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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Blaming George Lucas Goes Too Far -BB

Comments made blaming George Lucas for certain Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker decisions has served to take the matter too far. The world of Star Wars first debuted in 1977 with Star Wars and concluded in 1983 with Return of the Jedi. The saga of the galaxy far, far away would continue immediately in other mediums and become known as the „expanded universe“. It wasn’t until 1999, however, that Star Wars returned to the big screen. Kicking off with Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the prequel trilogy filled in some blanks and centered on the rise of the villainous Emperor Palpatine.

After Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney, a new Star Wars trilogy was put into production. Despite Lucas‘ own outlines for the three new films, they and the EU were discarded. Pursuing their own ideas, Disney hired J.J. Abrams to direct Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Rian Johnson was tapped to helm the follow-up. Following the divisive response experienced by Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Colin Trevorrow departing the project, Abrams returned for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The film was set up not only to be the culminating chapter of the modern trilogy but the conclusion of the decades-spanning Skywalker saga altogether. As such, anticipation was high. Unfortunately, upon release, The Rise of Skywalker was met with its own highly-divisive reception.

In the wake of such vocal backlash, co-writer Chris Terrio has been outspoken in justifying certain Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker decisions. Those have ranged from the reveal of Rey’s true ancestry to the return of Palpatine. In terms of the latter, reports have been varied regarding whose idea it was to bring back the classic villain. While some have labeled it as Abrams‘ decision, others rest the choice on Kathleen Kennedy’s shoulders. One justification made by Terrio, however, found the buck being passed to an unfair source. When Terrio stated that The Rise of Skywalker should have been two films, the writer blamed Lucas himself. „Splitting it would have been my dream, but George [Lucas] always said it was nine movies.

Given the aforementioned discarding of Lucas‘ Mark Hamill-approved outlines for the new films, it feels somewhat disingenuous to now imply they were locked into Lucas‘ original structure. Granted, doing anything other than three movies would have served to unbalance the pattern set by the originals and prequels. But that is hardly Lucas‘ fault beyond the fact he structured his stories that way. It’s from that fact, in actuality, that the issues plaguing  Disney’s entire truly stem. A lack of planning. Plot elements inevitably shifted across the original trilogy – see Luke and Leia’s awkward kiss and eventual sibling revelation. Regardless, there was a distinct throughline centered on a family legacy, the emergence of new heroes, and the toppling of evil. It’s a simple story, to be sure, but the connective tissue between the films served to elevate the movies beyond that fact.

Similarly, as maligned as Lucas‘ Star Wars prequel trilogy often is, there was a clear trajectory. Return of the Jedi solidified Darth Vader’s redemption and affirmed that his journey had actually been one of tragedy. The prequels, meanwhile, explored the tragic fall of Anakin Skywalker in-depth. While the films also featured numerous elements of world-building and documented the rise of The Empire, Anakin’s story was the emotional crux. As such, not having a set plan was the true failure of the new trilogy. And dragging Lucas‘ name into it feels like an erroneous argument. Yes, splitting the story into two movies would have allowed the plot more room to breathe. Having an effective plan in place and not merely dedicating the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker script to appease every corner of the fandom would have been even more beneficial. And it would have negated the need to pass the buck to its beloved originator.

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