First Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker reactions suggest a 'drastic departure' from The Last Jedi

Brendan Morrow

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker may not be the sequel The Last Jedi fans were looking for.

The highly-anticipated Star Wars finale just had its world premiere, and the early reactions from critics suggest it departs a fair amount from the previous installment, Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

J.J. Abrams' ninth episode is a "drastic departure" from Rian Johnson's eighth, according to CinemaBlend, while Vanity Fair's Joanna Robinson tweeted, "If you loved The Last Jedi, I have some bad news for you. If you didn't, then you might be pretty stoked." IGN's Terri Schwartz also observed the movie "felt like an apology for The Last Jedi in some ways."

The New York Times' Kyle Buchanan took things a step further, writing that The Rise of Skywalker "could only have been ruder to Rian Johnson if they had motion-smoothed it."

This might explain why critics, most of whom loved The Last Jedi, seemed somewhat conflicted about The Rise of Skywalker, with some tweeting they'd need a bit longer to digest the film even while many praised it as an emotional and satisfying finale to the series.

The Last Jedi, despite its rapturous critical response, was somewhat divisive among fans, and now it seems The Rise of Skywalker may also prove to be divisive by taking things in the opposite direction. It remains to be seen how Abrams does so, but he already teased the movie will reveal "more to the story" of Rey's parents after The Last Jedi suggested they were nobody of significance. Could the additional story Abrams provides be the departure critics refer to?

Still, Vanity Fair's Anthony Breznican suggested the departure other critics complained of wasn't so bad, writing, "Sometimes two things that are very different can work well together."

We'll find out if fans agree when The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on Dec. 20.

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