How anti-climactic is the last part of the film?Â
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:
- Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn
- Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi
- Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker
- Frank Oz as Yoda
- Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu
- Freddie Prinze Jr as Kanan Jarrus (from Star Wars: Rebels)
- Ashley Eckstein as Ahsoka Tano (from Star Wars: The Clone Wars/Rebels)
- Angelique Perrin as Adi Gallia (from The Phantom Menace and The Clone Wars)
- Jennifer Hale as Aayla Secura (from Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
- Olivia D’Abo as Luminara Unduli (from Attack of the Clones and The Clone Wars)
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.