Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – A Saga Ends

Kylo Ren and Rey face off on the remains of the Death Star in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Courtesy of Lucasfilm.

Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker isn’t only the ninth Star Wars installment but the ultimate conclusion to a franchise started in 1977.

It goes without saying that for fear of even the most mild of spoilers, I ask that you please do not read any further until after seeing the film. If you’re anything like me, go into the film knowing as little as possible.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
A scene from STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER. Courtesy of Lucasfilm.

The saga ends as it begins on the desert planet of Tatooine as one character looks out at the twin sunset.  How did we arrive here?  Well, it started over 42 years ago when Star Wars was first released in theaters.  You couldn’t have asked for a more fitting ending to the saga.  It’s a perfect ending in that regard.

The sequel trilogy will go down in history as being equal to or better than the original trilogy.  There’s always a lot going on and many characters to keep up with.  This part didn’t bother me in the slightest.  If there is any complaint, it’s that screenwriters Chris Terrio & J.J. Abrams decided to write a sequel to Star Wars: The Force Awakens rather than Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  In some ways, you can’t fault them for doing so.  Abrams is only seeing to his vision of the story created when the franchise resumed.  No matter what one thinks, this certainly doesn’t change the fact that The Last Jedi took place.  It goes without saying that toxic fandom can’t and should never win.

The first film revealed to us that Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) was really Ben Solo, son of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher).  In the previous film, Kylo tells Rey (Daisy Ridley) that her parents were no one.  What Rey decides to do with this (and more information we learn) is really up to her.  I’d honestly be interesting in seeing how Rian Johnson would have continued their trajectory.  Again, this isn’t to take anything away from this film–which I truly enjoyed as a Star Wars fan.  Anyway, the film introduces us to the concept of a Force Dyad.  It’s because of this that Ben and Rey are bonded.  Apparently, their the first such combo in many generations according to the film.  The film does enough to expand on the idea to the point in which a backstory isn’t required in a TV series.

Appropriately, the film sticks to just a few key planets.  Much of the film’s plot evolves around Sith planet Exegol.  You guessed it!  This is exactly where we find Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid).  Not surprisingly, he died and came back to life in preparation for The Final Order.  I’ll refrain from spoilers but let’s just say that Darth Sidious has always been lurking in the shadows since Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.  That he had any involvement with the sequel trilogy’s narrative should surprise no one.  Unlike animated series such as Star Wars Rebels, the films haven’t really explored Sith history or their temples.  We’ve seen the Sith Wayfinders before–most recently in a recent episode of Star Wars Resistance.  Statues of the Four Sages of Dwartii make a return appearance albeit much larger than they were in then-Chancellor Palpatine’s offices in the prequels.

Sadly, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker marks the last film for Carrie Fisher.  Abrams utilizes unused footage from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Our favorite princess certainly gets a fitting farewell.  I couldn’t imagine any other way for her to pass away.  Is it the way we imagined?  No, it isn’t.  Thankfully, Princess Leia was not among the Rebellion’s old guard that perished in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  It would have been a tragedy in its own right.

It has been quite the ride to say the least.  Speaking purely on an enjoyment and entertainment level, the film hits every mark.  More importantly, all the questions I had going into the film were answered.  Plus, it was nice to see so many callbacks even if some voice cameos were blink-and-miss-it!  This is probably John Williams’ final Star Wars film.  It’s one of the best scores of the year.  I loved hearing so many of my favorite tunes.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker may prove to be just as divisive as its predecessor but at the end of the day, to each their own.

DIRECTOR:  J.J. Abrams
SCREENWRITERS:  Chris Terrio & J.J. Abrams
CAST:  Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong’o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, with Ian McDiarmid and Billy Dee Williams

Lucasfilm will open Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in theaters on December 20, 2019. Grade: 5/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.