It was my dad who dragged me along to the see the last instalment of the Star Wars saga. I was rather reluctant to sit through it for almost three hours due to the disappointing first two films of the final trilogy. I also wouldn’t necessarily call myself a Star Wars fan – I don’t know the names of the planets and all the additional characters; however, I do like the original three films and Rogue One is definitely my favourite of the new additions to the franchise. Therefore, I went to The Rise of Skywalker pretty sceptical and not expecting the best.
The film turned out, however, to be a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy and the entire saga itself, indulging audiences with all the allusions, catchphrases and character reappearances from across the Star Wars world. From a touching farewell to Carrie Fisher to Lando Calrissian flying the Millenium Falcon in the final battle for the galaxy, the film is full of sentimental goodbyes to the characters that audiences have come to love. My favourite moment, that only lasted for a few seconds, was the sight of cheering Ewoks, the loveable furry bear-like creatures from The Return of the Jedi. Now I definitely want Build-a-Bear Ewok…not mentioning that I already have the Chewbacca one. That brings me to the most emotionally harrowing part of the film for me, the hinted death of Chewbacca after less than twenty minutes, but to the relief of all the audience, he was on different people carrier to the one that Rey ignites in a heated stand-off with Kylo Ren.
Aside from the overarching battle between the Jedi and the Dark Side of the Force, the central narrative question is concerned with Rey and who she really is. It is revealed that she is a Palpatine, the granddaughter of the Emperor, who it turns out wasn’t dead all these years, but she concludes by taking the name Skywalker. The film doesn’t, however, address the relationship logistics of this, and her parents only feature on screen for a minute (with a cameo from Jodie Comer from Killing Eve), making her descent from Palpatine appear as a forced answer to the multitude of fan theories surrounding her. Rey’s personal journey of self-discovery runs alongside the narrative arch of her connection to Ren, and audiences are finally gifted (if you wanted the sexual tension hinted in the first films to come to something like I did) with a Ren-Rey kiss, romance being notably absent from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.
Ultimately order is restored in the galaxy, the Jedi lives and the First Order, rather aptly renamed the Final Order in the final film, is defeated, successfully wrapping up the saga. However, I was left with this burning question: would it have been more interesting if Rey had been tempted to the Dark Side? I think so…