‘The Rise of Skywalker’: Adam Driver as Ben Solo ‘Elevated the Entire Movie’

The Rise of Skywalker should have been one of the most ambitious projects ever to hit the silver screen, but it left many fans wishing for more when it came out. The ninth chapter in the Star Wars Skywalker saga was supposed to put a bow on everything that fans loved over the last four decades and changed.

However, the movie they got was a polarizing ending to a saga that has seen high-highs and low-lows. One redeeming aspect, however, had to do with Adam Driver’s Ben Solo.

‘The Rise of Skywalker’ vs. ‘Star Wars’ fans

Adam Driver
Adam Driver | Rachel Luna/WireImage

Star Wars fandom might be the most complicated fandom there is in pop culture, according to the New York Post.

In the 1970s, George Lucas created something that changed the film industry forever. It wasn’t just a movie. It was the spawn of countless toys, video games, board games, t-shirts, and other marketing materials for decades to come. With that original trilogy, many believed that Lucas achieved the perfect trilogy.

However, as the years went on and the Star Wars universe expanded, fans had to grapple with the fact that not everything would be the trilogy they know and love. The prequel trilogy, which debuted in the late 1990s and was capped off during the early 2000s, showed that while Star Wars fans are a devoted and loyal bunch, they were also passionate about the originals.

From remastered versions of the original films to an ire for what the prequels did to the saga, fans lamented what had become of their beloved franchise. When Disney bought the saga’s rights, they promised fans the type of magic that they loved in the original.

The results were more polarizing, with some fans loving the new direction and respect for the source material. However, given everything leading up to it, The Rise of Skywalker was not the massive event that Disney and Star Wars fans hoped it would be.

Fan service in ‘Star Wars’

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With Episodes VII-IX, Disney hoped to correct what so many hated about the prequels. A reliance on computer-generated imagery from the prequels was replaced with a hybrid of CGI and the practical effects that made the first one. As far as the story went, the Skywalker saga was now more inclusive.

The female lead, Rey, got the throne that Luke Skywalker occupied. Some saw it as too reliant on the original formula, while others didn’t think it followed the originals enough.

When Episode IX came, many saw it as a reaction to the people who did not like the previous movie, The Last Jedi. No matter what people thought, however, the cast received praise for keeping the new trilogy afloat.

On a Reddit thread about the subject, several fans heaped praise on Adam Driver’s Ben Solo, whose echoes of Han Solo helped solidify himself in the Star Wars saga.

Did Adam Driver save ‘Star Wars’?

Adam Driver’s Ben Solo was billed as the trilogy’s villain. As the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia, Ben Solo, also known as Kylo Ren, was a complicated figure that killed his father in Episode VII and swayed back-and-forth between the dark side and the light side.

Although he eventually redeemed himself, that journey between good and bad helped drive the conflict through the films.

One particularly notable aspect of his performance, however, had to do with how Ben was portrayed. In all three movies, Ben began to echo little things that Harrison Ford did as Han Solo and, to a lesser degree, what Carrie Fisher did as Leia. Ben was very much his parents’ kid despite the alternate path he took from looks of discontent to subtle movements with his hands.

Reddit user anonymous_meatbag saw these subtleties as the trilogy’s saving grace, writing, “The little bit of Ben Solo we got in TRoS elevated the entire movie. Wish we could’ve gotten more cause he embodied the Solo name.”

Others echoed these sentiments. For all its downfalls, Star Wars fans still love the saga. Even when they don’t like particular aspects, they become scholars on the galaxy far away. They know when the movies are paying homage to the films they love most.

Time will tell what happens to the Star Wars saga in the future. Still, even in maligned moments such as The Rise of Skywalker, fans appreciate the lengths to which JJ Abrams and company acknowledged the past while looking toward the future.