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Rise of Skywalker Followed Up All Threads The Last Jedi, Complainers Just Didn't See Their Head Canon Dreams Come True

#Phonepunk#

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I keep seeing the argument/narrative, mainly from the professional consumer/influencer/commentary class, that The Rise of Skywalker was a betrayal of Rian Johnson's threads that were set up in The Last Jedi. So many (obnoxious) listicles have been written fuming about all the ways the movie retcons the last one. Now, retconning the last film is fine, because it is a thing that every SW film past the first one has done. But this is being used as one of the reasons why it's a "bad movie" or a "poor follow up". IMO to me, this is nonsense, because JJ touches on just about every thread that was brought up. People may not like the answers they get, but JJ goes out of his way to follow up the many threads introduced by Rian.

People that love TLJ tend to say JJ "ignored" the great setups from that movie. I disagree entirely.

1) Rey "Nobody" / Democratic Force Theme - The stuff in TLJ about her parents being "nobody" is as vague an answer to her origins as her stating she is "No one" in TFA. While cinematic-ally treated as some great revelation, it's just her commiserating, dealing with internal trauma through self negation. All the stuff about how "democratic" it all was, it is irrelevant because the force has always shown up to "nobodies" in the OT and PT. Just as well, Rian undermines his own "democratic" view of the force by focusing entirely on the three special white people (and the white mini roundhead stand-in at the end). None of the minorities get to use the force, see the island, or texts, or even meet any of these special people, until the very end of Rian's film. Even then, the wide eyed black boy friends with Rian's force sensitive mini stand in doesn't even get to see his friend lift the broom. Face it, Rian's "democratic" force theme is a lie.

So "anyone can be a Jedi" is not a new revelation, not a game changer. Her parentage was not answered or finalized by Rian. "Nobodies" is not an answer to who they are, it pointed towards their identity being the most important thing about them. Rian made it so that the only "new" thing we know about Rey's parents is that their identity is kept hidden. JJ followed this up with Rey's parents going into hiding. They became "nobodies". It is "from a certain point of view", a retcon that is functionally nearly identical to Obi Wan's own belabored audience-required explanation in ROTJ. Their identities are still a total mystery to audiences at the end of the film, he is true to Rian's insistence that they not be revealed in the films.

I'd even say that Rey Palpatine works perfectly with TLJ, it contextualizes Luke's unease with Rey's power in a new light, "you went straight for the dark". The idea that she would never be tempted by the dark side was quite silly. That her lightning power is revealed during a force tug of war sequence with Kylo, which mirrors the tug of war with the Skywalker saber in TLJ, it makes total sense to me. These are two powerful, selfish children who have inherited great powers. It hints at her underlying rage and weakness, her desire to control things. This desire is attachment, this is the dark side itself. JJ done good w this IMO.

2) Kylo as Supreme Leader - let's face the facts, by the end of TLJ Rian had already shot his "brave new vision" in the foot, resetting Kylo back to Doing Evil Tyrant Things & Screaming at People As Usual as soon as the Throne Room sequence concluded. Kylo being a vicious, mean, angry, loose canon, is not new, yet people seem to have wanted him to be the main villain, the Supreme Leader, as if that would change him from selfishly doing what he wants and crying like a baby to, well, more of that, and it would be more interesting than the Emperor. I disagree. Kylo started out as a strong villain in TFA, with powerful deadly control of the force, and was turned into a whimpering baby in TLJ, who uses the force maybe once all movie. Hux is constantly backstabbing this guy and fucking up his plans, if Kylo was Vader, Hux would have been choked out long ago. Thankfully JJ has him actually doing force and Dark Side stuff, seeking out Sith planets and artifacts, etc. Despite the "kill the past" sloganeering, Kylo was always a Sith LARPer at heart.

3) Rose - She was a side character in the second movie, and she remains in the film, and essential part of the Resistance. She is in the final battle. People just too salty or want to include her out of spite v incels. Fact is she was an unlikable, poor character, a weird bipolar anime style militant extremist, designed by the writer to be unlike anyone in Star Wars and patterned after the one nerdy girl in school that thought he was cool. Her film presence in ROS was reduced likely to popular demand. Blame Rian.

4) Kylo's Helmet - Kylo smashing his helmet is taken to be some dramatic, meaningful thing. He wants this brave new break from the past, he wants to end it all. By being a dark side user who rules the galaxy. Who uses AT-AT walkers to fight Princess Leia. Yeah, totally brand new stuff. /s Thing is, Kylo even smashing something isn't new. He smashed up a computer screen, no doubt they replaced that in the last film. JJ brought back the mask cos people liked it. The weird ritual around it w simian blacksmith was a nice fantasy touch.

5) Luke's Island - Luke's entire arc is JJ taking TLJ seriously. Luke's arc from the last movie where he starts out wanting the Jedi to end and then ends up knowing they will live on in Rey. So he stated out wrong and ended right, this is called character development. This was the arc in TLJ, no? So him catching the saber and saying he was wrong, that is in accordance with his growth throughout TLJ. Him raising the X-Wing is similarly true. The reason Luke couldn't lift it in ESB was that he didn't believe. He started out TLJ not believing, but ended it believing in the future of the Jedi, so it makes sense he could now lift it. Rian showed that force ghosts can interact with the real world via Yoda lightning strike, and people complained when that happened, and were told to shut up, it's a kids movie, etc. JJ merely extrapolated from this and had Luke do a few more similar tricks.

6) Force Teleportation - This is a controversial new force power. Yet entirely set up in TLJ. The famous force skypes where the two leads almost touch hands, where Kylo has water teleported to him from Luke's planet, set all this up. Luke's final act was another demonstration of a sort of force teleporting, given that the dice appeared to remain physical even after he died. Teleporting lightsabers was only a natural next step from all this.

7) Reylo - The big one. I blame TLJ entirely for this. The endless memes made from TLJ scenes, the director himself saying it's the closest the series has ever gotten to sex. For some reason Rey is not wearing her androgynous three bun hair style for much of the movie, she has her hair down when she ships herself to Kylo, and it is down for the famous Throne Room scene that Reylos love. Of course, there is topless Kylo. People will bring up that she "shuts the door" but you cannot deny the thirst is real with the last film. This move towards sexualizing the two leads only inflamed a certain segment of fandom, who was particularly loud online. Rian is good at this kind of online marketing, and probably baited these types with this theme in his film. The result was an expectation that this new demographic would be addressed in the final film. This is what people mean when they say Rian made a poor middle movie, he literally did things that make it difficult in the final film. Now, JJ, who previously had them at each other's throats, was faced with this bizarre demand to include something for this group. More than likely, the inclusion wasn't even his choice, it may have been mandated from above.

Are there any other parts of TLJ anybody can think of that people say JJ ignored or ruined? Honestly there wasn't too much to the film, so the half dozen themes and sequences all seem to have been addressed to me.
 
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sol_bad

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This should be interesting.
Didn't the TLJ haters hate the film because their head cannon wasn't met?
 

dionysus

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The whole don't sacrifice yourself for others theme in TLJ was very blatantly ignored. Of course even TLJ ignored that by having Holdo sacrifice herself.
 
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This should be interesting.
Didn't the TLJ haters hate the film because their head cannon wasn't met?

TLJ came at a time when 'subverting expectations' was the in thing, only it was it not suitable for a follow up to a film that played massively on nostalgia (typical Abrams because he's an hack), but it was also poorly executed. The weak plot and sub plots didn't help it either. I've seen TLJ 3 times, and like the trilogy, the only redeeming feature is Driver who carries it like Maradona carried Argentina.
 

#Phonepunk#

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The whole don't sacrifice yourself for others theme in TLJ was very blatantly ignored. Of course even TLJ ignored that by having Holdo sacrifice herself.
Sacrificing himself for Rey is the final act of good Kylo does in ROS. The final Palpatine is dead, Skywalkers reign supreme, and yet, given all the harm he has done, he cannot in good faith take that prize, not knowing what he knows, not with the power to change things. And so he doesn't even hesitate, her transfers his life force to Rey, gives his life without question for another. then she kisses him cos she knows he thirsty. IMO it's a sublime sacrificial act.

When their relationship is taken as a whole, it's interesting. She is force sensitive as introduced, but canonically, her gives her the force in the TFA torture scene. It is his possessiveness over Rey that has given her powers. Much of TFA she spends running away, trying to not get caught up in these grand narratives. She was running from the Skywalker saber when her forced her onto his ship, demanded he train her, then probed her mind/downloaded the force into her head. After that is when she does the mind trick and all the rest. TLJ embellished this theme by having Snoke give them teleportation/mind meld powers. The ST is all about giving people the force like it's this thing you can posses and pass back and forth, unfortunately.

So in a way, Rey had no choice in the matter, the force and destiny and all that was thrust on her without her consent. Luke was in a similar predicament upon finding out about Vader being his father, in ESB it graphically foretold his own possible doom. He was pressured by his mentors (Vader/Obi Wan) into being the hero and learning the force, much like Rey.

People thought it would be great for Rey to finally kill Kylo in the final movie, no redemption. That seems dull to me, and antithetical to the sympathetic, light side tendencies of the darkest of Skywalker Jedi. Luke and Leia both had given up on him in TLJ, which I think was a huge mistake. But the mythical nonsense nature of that whole setup I find easily disregardable. Leia was right there with Kylo and Rian completely missed the chance for them to interact at all. This is one of the biggest failures of TLJ, wasting all the Kylo/Leia interactions on the Mary Poppins sequence. JJ would have to complete Leia & Kylo's relationship in ROS, and due to real life circumstances, it necessitated the route they went. Plus it's thematic, like Luke's father saving him, Kylo's mother could save him. It rhymes like poetry.
 
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Foamy

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I didn't like because a lot of the dialog was laughable. The idea that bazillion dollar starships can't take off without a beacon is assinine. And the kiss at the end was so forced it was almost script writing molestation.
Nevermind the fact that 70% of the movie was just a rehash of Return of the Jedi.
 

#Phonepunk#

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This should be interesting.
Didn't the TLJ haters hate the film because their head cannon wasn't met?
that is the narrative TLJ lovers tell themselves. personally i didn't like it as a movie in and of itself, nor as the middle movie in a trilogy. it being bad at both things is the reason i didn't see ROS in theaters.

but this is about things in TLJ that people insist JJ ignored. what are they? he followed up pretty much everything from what i can tell. funny enough, most of the things people dislike about ROS are things he extrapolated that Rian introduced to the series, like Reylo.
 
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dionysus

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Sacrificing himself for Rey is the final act of good Kylo does in ROS. The final Palpatine is dead, Skywalkers reign supreme, and yet, given all the harm he has done, he cannot in good faith take that prize, not knowing what he knows, not with the power to change things. And so he doesn't even hesitate, her transfers his life force to Rey, gives his life without question for another. then she kisses him cos she knows he thirsty. IMO it's a sublime sacrificial act.

When their relationship is taken as a whole, it's interesting. She is force sensitive as introduced, but canonically, her gives her the force in the TFA torture scene. It is his possessiveness over Rey that has given her powers. Much of TFA she spends running away, trying to not get caught up in these grand narratives. She was running from the Skywalker saber when her forced her onto his ship, demanded he train her, then probed her mind/downloaded the force into her head. After that is when she does the mind trick and all the rest. TLJ embellished this theme by having Snoke give them teleportation/mind meld powers. The ST is all about giving people the force like it's this thing you can posses and pass back and forth, unfortunately.

So in a way, Rey had no choice in the matter, the force and destiny and all that was thrust on her without her consent. Luke was in a similar predicament upon finding out about Vader being his father, in ESB it graphically foretold his own possible doom. He was pressured by his mentors (Vader/Obi Wan) into being the hero and learning the force, much like Rey.

People thought it would be great for Rey to finally kill Kylo in the final movie, no redemption. That seems dull to me, and antithetical to the sympathetic, light side tendencies of the darkest of Skywalker Jedi. Luke and Leia both had given up on him in TLJ, which I think was a huge mistake. But the mythical nonsense nature of that whole setup I find easily disregardable. Leia was right there with Kylo and Rian completely missed the chance for them to interact at all. This is one of the biggest failures of TLJ, wasting all the Kylo/Leia interactions on the Mary Poppins sequence. JJ would have to complete Leia & Kylo's relationship in ROS, and due to real life circumstances, it necessitated the route they went. Plus it's thematic, like Luke's father saving him, Kylo's mother could save him. It rhymes like poetry.

I get it. But your OP's premise was that the themes of TLJ continued in ROS. On the theme of sacrifice, ROS and TLJ are in opposition.
 

sol_bad

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that is the narrative TLJ lovers tell themselves. personally i didn't like it as a movie in and of itself, nor as the middle movie in a trilogy. it being bad at both things is the reason i didn't see ROS in theaters.

but this is about things in TLJ that people insist JJ ignored. what are they? he followed up pretty much everything from what i can tell. funny enough, most of the things people dislike about ROS are things he extrapolated that Rian introduced to the series, like Reylo.

For me personally I enjoyed RoS and want to watch it again.

I do have a few issues with the film though.
I do wish the film kept Rose as a main character, they gave her some good motivations and character growth in TLJ.
Also the film should have started with Poe as the leader of the resistance.
As for Kylo, I wish he was his own leader and not a pawn for Palpatine, TLJ very clearly ended with him having his own personal goals. It would have also been cool to see him with the Knights of Ren more before he had to fight them.
 

BadBurger

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I can only speak for myself, but I merely found TLJ to be a really weak movie both narratively and structurally. I do like Star Wars but I'm not a mega fan or anything, I simply walked out of the theater and went on with my life. I think I've discussed it before here, but in short it had a middle section that was pointless and by its conclusion it dead ended any story to be had. It was just bad. Johnson also clearly did not understand what made Luke Skywalker a unique character.

I am just glad TROS fixed all of the problems by essentially undoing them all.
 
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#Phonepunk#

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I get it. But your OP's premise was that the themes of TLJ continued in ROS. On the theme of sacrifice, ROS and TLJ are in opposition.
what do you mean? what is TLJ's theme of sacrifice? do or don't sacrifice yourself? characters do both, Luke's final act is a sacrifice, and it inspired the galaxy, so it must be good.

like you said, Rian himself undercuts it in his movie. it's just a genre trope to sacrifice someone. not some new theme.
I actually think it’s interesting that many people in both camps (TLJ fans and TLJ detractors) dislike ROS, just for completely different reasons
yeah that's cool. like it or not for whatever reason u want. i mainly wanted this thread to be about the "changes" ROS made. the narrative that JJ didn't like TLJ and ignored what Rian did, i disagree with. that Rian left him some great jump off points he never used. i think that's not true, that JJ payed close attention to TLJ and tried to follow up all it's threads.
 
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dionysus

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what do you mean? what is TLJ's theme of sacrifice? do or don't sacrifice yourself? characters do both, Luke's final act is a sacrifice, and it inspired the galaxy, so it must be good.

like you said, Rian himself undercuts it in his movie. it's just a genre trope to sacrifice someone. not some new theme.

My mind actually forgot about Luke when I typed that. Poe and Finn's story arc is to learn not to sacrifice people for the cause. That is also part of the justification for Rose. Her sister sacrifices herself for what was ultimately a meaningless victory, so she teaches that lesson to Finn.

But the two counterexamples of Hodo and Luke just prove that TLJ is a thematic mess. I guess you can try to square the circle of you say that Hodo and Luke's sacrifice were to save people and not just win a battle...except Finn tries to do just that and is told he is wrong. God TLJ just sucks from a storytelling perspective.