4. Lando brings a massive fleet
One of the most emotional moments in The Rise of Skywalker comes during the aerial battle above Exegol. The small Resistance fleet that followed Rey to Exegol is being slowly destroyed. While the strike team disabled the flagship to keep the Final Order Star Destroyers from gaining orbit, the Sith firepower was still enough to overpower the Resistance ships.
In the moment we see Poe Dameron give up hope, apologizing to those remaining, John Williams’ brilliant score begins revving up. We get the same prelude notes to the bombastic main score from the end credits of every Star Wars movie. We know a huge moment is coming. And then there they are, hundreds of ships with the Millennium Falcon floating at the front.
The music distracts us from how ridiculous the situation is, raises us on a wave of good feelings. We whoop along with Poe. But if we take time to consider the reality of the situation, the suspension of disbelief is broken.
In The Two Towers, the second installment of The Lord of the Rings, we have a similar moment at the end of the film. When Gandalf appears with a host of Rohan’s finest mounted soldiers to save the day at Helm’s Deep, we get the same moment of relief, of joy, of pride in the good guys winning. The night was dark, but light broke through. We saw these soldiers early on, we understood why they weren’t at the fortress in time for the battle, and it made sense that they could arrive to save the day.
It makes no sense that someone could have put this fleet together, over months let alone hours. Lando taking an hour or two to gather a hundred ships from a hundred planets makes absolutely no sense. It’s a wonderful moment, but a terrible plot point to rest the story on.
Where did this fleet come from? Some of them are old Rebel Alliance allies, while others are “fringe” types, smugglers and pirates and bounty hunters and traders who have reason to fight against the First Order (now Final Order). Did Lando individually call everyone? Did he somehow put out a wider call and have hundreds respond?
If the latter is true, why did they come now but now at any point previously? General Leia Organa sent out a cry for help at the Battle of Crait a year ago, and at no point then or in the interim did any of these ships come to help. Lando has 45 minutes to gather help and he comes up with an entire flotilla. It shatters realism, even if it presents an impressive spectacle.
One more question: how did this fleet get to Exegol? The Resistance strike team follows directions provided by Rey. How did Lando disseminate that to every ship in such a small window of time, and then get everyone through the complex jumps required? And to all arrive at the same time?
The entire premise of Exegol and the wayfinders is that it’s tucked away in the Unknown Regions behind a multitude of spacial anomalies that make getting there extremely difficult. The directions aren’t “take this hyperspace lane straight there” but rather “follow these 32 micro-jumps” in order to reach the planet. The Sith fleet couldn’t find a way to fly straight up without help from a control tower, but Lando — who hasn’t flown in years — coordinates a cornucopia of ships in reaching Exegol on a strict deadline.
Lando Calrissian is an incredible character, and Star Wars can always reply to plot issues with “The Force” guiding something to happen. But one of the movie’s best moments is shattered when any logic is applied, and that’s unfortunate.