Before one can address, how good a movie was the last Star Wars movie that ends the Skywalker saga, it is important to know that this movie was fraught with production issues before principal photography for it started. This movie doesn’t only have a lot riding on it, but it had to contend with issues that no movie should go through. When JJ Abrams handed over the reins of the Last Jedi to Rian Johnson, he handed the destiny of the trilogy in his hands. And the Rise of Skywalker had to contend with a number of creative decisions which no director should have to deal with leave alone it being for the last ever Star Wars movie. So let’s take a look at how the Rise of Skywalker attempts to rid itself from the sins of the Last Jedi.
Mind it, this has a lot of spoilers so if you haven’t seen the movie, then perhaps, you shouldn’t be reading this.
1. The biggest unanswered question since the Force Awakens has been Rey’s lineage. While it was widely believed that the Last Jedi would provide an answer to this question but cold water was washed over it when Kylo Ren reveals her parents were nobody’s. He states that her parents were scavengers who sold her. A major course correction was made in the Rise of Skywalker. She was revealed to be Emperor Palpatine aka Darth Sidious’s granddaughter. Her parents were apparently killed because they were shielding their daughter from her evil grandfather.
2. Of course, the other controversial and confusing thing that happened with the Last Jedi was the death of Supreme Leader Snoke at the hands of Kylo Ren. It was quite clear that Kylo Ren wasn’t just a powerful enough villain for Star Wars which is known for its anti-heroes. Ren’s conflicted nature also added to the problems as it wasn’t clear if he was a bad guy or not. Of course, this all was cleaned up in the opening scroll itself which revealed that Palpatine was not dead and he was the one behind Snoke. He had been hiding all this time since the Return of the Jedi at the planet Exogol where he was deformed but had fostered a new armada called the final order.
3. The death of Carrie Fisher in 2016 for sure has caused a lot of problems for the production of the Rise of Skywalker. With the decision to kill Luke Skywalker in the Last Jedi meant that Leia was the last living Skywalker who now had to become Master to Rey. With Fisher’s death, a lot of these scenes had to be done through CGI, like the training scene between Luke and Leia and based on old footage. This was haphazard at best, but that was the only solution left for the production crew who also added Luke Skywalker as a Force ghost and even Han Solo in a similar way.
4. So far during the sequel trilogy, there were hints at some strange bond between Kylo Ren and Rey. The Rise of Skywalker addresses this in the form of the force dyad. It allowed them to connect with each other in unique ways especially during the final duel it allowed Rey to transport Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber to Kylo Ren when they were away from each other. This dyad was also unique and so strong that it allowed Palpatine to harvest their life force to fully retain his form. In the end, this dyad also revealed a special bond between the two which resulted in them professing their love for each other before Kylo Ren dies by passing-on his force energy to save Rey.
5. One of the things that the new sequel trilogy has done is to stay away from the prequel trilogies which were known for their overuse of CGI technology. It could be said that both the Force Awakens and Last Jedi weren’t as action-packed as say all three prequel trilogies. Well, all of that goes out of the window with the Rise of Skywalker as you see a number of new powers like teleportation technique learned by Rey, force lightning exposed in its most powerful avatar by both Rey and Sidious were the power is able to destroy fighter crafts and star destroyers, force heal where Force-sensitive users are able to heal lifeforms and crazy lightsaber action including duels between Rey and Kylo Ren, and a duel between Rey and Sith Rey wielding saber staff.
6. Lastly, in a subtle way, it is also revealed that Skywalker is a new religion for force sensitives bridging the extremist point of views of the Jedi and Sith orders. This was a recurring theme through the Last Jedi as Luke Skywalker was in hibernation and felt that the old ways of the Jedi had led to the Sith to dominate. In fact, Yoda in his force ghost avatar reveals force lightning to destroy the tree of the whills who are known to be the creators of the Jedi. Now good-natured force users like Rey can use force lightning in a devastating way. Jedi’s are now able to love shown by the fact that Rey and Kylo Ren share a passionate kiss before Ren passes away. Finally, at the end of the movie, when Rey buries all the Skywalker lightsabers, which basically are the blue and green ones usually used by Jedi Knights, she reveals a new lightsaber which has a yellow coloured blade. Usually, yellow blades are rare in Star Wars, only seen before in the Attack of the Clones movie and Clone Wars TV shows. While this colour of a lightsaber has been used by Jedi’s, it is known to be used as a saber staff, but it is quite indicative of the fact that Rey was going to be very different from a traditional Jedi or Sith.
7. Rise of Skywalker also reveals the new breed of force users like Rey and Ben Solo aka Kylo Ren to be more courageous. In fact, when Rey realises that she’s Palpatine’s granddaughter, Luke Skywalker in his force ghost avatar encourages her to take on her grandfather revealing to her that Leia knew she was related to Palpatine and yet decided to train her. Jedi from the Clone Wars era wouldn’t have touched Rey. Han Solo appears as a ghost to Kylo Ren and was able to turn his son back to the light side just the way Luke Skywalker was able to bring Anakin Skywalker back which showed that courage and love were stronger than the dogmatic extremist worldviews of the Sith and Jedi.