A Thrilling Goodbye to a Galaxy Far, Far Away
Since 1977, Star Wars, an iconic series of science fantasy and adventure, has magically transported fans to a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away.
December 2019 birthed the newest chapter, titled “The Rise of Skywalker,” which resumed the plot of the prior two realeases, starring characters Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Poe (Oscar Isaac), among others.
Pitched by director J.J. Abrams as the “culmination of a nine-film epic,” this episode was an attempt to tie up 40 years of plot and characters in a way that is satisfying to millions of Star Wars fans. How could a single movie be capable of such a big feat?
Personally, I believe that the movie was a great addition to the trilogy, but I was left walking out of the movie theater with questions about loose ends and characters who I had wished would reappear for a final goodbye.
The movie picks up after “The Last Jedi” in which Rey finds Luke Skywalker after a long search and begins her Jedi training. Her connection with First Order general Kylo Ren, son of Han and Leia, exposes her to a path to the dark side, but despite her anger and confusion about her past, she fights to channel her emotions in ways other than anger (thus proving her Jedi nature.)
“The Rise of Skywalker” shows Rey’s path in uncovering her unexpected family history, and the Rebels’ struggle in stopping the all powerful Sith Lord, Emperor Palpatine (thought to be dead), from instituting the First Orders’ plans to form a new empire of oppression and absolute dictatorship.
Rey’s ultimate acceptance of who she is allows for the film to end peacefully, and it neatly ties up the last three movies (episodes VIII- IX).
As cinematography and audio improve, the blend of futuristic elements and setting in the past that is emblematic of the Star Wars franchise becomes amplified. In comparison to the oldest episodes (IV-VI), episode IX is incredibly technologically advanced and leaves room for previously unimagined plot.
A theater populated with mostly adults made sense to me because it seemed to be those who have been following Star Wars since its debut 4 decades ago who were most interested in watching the end of their childhood fantasies. Not having been alive when the original movies came out, I was able to enjoy the chronological aspect of the series (as episodes IV-VI came out before I-III), instead of waiting for a prequel to come out years later, as the older generation did.
“The Rise of Skywalker” met me with disappointment that such a long run is over, but regardless, I think that the movie concluded the series effectively and I definitely appreciated the slight closure we were given as viewers.