a safe and just place.

The idea behind her claiming the Skywalker name for her own appears to be that she doesn’t want to be defined by the Palpatine legacy. To be fair, that is completely understandable. A countless number of people died because of someone with the last name Palpatine, I wouldn’t want to be attached to that name either.

To counteract that evil legacy and to make Sidious really pay, would be to make that name into the thing it sought to destroy. I’m reminded of what Obi-Wan told Anakin in Revenge of the Sith, “You’ve become the very thing you swore to destroy.” To take the Palpatine name and change its legacy and reputation is far more impressive. It could carry Rey as a character even farther than she already was and create opportunities for the character in the Star Wars timeline in the future. The question you have to answer in your own head is, “What’s more impressive, to change the label put on you from birth, or to change the entire meaning of that label into something far more admirable and honorable?”

It is easy to fix this issue for me, you make her an actual Skywalker, related to the Skywalkers, either through Luke or Leia or you have her just go by Rey. For that matter you have her make up her own name connected to something else. J. J. Abrams initially was going to make her a Skywalker by being Luke’s daughter, but because he wasn’t in charge of making The Last Jedi, he was not able to do that. The other alternative is for her to seek and strive to change the legacy of the Palpatine name as mentioned above.

After rewatching the sequel trilogy, I did come to terms with the fact that this trilogy was not as bad as I had initially felt. There were a lot of different things that could have completely saved it from being as hated by many groups of Star Wars fans. Overall, it had great acting and the characters had great chemistry. The largest issue that hurt the trilogy was the fact that there were two different directors for the trilogy causing there to be a lack of cohesion between the story of the three movies. Many of the problems and solutions listed in this article arose from this discrepancy. The sequel trilogy is still worth going back and watching one more time if it has been a while for you, and you may begin to enjoy them again.

READ NEXT: Ian McDiarmid Teases His Involvement In A Future 'Star Wars’ Project As The Emperor

Written By Kent Priest II

Source(s): SWSC, Collider, GameRant, Syfy Wire

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