The future of Star Wars is the Skywalkers, from a certain point of view

The Star Wars franchise is constantly producing a stream of new and profitable merchandise and merchandise, including video game, novels, comic booksY animated shows. But the film and television side of Star Wars seems to be struggling. For the past five years, Disney has repeated announced plans by New moviesafter he canceled them unceremoniously or just kept them silently receded. Disney Plus’s recent Star Wars live-action shows keep promising new directions for the franchise, then backing out Y mixing messages. There is no clear vision or consistent narrative direction for the film versions of the franchise, even though they are the most visible and primary part of Star Wars. Everyone seems to want something different from this great and sprawling story.

So, Polygon is putting together some ideas about the future of the franchise under the loose banner of What We Want From Star Wars. These opinion essays lay out what we love about the Star Wars universe and where we expect it to go in the future…or a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.


at the end of Star Wars: the rise of skywalker — the (appropriately) maligned final entry in the nine-film, multi-decade story that formed the backbone of the Star Wars series — Force-wielding protagonist Rey (Daisy Ridley) visits the desert planet Tatooine. She visits the deserted farm that used to belong to original Star Wars trilogy characters Owen and Beru and their whiny nephew, Luke Skywalker. She ceremoniously packs up the lightsabers of the galaxy’s greatest twins, Luke and Princess Leia Organa, and symbolically buries them. Moments later, a passerby asks him to identify himself. Looking up at the Force ghosts of Luke and Leia, with John Williams’ iconic music rising behind her, she replies that she is Rey. King Sky Walker.

In the theater where I saw skywalker riseThe entire theater groaned at this response. Maybe people complained at all the theaters showing the movie. Many of the onlookers in my crowd may not have meant to make a sound of disgust, but it was unintentional; they heard the line, and ughhhh. Never mind the rest of the many glaring problems with JJ Abrams and Chris Terrio’s sloppy script. In one action, Rey curses Luke and Leia to be remembered on Tatooine, a planet that was a cage of boredom for him and nothing at all for her. And given Rey’s minimal significant contact with the Skywalkers, his attempt to take the mantle from him felt disgusting and undeserved. But he does have value, if he chooses to read it in a completely different way than Abrams and Terrio intended, as a statement of purpose for where Star Wars could go.

Rey (Daisy Ridley), fangirling at Owen and Beru's farm on (sigh) Tatooine

Image: Lucasfilm/Disney

That moment was intended as a wink and a wink to the audience, a cute little bow to tie the Star Wars trilogy of trilogies together. But Abrams and Terrio were demanding an emotional payoff without doing an ounce of the setup. It’s hard to miss the fact that to most people on Tatooine, Luke Skywalker is a nonentity at worst and a folk story at best, a mythical hero who embodies the fight against bad cartoon. Rey calling herself Skywalker probably meant as much to that passerby as someone who goes by Bunyan.

It’s hard to analyze the intended emotional impact of this scene, as Abrams spent most of the film backtracking on Rian Johnson’s most interesting ideas from the last jedi while spinning a basic story full of entertainment and little else. As Rey stands with the BB-8 rolling droid, silhouetted against the twin suns of Tatooine, the rise of skywalkerThe artificial symmetry of is part of a desperate attempt to make the audience feel something and see this story as something more deliberately designed than it really was. With a little more planning and effort, this moment may have really measured up to half a century of storytelling, because Abrams’ momentum isn’t entirely wrong here. King it is a Skywalker, but not in the way Abrams wants.

There’s a better context for calling Rey Skywalker, and it doesn’t mean connecting her lineage to Luke and Leia’s. It’s time for the Kennedy family from a galaxy far, far away get away from the spotlight. “Skywalker” would be better used as a name to refer to the movement of warriors that was to replace the Jedi, a confederation of problem solvers and heroes who learned from their ineffectual predecessors how to steer clear of their binary classifications of good and bad. evil, and how to avoid being bound by the rules. Midi-chlorians and Force-sensitivity would not be requirements to join this theoretical conclave of Skywalker: members would only need a good heart and a willingness to work for positive change. Without a leading doctrine or hierarchy, the Skywalkers must act independently on their missions to be the next generation of peacekeepers across the galaxy.

Some fans may think that it sounds cruel to demand that the Jedi Order die so that Star Wars lives. But think about it: what good have they done lately? By the time of the prequel trilogy, the Jedi are past their prime. With the glory days of the High Republic behind them, the Jedi Council is effectively a group of lightsaber-wielding guardian politicians. They may swing those swords against droids or Sith from time to time, but most of the Jedi’s problems only exist because their complacency has made them blind to dangers within their own ranks.

Even Anakin, the prophesied destroyer of the Sith, turns to the Dark Side because the Jedi refuse to help him calm his fears – Yoda basically tells him to. meditate and accept the death of Padmé because it’s predestined, and it’s not a big deal either in the cosmic scheme of things. Not the best way to help someone who’s terrified of losing her only loved one, is it?

Hayden Christensen as Anakin in Revenge of the Sith, with super dramatic lighting from

Image: Lucasfilm/Disney

The idea that the Jedi Order must end for Star Wars history to move forward isn’t particularly novel. Rian Johnson crafted an entire movie around the premise of letting go of the past and killing it if need be. Love it or hate it, the last jedi it was the first, and so far the only, film that took into account the failures of the Jedi and posited that something new should replace them.

Like the Jedi around his father, Luke began to fuse the Order’s rules and writings with his philosophy. His fear of him and his strict adherence to an ancient code almost led him to kill Ben Solo, setting off most of the drama and trauma of the franchise’s third trilogy. His moment of weakness serves as his greatest failure, an unfortunate burden that forces him to isolate himself on Ahch-To. But as Yoda gently informs Luke, failure is not always a bad thing; Allows opportunity for growth.

This ability to grow from defeat is what should separate the Skywalkers from the Jedi. Rey is the perfect figure to found and lead a Skywalker council, not because he has trained with Luke and Leia, but because he understands the desperate need to reform the Jedi into something new. She has seen the toll the old ways took on Luke, how his desire to restart the Jedi Order imploded as she began to see right and wrong as inescapable paths. Her downfall is her obsession with the future and the belief that changing things in the present could not correct what he saw as fate.

Rey witnesses Kylo Ren’s inner conflict as his good heart valiantly fights the villainous role he’s been placed into. She supports Finn by fighting his cowardly instincts and molding them into heroic ones. She argues with Poe Dameron as he learns how to be a leader. Rey not only takes her frustrations in stride and strives to become a better person, but she looks to the people around her for help in the process. This contrasts with the strict moral purity of the Jedi, which limits their effectiveness. They see any deviation from purity as a failure, and in the face of that failure, they flee: Luke, Obi-Wan, and Yoda all, at one time or another, flee into characteristic Jedi exile.

Rey’s focus on empathy and helping those around her should be another vital difference between Jedi and Skywalkers. She sees the good in Kylo Ren long before he does and risks his life in an attempt to help him atone for his misdeeds. The Star Wars franchise focuses too much on dark and light being antonyms, rather than two sides of the same coin. Jedi often treat an attraction to the dark side as a monolithic evil, as if experiencing anger, fear, or love is selfish and dangerous rather than something that occurs naturally within the chaotic nature of daily life. Some of the best characters in the franchise: Lando Calrissian, Han Solo, the last jedidj’s, the mandalorian‘s Din Djarin— exists firmly in the gray area between these two extremes. Good and evil are not mutually exclusive absolutist traits: they exist in everyone to different degrees.

Rey (Daisy Ridley), Poe (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega) embrace as a group in a moment of triumph, because excitement isn't as bad as the Jedi say.

Image: Lucasfilm/Disney

The idea of ​​a radically new group arising from Rey’s training and sensitivity, and last jediThe hints that Force powers reach people across the galaxy, in all walks of life, is the opportunity for Star Wars to grow. Instead of being a fable, it could be something more complex. Instead of being emotionless space samurai like the Jedi will strive to become, the Skywalkers could engage with the communities they set out to help, forging deeper emotional connections across the galaxy and finally providing the space for the nuanced conversations that have been absent for a long time. franchise. The storytelling possibilities are endless, and they could finally make a new Star Wars imprint, instead of just expanding the one created in 1977.

The Skywalkers could travel the galaxy, finding their own solutions to problems created by the Jedi, the Sith, and the entropic nature of life itself. Power within the universe will ultimately be in the hands of people unrelated to Skywalkers, Solos, or Palpatines; will be in the hands of last jediThe broom boy, or Finn, or some hero we haven’t met yet, who currently believes he’s destined for more than just his meager luck in life. These are the Skywalkers fans should be talking about for the next half century, the people so inspired by the Luke mythos that they want to not only become him but surpass him. He is what they should stop growing after all.

It is time for the Jedi to end and for the Skywalkers to be born. Let Rey’s strange statement at the end of the rise of skywalker reconvert from a meaningless gesture to the seed from which the future sprouts. I promise Abrams won’t be mad that his final fool is given a life and importance he never thought possible.


Previously:

Star Wars is better without new movies coming out
Star Wars needs more alien heroes
Please Star Wars Forget Tatooine
Star Wars needs its new characters much more than its infinitely recycled
The future of Star Wars is Gundam
Star Wars needs more moral ambiguity
Make Star Wars cheap again

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