Thirty years ago, the Galactic Empire collapsed after the Rebellion defeated Endor. The Emperor perished, the second Death Star was destroyed, and the dawn of the New Republic rose. A former farmer from a sandy planet, in memory of his teacher, revived the Jedi Order, his sister returned to politics, and her lover and his furry friend continued their travels across the vast universe. But the Empire was not completely destroyed. A new generation of nostalgic for a firm hand united under the leadership of the mysterious leader in the First Order, one of the most militant apologists of which was the disguised follower of Darth Vader – his grandson. Having revived the technology of the times of despotism, they began the genocide of entire star systems in the New Republic and the government of Leia Organa was forced to fight them. The first battle was won, but the forces forced to defend themselves were running out, even despite the sacrifice of Luke Skywalker who returned from exile. And now the outcome of the galactic war is even more uncertain – because it turned out that all this time the Emperor was alive. The First Galactic Empire, under the leadership of the darkest side’s most powerful and dangerous spiritual practitioner, will soon rise up, bringing death and destruction to the unconquered, if Luke Skywalker’s last apprentice, Ray, and her new friends (Imperial deserter Finn, rude pilot Poe, loyal Wookiee Chewbacca and loyal droids) will not be able to stop the inevitable.
Star Wars is over. For real. The classic, legendary trilogy (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) told a simple story of the struggle of a handful of brave men against the tyranny of a totalitarian state machine, surpassing them in everything except the fighting spirit and the desire to stand for the ends for freedom, justice and the truth. The prequel trilogy (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith) flawlessly portrayed the decline of the Old Republic and the ingenious political combination of one of the senators to collect land in the same hands, showing the fall of Luke’s future father and his transformation into a silent figure with an impenetrable mask-helmet and heavy breathing. Six films were a complete story with a mirrored structure, vivid heroes in unusual situations dictated by the logic of the fictional world of cosmic fantasy, a sweeping and epic tale about the temporary victory of evil over good and the testing of strong spirits.
The story in the films was complete, but the world continued to live its life in countless books, cartoons, and comics. If you open “Wookiepedia” and ask about the further fate of the heroes, then you can experience a small shock: in the novels and novellas continuing “Return of the Jedi”, the history of the New Republic, its heroes and villains is painted for tens and hundreds of years in advance. Even the goofy Jar Jar Binks has a biography lovingly painted by the fans of the universe!
The creator of the story and director of a significant part of the films in the series, George Lucas, had plans for a sequel – back in the late seventies, he planned to complete the story of Luke, Leia and Khan with three or six more films. However, the cool reception of the first and second episodes cooled his ardor, and the plot remained on paper. In 2012, the Walt Disney Company bought Lucas the rights to create new films about his universe and hired director JJ Abrams (Lost, Star Trek). He, together with the creative department, developed in general detail the plan for the future trilogy, partially (but not completely, which is important) based on the ideas of Lucas himself, and directed the 2015 film The Force Awakens, which focused on new, young heroes in time, when the victory over the Empire was already forgotten and a new threat to the peace in the galaxy came to the fore. For many, the seventh episode left a pleasant impression, but he can be blamed for the almost complete copying of “A New Hope” (the main character is a poor man from a desert planet, who is called on an adventure by duty and mystery, in search of an answer to which he defeats the superior forces of evil with the help of loyal friends, even its own “Death Star” in “The Force Awakens” was – consider, the third in a row) and the lack of clear answers. We met the bold, talented and Force-sensitive Rei, but we never found out who her parents were and why she was at the center of the story. This was frustrating. Her predecessor, Luke, was himself a good guy with a clear development and at first without any riddle: a simple guy lived with his uncle and aunt in the desert and only then found out that the girl to whom he was so attracted was in fact him a twin sister, and his worst enemy is actually his father; these plot twists were introduced later, but worked beautifully and deepened the image of the young and self-seeking hero. In Rei’s case, it didn’t work a little: we saw that she is cool, brave and smart, and fights with a lightsaber is not for some reason no worse than Luke, but where does this Power come from? ..
In the second film in the series (if interested, here’s my early review of it), directed by Ryan Johnson, we heard the answer to this, but it went against the usual course of things, like many plot twists of The Last Jedi. They worked perfectly on their own as raft-twists, the film constantly amazed and maintained an excellent pace, the characters went through some kind of path (compared to The Force Awakens), some of the new characters were quite charming (in vain Twitter hounded the actress who played Rosie is a chubby Asian woman whose sister dies at the beginning of the film due to a mistake by one of the characters), but the feeling persisted that the script solutions were written only to surprise as much as possible. Who are Ray’s parents? Nobody, it doesn’t matter – it matters who she is. Who is Supreme Leader Snoke? Why do you need to know, we are now suddenly killing him in the middle of a villainous speech, cool. Leia will also be on the verge of death in outer space, but the Force will help her like an angel to fly through the air, Luke will curse all the Jedi for fucking the formation of Darth Vader from the kindest boy Anakin Skywalker, who was separated from his slave mother and was not allowed to love her whom he loved – and why did this kid grow up a little twitchy? ..
Don’t get it wrong, The Last Jedi is a great movie, but unexpected and very fast, with a beautiful ending and a revisionist message. But now, after Skywalker Sunrise, it looks very strange, almost unnecessary, like some kind of filler adventure with very high stakes – but, it turns out, a little in vain. Why did Luke die when he could not run from the whole world because of his mistake and really come to their aid? What’s the point in Rei looking for her parents for the second film in a row if they are “nobody”? Why split characters into an entire film, depriving viewers of interesting interaction and character development? Why, if in the end all this turned out to be unimportant?
It turns out a very strange situation: now I want to revise my assessment and say that “The Last Jedi” is the only episode of the saga that can be completely missed, despite all its merits, and through and through the secondary “The Force Awakens”, which was difficult for me to revise from beyond the inevitable comparisons to A New Hope, The Force Awakens now seems like a great start to the story of Rey, Finn and Poe that has now ended.
Want to know why? Because Abrams’ Star Wars is a dilogy.
Now it looks like this. The Last Jedi is apocryphal, fanfic, spin-off. The Force Awakens is a full start, Skywalker Rise is a full completion. The ninth film just enriches the seventh! Rei’s abilities and her restless nature, the struggle with herself, her very path become clear. Now she no longer looks like a copy of Luke, but a representative of a new generation, the evolution of the Force itself in people capable of it thanks to spiritual practices and willpower. Rey’s personal antagonist, the incredibly controversial young man Kylo Ren, also receives his development, rebirth and real redemption. If in the seventh episode his first appearance without a mask could cause nervous laughter (some gloomy, big-nosed and eared hysterical schoolboy in the role of Darth Vader’s successor, seriously?), Then after the beautiful development in The Last Jedi and the incredible completion of his path in Skywalker Sunrise, you start to think of him quite differently. Kylo Ren is probably the best character in the new canon. Having committed so many mistakes in anger and the search for self-determination, who devoted almost his entire life to serving dubious forces in order to satisfy his own ambitions – in the end, with the help of unconditional, all-forgiving parental love, finally overcame himself, the son of Han and Leni, Ben Solo rushes after the girl to whom felt a contradictory urge not to kill her, but to save her. The colossal rebirth of an embittered fanatic and a lost path, an evil boy who never grew up into a real man, preceded by a lonely scene on the flooded wreckage of the Death Star on Endor, where Kylo Ren sees his father, whom he himself killed, and he gives him his forgiveness. It’s hard to hold back tears at this moment.
Now about the plot itself. (One final spoiler alert!)
The film begins abruptly with classic floating golden titles with the words “Palpatine Alive!” But does not tell any backstory. We see the plot through the eyes of heroes who themselves know little, so such a shocking preamble remains unclear in detail. It turns out that for thirty years the Emperor hid in an unexplored part of space, supporting life in his dead and crippled body with the help of machines and … ghosts of the Dark Side? All these thousands of silhouettes in a colossal hall of statues … what is this place anyway? The Sith Temple, their Mecca, Jerusalem and the Vatican, the place where the Dark Side of the Force originated? Is that why the nearly deceased Palpatine transported himself from the shards of the Death Star on Endor here to Exagol? But how did he do it? Who helped him ..?
Supreme Leader Snoke is now clear – he was just a puppet, a failed, deformed clone from Darth Sidious’s labs. It is possible that Palpatine spent part of this thirty-year period to single-handedly recreate cloning technologies from the planet Kamino, but failed in science (this is not magic) and decided to come up with another plan of incarnation. Thanks to this plot move, Snoke’s sudden death in The Last Jedi is no longer perceived as painful. (Although sorry for the editors of Wookieepedia, who after this film will have to rewrite a lot in their articles)
But the answer to the question about Rei’s parents … I was even a little taken aback. How is it, isn’t Palpatine a surname, not a first name? And why the hell did the Emperor, an infernal, almost immortal being, possessed by absolute power and not trusting anyone – what the hell did he have, it turns out, WAS A SON ?! This question strained me so much that I even made some small calculations, based on the chronology of the films, Rei’s estimated age and all that stuff. It turned out that if Rey’s parents were indeed a simple woman and the son of Palpatine, who escaped from the forces of the First Order and abandoned his daughter to Jakku, as soon as he found out that his father was alive and could use the family tree for his own occult plans, if so then Palpatine’s son was supposed to be born fifteen years before the events of A New Hope. He was supposed to be the same age as Luke Skywalker and younger than Han Solo!
And yet – by this time Palpatine was no longer an ordinary person. The events of Revenge of the Sith take place about twenty years before the events of A New Hope, that is, by the time of the birth of his son, the Emperor has already been five years old as a hunched over, dried out by the dark side of the Force, an immortal old man with yellow eyes, a hoodie and a nasty, grinning manner of speech. How did he fix his son, in that case? Or did he repeat the “immaculate conception” trick of Anakin Skywalker – a moment that is only hinted in films and confirmed (also in hints) only in comics? .. What the hell, Disney?
This is a very, very important moment,
that breaks the chronology in the same way that the news of the surviving emperor made the events of Star Wars Battlefront II a little meaningless (my review of it is disappointing), which tells about Sidious’s secret plan in case of his death to initiate the destruction of part imperial worlds for the edification of descendants. I really hope that in future books, comics, TV series or films, all the omissions will be explained, because such moments should not be thought out by fans who have nothing to do. It is not a question of how many children Jar Jar Binks had (one son) or whether Chewbacca had a wife (had). This is more serious. These are details that can enrich both past and future works, which is why the question of the son of the most dangerous tyrant in the history of the fictional universe is so important.
Ray Palpatine. It sounds very strange, of course. (Admit it, who also thought that Palpatine was a name?) But it also explains her talent for the Force and wielding a lightsaber, and the inconsistency of her feelings, and the struggle with herself, which began in The Last Jedi. All of this leads to a climactic scene that precedes the traditional moment with the culmination of the villain’s omnipotence. It turns out that genetically Rei is the personification of the dark side of the Force, and Ben Solo is the Light. And if you follow the story inherent in us, then Rey had to do evil, and Ben – stay on the side of the Resistance. But they both chose the exact opposite, proving that there is no predestined fate, but there is always a choice – even in the condition of such a cunning game into which they were drawn by Palpatine. Maybe thirty years after Endor, he became slightly stale, half-blind and generally more like a victim of Russian health care than the good old Emperor of the Evil Empire, but a noble one was invented: either Ray would kill his grandfather Palpatine, succumbing to the Dark Side and letting him enter her body to rule the universe for thousands of years, or Palpatine will kill every remnant of the Resistance in the skies above them with one giant blast of dubstep lightning. In fact, it is a choice between “Either you do what you want, but you lose – or you still lose!” – who in the whole galaxy does not want to slay the Emperor! It’s like putting a bullet in the head of Hitler.
By the way, about the Force. It is very interesting that despite the fact that lightsaber fights in the new trilogy are not as danceable and spectacular as in the prequel trilogy (however, this can be explained by the fact that during the New Republic there were almost no Jedi, the skills of the past were lost), – the features of the Force are completely different here, they have evolved along with the new generation of heroes. Now it’s not just lightning bolts, telekinesis (“And constantly losing lightsabers,” my wife added, “why aren’t they tied on strings like mittens?”) And reading / clouding thoughts, but deflecting blaster shots, mental communication, healing, insane astral battles at a distance, and even teleportation (?) of objects. All this is so cool, organic, fresh and unexpected looks that it becomes really interesting what will happen in the world of “Star Wars” next.
Because now the story is over, and in the end it was not a bad trilogy at all (dilogy? How do you feel about The Last Jedi now?). Yes, it started quite like a blueprint (new Tatooine, Luke girl, Yoda girl, funny droid, new Han, old Chewbacca, another Death Star … as long as possible), continued unexpected, bold and original, but not adding a lot to the general plot in a way – and it ended now: loudly, quickly, touching and inventively, with answers to basic questions, a groundwork for the future and farewell to all the main characters.
I will not call this film perfect or even very good. I understand the reaction of some critics. Some of the scenes seemed drawn out, in the episode with Chewbacca’s “death” I would change the editing and keep his resurrection a secret as long as possible for drama (perhaps it was already on test viewing and it was difficult for the audience to empathize with Rei, so they changed everything). The character of a droid belonging to a deceased killer seemed to me completely superfluous – in the film there is already C 3-PO, this time embarking on an adventure with the main characters and giving out one of the most touching lines in the film, and BB-8 with P2-D2 , which for some reason is back in the background (apparently for one of the plot twists that again reduce the drama … if all the deaths here were real, the film would be hard to watch). A girl with a helmet similar to the Power Rangers’ suit and a native Endor on a space horse, who again turned out to be someone to someone, are good supporting characters who play their part in the final big confrontation of countless forces of evil with a few (?) Handfuls of survivors , – but nothing more.
“Star Wars” is a universe, a world, a cinematic series (the first, by the way, of this kind). This huge piece is a true saga, describing decades and lasting decades. Is there greatness in this? Could it be? ..
I think so.
This film brought balance to the Star Wars universe, ending a strangely begun story with a beautiful and correct ending. Go to it while it is still walking. Say goodbye to a galaxy far, far away and let it go.
And may the Force be with you.
A gift to fans of the saga, even to those who are disappointed in it.
Self-taught artist, writing his first book, dreaming of bigger things & drawing something he enjoys with passion and hope to get better in skills.
ART COMMISSIONS OPEN: If you need some stylized cartoon art, I’d be just happy to work with you.