This isn’t very timely, but here goes anyway! We’ve seen a preview and a teaser for Rise of Skywalker and I have some thoughts which I’ll layout below in no particular order.
Plot Twist City
What we’ve seen so far has JJ Abrams written all over it. This guy loves pulling one over on you (remember Lost?). I have to say, so far, it seems like way too much. The name, to start with… Luke just died (dematerialized? is that dying?) so who’s the Skywalker? Could Rey be a Skywalker?! Are we just talking about the “idea” of Skywalker rising?! (I wish you could read my sarcasm here). This is just the sort of speculation that I don’t enjoy at all. The weird double lightsaber thing we see Rey using and Palpatine’s laugh add to this effect. It’s too much.
JJ, Disney, if you’re reading this, I love Star Wars. You don’t need to try to entice me with non-sensical twists in the preview. Don’t paint yourself into a corner here, there’s no need to shock us with ever crazier twists. Johnson had it right (hear me out for a sec!). Revealing Rey’s past didn’t need to top our Darth Vader father reveal in Empire. You keep going this way, you get close to jumping the shark.
The Name Of The Movie
I’m still not sure about the name. It sounds a bit clunky and nothing I’ve seen so far makes me feel better about it. It also feels like salt in the wound since we just lost Luke. But… I’m reserving final judgment. The contents of the movie could easily redeem the title. I’m famously bad at predicting what will happen in the movies (just ask my wife), but I think JJ could pull off a plot where the title makes perfect sense. After all, I didn’t like The Force Awakens as a title to begin with but it’s since grown on me a lot.
The new movies (The Force Awakens and onwards) have had a stunning visual style that’s built on the originals and improved on them in some amazing ways. TFA struck me immediately with the extreme angles JJ showed us the ships from. The opening sequence with the Storm Troopers in the drop ship used flickering light and fast editing in ways the Lucas never would have. The jaw dropping hyperspace ram from TLJ was one of the best visual sequences I’ve seen (whether it made sense or not!). But, even with the new, they’ve returned to some of the best elements from the originals (physical sets, puppets, etc.).
Everything I saw in the new previews strikes me as a great visual step forward, a step that builds perfectly on the work of the new movies. In particular, I love the use of slow motion in the new preview where Rey jumps over the Tie Fighter. I have no idea what that scene has to do with anything, but Star Wars has made very little use of Slow Motion. The first time I can think of a larger use is in TLJ during the opening space battle. For my money, it’s great when used sparingly and it has a lot to offer Star Wars.
Lando, Please Be Okay
My last thought at this point: Lando, watch out buddy! Luke, Han, and Leia (I presume? Surprised and impressed that she survived TLJ.) have died on screen. It seems like it’s pretty dangerous to be an original character in the new movies. Chewbacca and the droids are immune, but all the humans are struggling.