Episode 9 is kind of a mess. The first act flits back and forth from location to location, slice of cheap fan service to another slice. We meet some boring new characters while some of the older and more interesting ones are sidelined; Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) can’t come on the adventure because she has to something something help an awkward looking Leia. Lupita Nyong’o’s Maz Kanata says some wise-sounding stuff and that’s about it. Billy Dee Williams shows up as Lando to make sure everyone stays friends.
They really just plugged Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) in there. It definitely feels like there was an overall lack of direction and consensus regarding who the big bad was. Some of his evil “plans” just flat out do not make logical sense and invalidate what happened in the prior episodes.
Palpatine still has a really cool voice. I hope I sound like that when I’m that age (how old is he?).
Droid technician Babu Frik is fricken awesome. Simple and funny, Babu is perhaps one of the better character additions in Rise of Skywalker. That’s high praise, but there’s also a low bar. I hope he does not get a Disney+ spinoff series. Give me mystery.
But seriously, Episode 9 works best when it taps into its inevitable nostalgia. I know, that’s the same thing everyone criticizes as an easy way to make fans happy, but if there’s a place to let the nostalgia rip, it’s in the grand finale to a series of films spanning decades.
In short, Star Wars content should not be made if it is made safely. I don’t want another Star Wars movie if it doesn’t piss off toxic fanboys.