Opinion: Mumpower reflects on ‘Star Wars’ binge watch to commemorate May the 4th

Hannah Mumpower | @Hlmump01

Since the release of “Star Wars” in 1977, everyone who’s anyone knew the whole ‘Luke, I am your father’ moment that apparently shocked the world — but up until a few months ago, I had no true knowledge of the magnitude of this epic franchise.

I had been aware that Star Wars existed and had a vague understanding of the overall plot line. I knew that it was about Luke Skywalker and there were fun characters such as the little green one named Yoda and the machines that talked. I had gone to the theater to see “The Force Awakens” with some of my friends in junior high, but every few minutes I had to lean over to my friend and ask what was going on. Needless to say, I was actually in the dark when it came to Star Wars. 

My interest, however, was piqued with all of the excitement and media that preceded the release of “The Rise of Skywalker,” the final installment of the Skywalker saga and the third installment of the sequel trilogy. I decided that I would watch the very first Star Wars movie and see what I thought about it.

I sat down one Sunday afternoon in December, opened Disney Plus on my laptop and was immediately hit by a dilemma. What is the proper order to watch the Star Wars movies? When they were released, they were not released with the story in chronological order. Episodes 4-6 came out before Episodes 1-3 and 7-9. It was a whole big mess. So, do I watch them in release order or do I watch them chronologically by storyline?

I took to the internet to solve my problems and I was, to say the least, severely disappointed. There is a schism among the Star Wars fandom. Some believed that chronological order was better, whereas others preferred release date. Ultimately, I decided that the best way for me to watch them would be in order of release date, because, had I been alive when they came out originally, this would be the way I would have watched them.

So, I began my Star Wars watching saga with “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope”. Seven short hours later, I had “accidentally” binge-watched the entire original trilogy. Over the next three days I was able to watch the remaining films – the prequel trilogy, the anthology films, and the first two films from the sequel trilogy.

I was drawn in by multiple factors. The storyline in the “A New Hope” was captivating, not to mention, the story was set in space. How cool is that? Along with the plot, the cast, props and digital effects of the entire saga just pulled me in. The variety of species of characters was amazing and the music seemed to perfectly capture and elevate the scenes that it accompanied. It felt like I was a kid in a proverbial candy store. I’m a sucker for a good Sci-Fi film, and Star Wars blew my mind. Until I had finished watching all of the movies, I could not think of anything else.

That was about all she wrote, and so began my sudden obsession with the entire Star Wars franchise. I found myself reading blog posts about fan theories and taking Star Wars quizzes on Buzzfeed. Anything that had anything to do with Star Wars became my cup of tea. Finally, after about a week or so of planning, I was able to get to a theater and see “Rise of Skywalker”.

“Rise of Skywalker” was arguably one of the most anticipated films of 2019. Its release meant the end of the original Star Wars storyline. While the franchise may continue, with either spin-off films or series, such as The Mandalorian, this film was the end of the Skywalker saga that began almost 43 years ago.

So, as a newcomer to the franchise, I only saw fit that I should give my insight on the new film and how it was seen by someone who only recently learned of the awesomeness.

If you haven’t had the chance to watch Rise of Skywalker I would suggest you do that before reading the next part of this column. As of May the 4th, it is now available to stream on Disney+!!

!!!!!!!BIG RISE OF SKYWALKER SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!!!

Speaking as a new member of the Star Wars fandom, I will say that “Rise of Skywalker”(RoS for short) was definitely on par as far as keeping with the regular action-packed, Force-filled story that accompanied all the previous films. I thoroughly enjoyed the comedy that was intertwined with the more serious plot points. 

A few things really stood out to me though.

I love how the main focus in the sequel trilogy transitioned to a strong female lead character. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Ben Solo still gets his fair share of screen time, and so do Poe Dameron and Finn, but the sequel trilogy is mostly about discovering Rey’s origins and RoS finally gives us our answer. Who would have even thought that Rey was a Palpatine? It’s just crazy! Sure, she does do that same lightning/Force thing that the Emperor does in the prequel trilogy and she does suffer in discerning her allegiance between the dark side and the light… Well, maybe we should have seen it coming.

All jokes aside, we as a fandom should have known that she had to have some dark sided origins with all of the subtle hints that were dropped throughout her story. I will sadly admit that, even though it was right under my nose the whole time, I still gasped out loud when I found out in the theater — Sierra Quathamer can attest to that.

While we’re talking about shocking things, how about Ben and Rey’s kiss? Not to mention Ben’s sudden realization that his loyalty belonged to Rey and the light side. I have to say, as someone who pays attention to this kind of stuff, I was impressed with Ben/Kylo’s whole character arc throughout the sequel series. Now I may be a little partial to Adam Driver, but I really do have to give props to him for this role. Through the sequels, we see how Ben/Kylo goes from scared child, to powerful yet conflicted Dark Jedi, to a man who wants to set things right, and through his actions at Exegol, he is able to rectify his deeds by sacrificing himself to save Rey. His actions were ultimately enough to reconcile himself with the Force and, after sharing a brief moment of happiness with Rey, he became one with the Force and broke the hearts of millions, or maybe just mine. I’m serious. I’m not normally the type of person who cries because of a movie, but this one got me crying in the movie theater. Talk about a real tear-jerker moment.

Anyway, I will just let you know that, although everything in RoS may not have been factually correct with the rest of the series, I absolutely loved it and 100% would have seen it in theaters again if I wasn’t a broke high school student. It was a wonderful film that had an amazingly talented cast, out of this world graphics (literally), and an outstanding soundtrack. What more could you ask for in a big Sci-Fi franchise? Star Wars is and will always be timeless.

If you would like to chat more with me about Star Wars, or any other fandom, please feel free to share your thoughts at whscharger@gmail.com or message me on Twitter. Love you awesome nerds!

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