Throughout the month of January, fans around the world were able to see The Rise of Skywalker in theaters, completing the “Skywalker Saga”. Alongside the talented Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver, many original cast members returned for the film, including Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Billy Dee Williams. Even the late Carrie Fisher reprised her role, despite her death in 2017, through the usage of leftover footage and CGI. For many, including myself, the film was nostalgic, due in part to the return of a few classic Star Wars characters. However, despite a substantial amount of positive responses, many argue that the movie was too “unadventurous” as the final installment in the iconic space epic.
The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker follow the story of a scavenger girl named Rey, who searches for her parents throughout the entirety of the trilogy. She lives her life exchanging machine parts for food rations in order to survive. However, her entire life changes when she meets Finn, a runaway stormtrooper. Throughout the first two films, she meets several characters, including but not limited to Leia, Han, Chewbacca, and, perhaps most importantly, Luke Skywalker. Prior to The Rise of Skywalker, it was revealed that Rey was somehow connected to Kylo Ren, the son of Princess Leia and Han Solo. Though it was unclear as to why the two were connected, Kylo Ren, formerly known as Ben Solo, used this connection to search for Rey in the final film.
Within the first few scenes of the film, Ben Solo finds Emperor Palpatine, the main antagonist in the prequels and original trilogy. Solo was instructed to find and kill Rey, as she was deemed a threat to the Emperor and his newly formed Final Order. Rey and Ben have numerous fights throughout the film, until Solo eventually tells her that she is the granddaughter of the Emperor. Surprised and afraid of her family and bloodline, Rey runs away and tries to isolate herself on an island, but through the guidance of Luke Skywalker, she gathered the courage to leave the island and face the Emperor. Ben also encounters his father, in the form of a memory, and decides to no longer follow the Emperor, but instead help Rey. The two confront the Emperor, who is ultimately killed by Rey, with the help of past Jedi. Though Rey initially dies, Ben saves her by sacrificing himself. In Ben’s final scene, he kisses Rey, then disappears into thin air. The final scene in the film shows Rey burying Luke and Leia’s lightsabers near Luke’s old home in A New Hope. Despite knowing her true lineage, she chooses the Skywalkers as her true family and takes their name.
As stated before, I would label this film as nostalgic. Out of the 3 Star Wars trilogies, my favorite is without a doubt the original. Therefore, when I saw the actors reprise their roles in The Rise of Skywalker, I felt happy and excited. That being said, there were definitely certain aspects that I, along with my peers, disliked about the film. I found that many viewers found the kiss between Ben and Rey “out-of-place” and unexpected, as it did not fit in the storyline of the film. There was no explanation as to how Palpatine survived his “death” in The Return of the Jedi. But despite these plot holes, I found this movie enjoyable and went to watch it for a second time for my brother’s birthday. Though I knew everything about the film (prior to watching it for the second time), it was still exciting and fun.