Paulie’s Perspective: A Skywalker Slaughterhouse

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker

Having finally seen Rise of Skywalker, I can finally say – Why wasn’t Ben Solo the main story here? He literally is part-Skywalker. So The Rise of Skywalker should be Ben Solo – not Rey Palpatine. Which really makes no sense, anyway. We don’t know about her parents – but we are very attached to Ben’s parents and his famous Uncle Luke. Ben is the conflicted one, Ben has the history we know and love, Ben has the bloodline, Ben has the connection with the Force. Ben has the conflict with the dark side ( like Luke did) and Ben had to fight Snoke and the Emperor to win. Rey is just a third wheel. Why not Ben? Rey we still know nothing about, which is amazing after a trilogy, to not have a clue who your hero is or where she came from.

So after two feature films we finally know about Rey’s parents.  She came from Palpatine’s kids. Who were they? Were they strong in the force too? Couldn’t they have fought the Emperor? Did they? Maybe they did. Maybe they fought their father and lost. Which parent was the Emperor’s kid anyway- her father or her mother? Maybe both? Were they using the Force? Were they Sith and then turned? Did they turn? Who knows.  Pure mystery, which is why Rey should never have been the main character. Ben Solo we all know – we know what is faults are, his family history, his problems, his conflicts, his dad’s conflicts, his mom’s conflicts, his Uncle’s conflicts – we know it all. Why not make the movie about him? He saves the day anyway. Ben is the one who changes to save the world – not Rey. They got this entire story backwards.

Quick question – why and how did Leia die?  Anybody? She just went to take a nap and died?  Was she that weak? She was walking and talking just fine a second ago. She didn’t feel faint, no stomach pains, no dizziness. Leia just kind of walked away to tie her shoe or something and then died.  Just a horrible ending for such a beloved character we’ve been attached to for 40 years.  And before you come at me saying her film footage was limited – that actually plays into her being sick. Where’s Leia – she’s not feeling well? Maybe a coma? Left out of some important meetings and scenes – then we know she’s really sick. So yes, they could have handled this much much better then to just have her walk away and die. Absolutely ridiculous. 

Knights of Ren? They were said to be Jedi’s in training yet none wielded a light saber or had force capabilities? They were more like a gang then a group of young Jedi. Nothing was said about them. Were they all mute? Could they talk? Were they friends of Ben? How far along was their training? Since they were being taught by Luke and burnt down his temple we have to assume their training was already pretty far along – yet here, in the film – they don’t talk, don’t use the Force and can’t fight with a light saber, only with axes and knives and swords and such. Very disappointing. Why have them in it all then? None pleaded with Ben, none talked to Ben  or anyone. They were basically stormtroopers in black uniforms. So that is another storyline went absolutely nowhere, again.  The Knights were completely ignored in TLJ, and in ROS they are just a bunch of thugs. Why make them a separate entity from being a stormtrooper or a bounty hunter?  No reason.

Who or what were all those black hoods in the cave with the Emperor? Were they clones of his? Maybe past Senate members? Just creepy cult followers? We don’t know, another thing that was never explained.

Who pulled Palpatine out of the pit and how did he survive the explosion of the Death Star? This I can overlook because these writers don’t have the imagination to create a new villain – so if they have to reuse this one, I’ll give it to them. Hey it’s better then nothing. I mean this trilogy is so horrendous, we are willing to overlook some very bad and lazy writing. This point being probably the laziest.  Again, with Palpatine coming back, and he wanted Rey – why didn’t he want his own son or or his own daughter to take over the throne? Surely any off spring he has will be very strong with the force, right? Does it skip a generation or two? It didn’t skip with the Skywalker family. Again – very very vague and a really good reason to not have Rey as the main character.

Random thought – how great would it have been to have one last battle between Luke and the Emperor? I mean I really wish it was Luke in that cave – saving Rey instead of Ben. Not too different from that scene in Teen Wolf when Michael J Fox’s dad comes in and saves his son from the mean principal. “leave my son alone, Thorne. He has nothing to do with this” (again if it were Ben that Luke saves at this moment, it would be way more meaningful and would complete the story arc between the two. Since Luke let Ben down in training, it would have been perfect that Luke comes to his rescue against Palpatine.) The Emperor and Luke have a lot of history together and it would have been amazing to see how far Luke has come from that battle they had years ago.  Of course we can’t because they killed Luke while he was force projecting a getaway for Leia and the others. A petty, pretty meaningless death that left a lot of us pretty angry.

Orders from corporate made sure to tell JJ to “give us a few leads for some films to come”. So JJ did just that. He left us with Lando and his Tarzan-like daughter who uses the bow and arrow and rides space horses. We have Poe and his lover in red, Zurii Bliss. We have Finn who apparently has some Force sensibilities, so his journey could be headed into being a Jedi. All this and Rey headed to the irrigation farm where Luke grew up – even though they casted his character aside like a bloody rag this entire trilogy.  I don’t know why Rey went there, maybe because Leia’s planet blew up, that’s the only place left to go for a Skywalker. There is no connection there, at all, so it was pretty meaningless for her to be there. She never even got close to Luke, so what’s the point. That scene was just meaningless. Who know who did get close to Luke, and actually grew up with him and Leia?  Ben. Yea – again, this scene fits much better if it were Ben and not Rey. 

What was the point of Maz Kanata? She showed up in Force Awakens as this mysterious trade negotiator who knows Han and Leia extremely well. We didn’t know why or how. We still don’t. We thought maybe as this trilogy goes on we’ll find out more and I’m sure she’ll play a big part in – nope. She makes comments like “Leia knows what she has to do” – like what are you Yoda or something? Where did Maz even come from? She was useless, just part of a bloated budget for a CGI character. They could have left her out and hired another writer to make some sense out of all this.

This movie also gives Luke another back story – that he was looking for the way finder to find the planet Exegol to confront the Emperor. Yea but in TLJ Luke was in self exile and gave up completely on the force because of Ben Solo. So which is it? Was Luke trying to find Exegol or was he in exile? Apparently Luke had a way finder in his possession the entire time because Rey used it. So Luke found the way finder and was too scared to go? Or did his huge mistake with Ben’s training stop him from going? Was he planning to go? Did he want to go? How did he even know the Emperor was still alive? Was he planning on facing the Emperor one last time?  Again – more questions raised then answered, and they had 3 movies to tell this story. 

I’m sure a lot of you could not help but notice this movie replayed scenes almost exactly from Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. I don’t know if they were going for nostalgia here or just plain plagiarism. The first is the I Am Your Father scene – where Kylo takes the place of Vader and Rey takes the place of Luke. She is stepping back to the edge of the ship as Kylo gives the same speech as Vader did. Let’s rule this galaxy together – blah blah. So that scene was boring and predictable. Second one is between Rey and Palpatine. Palatine, well playing Palpatine again and Rey playing Luke. Strike me down with your anger as your fleet gets destroyed, kind of thing. So now that scene was boring and predictable – and Palpatine was literally regurgitating his own lines from 40 years ago! So that was disappointing. 

All in all this movie answered no questions, was kind of the same film as 40 years ago without the warmth, innocence and good natured fun that it used to be. A lot of unanswered questions, again, as in TFA and TLJ, and this trilogy showed a lot more of Leia then Luke – who really should have been a bigger part in all these films. Leia never trained anyone, never showed interest in the force, never even used a light saber. Now all of a sudden she is a Jedi Master who can fly? I don’t believe it for a minute nor was that ever her character.

A monumental drop of the ball – this story that concluded Luke and Leia’s story didn’t involve Luke and Leia. Which is somewhat disappointing because you had time for these three characters to have their time to shine. What we were interested in was what happened to Han, Luke and Leia. That was our major interest and that was our major question. The two characters that needed the most attention in this story, that had the most questions that needed to be answered were Rey and Luke. They were the most powerful people in this story – and for some reason they are the ones we have the most questions about. Usually it’s the opposite, usually it’s the supporting characters we don’t quite get to understand. This time, with this story, it’s the main characters, it’s the heroes that we are left scratching our heads about. 

I won’t even get into the new Jedi powers that were introduced in this trilogy – such as flying and force healing. Unreal, but hey, they want to make this the X-Men, go right ahead, I think that’s the least of the problems of this franchise. Who knows what they’ll have a Jedi do next – heat vision? X-Ray vision? The sky is the limit now. Nothing is sacred and this franchise is obviously wide open to interpretation.  It is no longer one man’s vision, but vision by committee. I know one thing they are not doing by committee and that is writing. 


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