The Skywalker Saga is over. The movies have been made, they've been released, they're all out on Blu-ray. The story is done, but talking about the story will likely never be done, and it looks like part of that conversation will always include controversy regarding the sequel trilogy. There are some pretty strong opinions about the most recent films, and now the editors of Star Wars: The Force Awakens have made their feeling on Star Wars: The Last Jedi public. Let's just say they're not big fans.
Mary Jo Markey and Maryann Brandon were both editors on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Brandon returned to edit The Rise of Skywalker as well. On a recent episode of the Light the Fuse podcast, (because the duo also edited J.J. Abrams' Mission Impossible III) they both admit they were not fans of the way Star Wars: The Last Jedi tried to "undo" the story of the first film. In Markey's words...
I couldn’t agree more. It’s very strange to have the second film so consciously undo the storytelling of the first one. I’m sorry that’s what it felt like.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi was certainly a controversial film. While many fans loved the fresh take on the material that it brought, others took serious issue with some of the plot and character decisions made by Rian Johnson's film. Most of the people actually responsible with making the Star Wars movies have remained quiet on the topic, but the Force Awakens editors are now admitting they are firmly in the camp of people who didn't care for the sequel.
One of the major criticisms of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is that it undid the events of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but the argument here is basically that The Last Jedi is the real culprit. For her part, Mary Jo Markey disputes the idea that Rise of Skywalker undid the previous film...
I don’t even feel that’s true about the third film. It took where the second film ended and just tried to tell a story. I didn’t feel like it was consciously—it just didn’t feel that way to me.”
If there's one thing most people can probably agree on, and both Brandon and Markey do agree with this, it's that the trilogy as a whole was weaker because it didn't seem to have a single vision. The Last Jedi, being a single Rian Johnson story in the middle of a pair of J.J. Abrams films, does feel out of place, even if it's a movie that you love.
For better or worse, the trilogy is what it is and it's now over. People are going to have different opinions over it and while the fact that people feel so strongly about Star Wars, is, on the whole, not a bad thing, there is clearly never going to be a single answer or easy solution to all of this. We'll be debating this for as long as Star Wars is relevant, which will probably be many years to come.