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The first ‘Rise of Skywalker’ reviews are in, and they are (mostly) positive

The final entry (we think?) in the nine-film Skywalker saga has just been screened publicly for the first time. Here are some takeaways from the initial reaction.

The first ‘Rise of Skywalker’ reviews are in, and they are (mostly) positive
[Photo: courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures]

Star Wars fans are famously not very chill when it comes to their prized movie franchise. When those midi-chlorians get into your bloodstream at an early age, they take root and flourish, forever entangled with childlike wonder and expectation. (It’s no accident that these movies arrive at the same time as Santa.)

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Who knows just what it takes to satisfy the inner child within adults who invested too much emotional stock in space opera? The most ardent Star Wars fans don’t feel underwhelmed when the franchise zigs instead of zags; they feel betrayed. Some complained that 2015’s The Force Awakens was too much like A New Hope. (Booooo!) Others were furious that The Last Jedi didn’t honor the sanctity of the original trilogy. (Harumph!) And if anyone thought that these perceived wounds might have healed in the last two years, take a look at the recent New York Times interview in which returning (from Force Awakens) director J.J. Abrams and some of the cast appeared to air grievances about The Last Jedi, prompting a nerdworld bloodbath on Twitter.

Considering the heft of all these Star Wars-y feelings, it is with heavy heart that we wade into the water of reactions to the first public screening of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which hits theaters Friday.

The first eye-catching reaction is a pair of reviews that suggest the New York Times interview did indeed accurately reflect J.J. Abrams’s thoughts about Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi.

Not to take a bite out of a Burger King Spoiler Whopper, but here is a prediction of what these reviews mean. Two of the most controversial things Rian Johnson did with The Last Jedi are turn Luke Skywalker into an Obi-Wan-style apparition (after he initially forsook the resistance altogether) and reveal that Rey’s parents were . . . rando nobodies. Look for Luke Skywalker to return to his corporeal form in the new film, and for Rey’s real parentage to really be revealed for real this time, and perhaps someone will also blow up a casino planet.

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For the most part, though, the first wave of reviews are decidedly positive.

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Some reviews, of course, were mixed, however.

And others were straight-up disappointed.

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While the positive reviews far outweigh the negative, the mixed reaction suggests that the discourse is about to get rather prickly over the next week or so. If it was any other way, it just wouldn’t be Star Wars.

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