Well. This is a surprise, given that the digital release–and its extras–weren’t supposed to arrive until St. Patrick’s Day, and we weren’t expecting to see the Blu-ray until the end of the month. So stick that in your self-quarantine, coronavirus.
A population even more murdery
This was a wise PR move on Disney’s part, but then again everyone in Anaheim and Orlando was probably sitting around bored after shutting down the parks, the cruises, and the parades, but not the $58.00 Hipster Mickey Mouse Ear Hat For Adults With Display Box With Magnetic Closure and Velvet Bed.
“How can we make a population practically at war with one another and now forced to spend weeks on end cooped up together with no sports, concerts, or public events even more murdery?” we imagine they asked themselves.
So they released Rise of Skywalker upon an exhausted Star Wars fan base, some still smarting from The Last Jedi, others still smarting from The Force Awakens, and all of them still smarting from Boss Nass.
Love and loss in the modern Star Wars era
It’s an odd time to be a Star Wars fan. The films of this new trilogy are actively at war with each other, one upending the just-established canon of another.
We’re jerked from Snokes in a Jar to Baby Yoda and back again, with Lucasfilm now leaning on novelizations and “confirmations” explaining what we just saw in these nine 2.5 hour movies, and if you don’t like what just happened, then wait five minutes for the reboot.
The good news about Star Wars in 2020 is that there’s a lot of Star Wars to explore and love. The bad news about Star Wars in 2020 is that there’s a lot of Star Wars to explore, love, lose, repair, ruin, and re-ruin, all on a production deadline.
What’s present on Disney Plus along with The Rise of Skywalker, for example, is the Lucas-tinkered version which dumps CGI inserts and character-undercutting extras into the original trilogy, all of which was the crammed into a blender for the prequel trilogy. The speed of streaming now means that each re-release, all ebooks, and every graphic novel has the opportunity to alter the meaning or truth of what the fandom previously considered settled.
Creatively, that’s good.
For people with jobs and term paper due dates and lives who just want a Jedi to root for, that’s bad.
Something for the ladies
What hasn’t changed, however, is the utter and inexcusable lack of eye candy for male-attracted fans.
Maybe pecs don’t sell on action figures; maybe Lucasfilm forgot to check with me again. But unless we measure attraction by cubic units of rogueish charm, we get nothing. Even in such spinoffs as The Mandalorian, we’re left with this:
Pedro Pascal’s wrist. Or whoever was in the suit that day.
There was, of course, The Last Jedi’s infamous shirtless Kylo Ren incident.
But given the appalled reaction of Rey in this scene, it’s clear what the movie wanted us to think of these vast expanses of masculine skin. And even without Rey demanding that Vader’s grandson put on a shirt, Kylo’s organic hemp-weave yoga pants signal we’re not supposed to think of him that way.
But Oscar Isaac, you say.
Indeed. By the coursing of my estrogen, I declare a glimpse of collarbone. After forty years of little more than Luke in the bacta tank– in which he was literally diapered— to us female Star Wars fans, this hit like straight up nudity.
The most grimly appreciative caption I have seen for this image was: “If Poe looks like this the entire movie, I will expire.”
An emotional and temporary rest
But who am I to complain? Despite the exhaustion and lack of 2020 parallel for Leia’s gold bikini, my butt was still in a theater seat for the theatrical release of The Rise of Skywalker. For all its flaws, it brought the Disney trilogy to an emotional and temporary rest, if only, like the Bluesmobile, crashing up on the curb of the finale and falling apart once we reflect for a moment on what it’s just done. And it’s nice to be in that space for a while. Especially whiles like the one we’re in now.
It still beats dropping someone’s grandma in the aisle at Walmart for the last trial-size bottle of Purell.
Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker is available now on Disney Plus. The digital release arrives on March 17, with the Blu-ray, DVD and Ultra 4K HD versions to follow on March 31.