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Star Wars The Rise Of Skywalker Spoiler FAQ

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker can now boast of being the worst-reviewed movie in the entire franchise, second only to the Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. At least by critics.

While Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi divided the fandom like never before, The Rise Of Skywalker will go down in history as a movie that united critics, fans, and non-fans into one camp; that it is a steaming pile of hot garbage.

In this article, I will discuss almost every detail in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, so stop reading this now if you still haven’t watched the movie and want to avoid spoilers. However, if you have seen it, let’s dive into this deep dark void occupied by the Expanded Universe and Kelly Marie Tran’s Star Wars career.

What is Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker?

It is the third and final movie in the Sequel Trilogy that started with 2015’s Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, as well as the conclusion to the entire Skywalker Saga (which now spans nine movies, 42 years and countless spinoffs in other media).

It is directed by J.J. “Star Trek lens flare” Abrams, with a screenplay co-written by  Abrams himself and Chris Terrio. Who is Chris Terrio, you might ask?

Chris Terrio, ladies and gentlemen.

Terrio is an award-winning screenwriter, whose credits include iconic and legendary works like 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and 2017’s Justice League. It’s no wonder that the good folks at Disney decided to hire such a prominent and accomplished man of his calibre.

How does the movie start?

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker already begins on a bold but confusing note. The classic opening space crawl immediately announces that Emperor Palpatine is back, without any pomp or gravitas.

It’s just something we all have to accept, despite the fact none of what happened in the previous two movies foreshadowed his return.

Quite ridiculously, the opening crawl makes it sound like Palpatine suddenly announced his own return to the entire Galaxy via some sort of Force megaphone.

Why would someone who has apparently been hiding in secret for decades do such a blatantly idiotic thing? The Force works in mysterious ways…

The first scene of the movie starts with Kylo Ren (in an admittedly badass intro)who, after learning of Palpatine’s return, goes on a journey to track him down and kill him, perceiving him to be a threat to his new role of First Order Supreme Leader. He goes to an unknown planet and finds a Sith Wayfinder, the MacGuffin/plot device of this movie, which leads him to the Sith planet where Palpatine now resides.

Kylo Ren finds Palpatine in a zombified and physically-impaired state there attended by Sith acolytes of some sort. The former Emperor then reveals that he has somehow been behind everything that happened since The Force Awakens, including the rise of the First Order, Snoke, and even Kylo Ren’s turn to the Dark Side.

He also reveals that he has somehow amassed an entire fleet of new Star Destroyers after all this time and that he wants Kylo Ren to kill Rey if he wants to join him in building a new, wait for it, Final Order.

While that moniker is groan-inducing, let’s not forget that this is the same series that gave us stellar names such as General Grievous, Savage Opress, and Elan Sleazebaggano.

Wait, what? How is Palpatine still alive after his literal fall from grace in Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi?

Also, how did he build those Star Destroyers without the resources of a Galatic Empire?

Great questions. Alas, the movie never answers them at all.

The answers are simple; Palpatine just ****ing is. All we know is that he didn’t die in Return Of The Jedi, and he somehow survived all these years on a Sith planet called Exegol without anyone realising.

Oh, and he somehow amassed an entire fleet of Star Destroyers, each of which is equipped with Death Star-level armaments, in the span of several decades without the resources of a Galactic Empire.

I had the same problem with the idea of the First Order in the first two movies. How did a guerilla faction that was formed in the far reaches of the Outer Rim have access to resources and military might comparable to that of a Galactic Empire?

It’s like the KKK or Al-Qaeda suddenly being on equal terms with the USA, China, or any world superpower. I know that this is a fictional universe and that real-world logistics need not apply. But even for a sci-fi fantasy series, this is incredibly hard to swallow.

Alright, so what happens next?

The movie then cuts to Poe and Finn on a mission to retrieve a message from a secret spy from the First Order, which conveniently confirms that Palpatine has returned. Meanwhile, on the new jungle planet where the Resistance base is now located, Rey is busy undergoing Jedi training with Leia.

Oh, yeah, the movie has revealed yet another retcon; that Leia actually trained as a Jedi with Luke when they were younger, but she stopped once she had visions of having a child (Ben Solo AKA Kylo Ren).

Just as Poe and Finn reach there with the new information, everyone nonchalantly receives the news of Palpatine’s threat like it’s nothing, and with all the enthusiasm of a blurb from today’s edition of the newspaper.

NEXT

Why are they fighting so much?

There’s no sense of tension or drama in this revelation unless you count Poe suddenly ragging on Rey for wasting time on Jedi training when she could have gone with them on missions instead.

Yeah, Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker is the only movie in the Sequel Trilogy where all three main characters (Rey, Finn and Poe) are finally seen interacting together as a trio, and they spent the first few moments of this squabbling over petty stuff. This will continue to happen throughout the movie, as Poe seems to have some kind of personal beef against both Finn and Rey.

This is how J.J. Abrams chooses to have them spend their last movie together; with in-fighting and forced drama.

I’m not saying that it has to be all sunshine and rainbows, but this kind of drama should have been explored and resolved in the first two movies. We don’t need to see all this last-minute unnecessary conflict in what should be the finale.

Well, they then decide to find Palpatine. Another convenient plot point comes along as Rey reveals that one of the Jedi books previously owned by Luke Skywalker explains what Sith Wayfinders are and where to find them.

What a lucky coincidence, and one of many to come!

Chewbacca and C-3PO tag along on this quest for the Sith Wayfinder, and it turns out that the first clue lies on the desert planet Pasaana. Oh, and a dancing festival that only happens every 42 years (blatant easter egg, everyone!) just happens to take place on the day they visit the planet, how quaint.

They seem utterly lost like idiots until Lando Calrissian miraculously appears. He reveals that he and Luke once came to this planet to find the Sith Wayfinder in the past. Another convenient plot device, seeing the pattern now?

They find the remains of a Sith assassin, his ship, and a dagger inscribed with Sith text, which would lead the way to the Sith Wayfinder. However, C-3PO’s programming conveniently prevents him from reading the Sith inscription, because it was one of the rules of the old Republic (from the Prequel Trilogy) that droids be forbidden from reading Sith text.

Hmm, that must surely the then-Senator/Chancellor Palpatine’s doing. Still, it seems silly that he would inscribe the coordinates of the secret Sith planet on a dagger for no good reason at all.

The dagger essentially exists only to act as yet another lazy MacGuffin/plot device to move the characters forward to the next setting.

Oh, and it’s also around this time that we learn of a new Force ability that’s never been seen in four decades of Star Wars movies, as Rey uses some kind of Force healing to heal the wound of a sand serpent.

I don’t have a problem with this, since it still seems to be a plausible Force skill within the confines of in-universe rules, unlike the ridiculous Force projection and Mary Poppins surviving-in-space Force ability exhibited by Luke and Leia respectively in The Last Jedi.

Rey can do Force Lightning now?

Kylo Ren and the First Order crashes the party. Chewbacca gets kidnapped but Rey accidentally destroys the transport that she thought Chewie was on after a Force tug of war between her and Kylo Ren when she inadvertently unleashed Force Lightning. Wow, that certainly came out of nowhere.

Chewie bites the dust?

Yep… or not. We learn in a bit that he’s actually alive and well as he was on another transport. This obviously rushed-out bit is just to give our heroes more emotional anguish and guilt since they don’t know it yet at this point.

The problem with all this is that the weight of Rey suddenly killing one of her friends by using what is a Dark Side Force ability is immediately negated by the fact that Chewbacca is actually still alive.

The only purpose of that scene was to foreshadow the biggest revelation of the movie; that Rey is of the Palpatine bloodline thereby implying that she has a natural propensity towards the Dark Side.

Where do they go next?

This is when they decide to go to Kijima and have the best new character of the movie, an adorable little guy-slash-merchandise-opportunity named Babu Frik, to hack into C-3PO’s head. However, this causes all of his memories to be wiped, resulting in one of the most emotional moments in the entire moment.

Unfortunately, all that will be undone by the end of the movie, as it turns out that R2-D2 actually has a backup of C-3PO’s memories, once again sucking the emotional weight of another poignant scene.

During this, Poe also bumps into an old acquaintance and strongly-implied ex-lover vibe, the mysterious masked Zori Bliss played by one of J.J Abrams BFF Keri Russell. I think she’s cool and exudes sexual energy like Mass Effect‘s Tali Zorah, but she’s just there to help them break into Kylo Ren’s Star Destroyer.

Why? Because Rey conveniently senses there and then that Chewbacca is alive and being held captive on that Star Destroyer.

Even more merchandising opportunities.

What do they do on the Star Destroyer?

They all go there just to get themselves captured but the secret First Order saves them, who turns out to be General Hux. He wants to help the Resistance because he hates Kylo Ren.

He then dies like a joke character in the next scene as General Pryde deduces that he’s the spy. If you’re keeping score, this is another pointless character in Star Wars receiving a pointless death, just like Captain Phasma in The Last Jedi. This happened to Boba Fett and General Grievous too, so it’s not really a new phenomenon in the franchise.

While all this is happening, Rey is having a confrontation with Kylo Ren. This is the halfway point of the movie, where things start to make even less sense. Kylo finally reveals that Rey is the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine. Unlike the iconic revelation of Darth Vader being Luke’s father in The Empire Strikes Back, this one is delivered so nonchalantly that it lacks any sense of tension or real shock.

We finally learn the true origin of Rey, and it feels unsatisfying. When did Palpatine have kids? Where have they been all this time, especially during the events of the Original Trilogy?

The fact that Palpatine had to procreate is something no human being on the planet should ever imagine or even think of.

NEXT

Where is the dagger pointing them next?

The Sith coordinates they got from the Sith dagger points them to a planet where the remnants of the Second Death Star remain untouched, which doesn’t make sense in the Star Wars universe considering how many scavengers there in the galaxy.

Heck, they were cleaning up the leftovers of the Clone Wars only a few years after it ended, as shown in the recent Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order video game.

Coincidentally, a group of former First Order stormtroopers live on this planet, led by a woman named Jannah, who agrees to help Rey and the gang. Rey decides to be a dumbass and head to the Death Star ruins herself after she conveniently used the dagger to oh-so-easily locate the exact location of the Sith Wayfinder.

When she finds the Wayfinder, she’s confronted by Dark Rey, the one seen in the trailers.

Is Dark Rey real? 

Unfortunately for many fans out there, edgelord Rey is simply a Dark Force vision, similar to the one Luke experienced in The Empire Strikes Back when he saw his face in Darth Vader’s helmet.

Many already predicted this way before the movie was released, but that doesn’t make it any less disappointing.

Are there any lightsaber duels in this movie?

It is during this time that Kylo Ren conveniently shows up and confronts Rey, leading to one of the weakest lightsaber duels in the history of the franchise. This is the only fight in the movie worthy of being called a lightsaber duel and it’s so boring.

What should have been epic is just Rey and Kylo whacking at each other with glowing sticks.

The best lightsaber duels have great music, great choreography and an intense emotional tinge permeating the atmosphere. This particular duel has none of them, which marks Star Wars The Rise Of Skywalker as the only Star Wars movie without a decent or memorable lightsaber.

Heck, even The Last Jedi had the duel with Snoke’s Praetorian Guards that was better in retrospect.

The concluding instalment of the Skywalker Saga, and it doesn’t feature a halfway decent lightsaber duel. It’s a travesty. What is a Star Wars movie without lightsaber duels? You know, the very thing that the franchise is famous for? I sincerely doubt that anyone will remember Rey and Kylo’s duel in this movie next year, let alone decades from now.

Let me guess, more convenient plot points happened after that. 

That is not a question. And you guessed right. Kylo destroys the Sith Wayfinder, and this makes Rey angry enough to want to stab him in the belly with her lightsaber.

It’s unclear what really happens, but just as Rey impales Kylo, Leia calls out to her son through the Force to awaken his Light Side just before she drops dead.

Rey then uses the Force Healing she used on the sand serpent from Pasaana on Kylo Ren after stabbing him in the stomach. Why? I have no idea. She probably sensed Leia’s call to Kylo Ren or she feels guilty over stabbing him.

Rey, in emotional distraught, hijacks Kylo’s ship and goes to Ach-To, the planet where Luke died in The Last Jedi. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren undergoes a nonsensical 360-degree turn to the Light Side, after a vision of Han Solo appears to him and completely convinces him. It’s not a Force Ghost, because Han isn’t a Jedi, and he wasn’t blue.

This is when Kylo does one of the stupidest things in the movie. Now that he has reverted to being Ben Solo, he throws his cross-helm red lightsaber away as a symbolic gesture of redemption and leaving the Dark Side behind.

This obvious symbolism bites him in the ass because he later goes to Exegol and gets the crap beaten out of him by the Knights Of Ren. Oh boy, a lightsaber would have helped him a lot in that situation.

But that’s okay; the newly-invented Force item-trading-and-transporting powers will sort out that issue.

What? Another new Force power?

Yep! Earlier in the movie when Rey and the gang were at Pasaana, Kylo Ren can somehow grab the necklace she was holding across time and space, despite him being literally planets away. That’s how he discovered that they were on the desert planet in the first place.

When Kylo gets overwhelmed by the Knights Of Ren on Exegol, Rey uses the same new Force power by throwing or teleporting Anakin/Luke’s lightsaber to him. It’s a very convenient new Force power, and one that allows for the writers to easily resolve situations.

This new Force ability might only be possible due to the whole new Force Dyad concept, which will only be confirmed later on in the movie when Rey and Kylo confront Palpatine (more on that in the next page of this article). The Force Dyad concept explains the bizarre Force Bond between them, which was first seen in The Last Jedi (in which they could sense each other across time and space).

What did Rey do on Ach-To?

Rey is likely planning to hide away in seclusion on Ach-To and abandon her mission just like Luke. But just as she’s about to throw her lightsaber into the burning wreck that is Kylo’s ship, Luke’s Force ghost appears and grabs the lightsaber in time. Never mind how lore-breaking it is since Force ghosts aren’t supposed to be able to physically interact with anything from the living world.

Luke convinces her to confront Palpatine, but she doesn’t have a Sith Wayfinder. Oh, wait, the most laughably-ridiculous convenient thing happens, as it turns out there there’s a surviving Sith Wayfinder on Kylo’s ship. But wait, she doesn’t have a ship.

That’s ok; Force Ghost Luke uses the Force to levitate his old iconic Red Five X-Wing from the ocean, which surprisingly can still fly despite being submerged for Force knows how many years.

What is the Resistance doing now?

Meanwhile, the Resistance is still reeling from Leia’s death, with Poe given the reins of leadership. He rallies the remaining Resistance to bring the fight to Exegol, but an obstacle stands in the way: a cosmic storm.

How convenient then, that Rey is charting the safe route for them right there and then, allowing them to go straight to Exegol, without a plan.

The Resistance do not have a plan?

Nope, they do not. Sort of.

In a “hopefully it happens” kind of way. Lando goes to the Outer Rim and asks for the help of the rest of the Galaxy. They went into a sea of Star Destroyers just hoping that the rest of the Galaxy would come to their aid. They could have gotten decimated before help came, but whatever, right? Just take a page from Return of the Jedi and hope for the best.

When the help does come, it stretches my suspension of disbelief. How could Lando have amassed such a massive fleet of ships from so-called civilians and normal inhabitants of the galaxy?

When they did arrive, it was such an unbelievable deus ex machina moment that doesn’t feel as powerful as it should have been. I should have felt the same as I did when Gandalf the White arrived with reinforcements in the Battle of Helm’s Deep in The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers.

The Resistance also brought freaking horse-like creatures to a battle in space, and this is when the Sith Troopers appear.

The Sith Troopers arrive so unceremoniously that I can’t help but think that they’re just a half-baked creation for making toys. They’re not even hiding that fact at this point. Stuff like the Sith Troopers and Knights Of Ren are just fodder for toys and merchandise, that is if there are even any fans left who want to buy these when the dust clears.

NEXT

How anti-climactic is the last part of the film? 

Very. Like he did with Luke in Return of the Jedi, Palpatine invites Rey to strike him down and fulfil her legacy as the new emperor, especially because she’s of his lineage. She doesn’t, of course, and gets help from Ben Solo, who comes tumbling in after a weak-ass fight with the Knights Of Ren that was treated as merely an afterthought.

When it doesn’t seem like Rey will succumb to the Dark Side, Palpatine decides to suck the life Force of both Rey and Ben. Suddenly, a new Chosen One-like concept gets haphazardly introduced as Palpatine declares that Rey and Ben are a Force Dyad.

According to Wookiepedia, a Force Dyad is “a phenomenon that occurred when two Force-sensitive beings came together and collectively shared the power of one individual.”

This is an entirely new concept that has never been mentioned or established in the franchise, only introduced in the final 20 minutes of the final movie of the Skywalker Saga. That’s pretty sloppy storytelling with any lack of foreshadowing.

It’s like we only find out about the Chosen One prophecy in the last 20 minutes of Revenge Of The Sith, instead of knowing about it since The Phantom Menace. It’s a lazy and haphazard way of adding to the lore, and this late addition means that it will probably only get explained or explored further in tie-ins or other Star Wars media.

I personally like this new Force Dyad concept, as it doesn’t interfere with the Chosen One prophecy of the Original and Prequel Trilogies. Had they properly introduced and fleshed it out in The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi, I would have welcomed this new concept better.

Wait, so how does Rey defeat Palpatine?

After sucking the life Force of Rey and Ben, Palpatine gains enough strength to stand up and walk again. He uses this power to Force push Ben off the side of a cliff. There goes the last of the Skywalker bloodline, or so it seems.

Rey then gets hit by Force Lightning and is down on the floor. This is when the biggest missed opportunity of the movie takes place. Rey closes her eyes and tries to be one with the Force, essentially connecting with all the previous Jedi.

Here’s all the Jedi who spoke to inspire Rey:

They all repeat the phrase, “Rise, Rey”, and the most interesting line is spoken by Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker who said; “Bring balance to the Force, like I did.” while Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker spoke the last line, “The Force is with you, Rey, always.”

One qualm I have with this is that Disney should have hired all these actors to reprise their roles and appear as Force Ghosts (maybe use CGI for the animated characters). This would have been significantly more epic and impactful. It’s not like Disney doesn’t have the money to pay them. It’s the final movie to cap 42 years of Star Wars, for Pete’s sake.

They could do the equivalent of this for Avengers Endgame, so why couldn’t they have done the same with Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker? Sure, it will be difficult to assemble them all just for one specific scene, but they have the money and resources to do it. They just chose not to.

Anyway, Rey finally rises and deflects Palpatine’s Force Lightning using both Luke and Leia’s lightsaber, proclaiming, “I am all the Jedi.” Sure, Rey, keep on telling yourself. The delivery of this line and the execution of this scene falls flat, becoming cringey, just like another scene at the very end.

Wait, surely it’s not over yet?

Yeah, the movie’s not over yet. After she vaporises Palpatine with his own Force Lightning, she falls to the ground, seemingly dead. Ben Solo then climbs out from the chasm in which he was thrown and sacrifices himself to revive Rey, giving her all his life Force.

In a moment that came out of nowhere and will enrage even Reylo shippers, they kiss, before Ben dies, his body fading away and becoming one with the Force, a sign that he has redeemed himself.

Cue jubilant celebrations by the Resistance and the first same-sex kiss in franchise history (which I didn’t get to see because it was cut by censors here in Malaysia), Rey returns to the Skywalker farm on Tatooine. There, she buries Luke and Leia’s lightsabers and reveals that she now has her own yellow lightsaber.

That doesn’t make sense because one, planet Illum, where kyber crystals (the power source of the lightsabers) were mined, has already been destroyed. You see, Starkiller Base was built on planet Illum, and it was destroyed in The Force Awakens. Secondly, who the hell is left to teach Rey how to make her own lightsaber?

The only logical explanation for that is if she builds one based on Luke Skywalker’s surviving journals and texts, or from Maz Kanata, who seems to know just about everything despite not being a Jedi.

An old woman then passes by and asks Rey who she is. Rey looks out and sees the Force ghosts of Luke and Leia, and she answers, “Rey Skywalker.”

Despite being a long-time fan of the franchise, all I felt at this point was annoyance and frustration. I feel robbed that Rey is taking on the Skywalker name so undeservedly when Ben could have received a better redemption arc if The Last Jedi didn’t happen.

So, that’s it, huh?

That’s it. The Original and Prequel Trilogies inspired generations of kids to pick up sticks and pretend to be in a lightsaber duel, to feel their goosebumps rising as the iconic Star Wars theme plays, or everything else. Everyone had their own reason to love Star Wars.

However, I’ll be hard-pressed to find any kid out there who is as much of a smitten fanboy/fangirl as I was (and countless others) back in the 90s and the early 2000s. I grew up with the Prequel Trilogy, watched the Original Trilogy later, but still loved both of them very much. I can’t, and probably never will say the same about the Sequel Trilogy.

This is one time that I agree with Kylo Ren. “Let the past die. Kill it if you have to.” Seems like I’ll take his advice in regards to the Sequel Trilogy. Squandered potential, that’s what it is.


 

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