Why ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Alienated Fans

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker released on Dec. 20, 2019. The final installment of the Skywalker saga, the movie divided fans and critics. While the movie has stronger audience reviews than Star Wars: The Last Jedi, longtime fans of the franchise found the movie to be a disappointing conclusion to the decades-long saga. Warning, this article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker fans
Sith Troopers at the “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” European Premiere | Neil Mockford/FilmMagic)

‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ tried to cram too much into one movie

One of the most common complaints among fans and critics is that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was too crowded of a movie. Critics cited that the movie was filled with too much exposition, leading to the second half of the film to feel rushed.

With the first Star Wars film premiering in 1977, the franchise spans generations. This makes the Star Wars fandom one of the largest in the world. With a fandom that big, there are bound to be differing opinions, meaning it would be impossible for one movie to please everyone.

However, that seems to be what Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker set out to do. Instead of pleasing every fan of the franchise, it backfired.

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has everything you want and more. Which I don’t necessarily think is a good thing. I loved parts, I didn’t love others, and I’m leaving the theater very, very conflicted about it,” tweeted Germain Lussier.

One Reddit user wrote, “Now, I am all for plot twists. But I’m also for originality. It feels like Disney just–built on top of the pile of leftovers and JJ Abrams tried to undo the happenings in the last movie but adding ridiculous plot twists and unnecessary elements to The Rise of Skywalker.” 

Adam Driver had no lines in the latter part of the movie

WARNING: From this point on the article will contain spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Without a doubt, Driver’s nuanced and complex portrayal of Kylo Ren carried the most recent trilogy. One of the biggest complaints from fans was that the talented actor did not have any lines in the final part of the film. Driver is a strong enough actor he can convey a lot through facial expressions and body language, but it was an odd choice.

As expected, Ben Solo is redeemed in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. However, once the audience truly meets Ben Solo for the first time they do not get a glimpse of his personality besides Driver softening his facial expressions and incorporating sarcasm into his body language.

“Ben Solo didn’t get ANY lines. He didn’t get to confront Palpatine who effed his family over for decades. He didn’t get to tell Rey anything. It’s a credit to Adam Driver that his physicality still felt like a sarcastic, Solo like his dad. He still sold it when he was given,” wrote a Twitter user.

Fans are divided about the inclusion of Reylo

Since Star Wars: The Force Awakens, fans of the Star Wars franchise have been divided over the relationship between Rey and Kylo Ren. After the first movie of the trilogy, fans began shipping the two characters, coining the ship name “Reylo.”

Fans of the ship enjoyed the characters’ natural chemistry. Star Wars fans also enjoyed the dichotomy of the characters being bonded through the Force while one represented the Jedi and the other represented the dark side of the Force.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker heavily incorporated Rey and Kylo Ren’s bond. After Ben Solo redeems himself, he and Rey kiss before he dies. While some fans of the pairing celebrated this, others had a problem with it because the relationship was rooted in abuse.

“hey jj abrams I want to talk about why she has to kiss the man manipulating and abusing her the entire movie but not her force sensitive black best friend who continuously makes sure she is ok and cares for and affirms her. Whats up with that jj abrams. #riseofskywalker,” a fan tweeted.

Fans of ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ have mixed feelings about representation in the movie

After the movie premiered, Star Wars fans analyzed how the movie handled the representation of people of color and people in the LGBTQ community. While there was a scene featuring a lesbian couple, it lasted no more than two seconds, there was no dialogue, and it featured background characters.

“So queer people exist in the MCU and Star Wars. But only if we are inconsequential, easily-removed scenery for the straight characters. We exist, but only in as much as we can be erased,” wrote a Twitter user.

Fans also critiqued how the movie handled characters of color, particularly Finn, Poe, and Rose.

“I love how Finn’s character in TROS revolves around chasing a white lady who barely notices him. What wonderful optics for a black character. And so cool that Latino Poe is a drug dealer! And Asian Rose is silent! Very progressive,” tweeted a fan.