Since Return of the Jedi came to theaters in 1983 I have been hoping for a continuation of the series. The Ewok cartoons didn’t do it, at all. The revised original series only whetted my appetite. The prequels, well, once I saw where they were starting I knew how it had to end. Having the emperor mastermind the entire war and having his dupe order to clones to have and Order 66 was a nice touch, but I acknowledge the Lucas had very little to work with within the confines of what he’d set up in the original series. The best he could really do was give us nods about what we knew was going to happen next and give us some beautiful scenery. This he managed just fine.
What I wanted was a sequel trilogy. Outdoing the opening sequence in Episode IV was great, outdoing the famous cantina scene was a delight, seeing the Falcon fly again made my heart sore. But blending two different generations didn’t work well, and reusing the old theme of a super weapon was not impressive.
The series just died in VIII. Luke as a cantankerous old man who doesn’t really teach anything that cantina owner couldn’t have managed. A storyline that basically involves the Rebel fleet running from the Empire and slowly running out of gas. No lightning in a bottle there, and the primaries’ attempt at a rescue was little more than an excuse to develop them – several interesting characters appeared only to disappear entirely, or to hardly show up in the last movie. Then Snoke dies, by a slight of hand and with hardly a whimper. Disappointing. The best part of the whole movie was a lightsaber battle between a novice and a man who wasn’t actually there. WOW!
Episode IX had no reused themes, no useless asides. It was what a series finale was supposed to be – the end. Those who cannot be redeemed die by their own hand. Those who can, sacrifice themselves for those who are more important for the galaxy. There were elements of both the previous trilogies, there was a sense of unity, and there was a fully developed hero at the end. I could not have been more satisfied with the movie. I suppose some will wonder why there was no requited romance among the primaries, but it wasn’t necessary. Actually, if you’ll recall, the Jedi in the original trilogy wasn’t involved in a romance at the end of that series, either. To have connected Rey to anyone, there, would have weakened the strong and independent character the movie created. Thank you Abrams, for this amazing accomplishment.