Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Backlash Is Inevitable, According to Richard E. Grant

Fans will be fighting over The Rise of Skywalker like...
Fans will be fighting over The Rise of Skywalker like...
Photo: Lucasfilm

We’re now less than a week from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and two emotions seem to be dominating the conversation. Excitement, of course—we’re about to get a movie fans have waited years for. But also, fear. Fear of what will happen in the movie and how it may change the discourse.


No matter how the story ends, though, it’s important to remember that not everyone is going to be happy. Not by a long shot.

“People feel incredibly passionate and possessive about it,” Rise of Skywalker star Richard E. Grant told io9 last week. “I understand that because I have been a Star Wars fan since I was 20 years old in 1977 when I was a drama student.”

Besides being a day one Star Wars fan, Grant knows a little something about franchises. He’s appeared on Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, and Downton Abbey, among others. Now with Star Wars, he expects people to be happy about the ending, but also...not.

“Inevitably there will be a Game of Thrones syndrome to Star Wars because you can’t please everybody all of the time,” he said. “And the ending, what people want it to be and what it actually is, hopefully, for the majority of people seeing it, they will feel that they’ve had their wishes fulfilled. But inevitably there’s gonna be people that don’t feel that way. And you can’t anticipate that. You have to do what is honest and true to you. And I think that J.J. [Abrams] and Chris [Terrio] have done that to the absolute ends of their ability.”

Of course when Grant says “Game of Thrones syndrome” he’s referring to the fact that many fans of the HBO hit series were severely let down by the final season of the show, a trend that feels fairly common in recent years. In large part, we think, that’s because of expectations versus reality. As fans sit around and stew over the next installment of their favorite franchise, decisions are made in their heads (consciously or unconsciously) about what they want to see. And when those expectations aren’t met or, in some cases, are completely obliterated, it’s easy to be disappointed. It’s human, in fact. The best course of action, though, is to realize the movie or show in your head isn’t real and figure out why the people behind the project didn’t do that. Only in that understanding and acceptance can true satisfaction be found.


Hopefully, we all find a bit of that next week when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters.


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Entertainment Reporter. NYU Cinema Studies Alum. Formerly Premiere, EW, Us Weekly, and /Film. AP Award-Winning Film Critic & CCA member. Loves Star Wars, posters, Legos, and often all three at once.



The amount of damage control going into this is not a good look, nor does it bolster your sales. The amount of straight-up apology tour we’re getting before it even comes out tells me that Disney knows they have a brick on their hands.

Personally? I feel bad for the actors attached, and I feel for the people that have worked so hard on this film. That said, Disney has been shitting the bed on this trilogy repeatedly from the top down. The narrative dissonance, the snap back from JJ to Rian to JJ, and the ugly back and forth between actors and directors throwing blame around - it screams of poor managementand desperation to avoid blame from all corners of the upper offices.

I can’t wait to see how this is the fans’ fault all along (Grant’s comment of ‘you can’t please everyone’ has the ball rolling), and Disney is blameless.