Want to start a fight in the Star Wars fandom? Tell them that there is something redeemable about Episode 9 – The Rise of Skywalker. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it mediocre at best? That will always be an argument. Say what you will about the movie, but there are good things as positive takeaways. But, not that bit about “Somehow Palpatine Returned” … we don’t talk about that.
Buckle up kids, let’s talk about the things that make this movie worth the watch.
Chewie finally gets his medal
Since Star Wars, or A New Hope, as we have come to know it, released in 1977, fans of Chewbacca have been complaining that Chewie didn’t get a medal. Han got a medal. Luke got a medal. Leia just kinda smiles at Chewie, and that’s pretty much the end of the movie. Chewie kind of looks off like, dude where’s my medal?, which is understandable.
That’s fixed in The Rise of Skywalker. Chewie gets a medal! Honestly, this is a major Star Wars correction and something that many fans have always felt that needed to be made right. Sure, clearly it’s a little bit of fan service, but you know what, sometimes fan service is okay when it’s done in the right way and for the right reasons.
Lando brings the calvary
At the end of The Rise of Skywalker, we have this massive army that Palpatine somehow built on Exegol without anyone noticing. Starships and Destroyers as far as the eye can see. We see Poe and the other pilots getting their butts kicked, and it looks like all hope is lost. Poe is even starting to admit defeat. He’s apologizing to the rest of the pilots for leading them into this battle and bringing them there to their apparent death. At the last possible moment, Lando brings the cavalry. It’s like he found every starship around the galaxy who could come to the fight.
So why is this a thing done right? It reminds us of what Star Wars is. It’s the story of good versus evil. How good responds to evil actions and evil intentions. Standing up for what is right.
Honestly, it had A New Hope vibe to it. Remember the scene where Han comes back in the Millennium Falcon to help out Luke. Same vibe this time, just with a whole lot more ships.
Use of force powers
There are a bevy of force powers that we hadn’t seen used on screen, and now that this movie has aired, there are two less that havent been shown on screen.
It’s kind of interesting to me that we hadn’t seen force healing before this. But in this movie we see it a few times. We see Rey use it with the monster down in the tunnel when they’re looking for the Sith dagger. We also see her use force healing again later on Ben Solo, Kylo Ren. And then, of course, then Ben repays the favor and uses force healing on Rey later.
Equally as cool is the use of force portals. Was there a use of force portals before this movie or The Last Jedi, not that I can recall? In The Last Jedi, Snoke uses it to connect Rey and Kylo and allow them to touch hands. We see it in The Rise of Skywalker several times however. The handing off of the lightsabers behind the back during Bens’ fight with the Knights of Ren. Ben again returns the favor by giving the lightsaber to Rey during her fight with Palpatine, aka Captain Sparklefingers. You know, because he uses the force lightning … from his fingers.
There will always be someone who thinks these two aspects of force power use should have been shown differently, and trust there are.I think however, the more important thing to recognize is that this movie took some chances. Some landed, and some did not. These chances taken on force power use hit their marks.
Leia’s final act
Saying goodbye is never easy, especially when it seems to come out of the blue. The loss of Carrie Fisher took many by surprise. It hit us Star Wars fans hard. We lost our Princess and our General all at once. Fortunately, there were enough shot scenes to make her appearance in The Rise of Skywalker fit perfectly.
This movie allowed us to say goodbye to both the icon of the character Leia Organa, but also to the actress that embodied her spirit, Carrie Fisher. The on screen moment of silence. The respect that was paid. The acknowledgement of the profound loss both in real life and on screen was moving.
No matter how you feel about the movie as a whole, you have to realize the power and the impact of this scene. I’m just thankful that it was done so well.
One of the underlying stories in all of Star Wars is found family. Nearly every show, every movie, there’s some element of found family. Someone being accepted by a new group of people, and being made to feel like family.
The Rise of Skywalker is no different. We have seen Rey accepted by the rebellion. She was accepted by both Leia and Luke. She was looking for family throughout the trilogy. No one from nowhere needed connection. She found it. She found her family. She found the Skywalkers. She adopted the name. She’s a Skywalker.
Afterall, that’s how adoption works. You assume the name of the other family after having been accepted. I should know. I am adopted. Born of one name. Claimed another name after acceptance from that family.
There’s a million reasons why you’d choose to hate the movie, why you’d choose to hate the prequel series, and anything that’s been done since the Disney era has taken over. Or, you can look at the movies and find things worth enjoying. Find the silver lining.
After all, we are finally entering an age where the Prequels are being accepted and the actors from those movies who were once maligned are getting the love they deserved back when they were filmed. The same thing will happen with the Sequels. You may be unhappy with them now, but I am sure you will see people come around to this trilogy of movies as well.
You might as well get ahead of the curve.