The Last Hope

Fans are taken aback as ‘Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker’ brings the past back to life

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Poster for "The Rise Of Skywalker" (Walt Disney Pictures)

Patrick Deliz, Writer

‘Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker’ concludes the epic saga, answering questions about the past, but leaving other unanswered questions such as: ‘What’s next?’

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Where the story continues…  

After the age of the republic, and the rebellion, the remaining members of the resistance are the final hope for peace throughout the galaxy. Rey completes her training to become a Jedi, becoming closer to Leia (formerly played by Carrie Fisher, CGI played by Billie Lourd), with the recent tragic death of Jedi legend, Luke Skywalker. Danger and fear rise from the ashes, as rumors that the evil sith lord Emperor Palpatine   has mysteriously returned from the dead. Thought to have been killed by Darth Vader, fear begins to creep everywhere. Rey, Finn (played by John Boyega), Poe (played by Oscar Issac), and Chewbacca travel to an uncharted planet, where the first Death Stars remains had crashed into. While walking through the old Death Star (yikes… talk about safety issues), Rey enters a secret room where she sees her “destined” self, wielding a red saber, showing her potential if she feeds into her anger and pain. Unfortunately, Kylo Ren arrives, believing he can turn Rey to the dark side with him. Back at the rebel base, Leia uses all of her strength in order to connect with the force and contact her son, Ben Solo (Kylo Ren). She manages to cloud his mind, as he is overwhelmed with emotions. Sadly, Leia dies, leaving Rey and Ben, or “Kylo”, devastated. Rey hijacks his ship and travels to Exegol, where the ghost emperor is rumored to be. 

As the objective changes to locate the whereabouts of Rey, hope starts to dissipate as more people give into fear, knowing the threat the emperor poses. Along the way, Rey discovers an unbelievable truth. After years of trying to figure out who she is, the bombshell is released that Rey is indeed, Palpatine’s granddaughter. Rey’s father being seen as a ‘bastard” or illegitimate child at the time, married and had a child. 

As things start to heat up and become more intense, Palpatine has a private moment with Rey. Taking advantage of her pain and loss, he attempts to pull her into the dark side as his next of kin. During the climax of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Emperor Palpatine claims that the spirits of every Sith who has ever lived now reside in him, and if Rey strikes him down, they will possess her, too. In response, Rey turns to the Jedi, among them, Anakin Skywalker, Yoda, and Obi-Wan Kenobi, for the whisper of hope needed to defeat the Emperor for good.

With her lasting strength, Rey is able to kill Emperor Palpatine, ending the pain and suffering that have scarred the galaxy for years. Rey dies, as she lost all of her energy. Ben, “Kylo”, crawls back to Rey, using the Force to bring Rey back, as they share a quick romantic kiss, before Ben dies –giving Rey his life force. She returns to the resistance base, where she sees her friends Finn, Poe, BB-8, R2-D2, C-3PO, and Chewie. Everyone is in rejoice, as the First Order and the war is officially and finally over.

The Box Office and the Franchise

Disney’s “Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker” is doing good business, and making good money at the box office, managing to stay at the top for three consecutive weeks. The movie’s total at the moment is $450.8 million, which is remarkable for three weeks. However, around this time two years ago, “Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi” had gotten $531.5 million, and 2015’s “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” received an extraordinary amount at $742.2 million.

One thing is for sure, and it’s that “Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker” has received $918.8 million worldwide. It will be interesting to see how the film will do in the coming weeks, as it nears the end of its theatrical run, without achieving $600 million domestically (which “Last Jedi” [$620.1 million] and “The Force Awakens” [$936.6 million] surpassed.

The Best and the…Worst

Personally, I feel like this film was definitely worth watching, suspenseful plot, great cast, my only issue is… it could’ve used more planning.

It’s understandable the amount of stress and pressure the writers, directors, editors, and cast had to go through in order to meet the production date. Unfortunately, the plot was a bit rushed. According to J.J. Abrams and some of the production crew, Disney rushed the production of the film. They had three months less than they did with “The Force Awakens”, which ironically made an enormous amount of money. 

“We were definitely still trying to figure out a lot of stuff,” editor Maryann Brandon admitted on The Rough Cut podcast. “It’s a struggle. It affected everything. About a third of the way through, [Lucasfilm president] Kathy [Kennedy] was like, ‘J. J. [Abrams] has got to spend more time in the cutting room.’ And I knew that wasn’t going to happen. Not with the schedule that we were on. Not with what he was dealing with on a daily basis. He was just exhausted at the end of the day.”

It is certainly unclear what lies ahead for the franchise. Abrams believes that this is the end of the ‘Star Wars’ Saga. Stating that whatever future decisions or plans that Disney, Kathy Kennedy has in store, is ultimately up to them. Abrams makes it clear that the ‘Star Wars’ Saga is complete and has no intention of working with Disney on any future productions.

“The Rise of Skywalker we saw last night was not the The Rise of Skywalker we thought we worked on,” the unnamed source, close to Abrams, reported through a Reddit post. 

“J. J. [Abrams] was devastated and blindsided by this,” the source continued. “He’s been feeling down over the last six months because of some of the ridiculous demands Disney had that changed his movie’s story. While the scenes were shot, a lot of the changes were made in post-production, and the audio was rerecorded and altered.”

Aside from the technical issues, there certainly was a lot to unpack, and could’ve been continued into another episode. Nonetheless, it is one of the best films from the new trilogy that I have seen. I hope the franchise prospers and continues to open a door to another dimension, or reality.

Overall: 10/10