Disney releases new Star Wars early on digital as nation moves towards “social distancing,” fans share thoughts

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As people around the country find themselves in a new reality amid the coronavirus pandemic, Disney decided to release two of their titles early to entertain those in self quarantine or exercising social distancing. First, the company released Frozen 2 to Disney Plus months earlier than planned, and afterwards, they released Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker for sale on digital platforms days earlier than its planned launch date. Townsend Harris Star Wars fans discussed their thoughts about the final chapter of the nine-movie series as it becomes available for home audiences.

The Skywalker saga, which several fans see as the main part of the Star Wars franchise, consists of three trilogies, with the release of the original trilogy being set in media res. The latest installment comes two years after Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the second film in the third and final trilogy. Like most Star Wars films, this movie has come with a lot of passionate debate between fans, particularly after the reviews were more mixed than the previous two films in the latest trilogy.

Classical languages teacher Andrew Hagerty is a fan of all the films and believes this latest trilogy stands on its own well: “I think you could kind of look at each trilogy for consistency within its own trilogy. I think when you look at 1977 and 2019, cinema has evolved considerably in that time period. So there’s a certain kind of consistency that’s just not going to be possible…if we look at each trilogy individually and look for consistency there I think that might be fairer, and I don’t think there is much inconsistency within this most recent trilogy of films.”

One aspect of the film did stand out to Mr. Hagerty: the way filmmakers handled the death of Carrie Fisher (who played Princess/General Leia). He said, “I did get the impression that they were kind of making it up as they went along, though, but that may be because, again, I understand, that they were not able to tell the story that they had originally intended to tell because of the death of Carrie and their decision not to recast Leia, General Organa.”

The movie did include plot twists involving the characters Rey, Kylo Ren, and Emperor Palpatine, who was thought to have been dead. One main twist involved the parentage of Rey, the trilogy’s main hero. Librarian Arlene Laverde said, “I didn’t see it coming. I could understand why the diehard Star Wars fans who watched the TV shows and the movies and read the books and from what they’ve told me, I could understand why they’d be a little bit ‘huh’ kind of thing, y’know. But for me, it was kind of like the plot twist in ‘Empire Strikes Back’ when Darth Vader says ‘Luke, I’m your father.’ I didn’t see that coming, and I was perfectly fine with that.”

Some believe that the plot twists weren’t needed to make The Rise of Skywalker complete. Junior Jonathan Suero stated, “I wouldn’t think that [the plot twists are] necessary because it doesn’t just really [add] much [to] the story.”

Since the ending to this film would indicate the end of the Skywalker Saga forever, fans of the trilogies have expressed either their overall satisfaction or total dismay. Ms. Laverde said, “The entire movie to me personally was exactly what I needed as a lifelong fan, because I’ve seen every Star Wars movie in the theater originally when it came out. I was ten years old when the first Star Wars came out, so I’ve been a fan and I’ve seen them throughout. I thought it took everything and just tied a nice little bow around it and ended it on a really positive good feel, and I was very happy with it.” Jonathan, on the other hand, thought that the ending may have been too abrupt. He explained, “we don’t know what the continuity is going to be, or some type of consequence, so that really shouldn’t be the ending from my perspective.” 

Fans who haven’t seen the latest film have only been hearing the debates amongst those who have watched it. Sophomore Kayla Greenfeld said, “I am looking forward to watch the movie…because a lot of people said that they didn’t like the first and second movies of the trilogy, but I still loved them, so I think that I will enjoy this one too.”