The Rise of Skywalker: 5 most groan-worthy plot points

Joonas Suotamo is Chewbacca, Oscar Isaac is Poe Dameron, Daisy Ridley is Rey and John Boyega is Finn in STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
Joonas Suotamo is Chewbacca, Oscar Isaac is Poe Dameron, Daisy Ridley is Rey and John Boyega is Finn in STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER /
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Star Wars
Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) in STAR WARS: EPISODE IX /

5. The Sith Wayfinders

The opening moments of The Rise of Skywalker find us following Supreme Leader Kylo Ren across the galaxy in search of Emperor Palpatine. He cuts down an entire forest filled with an alien race on an unidentified planet. We find out from other sources that he is on Mustafar, the site of the saga’s best lightsaber duel and the home of Darth Vader’s fortress during the years of the Empire.

Kyle Ren is there to find a Sith artifact, a pyramidal piece that pulses with green light. We find out it is called a “Sith Wayfinder” and that it shows the path to Exegol, a planet far out in the Unknown Regions, a place of the dark side. It’s where Palpatine and his Sith acolytes have holed up to gather power and wait.

Basically everything we know about what the wayfinders are and how they work come from extra-film sources, specifically Pablo Hidalgo’s wonderful Visual Dictionary companion book to the film. They are “hyperspatial lodestones” based on the brains of megafauna who travel through hyperspace. They operate similarly to Luke Skywalker’s Jedi compass we see in The Last Jedi on Ahch-To. Ren goes to Mustafar to recover a wayfinder that used to belong to Darth Vader. All of this is fascinating.

It’s also not explained in any way in the movie. We have no idea what planet Ren is on; we are given no real indications this is a planet we have seen before. He then uses this device to somehow reach the Emperor’s planet. Why do these devices exist? If Palpatine was worried about his hiding place being discovered, why not send agents to recover the artifacts? He’s just hung out in the wreckage of the second Death Star for decades.

On the other hand, if Palpatine wanted to be found, leaving just two wayfinders seems like a tenuous path to discovery. We also have no idea why these wayfinders were created, or who created them. They seem too old for Palpatine to create them; where did they come from? What is the reason he created or modified the dagger that leads to the wreckage on Kef Bir?

We are meant to infer that Palpatine was able to stay hidden for so long because the only way to reach Exegol was by using a wayfinder. Yet if that is the case, how did so many people make it there — the crews of the Star Destroyers, the Sith Eternals. Who brought the materials for the ships? Supplies? Did Palpatine have an extra wayfinder to give the blue-milk man for deliveries?

The concept of Exegol as an unreachable place becomes unbelievable when we see how many people have reached it. Palpatine choosing it as his hiding place is likewise questionable when he left a pair of maps lying around where anyone could access them. The way the movie navigates this balance of illogical options is by ignoring them, giving no explanation and just barreling through.