Ever since the release of the the second trailer for The Rise of Skywalker came out and, as is to be expected, fans have taken to the internet to discuss their theories as to why Rey was holding a double-bladed red lightsaber, or what Palpatine’s role will be in the new movie.
And by discussing, what I really mean is putting out a million different YouTube videos like “Star Wars CONFIRMED, Rey was Snoke the whole time” or “Ep. IX FULL PLOT LEAKS, you won’t believe who Rey’s father is!”
So, let’s be real here for a second, almost 100% of these theories absolutely suck. Like, badly. Search your feelings, you know it to be true (see what I did there!) but here’s the question. Why are they all so bad? Well, presented here today are the official top 5 reasons why your Star Wars Episode IX theory sucks.
“The Star Wars movies have never been about the most incredible storytelling you’ve ever seen. It’s simple narratives that have been done a million times, set in the most interesting, well thought out universe that has ever been created.”
#5: IT’S TOO LORE HEAVY
Look, I love the expanded universe *ahem* “legends” continuity, admittedly my knowledge of the new republic era is limited, however, I’ll go toe to toe with anyone on the Old Republic era. The Star Wars EU is practically unrivaled in the depth it creates for the series, there are backstories to characters backstories, everything ties together into one amazing narrative, and I LOVE it.
However, let’s be honest about a few things here. I want Plagueis to secretly have been pulling the strings the whole time, I’d love to find out that even Palpatine in all his *unlimited* power was blind to the schemes his master had put in place, and he’s been playing the long game the whole time. As much as I think that would be cool, it’s absolutely not going to happen.
Star Wars (at least in the movies) has never been about deep lore and backstory. Think about episode 4, Leia says, “years ago you served my father in the clone wars” and we didn’t find out what that even was for almost 25 years! They just brought it up as a plot device and moved on. Now this isn’t an argument over whether or not they *should* incorporate more lore into the movies, but whether or not they *will* do it. That has never been what the Star Wars movie franchise has been about, and I highly doubt that they’ll change that with the concluding movie of a 9-part narrative.
#4: IT’S TOO COMPLICATED, OR SUBPLOT DRIVEN
The Star Wars movies have never been about the most incredible storytelling you’ve ever seen. It’s simple narratives that have been done a million times, set in the most interesting, well thought out universe that has ever been created (fight me).
At its core its sword and sorcery fantasy set in a space context, I wouldn’t even classify it as sci fi. In fact, if you had the same exact storyline and set it in medieval times, it wouldn’t be out of place as a story from a Final Fantasy game. Its beauty is in its simplicity.
The original trilogy is about a simple farm boy looking for meaning in the universe who suddenly is thrust into the middle of a conflict of epic proportions. He gets far more than he bargained for and ends up figuring out the truth about who he is. All while becoming the hero he was destined to be. There are other plots and subplots through the movie, but that is the main narrative. The prequels provide context and backstory, all while turning the story in to the simple tragedy and redemption of Anakin Skywalker
So, with that said, you just flat out aren’t going to be given 25 minutes of screen time dedicated to exposition about the Knights of Ren, or to how the First Order came about. Nor are we going to get some plot about Rey being a failed experiment by Palpatine to recreate Vader. That’s just not what the Star Wars movies are
#3: IT FOCUSES TOO MUCH ON BIG REVEALS
You’re going to want to disagree with me on this one, but Star Wars has absolutely NEVER been centered around the idea of big reveals and plot twists. In the entire Star Wars saga there are really only 2 major reveals. Vader is Luke’s father, and Leia is Luke’s Sister. That’s it.
I mean come on guys, for episode 8 there was a theory being passed around that Snoke was actually Mace Windu! Of course it’s fun to sit around and speculate about who’s who and what’s what, but we need to set realistic expectations around what this movie will actually be, and my guess is that it’s going to be mostly straight forward, with a few minor twists and turns along the way, with some awesome action sequences. But we’re setting ourselves up to be disappointed if we’re looking for that next big revelation to happen, because history has shown us that it won’t.
#2: YOU’VE FORGOTTEN WHO THE AUDIENCE IS
Star Wars is a blockbuster franchise, this movie is almost certainly going to crack the billion-dollar mark, and it’s a major cash cow for our new mouse overlords. The films are designed to have mass appeal that all audiences can enjoy, they simply aren’t built around the most dedicated of fans who would read something like this.
So, we need to ask ourselves when combing through YouTube looking for the next big Rise of Skywalker theory, is this something that a casual fan will understand and appreciate?
For nearly all of the theories I’ve heard online, the answer to that question is a resounding no. Most fans don’t even know who Plagueis is (which is a travesty), most fans can’t quote the 7 (8 if you count Vapaad) light saber forms, and most fans are blissfully unaware of the animated series, or the numerous books that provide context to the movies. So when you hear a theory and it tries to tell you that a big chunk of the plot will center around the force sensitive tree that Luke gifted to Poe Dameron’s parents in the comics, understand that the exposition that would require to catch the casuals up would take up half the movie.
#1: YOU’VE FORGOTTEN WHAT STAR WARS ACTUALLY IS
Ok, so this is a bit of a cop out for my number one reason, however I believe it ties together every statement I’ve made in the previous four. What sets hardcore fans up for huge disappointment and leads to comments like “Star Wars is dead; I’m going to boycott” is that we’ve forgotten what this story and these movies actually are.
It’s never been about the expanded universe, it’s never been deeply about lore, even under Lucas those stories were meant to be supplemental and meant to be taken with a grain of salt, almost like a *ahem* legends storyline.
Look at what Lucas himself had to say about the EU:
“There’s my world, which is the movies, and there’s this other world that has been created, which I say is the parallel universe — the licensing world of the books, games and comic books. And now there have been novels about the events after Episode VI, which isn’t at all what I would have done with it.”George Lucas
As great as the EU is, it’s clouded our view of what Star Wars is supposed to be, a simple story, about simple characters, in a universe that you can totally lose yourself in, with amazing music by John Williams leading you through the whole adventure.
Episode IX is going to come out in a few months, and we’re going to get the conclusion to the narrative that George Lucas began over 40 years ago. In my view, all indication is that JJ Abrams will do a fine job with it, and hopefully he’ll clean up some of Rian Johnson’s mess along the way.
I don’t know what’s going to happen in the movie, none of us know, but what I do know is that on December 20th, 2019 I will, like so many others, be sitting in a movie theater chair as the words appear on the screen “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away” and I get swept away into the story of the Skywalker’s and their fight against the dark side. And I’ll enjoy every second of it.
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