Coming to theatres from director J.J. Abrams, Lucasfilms and Walt Disney Pictures Is the conclusion of a saga that began over 40 years ago with STAR WARS: The Rise of Skywalker.
It was 1977 At the Valley Circle theatre in San Diego with my bff and life sister Ellen that STAR WARS came into my life. The first time I saw the film I was transported into a world that I have embraced through the years. My summer was filled with weekly visits to the theatre so I could watch the storyline again and again.
Thus began my crush on Luke (Mark Hamill) that continues today in my much older and less cuter form. The early scene of the original STAR WARS where Luke is on the hill lamenting as the two suns of Tatooine are setting and the rise of emotion from John Williams music begins moved me. It moved me because I knew that look, I understood wanting to know what was out in the world waiting for me. I also saw the suns radiating on his face with a look that was the most handsomest I’d ever seen. Hey, I was 16!
Then, the buddy ‘friendship’ with Han (Harrison Ford) that always made me laugh with his antics or feeling protective anytime no one understood him. He was rough and tough yet I knew that he would never leave the two people that had become his friends by not judging to harshly the way he handled things. These two guys also showed me how pensive friendships can be brought together with the glue of a very tall and very hairy Wookie and to Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) I say a humble and grateful thank you.
My lesson to be a stronger person came from Princess Leia to whom I continue to be eternally grateful on a daily basis. She was my first female role model who showed me courage, loyalty and laid the foundation of fighting for what is right no matter what is thrown at you. Fisher may not have known what she was accomplishing early on taking the role of Leia but I hope through the years she came to know there were thousands of girls who learned the same lessons I did.
Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) became the voice of reason for those of us watching Star Wars again and again in 1977. He kept us all level headed when we wanted to jump into the battle with Luke, Han and Leia. The calm explainer of the force and how it works, he introduced us all to ‘use the force’ as it became an iconic phrase that you’d have to be locked in a cave somewhere to not know. Trust me, tears fell when he allowed Vadar to swing that saber helping Luke and the gang to escape, something I never got over.
So here we are, in 2019 and I couldn’t sleep Monday night knowing that I was hours away from seeing how this would all end. Don’t expect spoilers because I would be furious if anyone told me anything before seeing the film (Remember Han Solo?) so I’m keeping it light and reminiscent.
On a remote planet, Rey (Daisy Ridley) is working with General Organa (Carrie Fisher) on earning Luke Skywalkers light saber but there seems to be a feeling stopping her. Resistance friends Poe (Oscar Isaac. Finn (John Boyega) and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) are struggling to get back to Rey after retrieving what are the next step plans for the First Order. Also out in the galaxy is Supreme Leader of the First Order Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) who is knocking down anyone who gets in his way.
Now called the Final Order, it is Rey, Finn, Poe and all those who follow that must pull out all the stops to bring balance back to the force. Allegiant General Pryde (Richard E. Grant) knows how this is going to play out. There is one fiercely evil entity who is going to do his diabolical best to stop them all as secrets are revealed and choices are made!
There are others along the way who decide that it might be time to help and that includes Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) and Zorii Bliss (Keri Russell). There are those who have come before that let it be known they are with them all.
Yes, that’s all you are going to get in the plot department! So let’s move on to the characters who make their appearance in this final installment.
Ridley as Rey is still dealing with the unknown of her past. It is hard to let the force flow through you when there are those mushed up memories and a Supreme Leader who is constantly cutting into your thought process. Ridley has done everything asked of her in the three installments of the Star Wars saga she has been in. At times I wasn’t always sure where she was taking this characters but clearly, now, it was on a path that I didn’t even see coming.
Driver as Ben/Kylo Ren has been on quite a journey! He has pretty cool parents but chooses to follow the destructive path of grandpa Vadar. Even with that there is something that connects him to Rey as she tries to convince him to put down his very angry saber and be true to himself. That’s hard to do when rage seems to be the only thing that motivates Ren. Driver has put every bit of that on the screen and when the moments where Ben shows through, this actor melts and takes everyone along with him.
Boyega as Finn has always seemed to be Rey’s protector whether that was his intention or not. Being a former storm trooper, he has truly embraced his role as being part of the Resistance and constantly surprised where it has led him. Although his relationship with Poe hasn’t always been the best, it is reminiscent of another galaxy duo who didn’t start out on the best of terms.
Isaac as Poe continues to be reckless but there comes a moment where he has to decide what his place is in the Resistance. It turns out to be the most difficult decision he has ever made (and you will know when that hits him the hardest). Isaac’s Poe is the comedy of the trio because of his casual nature and finding humor when he should be panicking.
Williams as Lando gets the chance to once again fly the Millennium Falcon with Chewy at his side. He knows that the new trio faces the same tribulations and he has one last chance to do right by Leia and help in any way he can. Lando was a wild card before and trust me when I say he doesn’t disappoint now either.
This is where I get a little choked up – when Carrie Fisher as Leia comes up on the screen I am overcome with a wave of intense emotion. There couldn’t have been a finale without her and I am happy to take it in any form. It is even more difficult to watch Gen. Organa make a motherly choice which is something her character didn’t have a chance to do before. Yes, more quiet tears dropped but Princess Leia will always be a part of this writers life.
Other cast include everyone who could get in the film with Philicia Saunders as Tabala Zo, Simon Day as General Engell, Amir El-Masry as Commander Trach, Denis Lawson as Wedge Antiles, Naomi Ackie as Jannah, Freddie Prinze Jr. as Kannan Jarus, Dominic Monaghan as Beaumont Kin, Billie Lourd as Lieutenant Connix and Domnhall Gleeson as General Hux.
Also Jimmy Vee as R2-D2 who always had my heart as well as a humor of squeaks and blips that have always been totally understandable, and the amazing Anthony Daniels as C-3PO who always managed to be properly annoying but in such a way that I personally would never want to be without him.
Look, I’m just going to throw it out there. Not everyone will be happy with how Abrams brings this 9 film saga to its conclusion and personally – I don’t care about the not-happy people and here’s why. STAR WARS: The Rise of Skywalker is being seen by me in a way that is part of my being. I don’t think all the Star Wars films were successful and I don’t hide my feelings about it but I still embrace it as part of the storyline that began in 1977.
Not everything in life is going to be wrapped up neatly to please every person (I mean seriously, the Game of Thrones finale almost threw people into fits!) and that’s okay. Not being neat means we all have something to talk about and share after seeing the film. We get to reminisce about more than one film, about more than one theory and about more than one character. That’s what Star Wars has done for us, it has kept the conversation going longer than any other films (maybe Harry Potter gets to be part of the club in its own way).
I hope that everyone who goes remembers that the experience is yours, each unique, each with its own memories and each with its own chance to say the words – goodbye friends! Yes there are already stories like The Mandalorian (big fan by the way) giving us a new world but I’m speaking of the story that began with Luke, Leia, Chewy, C3PO, R2D2 and Obi-Wan.
It is time to say good-bye to seeing them on the big screen again, good-bye to the excitement of waiting for the first showing and good-bye to that part of my life that I’ve always held so cherished. Oh I won’t be removing Yoda and Darth from my desk any time soon, but instead of giggling with anticipation for the next story installment, I will smile at them for sharing the last forty two years of my life in such an impactful way. I saw these characters through 16 year-old eyes from 1977 to 2019 and that is pretty cool to my way of thinking.
So prepare yourself and just enjoy the ride – there isn’t a tub of popcorn big enough for what’s to come and look for me in the seat next to you because I’ll be there again and again and again because that’s how I started and that’s how it’s going to finish.
In the end – it started in a galaxy far, far away!