The filmmaking team behind Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker had a difficult task in front of them, as they had to deliver their own creative vision while also attempting to satisfy the desires of fans of the series, with one of the film's editors, Maryann Brandon, admitting that the film is somewhat "fan service" but that, if it wasn't, it would disappoint what the entire franchise meant. The attempts to appease fans have seemingly worked, as the film's user ratings across various services have put its score quite high, though the critical reactions to the film have been some of the lowest since the much-maligned prequel films.
“Look, sure, it’s fan service,” Brandon shared with The Rough Cut podcast [H/T The Playlist], “[but] if you didn’t service the fans, it would be, ‘Oh, [director J.J. Abrams] didn’t go along with the history of Star Wars and what it all means.’”
In the 40-year history of the Star Wars series, one of the most dependable components of the fandom is that they passionately argue about the merits of each entry into the franchise. While the original trilogy of films was largely enjoyed by fans, the debut of the prequel trilogy from George Lucas resulted in a passionate backlash against the filmmaker, due in large part to how drastically different those films felt from the original films. Lucas himself has previously revealed that one of the motivating factors of selling Lucasfilm to Disney was due to how difficult it was to appease fans and how often they would lash out at him for not making the films they expected.
When J.J. Abrams delivered audiences the first film in the sequel trilogy, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in 2015, the film was largely praised, yet many of its critics claimed its shortcomings were a result of attempting to replicate the original trilogy too faithfully. In 2017, writer/director Rian Johnson delivered audiences Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which circumvented a number of tropes and expectations for the franchise, which succeeded with a large portion of audiences. Another portion of The Last Jedi audiences, however, were left frustrated and disappointed by the avenues Johnson pursued.
In regards to The Rise of Skywalker, some fans appreciated the ways in which it somewhat "corrected" elements of The Last Jedi, while others were left disappointed that various narrative threads were abandoned.1comments
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters now.
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