Disney’s Star Wars Trilogy – Review

Photo credit: Screenrant.com

Photo credit: Screenrant.com

Olivia Mistretta, Staff Editor

Now that the final movie in Disney’s Star Wars trilogy has come and passed, it seems like a good time to discuss the trilogy overall.

The first movie in the trilogy, Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out about five years ago and was directed by J.J. Abrams. The movie made $2.066 billion dollars and introduced a diverse cast of characters, some new to the Star Wars universe and some old. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford were among the older actors while Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver became the new. The Force Awakens was set long after the days of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. It followed the story of Rey (Daisy Ridley), a young scavenger, Finn (John Boyega), a former stormtrooper, and Poe (Oscar Isaac), a rebel fighter pilot and their journey to stop the evil Sith Lord Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) from discovering the whereabouts of old Jedi Master Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). The map to Skywalker lies inside a friendly orange and white droid, BB-8, who Kylo is desperate to get his hands on. His mission is to kill Skywalker who is his uncle partially for revenge but also in an attempt to destroy the Jedi once and for all. Kylo ends up failing, but he does manage to kill his father, Han Solo (Harrison Ford).

The second movie, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, was released on December 15, 2017, and was directed by Rian Johnson. The film made approximately $1.321 billion dollars and was rather difficult to make as actress Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) actually passed away during the filming of the movie. The plot centered on the same trio as before- Rey, Finn, Poe, and droid BB-8. The movie begins after the destruction of the First Order’s Starkiller Base, so Kylo Ren and friends decide to launch an attack on the rebels as payback. Poe engages in a costly counterattack that kills many rebel fighter pilots, but they defeat a powerful First Order dreadnought ship. Rey meanwhile tries to recruit a now old and cynical Luke Skywalker to help with the rebellion. He says no, but she finally gets him to agree to teach her the ways of the Force which he does reluctantly. Unfortunately for Rey, Kylo also knows how to use the Force and they end up being linked together by a strange bond that allows them to communicate even from miles away. Kylo tells her the story of how his uncle tried to kill him, after whereby she confronts Luke who tells her it was his biggest mistake in life. He had felt the dark side in Kylo and tried to kill him, failing and ending up with a nephew who hated him thereafter. By the end of the movie, the rebels are being cornered by the First Order and it seems like they don’t have a chance to survive. However, Luke decides to go back on his promise to stay in hiding and faces Kylo himself. He dies, but his distraction is enough for the rebels to escape.

The third and final movie, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, was released on December 20, 2019, was directed by J.J. Abrams. The movie has a current box office of $275 million dollars and posed significant challenges for the filmmakers. They made two risky decisions: 1) Using CGI technology and old footage to replicate Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia on the big screen one final time, despite the actress’s passing prior to filming the movie and 2) Dismissing the original team of Star Wars historians from Lucasfilms, the studio that brought about the first two Star Wars trilogies. These decisions seemed to not pay off well as many fans seemed to be disappointed with the outcome of the movie. Many were upset at trying to replicate Fisher’s performance as Princess Leia with computer technology, claiming it didn’t do the actress justice. Other fans were upset at the amount of inaccuracies in the third movie that don’t line up with the original trilogies. Since the movie is still in theaters, there will not be any spoilers concerning The Rise of Skywalker.

So, what was the impact of the trilogy overall? At first, I was excited by the premise of a new-age Star Wars, especially after growing up watching the original movies and playing with Lego Star Wars toys. The diverse cast was another plus, and I was happy to see the progressive attitude Disney took towards its casting choices. Sadly, however, I came to see the impact of the trilogy as negative because of the experience the directors, cast, and fans had.

J.J. Abrams was the first to be affected negatively. After The Force Awakens, fans had sent death threats to him and his family for a variety of criticisms. Rian Johnson was hit with the same treatment after The Last Jedi. Actress Daisy Ridley was also bullied from the get-go, facing a barrage of misogynistic jokes and hate comments on social media every time one of the movies was released. Actress Kelly Marie Tran who played side character Rose Tico in the films faced a torrent of racist and misogynistic comments after The Last Jedi where a romance between Rose and Finn was teased, causing her and Ridley after her to leave social media platforms. Actor Adam Driver was also turned into a joke by fans after a shirtless scene in The Last Jedi, despite training for months as a body-builder to get the look for the movie. As for fans themselves? I myself have never seen such hatred from people towards other people online in terms of a fictional set of movies.

Overall, I don’t think the movies had a “good” impact on many involved, and in hindsight I wished I had never paid to see them. I have many criticisms concerning the plot and writing, but honestly I think the way the actors and directors were treated is the biggest problem. Hopefully Disney is more careful next time and puts more effort into protecting their employees and being more true to the originals.