Full disclosure. I am a Star Wars geek.

Unabashed and unashamed.

Growing up, I didn’t have all of the toys or action figures, but I had a good number of them.

I’ve read several of the books and I’ve seen all of the original trilogy and prequel trilogy films more times than I can count, and always find them enjoyable.

While I enjoyed Episodes VII, VIII and IX, I really thought there were some plot elements and especially characters that were pointless or throwaways.

I’ve made this assessment after Joleen and I saw the latest installment, The Rise of Skywalker, on New Year’s Eve.

Having Kylo Ren kill his father Han Solo with his lightsaber in The Force Awakens legitimized Ren as a bad guy as opposed to the spoiled brat with anger management issues he seemed to be in the first part of the movie.

While Starkiller Base was basically the new trilogy’s version of the Death Star, having it destroyed at the end of the film made it seem less imposing. I don’t know how it could carried over into The Last Jedi, but it made it seem more like a throwaway plot element than something to be feared.

While it’s considered by many as the worst movies in the saga, I liked parts of The Last Jedi, especially how Luke Skywalker confronted Kylo Ren on one planet through the Force from another planet. I could have done without the flying through space Princess Leia, Captain Phasma and Amilyn Holdo — the vice admiral who takes over the Resistance fleet when Leia is injured.

In The Rise of Skywalker, I liked how they gave Princess Leia a dignified death as she also reached out to Kylo Ren through the Force, using unused footage of Carrie Fisher from The Last Jedi.

Having both Luke and Leia able to reach others through the Force despite great distances showed how powerful they were in the Forces.

The conclusion of the newest film was also handled well.

After finding out earlier that she is Emperor Palpatine granddaughter, I like that Rey responded with “Skywalker” when asked by the woman her family name. It was also appropriate that Rey saw Luke and Leia as Force ghosts after burying their lightsabers in the sand near the homestead of Luke’s uncle on Tatooine.

Every Star Wars movie has throwaway characters, and the latest trilogy is guilty as well. Phasma and Holdo are examples of characters who were given names and little else to do. You never know how they got to the positions of authority they had and then they were gone.

Holdo made the ultimate sacrifice in The Last Jedi, sending the Resistance ship into the First Order command ship to allow her friends to escape, but little else is known about her. The same goes for Phasma. While Phasma was in two of the films, she was simply killed off like she didn’t matter. What is her background? How did she rise to her position within the First Order?

Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Biggs Darklighter are examples from the earlier films of characters you really didn’t get to know. At least with Obi-Wan, Sir Alec Guinness returned to portray the great Jedi in the second and third movies of the original trilogy, plus Kenobi played a huge role in the events of the prequel trilogy.

I get it that there simply isn’t screen time to fully explain all the characters, but there were instances in the series where heroes emerged that you never knew their names. In Return of the Jedi, for example, you had the unnamed A-Wing pilot who managed to pilot his badly-damaged ship through the bridge of the super Star Destroyer, sending it crashing to its demise into the second Death Star.

The next Star Wars project I would like to see is a standalone film or series that focuses on Darth Vader and bridges the years between Revenge of the Sith and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Questions I would like to see addressed in a Darth Vader movie or series:

  • How many Jedi did he encounter and kill after becoming Vader and turning to the Dark Side?
  • Other than killing Obi-Wan Kenobi on the first Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope, did Vader ever encounter Yoda or Kenobi after Revenge of the Jedi? If so, what transpired?
  • Did Vader ever return to Tatooine? Was he so haunted by what happened to his mother or what he did to the Sand People that he never thought of returning there to search for Kenobi?
  • Did he ever encounter Princess Leia before capturing her ship in Star Wars? Her reaction to him leads me to think they had some type of interaction, such as in a Senate hearing or committee before the Emperor dissolved that body.
  • Did he ever have flashback memories of Padme, Force-ghost visions of Qui-Gon Jinn or through-the-Force interactions with Yoda or Obi-Wan, similar to those that we saw with Luke Skywalker or between Kylo Ren and Rey in later movies? If so, how did those affect him?
  • Before he threw Emperor Palpatine down the elevator shaft to his supposed demise at the end of Return of the Jedi, was Vader ever tempted to return to the Light Side and turn against his master? If he did, how did Palpatine respond?
  • We see the original Death Star taking shape at the end of Revenge of the Sith. Before we first see it used in Rogue One — a gap of about 20 years — was the Death Star technology ever tested against another planet or ship?
  • In The Rise of Skywalker, we learn Rey is Palpatine’s granddaughter. Since Palpatine created Anakin Skywalker, did he also create Rey and/or her parents or is she Anakin’s daughter?

Maybe I’ll drop by the Skywalker Ranch to see George Lucas or call J.J. Abrams and pitch my ideas. I’m sure they’ll give me the time of day, right?

JEFF JONES is the editor of The Butler Bulletin. When he’s not writing columns for this newspaper, he’s fighting battles in his X-Wing fighter in a galaxy far, far away ... in his head of course.

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