The Rise of Skywalker: Battle of Exegol is a saga highlight


The Battle of Exegol is not only a highlight of The Rise of Skywalker, but an impressive Star Wars moment overall.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker features a frantic pace for the film’s first hour or so, rarely giving audiences time to breathe or digest the information given to them. The movie seems anxious to move along its plot and light-speed jump to the crew’s next destination.

As a result, the first half seems like one big blur, with few memorable moments (aside from all of Babu Frik‘s greatness, that is).

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However, all of the scavenger hunting and planet-hopping in The Rise of Skywalker pays off in the movie’s final third act with the Battle of Exegol.

The threatening lightning and grey skies of the planet provide a unique backdrop for the ship battle. The eerie Sith citadel that hosts the ground portion of the fight is far different than any finale setting we’ve seen in other Star Wars movies as well.

Then there’s the actual battle, split between Rey and Ben vs. Palpatine, and the Resistance vs. the Final Order.

Ian McDiarmid provides another brilliant performance as the sly and manipulative Emperor, breaking down his granddaughter until she finally agrees to strike him down and take his seat upon the throne. What eventually turns Rey is the sight of carnage in the sky. There’s clear conflict in Rey as she doesn’t want to give into the Dark Side, but she also cares too much about the Resistance to let them die.

Just as all looks lost, Ben Solo beelines for the citadel. This sets the stage for a wicked cool lightsaber handoff from Rey to Ben, with both masterfully taking down enemies before facing the Emperor. At one point they both lean into their stances together, and it just looks … right. It feels like the redemption of Kylo Ren was leading up to this very battle.

In the sky, Poe Dameron finds himself in shock as the Resistance is overwhelmed. Oscar Isaac conveys incredible sorrow in Poe, who chokes up as he watches his fleet’s ships get decimated. However, Lando then arrives with a sea of reinforcements, a classic last-second rescue you can’t help but be excited about.

Back on the ground, the Emperor is back and as strong as ever. The charge of lightning that he sends throughout the sky is visually stunning and terrifying. It’s in this moment that Rey’s journey comes full circle.

In the beginning of the movie, she’s disappointed the Jedi aren’t with her while she’s meditating. But in her time of need, she hears the Jedi; the voices of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn, Ahsoka Tano, Yoda, Mace Windu, Kanan Jarrus, Aayla Secura, Luminara Unduli, Adi Gallia, Luke Skywalker, and Anakin Skywalker give her strength to destroy the Emperor for good.

This moment serves as a moving nod to the history of the franchise and all the roots it has spawned since 1977. Important figures from the expansive Star Wars universe are represented, and they all help Rey eradicate evil: it’s a moment only a finale could pull off, and it’s something that should make any fan smile.

The Rise of Skywalker didn’t have any easy task in wrapping up a beloved saga, but the Battle of Exegol gave the franchise the rousing, emotional finale it deserved.

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The Rise of Skywalker is available now on digital and Blu-Ray.