Ok, so my frustration with The Rise of Skywalker has hit a max point since December, and I want to articulate it in a thread for fellow writers who might be feeling the same way. I’m going to hashtag everything #tfos in case you want to mute this discussion :) 1/
About me: MFA in screenwriting from UCLA, worked for a YT channel writing Minecraft roleplays that’ve earned 5+ million views. Now I write original & transformative fiction, & last year I survived a rare & aggressive type of cancer on top of everything, so {shrug} 2/ #tfos
Star Wars is a special universe bc it’s a space opera (soap opera set in space). It’s a secular myth we can all agree on bc it supports pro-social values. Stand up to protect the oppressed. Friends are invaluable. Love is strength. Never give up hope. 3/ #tfos
When spoilers from The Rise of Skywalker (TROS) started leaking, it sent shockwaves through the fandom bc it did something no other SW film had ever done: it broke the covenant of faith w/the audience. The end of a story can’t invalidate the journey. 4/ #tfos
There’s so much retconning that I’m not going to get into it here. But what I AM going to do is lay out a different way the story could’ve or should’ve gone to provide a more satisfying conclusion. Mute or buckle up, bc here we go… 5/ #tfos
I’m going to address one particular thing up front: the argument that Carrie Fisher/Leia scenes were unusable because of tech issues can be summed up in a single word: BULLSH*T. 6/ #tfos
We’re living in the era of deepfake tech, you’re DLF, that isn’t an excuse. If CF/L scenes looked uncanny, they should’ve bumped the film's release by a year. 2 years, even. We would’ve waited to see it done *right*. 7/ #tfos
This is tremendously important bc Leia was our ONLY WOMAN of significance in the OT. With Han & Luke gone, she was our last link to the old trio, too - so the conclusion of the Skywalker family saga *revolves* around her. She’s the anchor. 8/ #tfos
Leia’s importance in Episode IX is even more vital bc of the imbalance set up in TFA: that Ben Solo was a lost boy who needed to find his way home, & that Rey’s journey was from scavenger to mentor, protector of the innocent and the lost (just as he was). 9/ #tfos
The point of SW - under all the space wizard trappings, the shiny ships and guns and droids - is that selfish love corrupts, and altruistic/selfless love heals. It’s a family saga about the original lost boy, Anakin, & how he tore his family apart… 10/ #tfos
...not knowing the difference. The original sin of the whole story was that Anakin & Shmi were separated. When nurturing love is denied to children, we grow up not knowing how to love, & we visit those same sorrows upon our own children. 11/ #tfos
Luke didn’t defeat Vader by killing him: he turned him with unconditional love. Anakin had f*cked up on a galactic scale, but his son just wanted his dad back - the heroic image that he’d had in his head as a kid. He believed in his dad like no one else could. 12/ #tfos
*That* unconditional love allowed Vader to become Anakin again, long enough to KILL Sheevy Palpatine and bring about the empire’s downfall. The fact that someone who loved him called out to him, begging him to come back to altruism & balance. 13/ #tfos
So the balance that needed to be restored in the Skywalker family was love, esp that of our nuclear & found fams (note how RotJ ended w/a “family portrait” shot of the victorious heroes). And YES, that includes partner love like wife & husband. (or M/M, F/M, et al) 14/ #tfos
TFA set up a fantastic imbalance: between the OT & ST, our heroic trio had f*cked up, which is SO HUMAN. Luke became arrogant to his own downfall, just like the Jedi had done before him. Leia had listened to Luke over her own maternal instincts. And Han… 16/ #tfos
...did the thing he’d almost done at the end of ANH & ran away. Ben Solo was an avatar to all young guys we’ve lost to toxic masculinity, swayed by the idea that power comes from cruelty and not radical kindness, even in the face of our own extinction. 17/ #tfos
This was a storyline about an orphaned scavenger -a girl who wanted NOTHING MORE than her family back- being the only one powerful enough to bring Ben -a boy who had been neglected by his family- back home. Only Rey could save Ben Solo. 18/ #tfos
A lot of people (some of the cast included) were pissed about Luke/Han/Leia’s mistakes between the OT & ST, but dammit, they were IMPORTANT. The point is that our heroes are human, dimensional, and fallible. That we have to check ourselves as we age. 19/ #tfos
The Jedi were pretty awful, too: they separated parents from their children in the name of power. The order NEEDED to die, bc the only real balance between black and white is grey. It’s not an external battle between good & evil: this is a battle w/in ourselves. 20/ #tfos
Jedi & Sith both messed up by misunderstanding the place of love in life, & we see that in their treatment of mothers. Shmi gets shafted by the Jedi. Leia gets shafted by Luke’s new Jedi. Beru dies. Even to the “holy” Father, Son, & Daughter in the CW mythos… 21/ #tfos
...the Mother figure is an outsider, one who is corrupted by power and becomes Abeloth, a chaos monster who’s an echo of the Babylonian Tiamat.

Tldr; Tiamat was defeated by her storm god son Marduk, who ripped her up to make the cosmos out of her dismembered body. Ew 22/ #tfos
In the CW mythos, Abeloth is imprisoned in space near Kessel, so it’s an echo of *super* ancient human mythology, which is 1) way cool (go @dave_filoni!), & 2) another example of how the force of nurturing love (archetypally the Mother) is the key to restoring balance. 23/ #tfos
Chaos is typically feminine in our Western symbolic structures bc we’re patriarchal: a sky-father imposes hierarchical order on a chaotic world. Despite having few female characters, the OT employed fem gaze mythology: the hierarchical Father had to… 24/ #tfos
...be defeated by a system of balanced masculine & feminine energies (the Rebellion: bottom-up order meshed with a female-led hierarchy) bound together by stable, unselfish love. We saw that in Luke & Leia, as well as HanLeia & Luke/Han. 25/ #tfos
#ReyNobody was vital because she had AGENCY; she wasn’t a vessel. Her revelation in the Mirror Cave in TLJ showed she was the embodiment of feminine chaos energy: not something that needs to be constrained by masculine forces but PARTNER with them. (tysm @rianjohnson) 26/ #tfos
Kylo Ren/Ben Solo represents inherited, masculine energy: the Skywalker bloodline, which always ended up choosing power over humility, but needs to be tempered with love. Anakin wanted power. After the events of the OT, Luke fell victim to the same gravitation… 27/ #tfos
...toward power, collecting Force-sensitives to train them. This makes tons of narrative sense, and is a good pro-social lesson to embed in a fairytale: that power can corrupt us at any time, and even in ways that seem altruistic. 28/ #tfos
It’s only after bearing ^*all that* in mind that anyone could start building the conclusion to the 9-volume Skywalker saga.

Narratively, you have to work BACKWARD, because the endings to these stories have been building up to implied endings all along. 29/ #tfos
Trying to break away from those implied endings is *breaking the contract* with your audience.

YES, they will know it’s coming. That’s not just ok, it’s GOOD. It means you’re on track; it’s how you *execute* the story that counts. So let’s go through those endings. 30/ #tfos
Rey needs to find a new family - not the ones that abandoned her, but ones who value her. She’s space Cinderella with a powerful dark side, a Disney warrior princess, & she deserved HEA w/the one person in the universe who understood her. 31/ #tfos
Beyond the personal, Rey is a defender of the innocent, & she has to be MORE than the virginal Artemis archetype. Her coming-of-age includes taking her place as the symbolic Mother of good, bc you CAN BE A MUM, A PARTNER, & A WARRIOR. 32/ #tfos
Ben Solo has to come to terms w/the darkness that grew inside him from not being loved as he should’ve been. Leaving his mom at 11 (!!!) to train w/Luke led him down a dark path that included killing his father in a bid to go full Big Bad. Ben’s ending… 32/ #tfos
...needed to be twofold: reconciling w/the past in Leia & building a new stable bridge to the future with Rey. Marriage is a mythological representation of the union/ balance of energies; Ben HAS to live bc he’s needed as a MENTOR, someone who has… 33/ #tfos
...voyaged down the dark path & returned. Despite what Yoda said abt the Sith dealing in absolutes, so did Yoda re: darkness dominating your destiny. Both Jedi & Sith HAVE to be left behind. Rey & Ben should walk together on their own path that includes love… 34/ #tfos
...and treads the line between darkness and light, personal needs & personal love vs communal needs/ balance/ altruistic love. Star Wars was always a story about how to grow up & take that next step w/o borking up like Anakin & causing intergeneration damage. 35/ #tfos
So Rey & Ben take up the balanced roles of Mother & Father, no longer children but adult warriors & partners in everything. They both HAVE to survive to lead the symbolic tribe of the Resistance in forming a better way, one that learns from the past. 36/ #tfos
So that’s Rey & Ben sorted - but what about everyone else? 37/ #tfos
Leia deserved her son back. She messed up letting him go, and she knows it; her atonement is her grief. She’s already done the emotional labor. But her problem was in listening to Luke and not investing in her own potential as a Jedi master until it was too late. 38/ #tfos
Ffs, Leia was Luke’s twin, she should’ve narratively inherited the same connection with the Force that HE did. That said, it’s a *great* story engine for her not having believed in herself for so long bc MIDDLE-AGED & ELDERLY WOMEN REPRESENT!! 39/ #tfos
IRL, the older female demo of the SW fandom are a huge reason SW became the cultural phenom that it is. The time, the love, & the $ they’ve invested in the space fairytale of SW are a huge part of making it what it is today. 40/ #tfos
As the last of the original trio, it makes sense for Leia to pass away AFTER reconciling w/Ben, bc “Look for the Force and you will always find me.” But dammit, let her go out in a blaze of glory, the Mother-warrior who makes up for not taking up her mantle... 41/ #tfos
...re: the Force for so long by absolutely CRUSHING it in the final battle. Then she can pass on, joining Luke & Han in the Force for a goodbye that’s both ethereal & eternal. Mentors making way for new mentor-protectors, guardians of the next generation. 42/ #tfos
*Finn deserved to lead his stormtrooper rebellion.* That’s why we saw Phasma’s eye before she died; to remind him his enemy is human; he can’t free his former companions by killing them, he has to show him the way. He was trying to run for so long now he has to… 43/ #tfos
...turn & face the fight, transmuting violence into love through what Rose taught him in TLJ: we win by saving what we love. 44/ #tfos
SAVING WHAT WE LOVE. *That* is the heart of SW, the OT, everything. *That* is why Kelly Marie Tran received so much toxic bullying: because her character spoke the truth, & the actress was scapegoated for it. #RoseTicodeservedbetter #reynobody #savebensolo #finnbellion 45/ #tfos
It’s all about synchronity, setting up the narrative response to the call. Rose Tico should’ve been a hero of the Resistance & Finn’s partner, not sidelined in less than 2 minutes of footage. (Please someone make this up to Kelly Marie Tran by giving her a franchise) 46/ #tfos
Poe Dameron was all set to become a new general: just as Rey & Ben take up the responsibilities of protecting the community & teaching the next gen in the Force, Poe, Finn, & Rose protect & nurture on the non-Force-user side of things, completing the fam. 47/ #tfos
Hux was a GREAT Big Bad. After seeing all the crap Force-users wreak on the galaxy, his master plan should be a plague or virus that wipes out Force-sensitives for good.

Would he wanna take out Kylo Ren on the sly? Duh. So, end of Force users for all time = stakes. 48/ #tfos
Oh, and you want Lando to have a daughter? Awesome! I wanna see her tagging along w/him as he joins the Resistance bc she thinks he’s too old to be throwing himself into battle & she’s there to watch his back, rolling her eyes all the way. 49/ #tfos
DO NOT. THROW TWO POC. INTO A STORY. AND HAVE THEM BE *CONVENIENTLY* RELATED. Commit, or don’t. That kind of sh*t is lazy writing and promotes negative stereotypes. Also, not every younger-gen warrior in this story has to be someone’s kid. 50/ #tfos

There were options. FinnPoe aka stormpilot. Jannah+Kaydel. We belong in the foreground, not somewhere that can be trimmed out by censors. Take a stand: *that’s what these movies are about.* 51/ #tfos
So how TROS should've ended:
With Rey & Ben, Force-users who lead with love. Leia, the mother restored & empowered, even if she must then fall. Finn, a stormtrooper rebellion & love w/ either Rose or Poe (maybe both, who tf knows). Rose & Poe, leaders of the Resistance. 52/ #tfos
They deserved better. *We* deserved better. Star Wars is a fairytale precisely because this kind of narrative perfection & closure doesn’t happen often in real life. We need it in our dreams - and wtf is #StarWars if not a dream we all share? 53/ #tfos
On the advice of pals, I haven’t seen The Rise of Skywalker. I’ve done the full tour of spoiler city, but everything from summaries to play-by-plays on Twitter have convinced me that it’s not going to give me the closure I wanted from 30+ years of storytelling. 54/ #tfos
I love Rey Nobody. Ben Solo. Rose Tico. Finn. Poe Dameron. General Leia Organa.

After the hardest year of my life, after chemo, radiation, surgery, after missing my fam because I was far from home to waking up without function in my left hand after my cancer surgery… 55/ #tfos
...I needed this. I needed them, happy. Complete. Because I am not complete, and may never be again. Because that is the truth for so many of us in this cold and scary world. 56/ #tfos
Those of us without mothers, and those mothers who have lost their children... Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker didn't reunite them.

They're forever lost. 57/ #tfos
So that’s my personal take. I don’t need anyone to mansplain why I’m wrong, because I’ve been in this fandom since I could walk, & I know how to build narratives.

I know that this one was constructed incorrectly - and although with the exception of 2 dudes... 58/ #tfos
...I adore everyone who worked on these movies. All of them poured their hearts and souls into TROS, and for any of them who see things this same way, I am so, so sorry. Even writing this has left me shaking - I can’t even imagine how they feel. 59/ #tfos
I guess all this is to say that as a lifelong fan of SW, I reject your canon & substitute my own. I do not accept these endings for characters and a world you sold me since I could see and hear.

If you refuse to tell the story correctly, I will. Even if it’s too late. 60/ #tfos
I need this family reconciled in my mind, if nowhere else. If a rise can be a fall, then maybe the opposite can be true.


Coming soon.
61/ end

#tfos #reyloiscanon #reynobody #SaveBenSolo #roseticodeservedbetter #stormtrooperrebellion
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