Monday, January 20, 2020

Rise of Skywalker: The SFR Brigade Speaks Out

The Saga Will End...The Story Lives Forever

That was the tag line for the final motion pictures in the 40+ year old Star Wars main saga, a cultural icon for three generations.

How did members of the SFR Brigade feel about the wrap? A few are here to share their thoughts on the final installment.

Spoiler Alert! 
If you haven't yet seen Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, don't read on!


The End of the Skywalker Saga 
by Patty Hammond 
Beta Reader, Editor, Blogger and Podcaster

How do you start summarizing something that has been part of your life since you were six years old in just a few words? I am still processing everything that I saw in The Rise Of Skywalker, even though I have seen the movie a total of two times. There was so much that happened and the emotions these evoked in me that I am not sure where to start. Therefore, all I can do is try, even though I am sure Master Yoda would not agree with that approach, huh?

It is true that we have reached the end of the current Star Wars saga and the story of the Skywalker family has completed. I know this ending may not have fulfilled the hopes of a happily ever after that many wished for and are struggling to deal with this. However, I believe that the ending of TROS is better than some other endings, like The Game Of Thrones, because it left me with a feeling of hope. For me the heart of the Star Wars saga has always been about hope.

I believe The Rise Of Skywalker gave this to us in spades. From the lack of hope being presented as ‘fact’ due to the First Order and of course the most evil being in the Universe, Palpatine and his Final Order. To the presence of hope as a rallying cry and a weapon wielded by the efforts of many characters including Rey, Finn, Poe, Rose, Leia and even Ben Solo. This ending gave us hope that a brighter future lives on in all the surviving characters, especially Rey, who is now the spiritual heir of the Skywalker family and the keeper of hope into the future. Overall, I left the theatre with this feeling of hope and I hope that when others left the theater after watching this film will feel the same hope that I did.

The Return of Hope
by Debra Jess
Author of Blood Surfer: A Thunder City Novel (Book 1)

Hope, like comedy, isn't easy. The dramatic, the sorrowful, the angsty stories always seem to get more attention over happier, more hopeful ones because well-told stories with happiness & hope appear too simplistic, too easy. Star Wars is about hope. It's always been fast, lightly touching the darker emotions before spring boarding off to the next space battle. Every time I see a fan bemoaning about how The Last Jedi was a better film than Rise of Skywalker because Luke was morose and depressed and turned his back on the Force because of all of the tragedies in his life, I just want to scream: "Did you miss the huge parties at the end of A New Hope and Return of the Jedi? Medal ceremonies! Dancing Ewoks! New sister! New friends! Fireworks!" Even Empire Strikes Back has an ending that promises a better future despite all the shocking revelations that went down in that film.

I was happy to see all of the past threads brought together and tied into a nice neat bow. My jaw dropped when Han Solo appeared (how many souls did Kathleen Kennedy have to sacrifice to bring Harrison Ford back?) However, I will always believe that directors and producers showed a complete lack of understanding of what Star Wars is about when they chose to deprive the legacy fans of the one small story point they wanted more than anything else: a few minutes of screen time with Luke, Leia, and Han together as the heroes that we remember.

I was surprised at how much screen time they constructed for Leia. I know it's not perfect, but then Tarkin wasn't perfect in Rogue One and his rendering didn't bother me or distract me from the movie at all.

The twists were a pleasant surprise. I can see Hux spying in an attempt to get revenge on Kylo. Adam Driver made me believe in Kylo's re-embracing of Ben's soul. His whole stance is looser, his manner less strained. I'm still glad Kylo/Ben died, because you don't get to commit patricide and survive. His kiss with Rey was a bit queasy, but at least Rey is now free to choose her own destiny with no ties to the dyad, her bloodline, or her past. Her loyalty belongs to her newfound family and friends.

Rose, however, got screwed. There's no way to justify her lack of screen time. I believe the director kept Zorii's helmet on to cover for the fact that he downgraded Rose in favor of another white woman. Rose deserved so much better.

As for Rey taking on the Skywalker name? I was torn because I hate the whole bloodline legacy idea because it ties in with the need for midi-chloridians to touch the Force. Midi-Chloridians don't exist in my universe. However, the fact that Rey chooses the Skywalker name at the end shows that bloodlines really don't matter if she's the first in a new generation of Jedi.

The Digital Necromancy of the Mustache Twirl
by Marlene Harris
Book Blogger / Librarian
Reading Reality   Twitter @readingreality

I saw The Rise of Skywalker over the holidays with my husband. Our experience of the Star Wars universe is different; I was in college the summer that the original movie came out and he was born that summer. He doesn’t remember a world without Star Wars. For me, it was the opening of a bright if occasionally unstable wormhole to a place where nothing would ever be the same. Suddenly my love for all things fantasy and SF, including a lifelong love affair with Star Trek, thankyouverymuch, had a big audience and acceptance beyond a snicker.

So we’ve seen all the movies, one way or another. But I remember when Han really did shoot first - and he doesn’t. Still, it’s been a wild ride on the Millenium Falcon, no matter how fast or slow the Kessel Run.

Now the saga, or at least the part of it wrapped so tightly around that original story, has ended. And not with the bang we hoped for, but with a whimper. Your lightspeed, of course, may vary.

As the wrap-up to an epic, The Rise of Skywalker managed to tick off a reasonable number of the required boxes. But it missed the boat in a big way. Several of them.

For him, the digital necromancy required to get Leia into the picture just didn’t work. It felt flat and contrived and obvious. But then, he didn’t have tears in his eyes blurring the screen just enough to make it work - as I did.

For me, it came down to villain fail. It weakened the story for the villain to be Palpatine himself, instead of, oh, say, a bastard child or a deluded follower. Instead we got the undead Sith himself, making speeches that sounded like echoes from the past as his formerly creepy and haunting presence got reduced to a whole lot of prosthetics and an affect that felt like the equivalent of a mustache twirl. He seemed like a caricature of a villain rather than an actual one.

And what was up with all those really tall and creepy statues? He must have been seriously overcompensating for something, which leads to some really unfortunate questions about exactly how Rey’s father was conceived.

Last, but not least, at least for me, was that the story seemed to be missing its beating heart - possibly because that’s the element that Leia was supposed to have provided. I wanted my heart to soar as it did when Luke made that impossible shot in the first movie, and sink into my toes the way it did when Vader cut off Luke’s hand and he fell into the dark.

I just didn’t feel for these folks as much as I expected to. And the movie missed its opportunity for a truly crowning moment of awesome. When Rey ground out “I am ALL the Jedi” they should have all been there with her. Not just disembodied voices, but actual Force ghosts. They should have been standing at her side. If they had, we would have known that we were there too.

Thanks for Forty Years of Skywalker
by Lea Kirk 
USA Today Bestselling Author of the Prophecy Series
Website   Facebook    Lea Kirk Author Newsletter

As one of my besties & I took our seats in the theater to see The Rise of Skywalker, a sense of finality came over me. This was it, the last movie of a surprise franchise that began over forty years ago. I was a skinny, bespectacled seventh grader when A New Hope released. I was also living in Japan, and at that time new cinema releases were out for a year in the U.S. before they were sent overseas. (They did send Mark Hamill to visit his old high school, which was on the same Army base as the middle school I attended, but that’s another story.)

All we could do was wait. As fate would have it, my dad was transferred stateside and we left the week before Star Wars arrived at the base theater. The first thing my mom did after we arrived in California was to take my sister and I to see the movie—a whole week before my friends got to see it! It was awesome, and it seemed like the story (like the lines) would never end.

But, it has.

Did The Rise of Skywalker live up to my expectations? Overall, yes. Do I have questions? Most definitely. Would I change anything? Yes! The most glaring issue to me—which started in The Force Awakens—is the relationship between Poe and Finn. OMG, people! These two should’ve gotten together!

Now, I’m not a Rose-hater…I actually love her character. And since the powers that be did not see fit to romantically link Poe and Finn, then why not let Finn and Rose hook up? All in all, it would’ve been great if they hadn’t even tried to force that relationship to begin with, but to turn around and cover it up in the latest movie like it’d never happened? Messy loose end.

My biggest heartache was that Rey and Ben will never get together. He dies, she lives, minus the greatest love of her life. This is, of course, my internal romance writer soul crying out at the injustice of them not getting their happily ever after. How-e-ver, there is always a price that must be paid, and Ben’s death—his separation from the woman he loves—is his price. And most of me is good with that.

If I could, what one thing would I change in this movie? Simple. When Luke and Leia appeared to Rey (beautiful and touching, imo), Ben should’ve been with them. He found the good within himself at the eleventh hour, much like Anakin did. And, he quite literally gave his life for her. (Tell me you didn’t cry about that! I did. Like hormonal teenager.)

Bottom line: Despite the still unanswered questions, J. J. Abrams did a phenomenal job wrapping up the Skywalker saga. I wish it could go on forever, but after forty plus years, I’m happy.

I wonder if Abrams would consider going back and remaking parts 1-3…?

Saying Goodbye to the Saga
by KG Stutts
Author of the Mirror trilogy and the Amethyst Chronicles
Blog: My Creative Desk    Amazon Author Page   Facebook Author Page

Like most of us sci-fi fans, I grew up on Star Wars. I watched the movies, read the comics and extended universe books, and played the games. I knew the backstories of characters and could have whole conversations with my brother using quotes. That love for Star Wars grew with each installment that came out.

Unlike most fans, The Last Jedi didn't bother me. I actually liked it more than The Force Awakens, which seemed to do too much to try to remind fans about the original series, as if we didn't already know it by heart. Granted, I didn't love the second installment but I also don't get the complete hatred some have. So with that said, I held my breath going into Rise of Skywalker. I sat in the theater incredibly nervous as to what was going to play out. Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised.

There were moments I expected, and still some surprises. I cried more than my share of tears at two parts (staying spoiler free to be safe but you probably know what I mean). To me, it was the perfect send off for our favorite characters and still left it open at the end to explore more if they choose to (and let's face it, they will). Carrie Fisher will forever be my Princess and General and her moments were so beautiful and moving. To me, the story wrapped up this saga incredibly well.

I was nervous and scared as to what this installment would cover. It did feel like they were trying to get three films worth in so at times it both dragged and moved at lightspeed. Overall though, I felt like I could overlook that because the emotion was there. Saying goodbye is always hard, but my heart did feel a little lighter as the credits rolled.

Closing a Four Decade Dynasty
by Laurie A. Green
USA Today Bestselling Author of The Inherited Stars Series
Website   Amazon Author Page    Facebook Author Page

I found Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker to be extremely fast-paced and almost non-stop excitement. I'd have to watch it at least twice more (and I will) to catch all the subtle and not-so-subtle wraps of themes and story lines. So for now, I'll only comment on the main character and the conclusion.

So Rey is a Palpatine, not a Skywalker. Adam Driver's interview slip several years ago about her being "a princess" was apparently in error, or else writers moved away from the original plot idea after The Force Awakens. I think many of the fan base still suspected she was somehow Luke's daughter, but that never played out. I'm a bit melancholy that it didn't. The title Rise of Skywalker didn't foreshadow any amazing reveals at the end, after all.

About that end. After all the battles, clashes, visually-stunning and gasp-worthy scenes, Rey returns to Tatooine--the beginning of the epic journeys for both Luke and Anakin. She buries two lightsabers in the sand near Luke's childhood home--the moisture farm once owned by Luke's Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru...before they were taken out by Stormtroopers in a desperate search for R2D2 and C3PO so long ago.

And at the finale, Rey claimed the name of Skywalker for her own. I got a certain "calm after the storm" feeling from that scene, but I also felt a huge void. All the galaxy-changing Skywalkers were now gone--Anakin, Luke, Leia and Ben--and even though Rey honored them by taking their name, as a character in the franchise once said, "Their fire has gone out of the universe." Certainly that fire has gone out of mine, now that this epic has ended. I'm sincerely going to miss this "story of a lifetime." But was there any way to end this saga that would have pleased everyone? I think not.

I'd just like to add one final thought. The original trilogy is--and will always be--the best of the franchise for me. That first-experienced magic and wonder and awe that drove people to the theaters in droves in the late 1970s and early 80s was never recreated again in later films, though each and every one of them is exceptional, and will always be worth watching again and again. But Star Wars became what it was all because one man had a powerful vision and the genius to pull it off in a way the world had never seen before. Thank you for what you started, George Lucas. We may never see the like again. 

Spacefreighters Lounge would like to thank the SFR Brigade participants who took the time to compose their entertaining and thoughtful individual commentaries on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the final motion picture in the triple-trilogy saga.

We realize that opinions may vary for every fan, and we invite your comments and discussion of Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker below.


  1. As a huge fan of Lea Kirk's work, I was interested in reading her perspective. However, I most agree with Laurie A. Green. Two incredible men, George Lucas and Gene Roddenberry, both had outstanding visions of the future and a unending hope in humanity. Their visions, inspired countless generations and leave an unparalleled cinematic legacy for all time. Thank you, to both men, and the outstanding casts and crews of all films. May the Force be with you. The end.

    1. Two geniuses, for sure! Thanks for stopping by Spacefreighters to comment, Chick Lit Shop. May the Force by with you.

    2. Thank you, Mary! I agree with you and Laurie. Roddenberry and Lucas are quite the visionaries.

  2. Here are a few of my thoughts on the movie. *Spoilers ahead*
    I enjoyed it. Loved seeing Han again! Leia's death moved me mostly because Carrie died IRL during the filming. I was not happy with new characters getting too much screen time while other characters were pushed aside. As soon as I saw the lightning bolts shoot out of Rey's hand, I turned to my husband and said, "she's a Palpatine!" This was foreshadowed by Leia telling her, "Don't be afraid of who you are." Which is why I was confused as to why Rey took the Skywalker name at the end instead of Palpatine (acceptance of who she is). One thing that confused me - and I guess I need to re-watch - was Ben. Was he really Ben at the end or was Leia in his body? Because her body didn't vanish until he died. Anyway, I loved that a woman was the kickass hero (without being sexualized - no skimpy outfits) and brought the force back into balance.

  3. You raise an interesting question. My first impression when she said "I'm Rey Skywalker" is that it reminded me of the scene at the end of Titanic when they ask Rose her name and she tells them she's "Rose Dawson" (which was, of course, Jack's last name). Except, then wouldn't Rey have said Solo? Hmmm. I think it was to honor the Skywalker bloodline, which had just gone extinct. *sob* I can understand why she wouldn't want to be labeled as a Palpatine. I think Ben was Ben at the end -- the just turned to the light side Ben -- but maybe Leia's body lingered until her son made his ultimate sacrifice. Anyway, I just went back for a re-watch this weekend and definitely caught a lot of things I'd missed on first viewing. I feel another blog coming on...LOL

    1. I didn't notice the connection to Rose Dawson taking Jack's last name in Titanic. If that's what they were going for then I agree, she should have taken the name Solo. I guess by taking the Skywalker name, she was honoring both of her jedi masters, Luke and Leia.

  4. I could say a lot of things about the new Trilogy, just so many fundamental rules of screenplay 1 zero 1 rules broken for no reason other than the behind the scenes chaos of the production (And I have several friends who worked on all three films, so I know all the stories) I think although there's parts of it that were good and I loved the actors, nothing wrong with them at all and some were amazing - everyone knows the whole thing is an incoherent mess and an inexcusable one at that, sorry to be harsh and I am not someone who goes on about it ruining my childhood, because these aren't the films of my childhood, the original trilogy was. I just view these films as a production failure that were a victim of too many cooks and not enough pre-planning for the entire triology. That's just how the dice get rolled some times. It's just a shame it happened to Star Wars.


Comments set on moderation - all spammers will be exterminated!

About Spacefreighters Lounge

Hosted by 5 Science Fiction Romance authors with 8 RWA Golden Heart finals and a RITA final between them. We aim to entertain with spirited commentary on the past, present, and future of SFR, hot topics, and our take on Science Fiction and SFR books, television, movies and culture.