For this next edition of best and worst we take a look at the Star Wars sequel trilogy characters. There were a lot of new players introduced and even a few returning ones. Some were well done, even if you didn’t like the specific arc they got. Others started great but fizzled out (though may still made the top five list due to the lack of great characters overall. Let’s be clear, both the original and prequel trilogy’s did a much better job of creating new heroes and villains, even if the writing of them was at times subpar.) Finally, some characters below were just total nonsense that easily made the worst of list. Let’s take a look.
1. Han Solo. A character type that was sorely missing from the PT. In a clever twist the one time non believer becomes the sequel trilogy’s guide to a budding new force user in the ways of the Jedi. And even though he is no longer the cynic he once was, he’s still the quintessential rogue audiences fell in love with. Seeing Han again felt like coming home to Star Wars.
2. Kylo Ren. Adam Driver is a big reason this character worked so darn well. Unlike the rest of the new heroes and villains in Star Wars, he actually held up well across all three films AND got a satisfying resolution. His chemistry with Rey took their relationship to a level I’m not sure the filmmakers intended when they started their journey, but it was smart of them to let it blossom. It’s just a shame we didn’t get to see more of Ben Solo, as no doubt Driver would have knocked that out of the park, as well.
3. Rey. She burst on the scene with energy, spunk, mystery and a sense of adventure – all the makings of a great Star Wars hero. To think how much promise she had in The Force Awakens… before Rian Johnson decided to plant her on a rock in episode 8. One film later and JJ Abrams nearly redeems her, almost succeeding right up until the janky Palpatine revelation. Still, her presence was large enough to ensure she makes the top five list.
4. BB-8. Another character that was so entertaining in TFA that he mustered enough goodwill to carry him through the rest of the trilogy despite having a near worthless subplot in TLJ and being almost non existent in The Rise of Skywalker. Who can forget the “thumbs up” moment in TFA or his happy beeps when Rey lets him accompany her home?l on Jakku?
5. Leia. Well handled and strangely enough more so after Carrie Fisher’s death in real life. Her role as Rey’s teacher in Episode 9 was unexpected and brilliant. It’s almost hard to believe the filmmakers were able to pull it off and give her such a substantial role despite having only previously shot footage to use. It was also nice to see that old spark between her and Han once again.
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1. DJ. This character is a misfire on all levels. From the strange performance of Benecio Del Toro right up to his generic “Lando type twist“ of selling out the good guys to save his own skin. Thankfully, unlike Lando, JJ opted not to bring him back for the final film.
2. Snoke. I mean, what the Hell? Andy Serkis brought all kinds of menacing. Everyone wanted to know who he was. T-shirts were made about it. And then Rian Johnson just throws it all in the dumpster for the sake of a twist? In the end, Snoke was nothing more than a poor man’s Palpatine, stuck in the movie because JJ couldn’t come up with anything more original than the dark side master/appreciate dichotomy. Snoke was essentially a generic stand in for Palpatine who ended up being a literal one because that’s all the filmmakers could think up thanks to a lack of a master plan. I get a headache just thinking about the whole thing.
3. Rose. Another complete misfire. A character so stupid she decides rather than let Finn sacrifice himself to save the Resistance by plowing his speeder into the First Order’s death ray, she will turn back and ram her own speeder into him to stop him by knocking him off course, never mind that her action was likely to kill them both. Lucky for her, Finn lives. Unlucky for us, so does she.
4. Luke Skywalker. I don’t know who Mark Hamill was playing, but it sure as heck wasn’t Luke. No fault of Hamill’s, either. No, once again it comes down to Rian Johnson, the man who did what both Vader and Palpatine failed to: destroy Luke. The ridiculous scene where Luke stands over his sleeping teenage nephew with a lightsaber ready to kill him in cold blood just because he had some vision about Ben Solo turning dark sums up everything wrong with Rian and The Last Jedi itself.
5. Palpatine. It was a novel idea to have Palpatine return. And I was hopeful. Perhaps if Lucasfilm had given any thought to a master plan they could have pulled it off, but unfortunately it raises too many questions in a film that was supposed to provide answers. I feel for JJ here, he had clean up duty after the mess Rian Johnson left him in the previous episode. But the problem is he didn’t even bother to flesh out Palpatine beyond simply having him back. The villain literally spends almost the entire movie trying to kill Rey (not too mention having Snoke make the same attempt in Episode 8 if we are to believe Palpatine was secretly in control), but then for no reason at all when Rey comes to him he suddenly proclaims he has been waiting for her and her being there is all part of his plan to return to life. There were a lot of ways to make his come back work better that didn’t require the audience to bend over backward to make sense of it – or wait several months for a half-assed explanation in a tie in novel. And don’t get me started on Rey being his granddaughter. Another idea that could have worked, but failed due to any attempt at an explanation on the lineage. The novel adaptation of TROS gave a decent one, too bad it wasn’t included in the movie. After 3 films of speculation on who Rey was, the filmmakers just didn’t care anymore. Why even bother asking the question, then?
Well, there you have it. Until next time…
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