Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker almost achieves the impossible. It makes you almost feel sorry for JJ Abrams. Almost.
As we have said before, The Force Awakens did at least leave the franchise with an interesting jumping-off point. There were plot threads there that could have, and should have, been picked up and run with. Instead, as we know, The Last Jedi seemingly ignored a lot of them and left the franchise somewhat adrift and rudderless.
It was such an about-face of direction and tone that it left Colin Trevorrow, the original director of The Rise Of Skywalker, wondering what the hell he was supposed to do with the shit-sandwich he had been handed by Rian Johnson. Eventually, the expected “creative differences” reared their head at Lucasfilm and he walked.
This left Lucasfilm with a ticking clock and JJ Abrams was brought back in a Hail Mary effort to save things. He had a script from Colin Trevorrow that had desperately tried to course-correct The Last Jedi and with his own mental plan for the three movie arc in tatters from the last movie.
He had to try and clear up the carnage of the previous installment while bringing the story to something approaching a satisfactory close, and time was running it fast as the release date was set. A hasty rewrite was needed.
What is left is, frankly, a mess. All of the above shows, as it lurches from one place to another, desperately trying to please everyone while it tries to move forward and retroactively clear up. With poorly thought out plots like “Somehow Palpatine returned!” and other threads seemingly dropped due to time, The Rise Of Skywalker is exceptionally busy going nowhere.
Is it unfixable? Irredeemable? Well, Outposter Reaver Of Souls returns with the final installment of his journey through the murky world of Star Wars fan edits and he will tell us what he found out. Can The Rise Of Skywalker be saved?
The Rise Of Skywalker: Ascendant
At long last, I have reached the apex of Sequel Trilogy fan-edits.
There has been quite a lot of resistance to these edits within the comments section here at Last Movie Outpost. I understand the issues we boomers have with the Disney trilogy, but the die was cast a long time ago.
The moment Lucas retconned the original trilogy in his prequels we were trapped between two worlds – what was, and what is now.
Kenobi didn’t serve Bail Organa in the Clone Wars. Not really. Anakin was no longer a great star pilot when he and Obi-wan met. He was a pod racer. Leia couldn’t possibly remember Padme as she died during childbirth? The mysterious Boba Fett actually had the most recognizable features in the galaxy, thanks to the clone army. According to Lucas, Han needed further justification for despatching Greedo other than Greedo having a gun to his face and the willingness to take him in dead or alive.
Oh yes, and Vader created Threepio. Star Wars has always required a certain level of head-canon. So that’s been my approach to these fan edits.
I chose conservative cuts that kept to the official story but tweaked them enough to perhaps sell me on a concept that previously left me feeling cold.
The Rise Of Skywalker is the end result of procrastination and Hollywood egos.
JJ Abrams couldn’t grow up enough to get over his mystery box fetish. Rian Johnson seemingly wanted the attention a Star Wars project would bring him, without delivering upon anything previously set up in the eight films preceding it.
The Kennedy woman wouldn’t get out of the health spa long enough to do her job convincingly and this left Colin Trevorrow so concerned about the pile of garbage he’d inherited that he walked away from his dream project.
These edits are a way of the fans taking back Star Wars as best we can & moving forward.
The Force Awakens: Restructured delivered a cleaner adventure movie & a genuine passing of the torch.
The Last Jedi: Legendary stripped away the irreverent, rightfully pondering the devastation of Luke’s situation.
The Rise Of Skywalker from its new opening crawl onwards, tries to end the Trilogy with some dignity.
The Rise Of Skywalker has the largest edits in regard to tone. There are scenes that recontextualize entire relationships by their movement. The best example of this is the holochess scene between Finn, Poe, and Chewie. Originally this was a horribly over-familiar affair that felt unearned.
Placed as almost an epilogue in Ascendant, and this is now reminiscent of Picard finally playing cards with his crew at the end of All Good Things. Deserved.
Apparently, this puppet scene depicting Lukes’s heroics is a new addition? The Knights of Ren have various lines, and one specifically about wanting Chewie’s teeth felt amazingly villainous.
The “Oh, they fly now!” crap is gone & the Sith dagger doesn’t point to a hidden room by holding it up like the Sword of Omens.
Rey’s delivery of her final line has been swapped with one from the behind-the-scenes bonus material that appeared to be more emotionally resonant, with the background modified to match the finished film.
The final shot has been replaced. In this edit, the Falcon takes off, flies toward the suns, and jumps to hyperspace.
If you really can’t let go in regards to where the story had gone under Disney then, then these won’t change your mind. If you need more time, care, and the context in order to accept that, eventually the original trio was going to have to pass the torch then these should be the medicine for you.
Do you think Snoke in a tank was silly but Palpatine clones are more logical? Have some of this!
Want a lightsaber fit for a Princess? Here you go!
Think that the Jedi being with Rey for the final battle should actually mean them showing up? Have at least four!!
Now “Rey Skywalker” carries more weight.
Honestly, these have saved the sequel trilogy for me. There is a clear narrative at long last, and a thoroughly satisfying emotional conclusion.
With talent like this within our Fandom – the Force will be with us .. always!