The Force Is Gone: Why I Don't Have a New Hope for “The Rise of Skywalker”

David Harsanyi

Key point: Putting fan service over plot won’t save the series.

Who knows? Maybe “The Rise of Skywalker” will bind all the tedious storylines of the first two “Star Wars” sequels into a cohesive and rewarding coda.

Then again, if the new trailer offers any clues—and as I understand it, this is the point of trailers—the movie looks like it will ratchet up the fan service in hopes of saving an incomprehensible mess.

If someone asked you to cogently explain the narrative of the sequel trilogy, could you honestly do it?

“The Last Jedi” has been on Netflix for months, and this lifelong fan—a fan who paid to see “The Revenge of the Sith” in theaters at least three times—hasn’t even been able to rewatch it once for free.

To put that in perspective, I would rather binge entire seasons of an English baking show than sit through a $300 million sequel to my favorite childhood movie.

It’s not only that I don’t care one whit about the plot, it’s that I don’t care one whit about the characters either.

Instead of the emperor, we have Snoke. Instead of Vader, we have Kylo. Instead of Luke, we have Rey. Instead of Han, we get both Finn and Poe. Instead of Yoda, we get Luke. Instead of R2-D2, we get BB-8. So on and so on.

Not one of the stand-ins, many of them portrayed by talented actors, are nearly as compelling as the originals, many of whom were portrayed by terrible actors.

These failures might be forgivable if the space opera made any sense. Instead, we are left to watch characters spin their hyperdrives while J.J. Abrams performs a mercy killing of one original character per movie.

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