I’ve seen Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker twice and I’m still not over it. There are so many things to process (and my emotions are one of those things)! I’m going to attempt to break down some of the major points here in this Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker review. Look for additional posts in the future! This Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker review is full of spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet, read this review at your own risk! (If you haven’t seen the movie, consider reading my spoiler free movie review.)
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Forty-two years after A New Hope and four years after The Force Awakens, the Skywalker saga comes to an end with The Rise of Skywalker. There were some good things in this movie. There were some not-so-good things. I don’t know about you, but I left the movie feeling both incredibly happy and heartbroken at the same time. Let’s take a closer look at all of the parts that culminate to make the final movie in the Skywalker saga.
Characters are always my favorite part of a story, and Star Wars is no exception. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker sees our characters reach the end of their personal journeys, and I am both incredibly happy and sad about that. (Sorry for the length, but as I said, characters are my favorite.)
The New Trio
When we first met Rey in The Force Awakens, she was a scavenger who trapped herself on an unforgiving planet because she hoped one day her unknown family would return. She spent the first movie learning that family is not the only belonging someone can have, and we see that play out in The Rise of Skywalker. As Luke says, “Some things are stronger than blood.” Rey finally learns her origins as Emperor Palpatine’s granddaughter, but ultimately she makes her family from her band of friends. By the end of TROS, Rey has Finn, Poe, and Chewie, and her Force family of Leia, Luke, and (we can surmise) Ben Solo. And she finally has a family name: Skywalker.
Finn had a similar journey to Rey. He was a Stormtrooper who defected and joined the Resistance, but whose loyalty always belonged to the first person who saw him as something more than a solider, Rey. Finn’s dedication to Rey led him on such a wild adventure in The Last Jedi. I will be honest with you: Finn always appeared to be a weak character because of this. He was always chasing after Rey. He was still chasing after her throughout The Rise of Skywalker. But while it might make him a weak character, it makes him a great person. We need more representation of loyal people who refuse to give up on their loved ones. Finn was a traitor Stormtrooper when we first met him, and he ends the saga as a general and a war hero. I would love to see his character develop further (maybe in a spin-off featuring him, Lando, and Jannah?).
And then we have Poe. The hot-headed fly-boy who, like Finn, always did what he believed in. (Also known as, Leia’s adopted son.) Poe was known for making risky choices that sometimes paid off, and sometimes failed spectacularly. But we learn from our mistakes. Poe never let his failures define him and continued to make risky choices, albeit better calculated risks. We see Poe mature into the leader Leia believed him to be, ultimately taking Leia’s place as acting general when she gave herself to the Force to bring her son back to the light. In addition, Poe becomes the hope that keeps the Resistance going.
The Original Trio (and Chewie!)
We thought we saw the last of Han in The Force Awakens and Luke in The Last Jedi. Of course these two would prove us wrong. Luke has finally found his way back to his gracious self, consoling Rey when she learns her identity. He is no longer the broken man whose hope is gone. Instead, he becomes the beacon of hope we knew him to be in the original trilogy.
And Han. Han Solo, who gave his life for his son. Although Ben calls him a “memory,” we know Ben’s memory preserved Han full well. Han died attempting to bring his son back to the light, and it’s his memory that Ben relies on to “do what [he has] to do.” Han might not be Force-sensitive, but he is as much a hero as any Jedi. I’m so happy they managed to include him in The Rise of Skywalker.
We all knew that Leia was likely to die in The Rise of Skywalker. No matter what you think about the movie personally, you have to agree that it was a fitting tribute to Carrie Fisher and Leia Organa-Solo. I’ve heard that it’s canon that Leia was stronger with the Force than Luke, and some people were upset that we never got to see her training in the ways of the Force. What a welcome surprise that flashback was! I don’t know about you, but I was thrilled to find out Leia has her own saber. Leia’s journey might end, but she ends by becoming one with the Force and will spend the rest of time with her brother as a Force ghost. I don’t know a better ending.
Although it is sad that Chewie is the last of the original group to survive, I think it is also fitting. Chewie lived prior to Vader, and he lived long enough to see the Skywalker line end. But more than that, he watched the Skywalkers bring balance to the Force and he played a major role in their story. There is still more to Chewie’s story, and I hope that we get to see him in whatever comes next in the Star Wars saga.
Kylo Ren/Ben Solo
Kylo Ren/Ben Solo is one of my favorite characters (no shocker there). I just have a soft spot for conflicted characters who struggle with the pull to the dark side. I especially liked his character because his character arc was the exact opposite of Anakin Skywalker’s arc. Anakin started out with love and was pulled to the Dark Side of the Force through fear for his loved ones, and eventually found his way back to the Light Side because of love. Ben Solo started with fear (his mother feared for him, his uncle feared him) and found his way to the Dark Side out of a need to belong somewhere, and found his way back to the Light Side when love found him again. This is one reason why I am so upset with the end of The Rise of Skywalker. Ben Solo’s character arc is the opposite of Anakin’s, so his story should not have ended the same way Anakin’s did. But I have theories about Ben’s end (and I’ll touch on those later on, I promise).
New Faces, Old Faces
It was so nice to see Lando again! It would have been nice if he had made an appearance earlier in the sequels. Better late than never, though! I suppose it fits with his character that he didn’t show up until now. (At least from what I know of his character.) To me, Lando’s always been a “wait until the last possible minute when it’s clear I’m absolutely needed” type of hero. At least he showed up (with backup!).
I cannot stress how much I loved Hux in The Rise of Skywalker. I worried he was going to be sidelined at the start of the movie. How wonderful it was when he saved out heroes and shouted “I’M THE SPY!” I laughed. I kind of wish he could have survived, but I also can’t deny that he got what he deserved.
Rose was a disappointment in this film, to be completely honest. Some people theorize that Kelly didn’t want a big part because of all the bullying that ensued after TLJ. If that’s the case, then it’s understandable. But if it wasn’t her choice, then she should have had a bigger role. I really wish she would have helped Finn and Jannah in the big scene.
Zorii is a fun character I wasn’t expecting. She and Poe had great chemistry. I would really like to see more of her in future Star Wars installments.
I am really happy with Jannah’s character. Jannah definitely leaves the possibility for more Jedi in future Star Wars installments. We know that Finn is Force-sensitive, and Jannah and the other defectors prove that there were more Force-sensitive people recruited by the First Order. I am definitely open to a Lando-Finn-Jannah spin-off.
There is so. Much. Happening in The Rise of Skywalker. SO MUCH. I love it all, but it will make for a very long post if I touch on everything that happens in this movie. I’m going to do my best to cover the bare-minimum. If there’s anything I leave out that you want to discuss, feel free to leave a comment!
That beginning sequence with Kylo Ren and Emperor Palpatine
We get right into the action, and I love it. I love that we learn the Emperor was connected to Kylo Ren from the beginning. Emperor Palpatine created Snoke and he was behind the scenes the entire time. “Kill the girl.” Oh, you KNEW the Emperor was going to die when he said that to Kylo. This entire sequence was quick, intriguing, and exciting.
The trio’s next adventure
I love that the trio gets to stay together during this movie. Although I loved The Last Jedi and I understand that the trio had to separate for that movie, it was nice to see them all together in The Rise of Skywalker. There was so much action and so much witty dialogue. From the Forbidden Desert of Pasana to Kijimi to Kef Bir in the Endor system, I loved getting to see our characters work together (and even struggle to work together).
The final battle
Talk about a lot going on, the final battle has it all. Jedi and Sith showdown. Battle ships. Of course we think it’s all over for our heroes (more than once, in fact). I can’t do this scene justice, so I’m just going to tell you that I think it’s epic, and the only way it could be improved would be, a, Rose gets a bigger role, and b, Ben and Rey together announce that they are all of the Jedi while facing down the Emperor with the Skywalker lighsabers (JJ really dropped the ball on that, let me tell you).
Tatooine and the last Skywalker
We started this journey on Tatooine, and now we end on Tatooine. I love that Rey takes the Skywalker name. As Luke told her, “Some things are stronger than blood.” Rey might be a Palpatine by blood, but she has definitely earned her place as a Skywalker.
Some people are upset with this end. They say Rey is right back where she started. But she’s not. She’s not alone – she has a group of friends waiting for her. She has the Falcon (and can go anywhere she wants). She has connection to all of the Jedi who came before her (especially Luke and Leia). Maybe Rey wants to take some time alone to process everything that happened and regroup, but that does not mean she’s going to stay on Tatooine all alone. Ending on Tatooine in a great choice because while it appears Rey is exactly where she started (on a sandy planet), she is not. You just have to look beyond the surface to see that.
Connection to Previous Movies
To be honest, the sequel trilogy is my favorite Star Wars trilogy. (Don’t @ me, haters.) However, I did want a bit more connection to the original trilogy aside from the Skywalkers. The First Order and Snoke appeared disconnected from the Star Wars universe, aside from being a Big Bad and taking advantage of the turmoil Vader and the Emperor left behind.
I’ll admit, I was confused when we first got a trailer for The Rise of Skywalker and we found out the Emperor was returning. However, I think that was possibly the best choice plot-wise for the entire sequel trilogy. The Emperor survived and was pulling the strings all along. This to me makes a lot more sense than Snoke appearing out of nowhere to essentially take the Emperor’s place.
The Emperor pulled the strings through both the prequel and original trilogies. It makes sense that he’s included in the sequel trilogy as well.
The Force Awakens was criticized for relying too much on fan service. The Last Jedi was criticized for not having enough fan service. JJ Abrams returned to fan service in The Rise of Skywalker, and of course people complained. I, however, am not one of those people. I loved all of the fan service in The Rise of Skywalker. Lando’s return was one of my favorite parts. And then there was the Endor system and the Death Star, the Emperor, Luke’s X-Wing (and Luke pulling it from the water). Everyone returning for the final battle was an epic scene. Han’s return was a welcome surprise. All of the Jedi speaking to Rey when she faces the Emperor. Luke and Leia appearing as Force ghosts at the very end brought tears to my eyes. These are just some of the Easter Eggs JJ and the crew included in The Rise of Skywalker. What were your favorites?
I’m sorry. You knew it was coming if you’ve read any of my other Star Wars posts! I am a huge Reylo shipper, and I was left desperate after The Last Jedi and on the edge of my seat throughout the entirety of The Rise of Skywalker. And I was right! Reylo is canon! Reylo was endgame! I squealed at the kiss scene! And cried when Ben died in Rey’s arms after giving his life to save her. I can’t deal. If you need me, I’ll be in bed, reliving this scene over and over and coming up with theories of how they can still be together. (There are actually quite a lot out there!)
I promised you I would address some theories that Ben is not really gone. If I cover everything, it will make this post twice as long. I highly suggest that you look up more of these theories (or maybe I will write a separate post in the future about them… if Mom lets me!). Right now I’m just going to barely touch on these.
There’s evidence that Ben Solo was supposed to survive this trilogy (look it up because there’s A LOT).
Here are some of my favorite pieces of evidence that Ben is alive:
- If Rey and Ben are a dyad in the Force, there should have been enough lifeforce to sustain both of them. They can both bring life to the Emperor, but they can’t sustain each other?
- The way he dies. He faints and then… disappears. Every time we’ve seen someone disappear, they become a Force ghost, but they never faint beforehand and we don’t see Ben as a Force ghost.
- Leia disappears AFTER her son does, and then Force-sensitive Maz… smiles? Like? You knew Leia’s goal was to save Ben’s life? Why are you smiling? And why did Leia disappear AFTER Ben did?
- The World between Worlds is included in the Jedi texts, and is supposedly mentioned in the visual dictionary for this movie. Why include that unless it’s going to play a role?
Whether or not it’s confirmed to be canon, I truly believe that Ben Solo can come back. (And I have to believe it or else I will go insane.) I suppose time will tell. By the way, I’m totally up for discussing these theories in the comments if you want to!
See Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Now
I sincerely hope that you’ve already seen Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker already if you made it to the end of this post. However, if you haven’t yet seen it, go do it now! And if you have already seen it, go see it again! I’ll admit, there were some things that went wrong in the film, but (aside from the ending) I truly believe all the good outweighs the bad. It was an epic conclusion to an epic saga.
And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to researching theories.
Post written by Molly Maurer