The final trailer of Star Wars Episode IX: Rise of Skywalker (2019) dropped at 10 PM EST on the 21st of October. In true Star Wars fashion, it racked up 4.2 million views in just nine hours. That means despite the vitriol in the fallout of Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017), all the nerds on YouTube are still onboard—me included. For the first time ever in my life, though, I felt nothing when I saw this Star Wars trailer.
The Last Jedi isn’t the first time I’ve been disappointed by a Star Wars movie; Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) really irked me. Like Johnson in Episode VIII, Lucas was showing off his movie magic chops at the expense of the story and told a really wooden narrative. Unlike Episode VIII, Episode II wasn’t divisive. So, as Episode IX approaches the screen, I’m hoping the movie can repair the damage done to the franchise and breathe life back into the fanbase.
Can it happen? Can Episode IX save Star Wars?
I think it can—I hope it can. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) was a return to form that brought the fanbase back after two tepid prequel films. Episode III isn’t perfect, but no Star Wars movie is.
I’ve read articles about audience reactions following Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), suggesting that the fans were incensed about the direction the movie took the franchise. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) brought everyone back. Today, Episode V is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the Star Wars world. If Episode VI can make Episode V magical, then so can Episode IX return Episode VIII to the light side of the force. Fingers crossed!
Star Wars Episode IX: Rise of Skywalker is our last hope for this series. Help me, Episode IX, you’re my only hope.
May the force be with you!