A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away…
If you read those words in your head and immediately follow it with some John Williams then you already know that the over 40-year saga of Star Wars is coming to an end with Episode IX – Rise of Skywalker hitting cinemas right now across Australia and the world.
You already know the story but with a space epic spanning more than 9 films what do you need to know going in? Ok, so spoilers if you haven’t seen any of the Star Wars Saga but if you haven’t yet we need to have a serious talk later.
So it begins with the plucky up and coming Senator of the Galactic senate secretly staging an invasion of his homeworld as a political power play to escalate his position because all good space operas include trade embargoes. This is promptly resolved with the Senator whose power grows secretly manages to create a massive army of clones complete with entire fleets of starships in secret for a war he starts (because he is an evil space wizard known as the Sith).
Parallel to this the good space wizards (the Jedi) who are numerous are pretty much wiped out except for the one bloodline (the Skywalkers) whose father was turned from the Jedi to the Sith as part of the Senator/Emperor’s plan.
Now you are caught up with Episodes 1-3 aka the prequels.
Fast forward 30 years and the children of Skywalker are grown up and the Emperor (and the father figure of the Skywalkers who is evil now too) is in power and there is an Empire that has replaced the Senate. The Jedi are pretty much wiped out and there is only a thin resistance remaining.
The Emperor who controls the Galaxy with fear creates a big planet-killing laser cannon in a thing called the Death Star that the children of Skywalker help destroy with the resistance shattering the empire putting them into disarrange and restoring peace to the Galaxy. Oh and this was also the redemption arc for Daddy Skywalker/Vader as he turns on the Emperor and throws him down a shaft in the Death Star just before it blows up. There are also Ewoks.
Now you are caught up with Episode 4-6
Fast forward another 30 years are we are up to the current trilogy which began with the Force Awakes where a deserter Stormtrooper (the cannon fodder of the Empire) named Finn meets a Scavenger known as Rey who was abandoned as a child on a desert planet. The Jedi are all but extinct again and the grand child of Vader has gone from Jedi to Sith with a new Empire (without the Emperor who is dead) rising to power.
There is another planet killing weapon, another resistance, stuff blows up. Rey starts to learn Jedi stuff. And did we mention there is a Wookie who you should probably not try to upset by beating him in Holo-Chess.
Now you are… sorta caught up on Episode 7-8 which to be honest is probably the most you will need if you add Return of the Jedi onto it as mandatory viewing. So in a non-spoilery way what do we think of the film?
We aren’t going to lie, the first 30-45 minutes are a bit rough in terms of pacing with lots of short cuts that seem a little out of place for a Star Wars film as if too much was trying to be crammed in. We have no doubt there were some changes made after Carrie Fisher’s passing that may explain.
But once you get past that the film switches gears back to feeling like a Star Wars film. There is that Han/Chewie/Leia in ESB vibe that you get with the combo of Finn/Poe/Rey that we never really had in Last Jedi or The Force Awakens. There are some huge set pieces that feel like ROTJ and touching on elements of the original trilogy with more than a few moments that will give you a feeling of joy deep inside.
So should you go see it? C’mon man. It’s Star Wars. Of course, you are going to go see it. We are expecting some mixed reactions to the film and some elements so this is what you really need to know. It’s not going to ruin anyone’s past childhoods, but it is part of someone’s childhood right now and that’s ok. There are those who grew up with the original trilogy, those who remember the clone wars and those whom the first Jedi they ever met was named Rey.
Enjoy what you enjoy as others should be able to too, but that doesn’t mean you cant have your favourite.
Star Wars: Episode IX – Rise of Skywalker is in cinemas across Australia right now