5 takeaways from The Rise of Skywalker

Yasemin Ragland, staff writer

Warning: If you haven’t seen The Rise Of Skywalker, don’t read this article. There are major spoilers. You have been warned.

When I was 10, my dad introduced me to Star Wars.  We got the first six movies/the prequel trilogy  – The Phantom Menace (May 19, 1999), Attack Of The Clones (May 16, 2002), Revenge Of The Sith (May 19, 2005) and the original trilogy  – A New Hope (May 25, 1977), The Empire Strikes Back (May 21, 1980), and Return Of The Jedi (May 25, 1983) in one DVD pack for Christmas. 

My parents and I binge watched all six movies and Star Wars quickly became one of my favorite movie franchises, especially for Science Fiction. My dad and I even named one of my little sisters after Princess Leia. I was really happy to hear that The Force Awakens (Dec. 18, 2015) was coming out on my 12th birthday, so it was the first Star Wars movie I saw in theaters. 

Fast forward to 2019. I was very excited to see The Rise Of Skywalker. It was the movie I was most excited to see in 2019. I was even more excited when I found out that John Williams(my favorite film score composer) was coming back to compose the score for The Rise Of Skywalker. When we finally sat down in the theater and the movie trailers ended I couldn’t stop smiling. This was it, this was going to be the end of the Skywalker saga.

My five takeaways from The Rise of Skywalker

My most important good takeaway is that Jannah has an important role. Jannah led Company 77, a company of stormtroopers defected the First Order after laying their weapons down, failing to carry out the orders to fire on innocent civilians at the Battle Of Ansett Island. She is first introduced when the Millennium Falcon (having left two other planets before that) crashlands on the oceanic moon Kef Bir. She bonds with Finn while fixing the Millennium Falcon, and he tells her that he was the stormtrooper FN-2187, and she reveals that she was formerly known as TZ-1719. 

Jannah not only sticks with Finn for the majority of his time on Kef Bir, but aids the Resistance in their final fight with the First Order on the planet Exegol (where Palpatine’s secret fleet of Star Destroyers is hiding). Why is this my most important takeaway? Diversity should be very important especially in movies and TV shows and Jannah is one of the few major black characters in Star Wars. I want my little sisters to grow up knowing that there are Disney characters that look like them.

My second takeaway is Kylo Ren reforming and becoming Ben Solo again. After pinpointing Rey’s location through the Force and following her to the planets Pasaana and Kijimi, he follows her again to Kef Bir, where he finds her exploring the ruins of the second Death Star (which Finn and Jannah follow her to too) The two have a brief lightsaber battle, after Ren tries to persuade her (for the 3rd time) to take his hand and join him on the dark side. 

When Ren overpowers Rey and is about to kill her, he feels his mother Leia, reaching out to him (“The Last Jedi” revealed that she is Force sensitive), momentarily stunning him. Rey takes this as her chance and uses his own lightsaber to impale him. Guilty, Rey uses the Force to heal Ren when she senses Leia’s death (She used up the last of her strength to reach out to him). Shocked, Ren asks Rey why she didn’t want to take his hand. Rey responds telling him “I did want to take your hand. Ben’s hand.” 

After Rey leaves Kef Bir, Ren is visited by a memory of his father, Han Solo, who he killed near the end of The Force Awakens. Han tells him “I miss you, son.” Ren replies saying “Your son is dead” Han answers back saying “No, Kylo Ren is dead. My son is alive.” Han reminds him that Leia’s cause is not gone, and that there’s still time for him to honor her sacrifice. After the memory of Han is gone, Ren throws his lightsaber into the ocean and reclaims his true name as Ben Solo. He then follows Rey (for the last time) to Exegol and joins her in the final battle against Palpatine. 

My third good takeaway was Luke Skywalker returning. I was concerned that The Last Jedi was going to be his last appearance, but Leia’s twin brother returns as a Force Ghost for the finale of the Skywalker saga. In The Rise Of Skywalker when Rey returns to Ahch-Toand burns Ben’s Tiefighter, she attempts to throw her (Luke’s former/his father’s before that) into the burning wreckage only for Luke to emerge from it holding the Lightsaber (this moment had all the Star Wars fans in the theater clapping and cheering). 

I didn’t like how Rey didn’t turn out to be Luke’s or Han and Leia’s daughter or even a Kenobi, like some fans had hoped. Her father is Palpatine’s son, making her Palpatine’s granddaughter, which was a total shock to me. During Rey’s trip with Finn, Poe, Chewbacca and the droids to the desert planet Pasaana, she had a brief tug of war fight (via the Force) over a First Order transport with Ben that she thought Chewbacca was on and accidentally unleashes a sudden blast of Force Lightning, destroying it. 

Later, when she and her friends go to rescue Chewbacca in a Star Destroyer hovering over Kijimi, she attacks Ben through their Force dyad when he tries to reveal the truth about her family. When Rey was trying to escape the Star Destroyer Ben meets up with her, as stormtroopers surround them he tells her “You don’t just have power. You have his power. You’re his granddaughter. You are a Palpatine. My mother was the daughter of Vader. Your father was the son of the Emperor. What Palpatine doesn’t know is that we’re a dyad in the Force, Rey. Two that are one.”

In a way, Ben telling her that her parents were “nobodys” is true, because Rey’s father disliked his lineage as a sith so he and his wife chose to be nobodys and hid Rey on Jakku to protect her from Palpatine’s influence. Rey’s still shaken about what Ben told her about her being Palpatine’s granddaughter. Luke and Leia knew about who Rey was related to the whole time but they treated her like a friend and apprentice/student, because they knew she had good in her. “Rey, some things are stronger than blood. Confronting fear is the destiny of a Jedi. Your destiny.” Luke tells Rey. Rey takes Luke’s X-wing, Leia’s lightsaber (will be explained in the last paragraph), and a Sith Wayfinder found from the wreckage of Ben’s Tiefighter (Ben destroyed the one she found on the Death Star) to Exegol. 

During the battle of Exegol and her battle with Palpatine, a weakened and seemingly defeated Rey is on the laying ground looking up at the sky, watching as her grandfather (restored to his full power) uses his Force lightning to disable all the ships (owned by the Resistance and their allies). She then hears the voices of past Jedi calling to her and encouraging her to get up and fight back, and lending her strength. Palpatine releases a blast of Force Lightning at her tells her “I am all the Sith!” And Rey responds by telling him “And I… I’m all the Jedi.”, as she deflects it back at him with the Skywalker’s lightsabers, vaporizing and destroying him for good. In the very end, Rey made her own lightsaber and turned it on to make sure it works. She turns it back off to find that a Tatooine local is passing by, the local says no one has been there for a long time and asks what her name is, Rey replies saying “I’m Rey.” The local askes “Rey who?” Rey looks around to see the Force Ghosts of Luke and Leia, they give her a nod of encouragement and Rey says “Rey Skywalker.”, renouncing her lineage as a Palpatine and honoring Luke, Leia, and Ben.

My last takeaway is that Ben dies, which I wasn’t happy about. When Ben lands on Exegol he is confronted by the Knights Of Ren and overpowers them  and joins Rey in her battle against Palpatine .Ben slowly gets back up, only to be flung by Palpatine (using the force) into a ravine. Ben claws his way back up to find Palpatine gone and Rey on the ground dead (she drops dead after she vaporizes Palpatine), he crawls over to her and briefly cradles her. He then transfers his remaining life force to Rey, reviving her. Happy, Rey embraces and kisses him. The joyful moment is ruined when Ben dies shortly afterwards, in her arms. His body vanishes (like most Jedi when they die) simultaneously with Leia’s. I’m still unhappy that he died, but he sacrificed himself to save Rey’s life (literally), so at least she got to live and he got to redeem himself. 

So in my opinion it’s good(not an A+ but still good) but confusing for some who haven’t seen any of the Star Wars movies.