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Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

Updated: Jan 6, 2022

In today’s episode, we rank the one that retconned it’s own trilogy: The Rise of Skywalker. Should we have seen Anakin’s force ghost? Was C-3PO the best written character? Or is this actually the best film on paper? We’ll give this movie a fair shot even though it’s mostly bailing on The Last Jedi.

“They try and do everything they can to appease the Star Wars fandom with this movie.” - Charley

In Charley’s mind, the story had to be fixed rather than improved upon. We all know Chewie should’ve received a medal, and it showcases more diversity than previous films. Kylo was a terrible villain, and Disney agreed by turning him into a good guy. With everything that was included, he thinks there should’ve been a fourth movie. It was fast-paced, and jam-packed with scenes to catch up the audience to where it needed to be. It had to undo so much from TLJ…that’s what he wanted. Charley liked the twist with Rey being Palpatine’s granddaughter. It checks a lot of boxes for him as he enjoyed the lore injected throughout.

“You can’t look away from it, you don’t have any time to.” - Amanda

Amanda agrees that it’s too much slammed into one movie. She, like the rest of us, loved walking out of the theater after first seeing it, and then after it sat with her, she felt terrible about it. In her mind, the end celebration was so much better than Return of the Jedi. That’s the feel-good aspect of this film. However, that doesn’t hold back her true feelings. It was a creative cop-out to go back to the first film instead of expanding upon The Last Jedi. It was frustrating that we didn’t get to see the Knights of Ren; we’ve only gotten allusions. Didn’t the Death Star blow up? How did fragments fall onto a planet, and how the heck did Rey just happen to be in the right spot with that dagger? She and the rest of us can’t buy the dagger scene. She also doesn’t like how Leia dies; it felt corny. It was too much of a stretch for her to believe that it took all Leia had left to reach her son. Amanda also points out that Rey isn’t vengeful, but in her fight scene with Kylo in the rain, he has her bested, and then Rey stabs him. She could’ve disarmed him without vengeance, without stabbing him. However, Charley counters with the reason why she did that: to heal him and make him understand that he’s cared for. Amanda loves the moving moment of Ben’s vision with Han. She also loves the romance between Ben and Rey. She wanted to see Dark Rey and how her double-bladed lightsaber worked, because it certainly didn’t look functional. She should’ve had a saber staff! Despite her discontentment, John Williams’ final score and the ending of this film rips her heart out.

“Disney really fed it to you, and you ate it for a bit, and then you feel like crap the next day.” - Christian

Hot Takes

  • Should’ve included Anakin’s force ghost.

  • Zorri Bliss did not need to be in this movie.

  • Other than Kylo, C-3PO is the best written character.

  • I’m the map, I’m the map…Was the Dora The Explorer team pitching this movie with the wayfinder?

  • This movie is the best one on paper.

I agree with Amanda’s request for Anakin’s force ghost. Sure it wouldn’t have made sense (as Charley points out), but nothing else in this film does. We’d love to see Hayden Christensen again! Zorri Bliss had some of the most cheesy lines in the film, and it was clear that she was a last minute backstory for Poe that no one else wanted. C-3PO really shines in this film though, no pun intended. He has a greater sacrifice than Han Solo did in TFA. All you have as a droid are memories, and he’s willing to sacrifice those for the good of the company. For Charley, C-3PO was the least annoying in this film, so that has to count for something. Brody argues this movie is the best one on paper because so many cool things are still happening: Palpatine is alive, we have cloning experiments, Rey is his granddaughter, and so on. These elements just weren’t executed well in the grand scope of the trilogy. To have some connection between films, Rey should’ve had a school involving the younglings from TLJ and all of them kill Palpatine together.

individual Rankings

  1. Charley = 20

  2. Brody = 18

  3. Amanda = 14.5

  4. Christian = 14.5

Overall Score = 67

For Brody, he too walked out of the theater thinking this was the best movie he’s ever seen, and then a week later it was the worst one. To him, it was the lore that worked, not the story. TRoS desperately worked to appease the fans and throw as many easter eggs at them as possible. He loved having Mustafar, Rey’s new force ability of healing, force lightning, the dyad, that lightsaber transfer to Kylo while fighting the Knights of Ren (and his comical shrug). He liked that Rey was a Palpatine, seeing evidence of cloning, laughing at Babu Frik’s scenes, and he actually loved the passing of Leia casting a force vision. He thinks Han’s “I know” was a lot more powerful in this movie than in Empire Strikes Back. He loved all the Jedi voices as it made sense for them to only share their voice and not appear as ghosts. Few could do that. This movie should’ve been about a throwdown between Rey and Kylo. It’s too late in the game for Palpatine to be the main antagonist. Brody mentions it came off as having choppy scenes forced for the rest of the characters. He really likes Rey in this film, saying she ushers in what the Jedi should’ve been. Brody wants a Rey show on Disney+, let’s give it to him!

There are really cool things that are in this movie, but it was like they didn’t know what to do with them.” - Christian

I agree with Charley. The Rise of Skywalker retcons everything about The Last Jedi, but that’s why I rated it terribly. I don’t think you should be apologizing to fans in your third installment of a trilogy. Some things were enjoyable, but the main story was the worst part of this movie. This whole thing was about mending things back together. They rebuilt Kylo’s helmet after it was shattered, and tied the lightsaber back together after it blew up! The attitude was moreso “let’s not recognize TLJ, and make a sequel to TFA.” Don’t get me wrong, I like the fast-paced action nature of it all, but what the heck did Finn have to tell Rey? They screwed up Poe, and gave him a new backstory with a new love story that felt slammed. Zorri Bliss is like “I’m gonna kill you” and minutes later she freely offers her captain's medallion for them to get off of Kijimi. The characters (Ben Solo and Rey) were a little better than the story, but that’s not saying much. I too was moved by Ben and the memory with his dad. I love the concept of Rey training under Leia, and seeing her yellow lightsaber! I wish we could’ve seen more of that. I love seeing a planet like Exegol and how dark it was. Those sith worshippers were a nice touch. But how to get there…It’s either a holocron or a compass, not a wayfinder. Luke even had a compass, but they had to call this a wayfinder? Something as small as that paired with the story represented a failure on Disney’s part. They even messed up TRoS visual dictionary, making it shorter, thicker, and unlike all of the previous visual dictionaries’ sizes! A collector’s worst nightmare.

“They purposefully disrupted the pattern that had been established.” - Amanda

I was disappointed at how easily Ben kills the Knights of Ren. Wasn’t he supposed to have been like a brother to them? It was so impersonal, and it was a missed opportunity for the story writers. Rey and Ben’s love story worked for me, but it wasn’t executed well (that kissing / death scene). Sure, I’m always going to be entertained by Palpatine and I love seeing Ian McDiarmid anytime I can, but reading about him in the crawl before seeing him (“The dead speak!”) was really lame. This third film had some really cool things (like Brody mentioned), but it was unfortunate that there wasn’t more collaboration between two talented directors.

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