What Happened with "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker?" 
Sun, April 11, 2021

What Happened with "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker?" 

“The Rise of Skywalker” was a lukewarm movie for almost everyone who’s watched it. On the surface, director JJ Abrams stuck to making sure that things were as aligned with fan predictions as could possibly be, but when dissected the movie didn’t seem to be having any sturdy foundation / Photo by: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

 

“The Rise of Skywalker” was a lukewarm movie for almost everyone who’s watched it. On the surface, director JJ Abrams stuck to making sure that things were as aligned with fan predictions as could possibly be, but when dissected the movie didn’t seem to be having any sturdy foundation. 

Therefore, its standing in the franchise is filled with uncertainty, not to mention riddled with questions that only seemed to pile up more after Disney promised a supposed satisfying conclusion. So, what really happened to the movie? 

 

First, the Numbers

Before analyzing just where the movie made its mistakes, it’s helpful to see how the movie did in terms of its individual box-office gross. According to The Numbers, a movie industry data website tracking box office revenues, of the sequel trilogy, “The Force Awakens” did great, taking home $936,662,225 domestically and $2 billion worldwide. This is followed by “The Last Jedi,” which made $620,181,382 domestically and $1.3 billion worldwide. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” meanwhile garnered $532 million domestically and $1 billion worldwide. 

As for the other movies in the franchise, “The Phantom Menace” also did really good at the box office despite being one of the most hated. It collected $474 million domestically and $1 billion worldwide. The very first, “A New Hope,” earned $460 million domestically and $775 million worldwide. “The Revenge of the Sith” collected $380 million domestically and $848 million worldwide. “Attack of the Clones” got $310 million domestically and $656 million worldwide, “Return of the Jedi” bagged $309 million domestically and $475 million worldwide, “The Empire Strikes Back” made $290 million domestically and $547 million worldwide and finally, “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” obviously underperformed by just making $213 million domestically and $393 million worldwide. 

“The Rise of Skywalker,” on the other hand, took $450 million domestically and $918 million worldwide.

The TLJ Erasure

Tying a trilogy together when people have wildly different opinions on how they should play out has always been a bane of a series, whether on TV (see how “Game of Thrones” did) or the movies. Upon its release, the sequel trilogy of the new “Star Wars” under Disney hyped everyone in the world. It awoke hordes of fans, who were already living out their own adult lives, and encouraged younger generations to get in on the action. 

And for a while, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was the nostalgic trip we all needed. But as time wore on, TFA became more known for ripping off the originals and serving nostalgia more than originality. All that changed when “The Rise of Skywalker” came out, which had Abrams’ style plastered all over it and not in the best way. 

According to Paul Tassi of the business website Forbes.com, the biggest problem with “The Rise of Skywalker” was its blatant disregard for “The Last Jedi” although that’s not solely the fault of Abrams. Fundamentally, neither director of the first two sequels seemed to be on the same page in the first place.  

Tassi wrote: “I think the problem is not necessarily with what JJ did or what Rian [Johnson] did, but what happened attempting to blend the two together. Rian ignored JJ’s set-up in ‘Force Awakens’ to try and do something more trope-defying. JJ ignored the plot turns Rian made in an effort to make something more cookie cutter and fan-pleasing (which mostly worked).”

Tying a trilogy together when people have wildly different opinions on how they should play out has always been a bane of a series, whether on TV or the movies / Photo by: Darryl Moran via Flickr

 

On Conspiracy Theories

If fans are not going to get any answer in a botched film trilogy that was supposed to be the heart of TROS, they would go to the next best place to try and find somewhere worthwhile to understand the many ups and downs. The internet has been welcoming these people with varying degrees of success. 

In another article written by Dani Di Placido also for Forbes, it was discussed how one of the prevailing conspiracy theories backed by disappointed fans supposes that Abrams’ director’s cut was better and that it exists somewhere, under lock and key by Disney. So if you’ve been on Twitter in the weeks after the TROS release, you’ve probably seen the #ReleaseTheJJCut hashtag.

Strange enough, according to the conspiracy, the movie changed so drastically because so many executives tampered with it and that Abrams’ original cut was better and that it was heavily guarded by Disney because their other franchise, the MCU, was being threatened by Warner’s DC films. 

According to the conspiracy, the movie changed so drastically because so many executives tampered with it and that Abrams’ original cut was better and that it was heavily guarded by Disney because their other franchise, the MCU, was being threatened by Warner’s DC films / Photo by: Loren Javier via Flickr

 

There are quite a few things to unpack there but first, DC films? Really? 

But okay, conspiracy attacks aside, “The Rise of Skywalker” still made quite the box office performance. According to Cinema Blend, a website for movies, television, video games, and pop culture, the movie still seems to be doing pretty well, especially worldwide. 

It is now officially close to the $1 billion mark, what with competition at the cinemas virtually non-existent. In the box office, TROS is followed by “Jumanji: The Next Level” with a total domestic earnings of $236 million, “Little Women” with $60 million, “The Grudge” with $11 million, and “Frozen 2” with $449 million, probably the only other movie in the box office that could match up with TROS. Although since Frozen 2 came out first, the hype for it has already died down. 

TROS may go on to post equally gaudy box-office numbers but it can’t be denied that it broke many a Star Wars fan’s heart.