Yesterday we got some information (via ComicBook.com) about the contents of the latest Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren comic. We shared the cover of this comic and the fact that Ben Solo and Luke Skywalker are both seen fighting the Knights of Ren in a story yesterday that you can find in the related section below.
However, here are the plot points Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren covers, check it out.
SNOKE SINKS HIS CLAWS IN! YOUNG BEN SOLO FACES THE KNIGHTS OF REN!
With the new Jedi school in ruins and fellow students hot on his trail for the murder of their master, Ben Solo flees to the only friend he has left in the galaxy…a man named Snoke. But Snoke has plans for Ben… and ideas about the Force that are as dangerous as they are intriguing for the troubled young Jedi.
If Ben wishes to be truly free…the answers might lie with the dark side. And with the Knights of Ren!
But it won’t be the first time he’s tangled with the Knights. In the past, Jedi Master Luke Skywalker journeys to the Unknown Regions and brings young Ben along for the mission. Can even Luke Skywalker stand against the fabled Knights of Ren?!
Ok, so here is the thing, for me there is no way content of this magnitude should be getting covered in a comic book series. Considering the path that the story has gone down, with Luke Skywalker glimpsed on the brink of killing his own nephew within The Last Jedi, the thing I felt most missing from that movie was the motivations of Luke and Ben Solo. The fact this is coming out in a comic book also means we are not going to get this kind of content covered in The Rise of Skywalker this December. For me, this shows us exactly where and why the sequel trilogy has failed for some fans, and certainly thus far for me.
But We Didn’t Get All Vader’s Backstory In The OT Either?
I figured we would start here, because having discussed this subject enough in the comments sections previously, I know it’s going to be one of the first things someone counters my argument with below. So let me pre-empt that here.
There is a huge difference for me between these two examples. For a start, I feel like we had enough of Vader’s story, his connection to Obi-Wan, and the result of his turn teased throughout the OT. However, we also always knew that these were episodes four, five and six of a six-part story. Whether they had made the prequel trilogy or not, we knew there was a three-part story there showing how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader.
The problem with the sequel trilogy, and I’ve been saying this since I realized this kind of content wasn’t going to be covered, is that it started too late in the story. The most interesting character in the ST is Kylo Ren, aka Ben Solo. He is the one with the legacy connection to the old characters, specifically the Skywalkers and, after all, this is the Skywalker Saga is it not? And yet, with the timeline placement of this new trilogy, we simply don’t go back far enough to explore anything much around Kylo Ren, how he was tempted, how Snoke got his claws into him in the first place. Hell, we don’t even know who or what Snoke actually is at this point and I’m not sure it’ll be covered in The Rise of Skywalker either.
We also must add in another problem I’ve had since The Force Awakens released and that is, how did the Empire come back as the First Order, and how did Snoke come from nowhere to be its leader? Some of this was very vaguely covered in another format also, the Aftermath books, which follow some of the events post Return of the Jedi. Though having read this book, it still wasn’t enough to explain to me how the Empire basically was able to carry on and build their strength for 30 years after the entire Galaxy erupted in rebellion and celebration upon the death of the Emperor in Jedi.
So Which Movie Made the Mistakes?
It would be easy for me to simply lay the blame for all this at the door of Rian Johnson and suggest he should have covered this as a part of The Last Jedi. I was certainly hoping for more time to be spent with Snoke and Kylo Ren after The Force Awakens ended with Snoke ordering Hux to go bring him Kylo Ren so that he could “complete his training.” However, I think a large amount of the blame for this has to fall at the door of J.J. Abrams.
The Force Awakens simply asked us to accept the fact that the First Order was a massive threat, it asked us to accept that Kylo Ren was Ben Solo turned to the Darkside, it asked us to accept that Luke Skywalker had vanished as a result of his failure. It also asked us to accept the fact a new Darkside dictator had emerged from …somewhere, and that the Republic was able to be destroyed by firing a superweapon once, leaving the status quo as basically the same as it was at the end of A New Hope set almost 40 years prior in the timeline.
Now, if The Last Jedi had taken some time to explain any of this, or at least add on a little more which could become more apparent in the final installment then maybe it would have papered over the cracks a little better. Again though, I have to say that J.J Abrams just wanted to remake A New Hope and he needed certain pieces of the puzzle to be as described above. He wanted the Resistance on the back foot like the Rebellion, he wanted a mysterious Darkside user and a master, a new untrained Jedi on a desert planet, and he really didn’t care too much about how these puzzle pieces came to be in the first place.
To add insult to injury, Abrams then decided, because it was cool, to end The Force Awakens with Rey finding Luke Skywalker. And whilst it did look pretty cool and worked for an ending, it also forced Rian Johnson to start his movie literally the second that The Force Awakens finished. This causes many problems with the narrative of The Last Jedi, because none of the characters have had the chance to get to know one another yet, because, no time has passed. Let’s remember that Poe Dameron and Rey are only introduced to one another for the first time at the very end of The Last Jedi. We also have a relationship between Poe and Finn where the only real time they have spent together, is on that TIE fighter at the beginning of The Force Awakens, then a few moments at the beginning of The Last Jedi and the end of it. If we compare this to the three leads of the OT and how they all came together in A New Hope and then had built a relationship in the intervening years between Hope and Empire, you can see the problem Abrams left Johnson here.
However, in no way does Johnson get a pass here. The Last Jedi spent far too much time on inconsequential and boring plot points. The equestrian plot of Canto Bight was, in my mind, wasted time in that movie, and it would have been far better spent with Ben/Kylo and Snoke in the same way Rey was learning things from Luke. Imagine a movie where Snoke really does continue Kylo Ren’s training and some of this backstory is explored, we could be seeing the same story told through two different points of view, that of Luke and that of Ben. This would have allowed some of this content to be on film rather than wrapped up through a different medium.
Can The Rise Of Skywalker Save The Trilogy?
Honestly, even if this movie is a good 2.5 hour romp and I enjoy the spectacle of it, after all the dust has settled I seriously doubt that I am going to find this a satisfying trilogy. A story that feels like it was always supposed to be the final part of this trilogy of trilogies is what I’d need.
I think it’s so obvious why Palpatine has been brought back for this final installment, and I do not in any way buy the comments from Abrams and Kennedy that the plan was always to bring back Palpatine. If Palp’s has been alive for the last 30+ years, what’s he been up to and why was he happy to let Snoke have free reign over HIS Empire. And what was Snoke up to for all those years when Palpatine was Emperor. Does anyone think they are really going to explain any of this in The Rise of Skywalker?
Now, for me the reason Palpatine was brought back is simple, he needed another antagonist so that Kylo Ren can be redeemed and turn back to the good side, before very likely dying. The fact Rian Johnson killed Snoke, forces Abrams into a corner, he either brings back Snoke, or he brings back Palpatine. For me, the decision to go with Palpatine was primarily so it didn’t look like Abrams was retconning the story Johnson wrote for The Last Jedi. If Kylo Ren isn’t redeemed in this movie, then I’ll film myself running down the street naked, save for a t-Shirt saying The Last Jedi is the best Star Wars movie. That’s how confident I am, and have been, from the moment they revealed Palpatine was back, because it’s the only reason bringing him back makes any sense.
By the end of this trilogy, I don’t feel on screen we will have any explanation for why Ben Solo was so troubled that Luke considered killing him and thus why Luke was broken. I don’t feel we will ever get any explanation as to who or what Snoke was, what his connection with Palpatine was, or why they never directly competed against one another. I seriously doubt we will get any explanation of who, or what these Knights of Ren are? Hell, they’ve appeared on screen in one shot so far across two movies. The fact remains that I shouldn’t have to find out this information from a comic book writer, it simply shows a lack of competence from the writers of this trilogy to actually give us a proper story that connects to what came before.
Not only that, but as explained above I hear fans keep saying they don’t care about these new characters yet. It’s because we haven’t spent enough time with them in-universe, it’s because in reality they hardly know one another. Rey and Finn have spent less than a week together so far, Poe and Finn less than a few hours, Rey and Poe, well they just met. And yet when Threepio is saying goodbye in that final trailer he says he is going to miss his friends. What friends? Threepio has spent even less time with these three than they have with each other.
And if, as I suspect, Kylo Ren is redeemed and then killed, probably along with Palpatine….AGAIN, then I am still going to be scratching my head about what his story is, what his motivations were, why he was so troubled and drawn to Snoke. If this was a book, and the final three books in a series were this sparse on details and character development, it probably would never even have got published. Any editor worth their salts would be sending that manuscript back with a lot of suggestions.
It’s all been too rushed by Disney with a view to making back the money they spent in as short a timescale as possible. As said above, I may well enjoy myself for 2.5 hours and therefore it’s worth the price of a ticket to go see The Rise of Skywalker, but the legacy this leaves on this saga as a whole is tainted for me. No amount of comic books, novels or video games is ever going to be enough to fill in a story which should have been on screen to begin with.
I know there will be those of you in the comments that disagree with everything I just said, and there will be those that agree also. So let’s debate it out properly. And I ask one question to set us off…..
Is Kylo Ren and Luke’s backstory with Snoke more or less important to the plot of this trilogy, than saving racehorses on a Casino planet?
If anyone answers that it is less important then I simply don’t believe you are being honest with yourself. You must realize surely that The Last Jedi did virtually nothing to advance the story of this ST, a story that was flawed from the get-go by J.J Abrams plagiarising the bits he liked from previous Star Wars movies.
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