Lucasfilm can’t seem to come up with original marketing. The very first thing I ever watched on the internet was in 1996, when my family got a Gateway 2000 (I was in middle school), was The Phantom Menace. It was magical. I rushed to StarWars.com (before the dark times). I played it on Real Player, which consistently buffered, but I didn’t care; I was watching the trailer for the new Star Wars! Oh how times have changed, but, Lucasfilm can’t help but rip off George Lucas’s marketing strategy. Look at these two shots from each trailer. The first is from The Phantom Menace, the second from The Rise of Skywalker. Some may say this is a simple nod to The Phantom Menace trailer. In fact, it is a blatant ripoff to try to drum up nostalgia, like everything else in this trailer. JJ Abrams is falling into the same exact trap he did in The Force Awakens and is continuing to rely on past characters and entries simply to entice older fans who have lost all interest in the Sequel Trilogy, which are a lot. Disagree whether you like the Prequels or not (I love them), Lucas had a vision from beginning to end and told his story in its entirety. The Sequel Trilogy has no such arc. Rey has no character arc and is reduced to a Mary Sue, unfortunately. Look at Anakin’s journey. Look at Luke’s journey. Then look at Rey’s journey. It’s non-existent. Even Kylo simply turned to the Darkside because his mentor, Luke Skywalker, tried to murder him. Let’s look at this for a second. Luke, the son of Padme, who despite what Anakin did believed that there was good in him. He inherited this belief from his mother. Now think of Luke in The Last Jedi. Is he really the son of Padme? The one who turned his father back, even though Yoda and Obi-Wan disregarded the Jedi Code and told Luke that there was no hope left? That he had to kill Vader? Luke refused. He was the embodiment of his mother’s inherent goodness. Instead, he decides to attempt to murder his nephew and then abandons the galaxy when he is needed most. His reasons could have been different than what Johnson wrote, but of course, Rian Johnson was too caught up in being Rian Johnson and trying to “subvert” our expectations. It’s also hilarious that in this trailer, JJ is basically retconning everything from The Last Jedi, including Kylo Ren’s helmet and “let the past die.” It’s obvious this philosophy did not sit well with Abrams or Disney and they are set out to rectify Kathleen Kennedy’s and Rian Johnson’s massive screw ups. While in The Last Jedi the “past died”, in Rise of the Skywalker, the past is all too evident. They even re-visit the ruins of the Death Star (and if this isn’t on Endor I will actually be very upset; where else would it end up?) Nostalgia is at full-play here and while JJ is on record that this won’t mimic any other Star Wars film, as The Force Awakens did, it’s incorporating so many elements from previous installments that at this point, it seems to be a bit much. Palpatine even appears to be involved, given his laugh at the end of the trailer and Ian McDiarmid appearing on stage, saying, in his Palpatine voice, “Roll it again.” While I love Palpatine, there really is no place for him in this film, and it’s obvious they are only bringing him back as a cheap gimmick, like they did Yoda, which is unfortunate. It also may be due to the fact that Snoke was killed off prematurely. An actor of McDiarmid’s talent deserves so much better though. It also appears that we are back on Tatooine. This is not Jakku. The ridges and cliff-like structures give this away. Why back on Tatooine though? Will we re-visit the Lars’ moisture farm? One can only guess. It is fitting to return to the place where all of this started, but at the same time, this should have been the opening planet in The Force Awakens if the filmmakers had any intention of making the films rhyme, like stanzas in a poem, which was George Lucas’s philosophy. The Skywalker Saga deserved that much. There must be a reason that they are here though, and hopefully, it’s a good one. It’s the most iconic planet in all of Star Wars and should be in this film. Lando should have been in the first two installments of the Sequel Trilogy, though now with the big three dead, I’m not sure what his place in the story will be. Will it be a brief cameo? I hope he has a decent part in the picture, but considering in an interview he didn’t even know who Finn is, I have to say this is doubtful, or he has his own side mission of his own. Regardless, this is the only part of the trailer which actually had me excited and almost burst into tears out of sheer happiness. JJ Abrams has a lot to live up to. As far as I’m concerned, the Sequel Trilogy is merely fan fiction at this point. Re-watching The Force Awakens, it’s now apparent to me how awful that film is. The Last Jedi takes the cake, all for the sake of “subverting” our expectations. Will JJ be able to make a good film with The Rise of Skywalker and deliver a stellar film? This is unknown at this point. It’s a daunting task, but if he tries to retcon the Prequel Trilogy, which has been rumored, count me out. George’s vision should be left intact and to do anything else would be highly disrespectful to everything that came before.