Thursday, May 30, 2024

Reylo, The Rise of Skywalker novelization and fandom

It’s 2020, only a few months after the last film of Star Wars’ Skywalker Saga and the upset that came with it. Unfortunately, The Rise of Skywalker novelization has brought around some brand new discourse for the internet to get into. Myself included apparently, because I’m just unable to not consume Star Wars and anything related to it.

First off, let me very clear about something: Rae Carson is a wonderful author, who has written one of my favourite Star Wars novels to date and the hate being thrown her way is ridiculous. It’s also something I don’t agree with, so if you expected me to add to this circle jerk then you’ll leave this article disappointed.

It’s hard to think about where to start on how Star Wars got so muddied. Was it at the very beginning, where people lost their shit at seeing a female protagonist and a black, male Stormtrooper because they were unable to comprehend that Star Wars wasn’t just about old white dudes? Or was it when Reylo — the ship name of Rey and Kylo Ren — and the hoard of vocal fans that cherished it, flooded social media to the point that it became one of the most prominent talking points whenever Daisy Ridley or Adam Driver had an interview.

Perhaps it was neither or, alternatively, both of those things. What I do know, however, is that the aftermath of The Rise of Skywalker feels very much like damage control.

“This is a film that was never going to please everyone,” Maryann Brandon, film editor of The Rise of Skywalker, told Huffington Post. It’s remarkable then, that with each new thing that comes out after this film, it comes across as just that. With the new Rise of Skywalker novelization, Carson makes the mistake of backtracking from a narrative that — in her defence — is incredibly lackluster as it is. Because of this, certain scenes come across as trying to make sense of the impossible.

One such scene is, of course, the infamous Reylo kiss. As someone who just couldn’t give a damn about Kylo’s relationship with Rey and was far more interested in the Poe, Finn, Rey and Rose dynamic established in the comics, the kiss got nothing from me but an eye roll. The fandom, a collection of individuals who live and breathe Star Wars, wasn’t so kind but did open up interesting discussions. Conversations about abuse, the portrayal of women and redemption were discussed by what felt like almost every Star Wars group on the internet. Even John Boyega got involved, though in a much more humorous way.

In The Rise of Skywalker novelization, Carson tries to backpedal on the kiss by expressing that the action was that of lingering gratitude. A kiss is still a kiss, however, and while it is known that the kiss wasn’t originally planned, the attempt to go back on it feels like a weird choice. It’s not a choice that I hate per se, but it again feels as though it is an attempt to keep those who disliked the Rey/Kylo ending happy, while throwing a bone to the pairing’s fans.

Rise of Skywalker novelization

Which, ultimately, makes the novel feel like it doesn’t know what sort of story it wants to tell. Not all of this is on Carson, however. With how many things that got rewritten throughout the film, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Carson’s novelization of this deeply divisive movie is inconsistent too.

But where does this leave Star Wars Skywalker Saga? What’s the right answer in how to address The Rise of Skywalker and how it made so many people lose hope? Truthfully? There is no right answer, at least, not one that will please everyone. While so many things will get walked back on, or explained through other methods in order to make up for the sins of the film, it only seems to add insult to injury.

I think the answer for myself is this: just look ahead, or backward if the new era for Star Wars is as good as it looks. Because while writing this article, it struck me as odd that despite me feeling so much apathy about The Rise of Skywalker, there were moments like this that it seemed to twist into outright vehemence. To quote Shaggy from Scooby-Doo, ‘that’s just not cool, man.’ Having something you love turn into something you hate, in fact, sucks a lot.

The Rise of Skywalker is what it is, we can’t change it into something that everyone liked. Not by backpedaling, or trying to find reason in some of the most ludicrous decisions. Of course, fandom will still complain, discourse will still occur and people will still fall into that same old cycle. I’m not immune to it, either. But you have a choice to just pick and choose, and if you’re not going to be happy reading this piece of media, then boom! It no longer exists in your head.

With that in mind, let me put a cap on this article by saying this: know when to walk away from something that doesn’t make you happy any longer. Even if it’s something as great as Star Wars.

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2 thoughts on “Reylo, The Rise of Skywalker novelization and fandom

  • That kiss was romantic. The book didn’t just describe it as gratitude but also acknowledgement of their connection and celebration that they found each other at last.

    That’s a romantic description of the kiss and I’m not even a Reylo shipper.

    This is what the book’s executive editor said about the Screen Rant Reylo kiss article that was posted on the same day of her tweet: Please don’t RT clickbait that might get an author harassed thanks.

    Even though she didn’t mentioned Screen Rant by name it’s obvious she was referring to the article.

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