TIE Fighter Pilot - Hasbro - Legacy Collection [2] (2015)
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The Deafening Silence Of The Sequel Trilogy

As someone who, in my strong opinion, was justifiably critical of the Sequel Trilogy, I had zero hopes or expectations for The Rise Of Skywalker. ZERO! However, the last thing I ever expected was to like the film. A LOT. Let’s face some basic facts. The Sequel Trilogy went the wrong way for Star Wars. (more….)

It has an overtly unfortunate and uninteresting cast of characters that are easily forgettable. None of them make you want to be them. As a kid, I wanted to be everyone from Luke Skywalker, to Chewbacca, to Lando Calrissian, and so many others, because all of them possessed qualities I wanted to have as a child (and subsequent adult). I felt some of those characters returned in TROS. Many will disagree with me, but I feel strongly that The Rise Of Skywalker got a bad wrap. It surely was an imperfect film, but it was the only film in the Sequel Trilogy that felt like Star Wars, was fun and engaging, and was faithful to lore both found in the Original Trilogy films, as well as the old Expanded Universe. People like to equate dislike for hate (something too many people do that I hate), and I won’t dignify that immaturity by doing the same to you if you loathed TROS. I won’t make such accusations either, but I wonder if those longtime Star Wars fans actually gave TROS a chance. Because I am perplexed that it didn’t go over better with legacy fans. Forget the Kathleen Kennedy stuff. Forget the Story Group stuff. Forget prominent Lucasfilm staff attacking fans. Forget the JJ Abrams and Rian Johnson story clashes. If you do this, and you think about it for a while, how do you not find TROS the best of the three Sequel Trilogy films? And how can you not consider it for inclusion in your “fanon”?

I, for one, am thankful that The Rise Of Skywalker negates the need for Episode VII and Episode VIII. Those films are solely responsible for the fan divide that exists today. I personally think they’re both irredeemable but to each his or her own. If you enjoyed them, don’t let anyone steal your joy for them. Now, conversely, TROS is getting attacked by those that attacked other fans for not liking The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. While I enjoyed The Rise Of Skywalker, I am also able to see its flaws. Yet, I get criticized for liking a film where I am not blind to its flaws, and they accuse me of letting my standards go for Star Wars. I don’t care about anyone else’s opinion about me, but that’s an outlandish accusation. If we picked apart any Star Wars film, we’d find things that are too coincidental or make little sense. I won’t do that here, because I honestly feel it’s a pathetic way to argue points about the ST. I don’t want people picking apart the OT to make the ST look better. The same is true in the other direction. I see TROS as significantly more than “JJ Abrams doing everything he could after what Rian Johnson set up” too. There is no need to bring Rian Johnson into this. My opinion stands that JJ made a really bad reboot of Star Wars in 2015 and that he made a fun, action-packed Star Wars film in 2019. End of story.

Anyway, what profoundly surprises me the most about the Sequel Trilogy is its deafening silence. Why does it feel like it doesn’t exist? When Revenge Of The Sith came out in 2005, it was electric. There was so much excitement for the film, and the momentum carried the toy line (and so many other facets of branding) for YEARS by licensees. Literal years. I felt the same excitement and interest in The Rise Of Skywalker, and the toy line is already “dead.” Yes, there are a ton of factors involved in why the Star Wars brand is in the toilet today. The same market doesn’t exist. Fans are fans in so many other ways that exclude merchandising. It’s a different Star Wars culture we live in today. And for toys, while there are some incredible surprises yet to be announced or leaked, very few to “no one” is talking about Episode IX, or the Sequel Trilogy anymore. It’s like the Sequel Trilogy is a vapor that’s disappeared. I have never experienced a phenomenon like this in Star Wars in my entire life. The Clone Wars had more longevity. The Expanded Universe had more longevity. Heck, even the Shadows Of The Empire multimedia event had more longevity. So, I don’t know what’s necessarily going on anymore with Star Wars. There are some fantastic distractions like The Mandalorian and the return of The Clone Wars. Maybe this is the way that Star Wars can return to juggernaut status. I hope something gives, and that the ST (no matter your personal position on it) doesn’t leave an unremovable blemish from its history. Liking the ST and admitting whether it caused a great rift in fandom are not mutually exclusive.

Anyhow, I am still unamused by the lack of fan engagement in the Sequel Trilogy, especially Episode IX. I feel like the main actor in that The Twilight Zone episode where I think I am the ugly one, but everyone else is ugly with the piggish features, but I am really the pretty one. Please don’t make me feel like I am caught in this The Twilight Zone episode. 🙂 Help me to understand my complete disorientation about Episode IX, and why it’s not doing more for merchandising that I had hoped to see.

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