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‘Star Wars’ movie marathon: My thoughts on the 25-hour, 9-movie event before ‘The Rise of Skywalker’

You can also see updates on Twitter through #RiseOfScribner and @herbscribner

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Starting on Wednesday night, I kept track of everything I did in the theater. That included thoughts on all nine “Star Wars” films, the popcorn I consumed, the drinks I slurped, the reactions from fans and just so many details.

Starting on Wednesday night, I kept track of everything I did in the theater. That included thoughts on all nine “Star Wars” films, the popcorn I consumed, the drinks I slurped, the reactions from fans and just so many details.

Herb Scribner, Deseret News

Megaplex Theatres is hosting a nine-film, 25-hour marathon of the entire Skywalker saga, and I am trying to survive it.

Starting on Wednesday night, I kept track of everything I did in the theater. That included thoughts on all nine “Star Wars” films, the popcorn I consumed, the drinks I slurped, the reactions from fans and just so many details.

This article was updated during breaks and movies. For live updates from the event, head over to Twitter and follow me at @HerbScribner and the hashtag #RiseOfScribner. You’ll see a lot of details there.

But here’s a review of what happened during those hours.

7:49 p.m. — Well, it’s over.

We just got out of “Rise of Skywalker” and it was ... wow. That’s the only word I can use to describe it.

Look, I’m tired. I’ve been flooded with “Star Wars” content these last two days. There’s a lot to chew on here. But “Rise of Skywalker” does a good job at paying homage to the series and the Skywalker name. It has some flaws and leaves some questions unanswered. But it was fun. Truly fun, thrill-ride. It’s good for those who don’t expect too much out of a “Star Wars” movie and just want some fun.

I will have more to say soon. But “Rise of Skywalker” does a great job at concluding a story and giving us chance to celebrate this generational experience once again.

More to follow.

3:58 p.m. — OK. I know that “The Last Jedi” isn’t well-received by everyone. But it is one of the greatest films of the “Star Wars” saga. Hands down.

There’s no question the marathon improved the film. Seeing “The Force Awakens” right before enhanced the viewing of this film. The plots blend together so well that it makes “Last Jedi” an important film for the development for the franchise and the Skywalker saga.

Seeing all the other films before this one also showed how good “TLJ” was at handling Luke Skywalker’s character, too.

I could go on and on. But my main point is that these marathon events really enhance the stories we hear and see. Putting them together offers a cohesive narrative.

And now ... time for “Rise of Skywalker.” We are all dragging now. Tired. Exhausted. Out of it. But it’s time to finish off the saga. Time for it all to end.

1:15 p.m. — We just got done with “The Force Awakens.” I really forgot how much I loved this movie. It does a good job of bringing in nostalgia and some fan service moments. But it also brought some cool new characters and planets into the storyline. What a great way to kick off the sequel trilogy.

The film does a great job of asking questions and raising mysteries for the series. We don’t get all the answers in “Last Jedi.” But we might get some in “Rise of Skywalker,” which is really exciting as we near the end of this marathon.

On a personal note, my bladder is super full. The soda is plentiful. Lots of popcorn.

It is so weird that we are only one film from “Last Jedi” and that means one film closer to “Rise of Skywalker.” The prequel trilogy and original trilogy feel so long ago. What a wild ride it’s been.

9:58 a.m. — “Return of the Jedi” did not do well in this marathon. Not sure where it is going to end up in my rankings, but it won’t be high.

The opening scenes at Jabba’s Palace are tiring and a bore to get through. It’s not until Luke shows up that the action gets going. Otherwise it’s a weird situation where we are seeing our heroes come together but we have no idea what’s happening or what’s going on so it gets odd.

The Yoda scene feels like a coda to “Empire Strikes Back” and gives us information we didn’t really need. But I know when the film came out Yoda’s confirmation definitely meant a lot.

The Ewoks are terrible. Harrison Ford mails in his performance. It’s just not good in so many areas.

The best part surrounds Luke, the Emperor and Darth Vader, who all carry a heavy load to save this film. The final confrontation makes it worthwhile. But so much of this film is something to skip.

It’s interesting to me how much stories can change for us. What we enjoy as a kid becomes lackluster as an adult. Or something we hate as a kid can be great when we are older. Stories have the power to do that.

OK Sequel trilogy is next. Here we go.

7:48 a.m. — “Empire Strikes Back” has finished up and we are now on to “Return of the Jedi.” “ESB” is an untouchable, classic “Star Wars” film. It’s got the battles, the heart, the soul, lightsaber battles and twists at every corner.

You definitely get a sense of “Star Wars” with “A New Hope.” But it’s with “Empire” that you see the growth of the mythology and lore of the universe. You see that there is a deeper universe there — that there’s more to explore. These characters are real in their universe and they too have a story to tell.

The lack of sleep is getting to me. I passed out for a few minutes here and a few minutes there. Nothing crazy but just enough to keep me awake. This second half of the day will be quite a test to see how far I can go. Hope I don’t fall asleep during “Rise of Skywalker.” That wouldn’t be fun.

4:52 a.m. — I recently watched “A New Hope,” so I took this screening as a chance to get some sleep. Some people were awake, others were sleeping. An odd smell permeated the theater. And it was hot. Super hot. Usually I’m good to wear a hoodie in a theater but I was sweating bullets. Things did get better. But dang. It was hot.

“A New Hope” was fun to see on the big screen. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it that way before — even when the re-releases came out. It’s a fun and familiar tale that I don’t need to pay attention to because I know what happens. Excited for “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.” Those are two of the best films in the saga. It’ll hit nice with the breakfast hours.

Thanks for following me throughout the night. Let’s keep this going.

2:24 a.m. — Just got out of “Revenge of the Sith,” which remains one of my favorite “Star Wars” movies. It is easily the best of the prequels but definitely one of the best movies of the saga. Action-packed, heartbreak, drama and hope at the end. How can you not like this movie? Sure, it has some chunky dialogue and unintentional chuckle moments. But it is great.

Everyone in the theater has begun to open up more. More cheers and celebration have happened with each new movie. We started out slow and quiet. Some cheers here and there. Now our crowd is joking around and clapping at the big moments. Our community is growing and we are engaging together in this awesome experience.

It is important we take a step back and recognize the power of story. It’s so unique that something like “Star Wars” can unite 275 people like this in this way. We all flocked to movie theaters to watch a marathon of the movies. How many properties or stories can do that? How many things in general can do that?

We engage in stories so we can tell the history of our world, our society and our culture. “Star Wars” is an example of that. I hope we see more “Star Wars” for years to come. These stories tell us where we are. Romance, politics, war, hope, good vs. evil. We learn so much about ourselves through these stories. Let’s keep it coming.

And one more note — the hype for “Rise of Skywalker” is so high right now. Can’t wait!

11:53 p.m. — “Attack of the Clones” was definitely not as bad as I remember it being. The film starts out super strong and ends on an epic note. The middle is super slow and can be a drag to get through. Luckily, my girlfriend dropped me off a coffee so I pushed through it. The extra jug of soda helped too.

What surprised me most with “AOTC” was how much “The Mandalorian” impacted my understanding of Jango Fett: should I sympathize with him? Understand him more?

This was also the movie where our crowd started to cheer more. The community spirit continues to grow here.

9:50 p.m — “The Phantom Menace” was shown first and it totally hits different as an adult. The film is fun, full of comedy and great action shots. In many ways, it’s the closest film in the trilogy to a traditional “Star Wars” film.

I first saw “TPM” as a child in 1999. My uncle took me to see it in theaters. We ate Pizza Hut after. This was my first time seeing it in theaters again, and I realized how much of a spectacle it was for a child. The podracing, the lightsaber battle — all of it. Just a great, fun film for all “Star Wars” fans.

The crowd was a bit quiet during this film. I think we are still settling in for the marathon. I expect things will get crazy moving forward.

Also, my bladder is super full from soda.

6:50 p.m. — Here we go. I found my seat, snagged my first bucket of popcorn and a full cup of diet strawberry cream soda.

“The Phantom Menace” is up first. Excited to see this film on the big screen for the first time since 1999. Wonder how everything will play out. Excited for the feet smell.

Following “TPM,” we will get “Attack of the Clones.” Haven’t seen that in theaters since it was first released, too. This is going to be awesome.


Here’s a quick look at the schedule:

  • 6 p.m. — Check-in
  • 7 p.m. — “Episode I: The Phantom Menace”
  • 9:30 p.m. — “Episode II: Attack of the Clones”
  • 11:50 p.m. — Break
  • 12 a.m. — “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith”
  • 2:35 a.m. — “Episode IV: A New Hope”
  • 4:35 a.m. — Breakfast break
  • 5:35 a.m. — “Episode V: Empire Strikes Back”
  • 7:50 a.m. — “Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”
  • 10 a.m. — Lunch break
  • 11 a.m. — “Episode VII: The Force Awakens”
  • 1:30 p.m. — “Episode VIII: The Last Jedi”
  • 4 p.m. — Dinner break
  • 5 p.m. — “Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker”

POWER RANKINGS: Before the film, I ranked my favorite “Star Wars” films. Here’s an updated list.

  1. “Empire Strikes Back”
  2. “Revenge of the Sith”
  3. “Return of the Jedi”
  4. “A New Hope”
  5. “The Last Jedi”
  6. “The Force Awakens”
  7. “Attack of the Clones”
  8. “The Phantom Menace”