It’s OK if you didn’t like The Rise of Skywalker

Rey (Daisy Ridley) in STAR WARS: EPISODE IX.
Rey (Daisy Ridley) in STAR WARS: EPISODE IX. /

Not liking The Rise of Skywalker doesn’t make you less of a Star Wars fan. Fandom is about criticizing the things you dislike while embracing what you love.

It’s OK if you did not like Star Wars:The Rise of Skywalker.

It’s OK if there are parts of it you liked and parts of it you didn’t.

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It’s OK if you loved it.

It’s OK if you aren’t sure quite yet how you feel about it.

Regardless of your raw reaction to the movie, or how you feel upon a second or third viewing — or a number of days after your first — your emotions are justified. And you have every right to express them.

The Star Wars fandom’s mixed reactions to the conclusion of the Skywalker saga either surprised you or it didn’t. For the past two years, we have all been dealing with disagreements and loud opinions about the sequel trilogy and all involved. We are used to backlash. We are used to people having issues with Star Wars.

But something different is happening in the aftermath of this film’s release. There’s the angry outcry, sure — there always will be. There are those who built up their expectations to massive heights and felt their hopes crumble as the story drew hastily to a close.

Then there are those who feel not just disappointed or let down … but betrayed.

We won’t get into fans’ specific dislikes in this post specifically –though there are plenty. As there often are with big-budget films like this.

What we must acknowledge, however, is that there is a large segment of the Star Wars fandom who saw themselves in certain characters. Who had high hopes for certain outcomes. Who longed for the happy endings they felt they were promised, and were shocked and shaken when it seemed those promises had been broken.

No matter how this film affected you, it’s likely you sit here now either feeling satisfied or quite the opposite. Either way, it helps to remember that for everyone who feels satisfied, there are many who do not. And that’s OK.

Believe it or not, people in the same fandom are inclined to disagree. That does not mean one side is right and the other is wrong.

If we are going to discuss right and wrong, we can only do so in the context of discourse. How you talk to and about specific people — directors, executives, actors, even other fans — matters. There is a right way to say you dislike something. There is a wrong way to defend that. And in just days, plenty of fans have been going about expressing their frustrations and confusion — on both sides — all wrong.

To be clear: It is not wrong to have an opinion. Neither is it wrong to express that opinion. It is, however, wrong to belittle or threaten someone for disagreeing with you.

Some people did not love this movie. They have every right not to, the same way those who loved it have a right to feel that love.

To those who find themselves in a place of hopelessness and darkness after this film: Know that your feelings are valid. We see you. We hear you. You are not alone. Say how you feel. But don’t let your frustrations lead you to respond to others unkindly.

And to those who saw the movie differently — who loved everything that it was, despite its imperfections — be kind and respectful to those who are not in the same place of acceptance as you are. You don’t know everyone’s story. You don’t know what others have been through, and what their hopes for the end of this story meant to them. You have no right to judge.

We are all fans here. We all went into this movie with different expectations, different backgrounds, different hopes and fears — things we wanted to see and things we didn’t.

At this point, it doesn’t matter whether you liked the movie or not. What matters is what you take away from it and how you respond to it. Yes, you are allowed to grieve. Yes, you are allowed to question and even criticize the thoughts and opinions of those you disagree with.

But do so with the empathy and respect all fans deserve. Don’t call someone “not a real fan.” Don’t tell them they didn’t understand the film. Don’t attack their arguments with harsh words and ill intent. No one deserves that. Especially not those still processing how this movie made them feel.

It’s OK if you did not like The Rise of Skywalker.

It’s OK if you did.

Be mindful of the way you express that. And if you can, give yourself some time to consider the things about this story that you loved. It’s not all bad. It’s imperfect. It was never going to please everyone. You may feel disappointed. But you can still love Star Wars.

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How do you feel about The Rise of Skywalker now that you’ve had some time to process your thoughts? What were your favorite parts?