Star Wars is a peculiar franchise. Many of its fans hate it – 39 years after the original trilogy’s concluded with Return of the Jedi, no entry seems to surpass those first three movies. The prequels were shoddily written and directed by a man who, by his own admission, is a bad writer and hates directing. As for the Disney-helmed sequels…well, they’re not much better. Their flaws are evident in the way the Star Wars sequels waste their characters:
10) Rose Tico
Poor Rose. Although an unexpected addition to the Star Wars universe (she didn’t appear in The Force Awakens), Rose is likable and well-developed in The Last Jedi. She is even teased as a love interest for Finn near the film’s end.
However, in Rise of Skywalker, Rose is reduced to a glorified cameo. It would have been interesting to see Rose grow into a more seasoned Resistance hero, inspired by her sister’s death and her comrades’ will. However, more time was spent on a bizarre Clone Emperor plot that comes out of left-field…
9) Armitage Hux
Domnhall Gleeson chews the scenery as Commander Hux – and it’s brilliant. Although a side character, Gleeson puts so much into Hux. The Last Jedi also sets up an interesting dynamic between him and Kylo. Both are vying for Snoke’s affections, and both despise one another.
And when Hux reveals he has swapped sides as a Resistance spy in Rise of Skywalker, it feels fitting. He has beef with Kylo Ren (who now heads the First Order) and only ever seemed to respect Snoke – the First Order no longer holds value to him. However, shortly after the reveal, Hux is unceremoniously shot and never mentioned again.
Rey is the first main female Jedi in the movies. And props for that, Disney. The problem is that it’s also wise to give your main female Jedi an interesting story, too. This is nowhere to be found in the sequel trilogy.
Due to the lack of story-planning, the sequel trilogy stumbles over the question of Rey’s parentage. She spends The Last Jedi searching for the answer to this question and is dismayed to learn her parents are ‘nobodies.’ However, Rise of Skywalker retcons this and instead reveals she’s the long-lost daughter of Palpatine. Rey’s rocky character arc is emblematic of the sequel trilogy’s lack of direction.
7) Poe Dameron
Why, why, why did they waste Oscar Isaac’s talent on Poe Dameron? The cocky, handsome rebellious pilot (who does that remind you of?) was initially meant to die in The Force Awakens. However, the Force apparently had a change of heart and kept him on for the whole trilogy.
And listen, Poe Dameron is an insanely awesome character (at least conceptually), so this was never an issue. However, Poe continues the trilogy frustratingly underdeveloped. In Rise of Skywalker, it’s revealed the cocksure gunslinger was a spice smuggler before his Resistance days. Dameron never becomes more than Han Solo 2.0 and shows a lack of creativity on Disney’s part.
Owing to the tragic, untimely death of Carrie Fisher, the wastage of Leia’s character isn’t entirely on Disney. Since Fisher hadn’t filmed any scenes for Rise of Skywalker, the filmmakers used leftover footage from The Force Awakens to end her character arc.
Regardless, where the character was headed was never ambitious, to begin with. Like in the original movies, Leia takes on a similar role as a major figurehead in the Rebellion. Oops, sorry, I meant the Resistance. And, look, they do hint that she’s developed some force powers, but this is never explored enough. What a tedious arc for a legendary character.
5) Han Solo’s a Merc Again
In a bid to emulate the feel of the original movies, The Force Awakens has Han Solo return to a life of smuggling. And, yes, the script tries to justify this by saying that Han and Leia fell apart after Ben’s tragic Dark Side-turn, but it still feels like a well-engineered excuse to maintain the original trilogy’s status quo.
The problem is, after Han’s growth in the original trilogy (going from selfish smuggler to selfless war hero), it just feels pathetic. And this isn’t even mentioning that Han is evidently an older man engaging in the same shenanigans as he did when he was in his thirties. Disney had an opportunity to explore a more domesticated Han Solo but was too scared to take a risk with the character.
4) Luke Skywalker
Luke Skywalker is the hero whose compassion helped bring Vader back from the Dark Side and inadvertently led to the Empire’s destruction. However, in The Last Jedi, Luke is barely recognizable to the character we knew from the original trilogy. He’s now a cynical older man who tried to murder his nephew and lost his faith in the Jedi.
While Rian Johnson is brave to try a new tack with Luke, it doesn’t work. As a hero, Luke was loved for his unyielding compassion. He overcame his hate in ROTJ, and his arc was given satisfying closure. However, The Last Jedi opens a can of unnecessary worms for Luke that didn’t need to be opened.
Put aside Palpatine a moment. Snoke has a captivating appearance. He’s a mysterious deformed entity who appears to be strong in the Dark Side of the Force. And Andy Serkis, who’s no slouch playing CGI characters, gives Snoke a truly intimidating voice to match his powers.
But it turns out Snoke is just a clone used by Palpatine (who’s also a clone). Snoke could have been established as a villain in his own right – with his own past and history. But Rian Johnson unceremoniously kills him off before we have a chance to know anything about him. Then, in Rise of Skywalker, he’s hastily retconned into a clone of Palpatine.
When Finn debuts in The Force Awakens, he’s actually quite interesting. The character is introduced as a stormtrooper who got inducted into the army when he was a kid. However, all grown up, Finn disagrees with the First Order’s evil methods and joins the Resistance.
But something went wrong. Over the course of the three movies, Disney doesn’t embellish on Finn’s past nor make him remotely intriguing as a character. Although John Boyega does his best with the limited material he’s given – and effortlessly maintains chemistry with his co-stars – Disney wasted so much opportunity to tell a different story about the character in their Star Wars sequels.
1) Captain Phasma Wasted
Hey, look! It’s a badass female villain. And what’s more, she’s played by Gwendoline Christie, who’s no stranger to playing strong women! When first hearing about Captain Phasma, you’d be forgiven for thinking along these lines.
However, despite the initial hype surrounding this character, we barely see her at all. She gets a few brief appearances in The Force Awakens – where she’s easily overwhelmed by Han Solo and Finn. At this point, you would hope she gets some expansion in the next film, right? Well, sorry – she dies before we learn anything about her. Such a waste of such a visually-striking character.
But that’s just our take. What do you think are the most wasted characters in the Star Wars sequels?