“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (aka the greatest film of all time, don’t @ me) was a film about failure, hope and a genuine sense of rebellion. It ended with a young force-using child symbolizing hope for the future, and the passing of the torch that is the “Star Wars” franchise to a new generation. “Episode IX” might as well have begun with that child being unceremoniously shot dead by a blaster bolt. “The Rise of Skywalker” is not only a film thoroughly disinterested in continuing the themes and arcs of the previous film, but actively works to undermine them.
2015. It had been 10 years since the Star Wars saga had wrapped up with 2005’s "Revenge of the Sith". There I was standing in a massive line around noon waiting to get into a 7 pm showing of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens". The first outing post-Disney buy out. No one quite knew what to expect. Reviews hadn’t gone live, advance screenings started at 3pm, the script had been kept tightly under wraps, it was all up in the air. The marketing at this point had all eyes on Finn as the supposed new Jedi of this trilogy, with Rey as the leia type character. Portrayed by Daisy Ridley, nothing was known about this character, other than she was a scavenger who played into the story somehow. Little did we know she would actually be the main character of this new trilogy. So it took everyone by surprise when at the end it was her wielding the lightsaber in the climactic battle against Kylo Ren play by Adam Driver.
The loss of Carrie Fisher is still stinging, but we were given a legacy that some could only hope to leave behind. She was someone who was frequently active in her work as a mental health advocate, taking her own experiences to help others. She was passionate in her stances, humble and humorous in her flaws, and…a fighter. She was also a talented writer, and unapologetically open. This role is definitely the one most thought of, but she did a lot more in Hollywood, in front of and behind the scenes. I first saw the original “Star Wars Trilogy” when I was 5 years old. This was the early 90’s before we got the prequels or the extended universe. These films had a near-permanent place on my television. This story, taking the very relatable good versus evil premise and creating this fantastical franchise, would be nothing without the characters that live within. All the main heroes were inspirational to me, but Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) especially stood out.