The Force Brought Us Here: The Skywalker Legacy (2020) - Reviewed

This last December saw the finale of the Skywalker saga after more than 40 years. While the final film in the long running series drew a divisive critical response, it was still a hit for Disney and Lucasfilm. Although it didn't quite reach the box office numbers of the previous entries in the final trilogy, it was still a financial success that will only grow with this week's home video release on blu-ray and 4K.  Now, a new documentary has been released that chronicles the making of The Rise of Skywalker that draws comparisons to the production work done on the entire chronology of movies. 

From practical effects, to the stunning musical scores, to the stunt work and the long running dramatic familial story line, The Skywalker Legacy dives head first into the team mentality behind the Star Wars universe. For fans, the documentary is an amazing time capsule that gives us an inside look at how they attempted to deliver a cohesive third trilogy that would align with many of the same themes George Lucas started in 1977. Whether or not they succeeded is fully up to the viewer. While I'm a fan of all of the movies, it's understood that many don't have the same opinion. And that's fine. 

Obviously, Star Wars has left a massive mark on the pop culture landscape. It's a global household name that's featured several of the biggest movies of all time. With the release of The Force Awakens, JJ Abrams attempted to recreate the elements that made the classics so enjoyable. Many of his ideas were a hit. And many were a miss. With the release of The Last Jedi, the galaxy of SW saw a fandom divide like never before. Rian Johnson's new vision for our beloved franchise was not accepted across the board which began a tailspin for the trilogy. Then Abrams returned to complete the trilogy with The Rise of Skywalker. The righting of the ship was quite evident as many of the messages from TLJ were wiped clean and characters that we were introduced to were relegated to side status. This angered many and caused further division. However, if one thing is clear in this doc, it's that JJ Abrams has an affinity and love for the brand. The teamwork between all those at Lucasfilm comes into focus here, showing that they really did try to please the fandom. 

The Skywalker Legacy goes to the furthest limits to show that everyone involved adores Star Wars like its their own child. Via interviews with the classic cast that have never been seen before, we're shown their absolute enjoyment of working on the movies. Vintage reels of Carrie Fisher truly show her respect and admiration for Princess Leia as she's interviewed in her classic Hoth costume. Mark Hamill is shown throughout the decades discussing his love for the technical aspects of the films. We can track his progression from a youthful star to being an older actor looking for some type of finality for Luke Skywalker.  Even Harrison Ford is here discussing his take on Star Wars, how he wanted Han Solo's demise to mean something for the series, and why the characters continue to endure. Other subjects include stunt coordinators, the puppeteers, and dozens of other cast members. However, the most intriguing part centers on John Williams years of scoring the movies. The man is a treasure. 

Considering this entire thing started way back with the release of A New Hope in 1977,  there are way more details than a two hour documentary could ever hope to capture. However, The Skywalker Legacy is an even keeled jaunt from beginning to end. While the prequel trilogy is only touched on and the classic trilogy is used more for call backs and references, director Debs Paterson does a phenomenal job balancing her focus. She shows the growth of Daisy Ridley and her character from beginning to end, even dipping into Rey's almost immediate hyper control of the Force. They track her beginnings as a lowly junk peddler on Jakku to her final bow as a masterful Jedi which intersects with Ridley's introduction to Star Wars and her final command of the set.  It's a breath of fresh air getting to see how reality and fantasy cross paths in so many ways.

If you're a fan and you haven't spent the time watching this, it's a strong suggestion. It's not nearly as comprehensive as Empire of Dreams, but it gets you inside the head of the folks involved in the legacy of Star Wars. If anything, this adds a much needed bit of positivity for the franchise as a whole. See this movie if you want a real inside look at the final three films in the Star Wars saga.