I know this is hard to believe, but the final film in the Skywalker Saga is out. There is no more speculation, no more theories; the answers have been given to us, and this film is now a part of Star Wars history (canon). I will admit that the first viewing of a Star Wars film is always difficult for me because I have to separate my “head canon” from what the filmmakers have actually created. Therefore, the first time I saw The Rise of Skywalker, I was disappointed.
The Rise of Skywalker (TROS) is not a perfect film, and aside from (maybe) The Empire Strikes Back, there are no perfect Star Wars films. There are always flaws and things we could do without in any of these movies, but it is the adventure, excitement, emotion, universal themes, and moments that make us love Star Wars. TROS no doubt falls victim to some convenient plot devices, predictability, and at times feels rushed due to the sheer amount of plot that is packed into its 2 hour and 22 minute runtime. However, there are some truly great Star Wars moments in this film that pack an emotional punch.
I could have chosen any number of moments from this film, from Babu Frik stealing the show to the thousands of ships showing up when all hope was lost to John Williams’ classic Star Wars theme. However, there are three moments in this film that brought me to tears, so I have decided to focus on those moments.
The first moment that made this film great for me didn’t really hit me until the second viewing, because I didn’t realize the significance of it at the time. In the beginning of TROS, we learn that Rey is being trained by Leia. Rey hands her Luke’s saber with obvious disappointment after failing to master it. Shortly after this scene, Rey, Finn and Poe are heading on a mission to Pasana, and Leia returns the saber to Rey and embraces her before she leaves. When I realized this was the last time these two characters would see each other alive, the tears began to flow. This moment also carries real world implications because of the loss of Carrie Fisher. Overall, Leia’s “send-off” in this film couldn’t have been more perfect in my eyes.
My favorite moment in this film comes at about the midway point, when we see Kylo Ren and Rey in their final duel on the ruins of the second Death Star. John Williams’ brilliance once again shines as Rey enters the Throne Room and we hear the Emperor’s theme from Return of the Jedi. However, it is the moment that is shared between Ben and Han that hit me the hardest emotionally. The way Ben Solo is redeemed is absolutely beautiful, as the scene from The Force Awakens is recreated, with Ben throwing the saber aside this time, destroying Kylo Ren with his father’s help.
The final moments of TROS once again brought me to tears. Seeing Rey, Finn, and Poe embrace at the end had a bigger emotional impact on me than I thought it would because of what these characters have been through. What hit me hardest, though, was Rey returning to Tatooine to bury the Skywalker lightsabers. I love the way she slides down the hill of sand, a great call back to her time as a scavenger on Jakku. The saga could not have ended much better in my mind, as this character (who didn’t know who she was when this all began) takes on the Skywalker name. Seeing the Force Ghosts of Luke and Leia watching over Rey as she watches the setting suns on Tatooine is a perfect moment and the right way to end this saga.
The Rise of Skywalker may not be the best film ever made, but it made me feel a range of emotions that no Star Wars film has. It is a fitting end to the sequel trilogy and the Skywalker saga as a whole. I look forward to watching this film for years to come and finding more moments to love with each viewing. I hope you have enjoyed the journey as much as I have, and I’m so thankful for having new Star Wars for years to come. For me, this is my favorite time being a Star Wars fan, and I can’t wait to “pass on what I have learned” to my daughter and watch this entire saga with her some day.
Until next time, The Force will be with you… always.