How Disney Force Choked the Life Out of Star Wars

In honor of Star Wars Day, let’s see how Disney ruined the storylines of this beloved franchise. Warning: spoilers ahead!

Book Culture Just For Fun Opinions Pop Culture TV & Movies
A movie fan watches a mouse playing with a lightsaber.

With the release of the Star Wars sequel trilogy came the introduction of a new cast, with Rey as the new main character. Like every true fan of the series, I was looking forward to the trilogy and excited to see what Disney would cook up. Oh, how I wish I could go back in time and warn myself of what I was about to watch. I wanted desperately to love these movies just as I loved the six movies that came before. My inner child was ecstatic to see Luke Skywalker on the big screen again. I wanted to see what became of Anakin and Padmé’s family in the movies. I imagined what kind of people they would become and how they would change the galaxy, just like their parents and grandparents before them.

Rey Mary Sue

Rey, I refuse to call her Skywalker, is the main character of the latest trilogy. Unfortunately, I found myself disliking her more than I found myself liking her. My complaints are nothing against Daisy Ridley, who did a terrific job portraying Rey. My issues with the character come from how poorly her character was written and her role within the story of Star Wars. Rey’s character is good at everything she does without having to struggle or learn from failures because she doesn’t fail.

A still image of Rey from The Force Awakens

The first area that showed Rey as a Mary Sue–type character was when she “fixed” the Millennium Falcon. She “bypassed the compressor,” which magically solved the hyperspace problem the ship was facing. Sure, Rey was a scavenger and made a living by selling ship parts, so she knew about ship components. But she’d never traveled through hyperspace before, nor had she fixed a ship. Her solution to the problem is nothing but a contrived gag for a quick laugh which also shows the audience that she is better than Han Solo at fixing his ship.

Rey’s Forceful Force

Later on in The Force Awakens Rey is captured and interrogated by Kylo Ren. He needs to probe her brain for the map piece that his records are missing so he can find Luke Skywalker. Using the force, Kylo digs into her brain and reveals information about her. He finds her loneliness and her fear of abandonment; he taunts her wish to see an ocean and live on an island and warns her that Han Solo won’t be the father she wished she had. As he digs deeper into her mind, she sits up, pushes back, and starts to dig into his mind, which forces him to sever the connection and leave. They’re both shocked by this, as is the audience.

Through pre-established lore, we know that the force is difficult to learn and even harder to master. Luke Skywalker trained Kylo Ren for a few years, and then Kylo was later trained in the dark side by Snoke. Rey, at the moment of this scene, was trained by no one. So what the writers are trying to tell us in this scene is that Rey, still trained by no one, is stronger with the force than Kylo Ren, who has Skywalker blood and was trained by one of the best Jedi in recent history and a genetic copy of the strongest Sith in history.

Kylo Ren reaches for the camera, ready to swing.

Only a few scenes later, Rey uses mind control on a stormtrooper to free her from captivity and leave while keeping the door open. You read that right. She mind-controlled the trooper. She did not use the force to persuade that trooper to free her. Let me explain my thought process here. In the fourth movie, A New Hope, Obi-Wan uses the force to persuade a stormtrooper that these aren’t the droids he’s looking for. And it works because it’s a simple mind persuasion. Think of it like gaslighting. It’s not impossible to gaslight someone into thinking a blue-painted wall is green. But it is impossible to gaslight your boss into giving you a raise and letting you nap for four of the eight hours you’re supposed to be working.

Force persuasion is just that: persuasion. You, as a force user, gaslight someone into thinking the way you want them to think. There is no possible way Rey could persuade the guardsman to free her and leave the door open. Now, to play devil’s advocate, if she had persuaded the trooper to loosen the restraints and leave the door unlocked, I would believe it, and it would still leave room for her to escape. But instead, Rey seemed to mold the trooper’s brain into doing exactly what the plot needed.

Rey’s Combative Combat

Later, in the same film, Rey and Kylo Ren have a lightsaber duel in which she comes out on top. She doesn’t kill him or seriously wound him, but it doesn’t take a Jedi master to see that she won that fight. She beat the same Kylo Ren who was trained by two powerful force users and trained in lightsaber combat for years. There’s an argument to be made that Kylo was wounded before this fight by Chewbacca’s bowcaster, which did significant damage. However, that only fueled Kylo’s rage. During the fight, he punched the wound to hype himself up and pump more adrenaline through his body. On top of that, dark-side users are strengthened by their emotions, especially anger. Kylo punching his fresh wound like that only made him angrier, which, in turn, made him stronger.

Kylo Ren readies his lightsaber for combat.

Meanwhile, Rey had training with a staff. That’s about it. I know what you’re thinking: Rey being good with a staff means she’s good at combat. Well, you’d be wrong. Rey is certainly good with a staff, but that skill does not translate to lightsaber combat. A staff is a long weapon with different possible hand placements. It allows the user to reach further and attack from multiple angles. It has a larger weight distribution, making it easier to swing and jab with. However, a lightsaber has none of these perks. It’s not a long weapon; it’s a sword. It doesn’t have different places where you can put your hands, it only has 10 or so inches of a hilt that can be grabbed. Lightsabers are also weightless, meaning Rey’s experience with weapon fighting would cause her to be unbalanced. If she swings from the left, her body would naturally account for the weight of the staff, but now, with the weight gone, she should have stumbled and maybe even fallen on her butt.

Despite all these factors, Rey came out on top. She adapted to the short, weightless lightsaber and stood toe-to-toe with an angry, well-trained dark-side user. It’s another example of her picking up a new skill and mastering it with ease. Compare this with Anakin Skywalker, who lost his first duel so badly that he lost a limb but used that loss as growth to step into a new stage of his life as a Jedi, and you can see how Rey could be compared to a Mary Sue.

Skywalker Slander

Before I step up on my soapbox and rant about this segment, I should make it known that I am a big fan of the Skywalker saga. As a kid, my love for Star Wars came from Anakin and Luke Skywalker. The adversity they faced in their respective journeys, the hard times they had to push through, and the adventures they went on entranced me. So yes, I was bothered by the new trilogy and how it disrespected the Skywalker saga. Yes, I am now on the soapbox, and yes, you will listen.

The first thing I was excited about with Disney’s continuation of Star Wars was seeing Luke Skywalker and how he changed over the years. At the end of Return Of The Jedi, Luke was the last remaining Jedi. Generations of Jedi now rested on his shoulders, and he had a blank canvas to recreate the Jedi Order. But instead, the first time we see him do something, we get a cheap gag that sees him throwing his father’s lightsaber over his shoulder.

Luke Skywalker looking at Rey with confusion.

The worst part about Luke’s on-screen revival was how he handled training Ben Solo. From Ben’s perspective, he was a young kid, and while sleeping, his uncle Luke ignited his lightsaber and stood over him. The fear of death washed over Ben, and he ran away, eventually joining the dark side and becoming Kylo Ren. However, Luke tells the story differently, saying he sensed the dark side and ignited his lightsaber in response, hesitating over his nephew before lowering his weapon and feeling remorse. This contradicts the Luke we saw in Return of the Jedi.

Luke believed there was good in his father, Darth Vader, and refused to kill him because of his belief. So then, why did Luke resort to thinking about killing Ben when he felt his nephew could turn to the dark side? If Luke wasn’t sure what to do about Ben, why did he not consult the force ghosts of Yoda, Obi-Wan, or even Anakin on what he should do? It’s a knee-jerk reaction to ignite the weapon and think about striking down a young man. A knee-jerk reaction that Luke would never have because of what he did in the previous films.

Somehow, Palpatine Returned

Remember the famous line, “Somehow, Palpatine returned,” and how emotional of a reveal it was? Me neither. It was lazy writing at best. The fleet finding out about Darth Sidious’ return should have spelled doomsday for them. They should have panicked and lost their composure. Instead, they seemed bothered by the news and didn’t understand exactly what it meant. I don’t think the writers knew either. A few lines later they explain it away as the mysteries of the dark side and cloning technology, which goes against the idea from earlier films that it’s impossible to create a clone with force sensitivity.

The Emperor talks to Rey, trying to convince her to join him as ruler of the galaxy.

To top it off, this three-word reveal destroys the chosen one prophecy of Anakin Skywalker. The prophecy goes that Anakin Skywalker will bring balance to the force, which he did if you look through the lens of the first six films. In episode three, Anakin massacres the Jedi Temple and hunts the rest of the Jedi to extinction, leaving him and his Sith master as the only force-sensitive people in the galaxy. In episode six, we see Anakin kill his master, the last Sith, by throwing him down the reactor of the Death Star before perishing himself. This, strangely, fulfilled the prophecy. Anakin did bring balance to the force by wiping out the many Jedi of the galaxy and later killing the remaining Sith.

However, by bringing back Darth Sidious, even if it was a clone, the prophecy that Anakin was born into completely lost all meaning. The Skywalker saga became almost irrelevant because the ending of the saga no longer mattered. Anakin’s fall to Darth Vader and his redemption from the dark side was the entire purpose of the original six movies. Disney’s trilogy completely disregarded and ignored the tragedy of Anakin and Darth Vader.

Healing Plot Holes

In The Rise Of Skywalker, Rey uses the force to heal a snake-like monster and Kylo Ren after stabbing him. I groaned when I saw this because it had never been done in the mainline films. And yet, Rey Mary Sue knew how to do it right away. While there’s an argument to make that Rey learned this force ability from ancient Jedi texts, why didn’t they tell the audience about that in the films? It’s jarring and lazy to see this character do something only to find out she taught herself about it off-screen in record time.

Rey uses the force to heal Kylo Ren after stabbing him in the chest.

Later, in the same movie, Kylo Ren uses force healing to bring Rey back from the dead. Yes, Kylo Ren, who never used force healing before, used it to bring Rey back from death. Masterful storytelling. This character, who had no way of learning this extremely ancient and secret healing method, did it perfectly and effortlessly on his first attempt. If force healing was so easy to learn and master, it would have been used in the previous films, even if the healers had to sacrifice themselves for the wounded person. In episode one, Obi-Wan would have used it to heal his master. In episode two, Obi-Wan or Anakin would have healed Padmé’s wound. During episode two, Anakin would have used it to heal his mother. In episode three, Obi-Wan would have healed Padmé so she didn’t die in childbirth. The list goes on.

These two scenes disregard the Skywalker saga by spitting in Anakin Skywalker’s face. Remember, Anakin was born from the force. He had no father because the force planted him in his mother, making him the chosen one. He had more midi-chlorians in his pinky toe than a Jedi Master had in their entire body, meaning he could learn force healing easily. So then, why didn’t Yoda tell Anakin about these ancient texts or train him personally about force healing when Anakin approached him about his visions of Padmé’s death? Even if Padmé was beyond saving, it would have alleviated Anakin’s fears of losing her and prevented Darth Sidious from luring him to the dark side with a fake promise of healing his wife.

Anakin and Padme hold each other and contemplate their situation.

Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader were the driving forces, no pun intended, of the original two trilogies. Without them, the movies don’t exist. The magnificent space drama story that created an entire galaxy of storylines owes its existence to an angsty teenager and a defeated widowed father. Disney’s response to these films and the fans they created was to laugh in their face and brush them away. The characters that fans fell in love with and cared for became hollow shells of what they once were, and that’s what ruined Disney’s new movies. Old fans who watched the original movies for the storytelling, character development, emotional fight scenes, and amazing world-building had nothing to resonate with in Disney’s films.

Check out more Bookstr articles here!

Stop by Bookstr’s Bookshop here!