Sequel trilogy give Star Wars a new hope

Visitors come to see the new Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland

After years of anticipation, the final piece of Disney’s masterplan for the Star Wars franchise has been released. The Rise Of Skywalker confronted the difficult task of plugging plot holes, tying up loose ends, and providing a satisfying ending to this scatterbrained sequel trilogy. And all the while, it sought to remain truthful to Star Wars while keeping viewers glued to the edge of their seats.

Despite these monumental challenges, J.J. Abrams shocked Star Wars fans with a shockingly decent movie. 

     Don’t get me wrong: The Rise of Skywalker is far from the best Star Wars movie. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it one of the better ones. But compared to the absolute train wreck of the sequels up and till now, the movie gives J.J. Abrams some kind of redemption.

     The movie’s greatest strength is undoubtedly its ability to overcome the shallow use of Death Stars as plot devices. Viewers have criticized the repetitiveness of the sequels’ story arcs, which seem like copy-and-pastes from the originals. Yet, this time around, Abrams offers up a new idea in the form of a giant fleet of star destroyers, which allow the heroes to do something other than blow up yet another boring space station. The re-introduction of Palpatine also strengthens the story of the sequels, providing a possible explanation as to who Snoke was and who was behind the First Order. And, most satisfyingly, Abrams was able to tie Rey into the story in a meaningful way. 

     Overall, however,  The Rise of Skywalker felt like a patchwork of the previous two movies rather than a standalone piece. Abrams had to perform so much damage control in the wake of the previous two films that he had little room for originality. From a critical point of view, Disney’s sequel trilogy was an unmitigated disaster.

The massive plot holes, repetitive story arcs and waste of inherited talent make the prequels look like Oscar-material.    

     Yet, there is little question that they were a massive commercial success. Disney has sold merchandise, franchising rights and movie tickets like nothing else, spawning a whole new generation of Star Wars-obsessed kids. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters. The sequel trilogy has ensured that Star Wars will at least have the financial security to continue to pump out new video games, TV shows, and more.

As long as the future content Disney pumps out isn’t as bad as the sequels, that is good news for Star Wars fans everywhere.

Disney has seen the massive amounts of money that Star Wars can make, and if The Mandalorian and EA’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order are any evidence, The Rise of Skywalker will not be the last we hear from the galaxy far, far away… 

     While the Star Wars sequel trilogy movies were absolute cinematic flops, they have secured Disney’s good will. As long as the future content Disney pumps out isn’t as bad as the sequels, that is good news for Star Wars fans everywhere.

Author: Yan Graf '20

Co-Editor-in-Chief Yan Graf has written for The Index for the past four years. He has previously served as Managing Editor. His piece “Tensions flare in condiment smackdowns” earned a Silver Key from the 2020 Philadelphia-area Scholastic Writing competition. In 2019, he earned a national Scholastic Gold Key for his piece on North African immigration to Europe.