Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has now seen its world premiere and first full night of showings. Thus far fan reaction we’ve seen is overwhelmingly positive, as opposed to the so-called critics’ ratings. There are a number of reasons why fans are loving the film thus far, but there’s one in particular that stands out. The Rise of Skywalker rights one of the biggest wrongs of its predecessor film, The Last Jedi.

Chief among the criticisms of The Last Jedi, and of the sequel trilogy itself through its first two films, was the lack of cohesiveness among the saga’s stars. In the original Star Wars, Han Solo, Leia Organa and Luke Skywalker are all thrust together early. Between good writing and the three stars’ talent, the trio immediately captured fans’ hearts. Not so with Rey, Finn, and Poe in the sequel trilogy. We finally see the three together in The Rise of Skywalker. Before that, however, Rey hadn’t even met Poe face to face until the dying moments of The Last Jedi.

Star Wars Featurette; Rise of Skywalker
John Boyega (Finn), Daisy Ridley (Rey), and Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron) have fun on the set of The Rise of Skywalker. (Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Admittedly the characters were destined to be separated (at least in part) at the end of The Force Awakens. Notwithstanding, The Last Jedi still made a stark departure from the formula set out in The Empire Strikes Back. There, at least two of the main three characters were together throughout nearly the entire film. First Luke and Han. Then the three together. Then Han and Leia…. You get the picture.

Aside from very brief encounters between Poe and Finn, the three were completely separated in Episode VIII. We couldn’t grow to love the characters as a trio because we never saw them together. Thankfully, J.J. Abrams seized hold of the opportunity wasted in The Last Jedi with The Rise of Skywalker.

The Rise of Skywalker gets main characters right

Abrams quickly made up for lost time. With the time jump of the film, it became clear that the characters spent a great deal of time together off-screen between the events of the two films. The banter, sarcasm, comfort and humor by and among Poe (Oscar Isaac), Rey (Daisy Ridley), and Finn (John Boyega) became readily evident. It was also reminiscent of the chemistry and camaraderie of the original trilogy’s stars, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill.

The Rise of Skywalker; Original trilogy; Star Wars; Star Wars sequel trilogy
Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Many of the highlights of The Rise of Skywalker featured the three main characters together. Sharp wit, perfect timing, and an ease with which the characters would ebb and flow with one another made their relationships seem real, and believable. Thus, the characters’ success, failures, and emotional moments were all the more poignant. For the first time in the sequel trilogy you finally, truly feel as if you know Rey, Finn and Poe.  

It’s a pity it took nearly five hours-worth of screen time over the course of the Star Wars sequel trilogy to put them all together…. But I’m glad they finally connected.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now playing.