Having avoided trailers and sneak peaks and interviews for over a month now (and more recently, reviews as well), I went into Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker with an open mind. But even having done so, it’s difficult to express how I felt at the end of it.
WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker.
NO, BUT SERIOUSLY, THERE ARE A LOT OF SPOILERS HERE. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Listen, I liked The Last Jedi, but at the same time I was hoping that The Rise of Skywalker would reinforce the things that I liked about TLJ while doing a bit more justice to the type of Star Wars story that we all deserve. You know, a tale that has a healthy dash of nostalgia but still gives us something new, a la Star Wars Rebels.
Unfortunately, as entertaining as The Rise of Skywalker was, it failed in that ‘new story’ aspect. I mean, one of the first things that happened after the opening crawl was the reintroduction of Emperor freakin’ Palpatine…and despite having stayed far away from any spoilers or even theories, his cackly little comments about Rey had me immediately thinking ‘oh gods please don’t let her be someone he created, or related to him somehow’. (The former thought being due to the test tube Snokes floating around in the Sith temple, although apparently that whole reveal was pointless as it was never mentioned again and had no bearing on the plot as a whole, so far as I could tell…and don’t even get me started on the fact that there is zero explanation as to how Palpatine’s – or even just his BODY – ‘survived’ his apparent non-death in Return of the Jedi.)
But then there it was, y’all: Rey is a Palpatine. Ugh, ugh, ugh. Like listen, I felt a flash-in-the-pan sense of disappointment when we first learned that she was ‘no one’ in TLJ, but I very quickly warmed up to the idea of that being the case, because once I caught some interviews and really thought about it, her not being from some important Force-sensitive family (like the Skywalkers, or even a descendant of Obi-Wan somehow) felt right. And honestly I’m not sure what’s worse: if that TLJ reveal was a red herring, or if they simply decided to retcon it because fans were upset. (I suppose I lean toward the latter being worse, but in all those post-TLJ interviews they really doubled down on her being no one and how important that was, so having it then be a red herring also rubs me the wrong way.)
Now, it should come as a surprise to no one that Finn is Force-sensitive, and yes, I absolutely believe that’s what he was going to tell Rey when he thought they were about to die in the ‘quicksand’. But like the test tube Snokes, it seems the writers forgot all about this, because while they dropped some heavy-handed hints, Finn never actually told Rey. And sure, I suppose he didn’t have to say the words in order for us to pick up what Rise of Skywalker was putting down…but they really beat that ‘Finn has something important to tell Rey’ dead horse over and over again throughout the movie, so, in my opinion at least, it would have been nice to hear him say The Thing.
That said, yay Finn IS Force-sensitive! (That was one of the Force Awakens ‘theories’ that I hoped was true but wasn’t bolstered at all by TLJ, so yes, I’m happy that Rise of Skywalker made it an obvious thing, even if it wasn’t stated outright.)
And on that note, some other things I liked about The Rise of Skywalker: it’s visually stunning, basically every scene with Finn and Poe in it was amazing (seriously, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac really know how to play off each other) as was everything with Chewy (well, minus his red herring ‘death’), the inclusion of Clone Wars/Rebels character voices in the “Rey is every Jedi” scene was perfection, and despite a lot of the Leia stuff looking/feeling awkward due to it being archive footage, in the end they did our Princess General justice.
Oh, and as always, the droids were great. I was worried that the addition of another cute lil’ droid in D-O would be too much, but in the end loved that BB-8 gets to have a friend. I wish R2-D2 hadn’t been shuffled off screen for most of the movie, but hey, at least C-3PO got some great moments!
I also really liked getting a bit more of Poe’s backstory, and I loved the new characters that were a part of that (Korii Bliss was amazing, but let’s be real, Babu Frik stole those scenes). And speaking of new characters, hey there WERE more First Order trooper deserters out there! (I just wish that the inclusion of Jannah hadn’t clearly been meant to give Finn a female character other than Rose to play off of. Don’t think I didn’t see what you were doing there, JJ.)
(As for that whole Rey/Kylo kiss, all I have to say about that is ‘sorry not sorry, but YUCK’.)
Overall, The Rise of Skywalker had some great high points…but it had some crappy low points, as well. When I told admin Angel that I had to sleep on it before finishing this review (something I have literally never done since I started reviewing the new Star Wars movies, back with TFA), she said, “They attempted to please everyone and thus nobody was 100% satisfied”. Was The Rise of Skywalker the worst end I could have imagined for the new trilogy? Not by a long shot, and again, I did enjoy watching it…but they could have done better. A lot better.
Want to talk Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker with us? Leave a comment or watch our LIVE webcast on Sunday 12/22 at 5 PM Eastern:
“FEELINGS…with The Geekiary Star Wars Holiday Special: Rise of Skywalker Edition”!
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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