‘The Rise of Skywalker’: Saturn Award Nominations Give Star Wars Fans ‘Hope’

Every time Star Wars movies come out, the reaction is sure to range from enthusiastic to bittersweet. As long as the franchise has been at the top of entertainment, so has the discourse.

However, just because fans don’t like some of the films, it doesn’t mean that those in charge of awards agree. The Rise of Skywalker’s recent nominations at the science-fiction friendly Saturn Awards showed this. 

The divisive nature of ‘Star Wars’

John Boyega and Daisy Ridley
John Boyega and Daisy Ridley | Samir Hussein/WireImage

Star Wars is one of a few franchises that have a sports-like atmosphere around it. People form around their favorite characters like many form around their favorite teams, and the heated arguments that ensue match the vitriol of a Super Bowl rivalry. However, just because the opposing sides of the force often dictate Star Wars discourse, it doesn’t take away from the artistry b behind it. 

The Rise of Skywalker was divisive with the critics, with 51% on Rotten Tomatoes. Conversely, the audience gave loud praise. It currently boasts an 86% approval rating on the movie aggregator. While the ninth film of the Skywalker Saga was hardly a fan-favorite, the saga’s divisive nature once again took center stage.

After a recent slew of nominations at the Saturn awards, however, some feel vindicated.

What are the Saturn Awards?

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The Academy of Science Fiction organizes the Saturn Awards. While many awards, both literary and in film, focus on the cinema and books that cater to a more artistic audience, the Saturn awards often cater toward genre fiction.

They care less about historical dramas and prestige cinema and more about the power of fictional storytelling. The Saturn Awards website speaks about its origins, writing:

The organization was founded in 1972 by Donald A. Reed who earned two degrees at the University of Southern California.  As a life-long fan of genre entertainment, he became noted as one of the leading authorities on Count Dracula.  That dedication and passion soon took shape as the Academy and the Saturn Awards.  Dr. Reed was devoted to the genres right up to his passing in 2001.

 While the award show does still reward more standard Oscar fare like Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Sam Mendes’s 1917, it’s more likely to nominate crowd-pleasers like MulanStar Wars has historically had success at award shows such as this.

Still, when the divisive Episode IX was nominated for several awards this year, many fans reacted with overwhelming joy. 

‘Star Wars’: A new hope

Fans took to Reddit to celebrate, grieve, and dissect the recent nominations. Predictably, some were not pleased with the news, as they feared that it would make Disney and the rest of the makers content with what they viewed as a mediocre product. Others saw it as an objective good. 

“Seeing this news really lifts my spirits a bit for Star Wars. Even if it’s just nominations (dunno if that means it would be pitted with other movies and/or it would win the awards), it gives me hope that we might start seeing some more peace or acceptance with this film and the end of the sequel saga,” wrote u/MarthsBars as they wrote about their happiness with the news. 

Another user, u/ThodasTheMage, thought it was welcome news despite having some issues with the films overall. 

“I think all technical aspects of the film are great except the pacing. Other than that, the big problem I have is the writing. There are some really bad lines, even for Star Wars standards in that movie,” they wrote in response to the nominations. 

No matter what someone thought about the latest movie in the franchise, it shows the divisive nature of the Star Wars universe. Even the most maligned films in the franchise hold a special place in fans’ hearts, both old and young. Whether the nominations were deserved or not, Star Wars remains more relevant than it’s ever been, and while this may discourage some people, others find new hope within it.