Sorry for all this...I felt it prudent to respond to a number of comments at once instead of spamming the thread with multiple responses. This is pure speculation but I've often wondered if Harrison Ford's ego only agreed to do the movie if a) Solo would be killed off and b) there would be no Skywalker stuff so the impact of (a) would form the the major ualloyed emotional arc of the story. It felt like a Star Wars movie. It was a tightly directed well written story with no bloat that instead of sharting on the OT went out of its way to not only maintain internal consistency but also to clarify some elements of ANH in a sensible way. As pluses Donny Yen's character is imho one of the greatest of the whole series-- he brought to the fore just enough classical SW mysticism to satisfy those of us who craved it in a movie that otherwise had no place for it. Also the final scene with Vader was AWESOME and pound for pound one of the most satisfying in any of the movies. Rogue One was the first time since 1983 I left the theater a fully satisfied Star Wars fan. Repeated viewings have further cemented this view. I would respectfully disagree with both of those claims ie., TLJ is horrid fecal matter and NOT miles ahead of the prequels. First off let me say that I despise the prequels, have never owned them and have no desire to ever watch them again-- but as much as I despise them I have to acknowledge that within them is the seed of something much better. As Red Letter Media pointed out in their Youtube reviews one gets a sense that the prequels comprise Lucas' first draft and that nobody had the balls to tell him it was too hamfisted and needed to be re-drafted, molded and re-written into something much better. That said there is something there-- the skeleton of a properly structured character arc was there, the basics of a solid SW story was there-- one that expanded the universe without simply re-telling the original stories. Unfortunately it was executed in such a poor and incompetent way that the films are all but unwatchable now. It boils down to the fact that Lucas was fundamentally an idea man who needed others much more competent with script writing, conveying human melodrama and movie direction to turn said ideas into something amazing. Watching the prequels one really starts to appreciate everything Leigh Brackett, Irvin Kershner and Lawrence Kasdan brought to the table in the OT. If Lucas had been the sole writer/director of Empire we very well might not be having this conversation today. That said, as bad as the prequels were TLJ was much much worse. Where the prequels contained the seeds of something good and were marred mainly by execution I simply cannot find a single redeeming element of TLJ. It's a total and complete dumpster fire of a movie wrought by a director with an over-inflated opinion of himself and utter contempt for the SW universe and for its primary audience. Put another way, watching the prequels makes me feel insulted, watching TLJ made me feel molested, and in a pinch I'd prefer neither but choose the former. Subversion and inserting current social justice trends into the SW universe. Rian Johnson has stated repeatedly that his interest was primarily in "subverting audience expectations" in terms of what comprises a story, a Star Wars movie, even narrative structure in general. This is a terrible idea for a SW movie because IMHO the major lasting appeal of Star Wars stems largely from the fact that, in creating it, Lucas was heavily influenced by the work of Joseph Campbell. For anyone who's not aware Campbell was a professor of mythology who after researching thousands of years of human myths in cultures all over the world developed the thesis that most of humanity's most persistent and endearing myths are rooted in a common structure composed of well defined steps. This structure, dubbed the Hero's Journey, comprises the fundamental DNA of the OT made manifest through the character of Luke Skywalker. Its timeless resonance is one of the reasons IMHO that the OT has had such a unique, powerful and lasting cultural impact-- something about the original Star Wars movies tapped into a deep level of our collective human psyche. So when Johnson decided to "subvert" audience expectations for a SW movie he was, in once sense, also subverting 1000s of years of human cultural DNA and the result, again imho, whatever else it might be is emphatically NOT a satisfying Star Wars movie. The Lumineers would agree with you They sort of evolved into social commentary, moreso in the prequels, but as I tried to express in a comment above I believe that in the OT Lucas was endeavoring to tap into something more universal and much less tied to any specific culture. Yup. I love both Star Wars and Star Trek-- Star Trek for politics and Star Wars for its deeper more mystical import.