There are a lot of things that go into making a movie. Although the director tends to get the lion’s share of the credit - or the blame - for how they turn out, cinema is a truly collaborative endeavour, the combined effort of literally hundreds of talented professionals.
That’s why it’s baffling that glaring errors in narrative continuity actually make it to the finished film. There have to be a dozen or more people at each of the three stages - pre-production, production and post-production - with both the know-how and the clout to turn around and say, “wait a minute. This doesn’t make any sense.”
Yet despite this, goofs and gaffes in basic storytelling continue to pop up in films costing tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars. Here, the example we’re focusing on is the damp squib: the firework movie moment that’s introduced with explosive fanfare… only to fizzle out when the main movie narrative proceeds to ignore it completely.
Whether it’s a pivotal dramatic turn that the movie then flip flops on, an epic set-piece that’s immediately invalidated by what comes next or a vital emotional touchstone that gets lost in the shuffle - let’s talk about the huge movie moments that didn’t matter in the slightest.
10. Chewbacca's Apparent Death - Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker (2019)
There’s a lot in The Rise Of Skywalker that doesn’t make a huge amount of sense - like the off-screen resurrection of the Emperor, or the mcguffin-chasing plot that spans half the movie yet is made utterly irrelevant five minutes after completion.
Chewbacca’s apparent death, however, is a different kind of nonsense. Like it or not, each of the three protagonists of the original trilogy was given a movie in this sequel trilogy to complete their narrative arc, each time ending in their deaths. It wasn’t outside the realms of possibility that Chewbacca would join them - but being captured off-camera and shot down by friendly fire isn’t the most rousing of ways to leave a franchise.
However, it was Rey’s error that killed her friend, her giving in to darker emotions that fuelled the force lightning that destroyed the ship he was on. Sidekicks and partners are tools of the narrative trade: being sacrificed for plot points is kind of what they’re for. Everything was set up for Chewie’s death to mean something, to be a turning point for Rey’s development…
...only to be walked back, literally three minutes later, when Chewie was revealed to be alive and still a prisoner. But that’s okay! Rey didn’t know - this is still a developmental moment for her… oh. Rey finds out he’s alive ten minutes after that. Well, that was a waste of time.