The series is creatively bankrupt.
There’s an old saying that sums up how I feel about the Star Wars franchise. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” After The Last Jedi, what more does the series have to offer? Anything the new films have to offer, we’ve already seen it done better in the original trilogy.
I was a huge Star Wars fan in my teens. Return of the Jedi came out when I was a kid, but the trilogy was re-released as a boxed set in 1995. I watched those VHS tapes dozens of times. I read all the old novels (which Disney decided to retcon out of existence). I’m almost ashamed to say I still have a huge binder fill of cards from the Star Wars Card Game. (Leave a comment if you think those are worth anything?)
When The Phantom Menace came out in 1999, the year before I graduated high school, my friends and I were in the theater on opening day. Boy, was that a disappointment.
While maturity and the sheer awfulness of the prequel trilogy threw a wet blanket on my fandom, my hopes were raised when Disney took control of the franchise away from George Lucas. I watched The Force Awakens at a special screening while deployed to Iraq. It was… ok.
I enjoyed Rogue One, so I got my hopes up for The Last Jedi. As I watched, my feeling that something horrible was happening to my beloved Star Wars steadily grew worse. Halfway through I actually thought they might take the series in a new direction. Oh! What if Rey and Kylo Ren join forces to overthrow the old order? A glimmer of hope erupted for something new and exciting.
Nope. The Last Jedi ends right back at the beginning where A New Hope started in 1977. As bad as the prequel trilogy was, at least it tried to tell a different story. It wasn’t just an evil empire battling a tiny rebellion for galactic dominance. How many times can we expect to see this exact same scenario play out?
I’m guessing as long as the formula is profitable. But it’s a shame, because there was so much material already written about Star Wars that would’ve made great films. The Thrawn trilogy, to name one. But Disney decided to throw all that in the trash in favor of a nonsensical story that’s constantly retconning things in an attempt to appease angry fans.
So no, I won’t be watching The Rise of Skywalker this Christmas, because I’ve already seen it. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.