Rise of Skywalker Poses Questions So You Can Buy The Answers
The Star Wars sequel trilogy, with decades of the franchise's marketing firepower forged into a fully armed and operational battle station, has been churning out an astonishing amount ancillary bullshit tie-in novels and comic books. The most powerful move in its repertoire of dastardly sales tactics is to use the movies as delivery services for questions that will go unresolved ... unless you buy a separate thing to get the answer (like C-3PO's red arm in The Force Awakens, for example).
It's vital world-building lore being sold as piecemeal like the most cynical video game DLCs. The Rise Of Skywalker is Disney's last chance to upsell its consumer base with a Skywalker Saga movie (for now ...), so of course, it came bundled with maybe the most cynical move of them all. It set up a whole-ass plot thread in the final moments of the movie and expects you to buy not one but two books to find out what happened.
Spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker, by the way.
At the very end of TROS, after the First Order has been defeated once and for all (for now ...), and around the same time we see that lesbian kiss between two ancillary characters that was easily edited out from foreign cuts of the movie, Lando Calrissian leans over to a new character named Jannah, who like Finn, was kidnapped as child by the First Order and forced to become a Stormtrooper.
Lando asks where she's from in a way that seems like his follow up will be, "because I know where you will be - with me in my space water bed." Jannah replies that she doesn't know, leading Lando to answer, "Well, let's find out," thus setting up a grand adventure to solve the mystery of her heritage. The movie ends about 90 seconds later, the plot thread left dangling for all eternality ... unless you pay $16 for the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - The Visual Dictionary.
The Visual Dictionary is one of those books filled with character bios and vehicle and technology cross-sections that was nice to flip through at a Barnes & Noble but owning it felt like crossing into the dangerous wilds of fandom from which most do not return - and that's exactly what you have to read if you wanted to gain even the faintest idea as to what the exchange between Lando and Jannah was all about.
The Visual Dictionary reveals that, by astounding coincidence, Lando had a daughter who was kidnapped by the First Order as an infant. Jannah bumps into our protagonists by chance yet she might be Lando's daughter. Lando himself being someone all three of our main characters had only just met like the day before.
But that's just phase one of the galactic grift, as all the Visual Dictionary does is offer to puzzle pieces that seem to fit perfectly together. To find out if they actually do, you're going to have to buy the official novelization of the movie.
Trillions of lifeforms can all be connected through the same handful of people in one galactic version of The Kevin Bacon Game. To read about each connection, all you have to do is buy three new Star Wars books every six months for the rest of your life.
Luis can be found on Twitter and Facebook. Check out his regular contributions to Macaulay Culkin's BunnyEars.com. Check out his "Meditation Minute" segments on the Bunny Ears podcast. And now you can listen to the first episode on Youtube!