Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Can “Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker” Meet the Expectations of Fanatics, Or Will They Try to Ruin it for Everyone Else?


The embargo on reviews for “Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker” ends at 3:01 this morning.

Until then, Twitter and other social media are alive with either short comments from the few who’ve seen it last night and today. And those comments are accompanied by observations. The pitch is heavily toward “no one knows what they’re doing,” “hated The Force Awakens/The Last Jedi,” or anything else negative that could ruin the movie for mainstream fans.

There are also leaks of various kinds about the plot, and the fate of the “Star Wars” characters. Here’s a spoiler: Carrie Fisher, the actress, is sadly dead in real life. General Leia, formerly Princess Leia, has an expiration time on her character.

Listen, I’ve been with “Star Wars” since it opened on Memorial Day weekend in 1977. I saw it in Boston, in Government Center. The next two “real” Star Wars movie I saw in New York, at the Loews 44th St., now either Best Buy or Nokia or some other brand name live concert venue.

So that’s 42 years of my life. I could never have imagined that it would just go on and on and on. I didn’t care much for the middle trilogy. I have never watched adjunct “Star Wars” material like “Clone Wars” or any other spin offs.  I felt like I had the essence of the material.

In the last few days, reading Twitter and various social media, I see the level of personal investment in destroying the end of “Star Wars” at an all time high. The series has transcended fiction. Everyone has their own theories, scenarios, character arcs, etc. Almost no official spoiler or clip, or anything from the last two films, has gone unscathed. It’s so weird. What is with this? Do people not realize that filmmakers make these movies, that they are movies, that many outside forces influence the outcome of the films? Evidently not.

I watched “Rise of Skywalker” with a lot of sadness that this was the end, but also trust in JJ Abrams that he would tie up all the loose ends. He’s working with reality here, especially with Carrie Fisher gone and so much of the final episode resting on Leia. Still, I’ve enjoyed Oscar Isaac, Daisy Ridley, and John Boyega et al in the new generation. It’s a nice twist to bring back Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian considering that the three original characters are moot now. It’s hard to say goodbye, but let’s not do it in anger. Let’s celebrate this movie franchise that has occupied a big part of the culture for 4 decades. And then, to quote another Disney franchise, let it go.

Review coming at 3:01am.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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