Recycle, Reduce, Reuse of Skywalker
Was it just me or does the ninth installment of the Star Wars saga seem a bit “rehashed.” I mean, it’s almost as if J.J. is deliberately trying to copy previous Star Wars flicks as much as possible. Not that Rian Johnson made a vastly different looking Star Wars, but when all is said, complained and done, his flick was too-way-out-there in terms of what was expected of a typical Star Wars film. Sure, it had some similar beats compared to maybe The Empire Strikes Back but lots of odd twists to be sure. With this new Episode IX trailer: The Rise of Skywalker it looks as if J.J. is trying to copy something from the Prequels as well as Return of the Jedi, continuing his carbon copying method from his The Force Awakens that seemed way too much on the nose from A New Hope.
After I watched the new trailer a few times, I noticed that so much is either harkening back to something previously seen or wipes clean all that we witnessed in The Last Jedi. Rey is back wearing her Force Awakens Jakku outfit (albeit white this time—or is just clean, who knows) and is back in a desert setting. Again, with the desert. While we are not certain at this point if this is Tatooine or Jakku or an entirely new desert planet but do we need another Star Wars feature set primarily in sand. I’m starting to see Anakin’s loathing of sand now too. Apparently it does get everywhere in Lucasfilm productions. I’m quite shocked that Rey is wearing the same costume. During the course of 3 (4) films Luke is wearing a different costume/outfit in every one. Someone pointed out that he starts white, then in Empire he’s primarily gray and then black by ROTJ showing his slight progression towards the dark side. But by contrast, Rey is gray in TFA and grayer in TLJ and now is white, so it’s not as reflexive as Luke’s trilogy.
And it also seems that Kylo gets his helmet back. And they are making a point of giving him that unnecessary helmet by showing a clip of someone rebuilding it for him. Unlike, Vader, he doesn’t need a helmet and Rian Johnson made the bold choice of destroying the helmet because he doesn’t need to be a dark side master with it but J.J. is bringing it back either because he thinks fans want him to have it back or because he’s protective of what he gave us originally and this is an example of “correcting” Johnson’s mistakes. But again, instead of going forward with what the previous episode gave us, we are rehashing what we already had.
So I mentioned Tatooine, and it’s fairly certain that it’s Tatooine since it appears that the old Phantom Menace pod race course poles are shown quickly in one shot. So again, familiarity over creatively progressing with something new. If I were to give J.J. some credit, then maybe, just maybe he’s tying the whole 9-film saga up in some sort of full circle kind of deal. That’s a bold move and a hard one to pull off without pissing off fans. We’re already cynical and skeptical after the last two (4 really) films Disney has produced so they have their work cut out for them. Especially since J.J. didn’t direct the middle installment of this new trilogy. The big question is why didn’t he? Well if you remember, there was supposed to be three directors each but they fired Colin Trevorrow. And in Lucasfilm’s haste to get this film done on schedule got back J.J. Abrams. Why didn’t he just direct all three? Clearly, J.J. had a vision that Johnson made a lot of changes to. And now that movie [TLJ] could possibly stick out like a sore thumb. And now especially with Carrie Fisher’s passing that also will give them a tough time working her deleted scenes into TROS.
They even repeat the same “Every generation has a legend” from The Phanom Menace in the teaser trailer! I’m just shaking my head at the level of banality that these new movies are giving us. They do know that TPM is probably the worst received Star Wars movie right? Now they’re trying to tie it in more?! Most people don’t even include Phantom Menace when watching a Star Wars Marathon, so why are we seeing Phantom Menace stuff again?! There better be a good reason. But it’ll have something to do with the heroes on a mission to get midichlorian DNA off of an old Anakin snot rag.
Another thing that bugged me greatly in this new trailer is seeing the medal that Leia gave to Han and Luke at the finale of ANH. After TLJ came out I said it would’ve been a much bigger deal and better idea to use the medal to get Luke back out of hiding to help his sister and the resistance. I thought I wrote it in my TLJ review but I must’ve thought about this later on. But yeah, the medal that Luke (& Han) won is the very symbol of winning and heroism for the rebellion. Not the fucking dice that Han had on the Falcon. They used that sight gag (and that’s all it was in ANH for one quick shot) as a reason to get Luke back to help and he gave it back to Leia and they tried to make it a big deal these dumb dice. It even tied in to the lackluster Solo flick, again, for no good reason. But the medal made way more sense and had a lot more importance to this saga. Rey should’ve used that to get Luke to change his mind about his role in this new trilogy. And him giving that back to Leia in her hour of desperation would’ve been huge moment. But instead they used the stupid dice. It’s a little too late for whatever reason they are going to use this medal now for. It looks like Leia is holding it in the teaser, so maybe the medal was supposed to be in TLJ but it was deleted and Rian changed it to the dice. Or maybe Leia gives it to Chewie, like he should’ve received it back in 1977!
It also appears that J.J. just loves Star Wars wreckage too. He used to love lens flare but now he relishes in showing us OT ships and now Death Star wreckage in the foregrounds. That final shot is a destroyed Death Star and from the general consensus that it’s the second Death Star over Endor. So they could be on Endor or one of Endor’s moons looking at that wreckage. More repeating of the same ol’ same ol’. They better have a good reason for having them go back to Endor (or Yavin if that happens to be the first Death Star).
And of course more familiar OT characters are back. We see Lando, who was for some reason absent for the first two in the Disney trilogy. Seems now that Han, Leia and Luke are all gone it’s his turn at bat. And we hear the old man cackle of Emperor Palpatine. Again, going back to the ol’ well. We had Snoke, which was a copy of Palpatine but he was terribly misused and quickly discarded by Johnson, only to go back to the original bad guy Palpatine. I can’t be the only one cynically not giving a shit about where this is going? Like the Prequels which more or less ruined the greatness of the OT, these new movies are slowly shredding all legacy of what came before. At least to me. I like progress and this doesn’t seem like progress to me. This is all franchise cheesiness trying to branch out to get old fans and new fans into buying new toys.
Like the new cute droid DIO, which will I’m sure be the hottest seller in Toys R’ Us’ around the country this Christmas season. Oh wait…
Of course, this is all from watching a quick teaser trailer but that’s what this all feels like to me. Just a quick do-over from TLJ as well as a what else from the OT/PT can we throw in there to make the galaxy even smaller. It’s cheap, unoriginal, and boring. I am hardly interested in what this new Return of the Jedi will show me. I’m pretty much in the same boat as I was in 2005 before seeing Revenge of the Sith. My expectations are incredibly low. After the last two mediocre flicks wherein I don’t love the new characters all that much nor care about the progression of the saga’s story, I’m just going to see this because, well, why not? And that sucks. And you’re probably reading this saying, “You sound like a hypocritical asshole!” and to that I say, “you’re mostly right.” There is a shred of hope that this film won’t suck. I guess I’ll take all I can get.