Palpatine"s TROS Return Hurt Star Wars More Than Anything In The Prequels

Emperor Palpatine’s resurrection in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hurt the sequel trilogy and Star Wars overall more than anything in the prequels ever did. The Star Wars sequel trilogy has proven divisive for a myriad of reasons; some audiences believed there wasn’t enough focus on the original heroes, particularly Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and Han Solo, while others felt that new characters like Finn, Poe Dameron, and Rose Tico were unfairly sidelined. Many also agree that Star Wars: The Force Awakens, though it had promising potential, was a rehash of the original Star Wars film.
But despite these criticisms and countless others, one vital narrative decision harmed public perception of the Star Wars sequel trilogy more than anything else ever did, recontextualizing nearly the entire franchise in the process. Palpatine’s resurrection in The Rise of Skywalker changed everything. Now, newer Star Wars projects like The Mandalorian, Star Wars: The Bad Batch, and Charles Soule’s The Rise of Kylo Ren comic miniseries are being used to explain the sequel trilogy’s biggest and most surprising storyline, but to a certain extent, these clarifications have come too late. The damage was already done by the time these explanations arrived.
Palpatine's Return Killed The Rise Of Skywalker (& The Sequel Trilogy) “Somehow Palpatine returned,” said it all, really. The exasperation with which Poe spoke those words reflected how much of the Star Wars audience felt about this monumental narrative choice. Perhaps most egregiously of all, Palpatine’s resurrection in The Rise of Skywalker highlighted the lack of a cohesive plan where the Star Wars sequel trilogy was concerned. This was already quite apparent given the stark difference between The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but when The Rise of Skywalker premiered, Palpatine’s resurrection truly came out of nowhere. This was a storytelling move entirely reliant on nostalgia, one which would alter the past and determine the immediate future of the Star Wars franchise as a whole.


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