The Rise Of Skywalker: Roundtable

It’s been almost two weeks since the final installment of the Skywalker Saga hit theaters. Normally, we don’t cover movies here at TVSource but honestly, who’s going to stop us? Love it or hate it, The Rise of Skywalker will make you feel some type of way. We reached out to other fans of Star Wars to get their thoughts. We attempted to get a variety of perspectives but funnily enough, a lot of the answers ended up being incredibly similar. For our roundtable, we presented each person with a series of questions and they were not able to see other answers which goes to show you that the things that The Rise of Skywalker got right and wrong seem to be pretty much agreed upon. Read below to see what (some) people think of the latest Star Wars installment. Needless to say, THERE ARE SPOILERS!

First Impressions of the movie? 

Cam: Honestly, the first thought that kept repeating in my head as I continued watching the movie was “Who greenlight this?”. Too many hours spent on pointless plot points, bad dialogue, character regression and a clear intent to take digs at the previous movie.

April: The first time I saw the film I found it largely enjoyable. It reminded me of “old school” Star Wars films, which fits with J.J.’s nerdy love for the original films. However, there were glaring issues, largely that, in an effort to make every fan group happy, J.J. created a film where every fan group instead found something to nitpick. He bent to the will of the racist fans from “The Last Jedi” and shrunk Kelly Marie Tran’s role to nothing, he created women out of thin air (Jannah and Zorrie) to stand as helpmates to the men around them, just to name a few things. But as an end to Luke Skywalker’s story, it’s acceptable.

Anika: Thanks to spoilers, which I actively sought, I already knew what to expect. While I didn’t hate the movie in it’s entirety, my dissatisfaction with it made it the only Star Wars movie that I am quite happy seeing just once. So much of it just felt cobbled together and didn’t make any sense. It felt like the writers were trying to please every Star Wars fan base with this film, but never quite managed that feat. 

Logan: As the credits rolled I thought, “Well, I enjoyed a majority of that movie until the end.” Originally, I said I enjoyed about 80% of the movie but the 20% I didn’t like were huge plot points. After thinking about the movie for a week, I’d say my percentage of enjoyment has majorly decreased.

Maggie: Unfortunately, I was entirely spoiled by Reddit and Burger King by the time I sat down to watch The Rise of Skywalker opening night. I mostly felt dread throughout the entire film and struggled to even enjoy the enjoyable moments. I think “fever dream” is the best way to summarize my first impressions. 

Jenna: Like most people, I was spoiled by Reddit leaks that none of us could have ever anticipated being true. Sadly, they were. Although I knew what was going to happen, I still tried to go in with an open mind. While I did enjoy some of the movie, those feelings were unfortunately overshadowed by my intense dislike of the major plot holes and the poor messages this movie conveyed.  

Heather: My first impressions were from Reddit Spoilers months ago because I am a known Spoiler Whore (I don’t like surprises) so if we’re going from the leaks my first impression was, “There’s no way this is true. It’s so stupid. Most of this doesn’t even make sense. Nah. I’ll wait for the LA premiere and the real leaks.” Little did I know.

When did you become a fan of Star Wars?

Cam: I have first watched Star Wars when in 1999 (Phantom Menace), then I watched the rest of them in 2015. But I only became a fan on 2017 when I watched The Last Jedi.

April: I was introduced to Star Wars when I was 7 years old. My cousin, 10 years my senior, had been tasked with babysitting me for the night and, in her desire to keep me quiet and happy she did what most teens would and plopped me in front of a VHS tape playing ‘A New Hope’. Within moments of R2-D2 and C3PO showing up on the screen I was enthralled.

Anika: I was 11 years old when I first saw Star Wars. The story of Luke, Princess Leia, Han Solo and a galaxy far, far away was an immediate obsession for science-fiction/fantasy nerd girl me. A New Hope is my favorite childhood movie and the saga, along with Rogue One and Solo, continues to be my obsession. I cried when I saw the first trailer for TROS because the movies were a big part of my childhood and teen years and knowing this would be the last story ever told about the Skywalkers was an extremely emotional moment for me.

Logan: The better question is when wasn’t I a fan of Star Wars. I grew up with a brother who is 10 years older than me and he was small during the theatrical release of Empire and Return of the Jedi. I grew up watching them because he watched them and I immediately wanted to be a part of that world.

Maggie: My father took me to see The Phantom Menace opening weekend when I was six years old. Despite the devastation of losing Qui-Gon Jinn, Star Wars basically overtook my life from that moment forward. For twenty years I’ve collected Star Wars ephemera and read through nearly the entire library of the Extended Universe. 

Jenna: When I was around 10 or 11, the first six episodes were playing on TV for about a week. I saw my step dad watching one of them and I was captivated by it as soon as I walked by. I asked him what order I should watch them in, and then I could be found that whole week in front of the TV watching them every time they came on. After that, I didn’t watch them for a long time, but my love for the franchise returned when The Last Jedi was in theaters. 

Heather: Star Wars has been a part of my life in a mostly passing way since I was nine years old when I was brought to see one of the prequels in theaters. My aunt and uncle and I also watched the originals and prequels at various points when I was a teenager though admittedly my interest was fleeting at best. In January of 2016 that very same aunt and uncle were back in our hometown visiting from England and they wanted to go see The Force Awakens for their third time. I had absolutely no interest in going to go see it but I wanted the family time so I did and I’m glad I did because I walked out a huge fan. For all of the grief I now give JJ Abrams I will say that he set out to make TFA both for old fans and to create new fans and he succeeded in that.

What did you think of Rey’s journey in this movie?

Cam: A complete regression of whatever it was supposed to be. I can’t explain it in a different way. From the beginning Rey was alone, in a desert planet, begging to find her parents and a belonging. As the movies progressed she finally learned she had to continue her life, she couldn’t be stuck in that place forever, and that she could find other people who would love her, “the belonging you seek is ahead” and all. She realized she could be powerful and important just for being who she is on the Last Jedi. She didn’t need famous parents to matter.

On Rise of Skywalker they reverted all that, she did need famous parents indeed and she never should have had to learn how to move on from her pain and self doubt regarding them since they were always good people that had loved her. Despite her entire journey, the movie frames her ending as someone who was again alone and again on a desert planet (despite arguments that it didn’t mean she would be alone, when a movie ends in a certain note that’s what you want your audience to take from it). It’s just a terrible regression that didn’t care for all the things this character needed but that instead cared about online complaints regarding her surname.

April: Rey’s journey in this film felt, in many ways, unfinished. We’ve always known that the Star Wars Saga was ultimately Luke’s story, even as we had other protagonists in the prequel trilogy it was clear that we were watching the beginnings of Luke (Padme and Anakin wind up being his parents and we watch the birth of his ultimate foe, Darth Vader). Unfortunately, “The Rise of Skywalker” (and indeed the entire sequel trilogy) struggle with the idea of Rey being anything more than just the final piece of Luke Skywalker’s story. Perhaps this would have read better had Rey been a Skywalker (as was clearly J.J. Abram’s (director of “The Force Awakens” and “ The Rise of Skywalker) initial plan, but instead Rey doesn’t actually begin her journey until the moment she stares off into the sun on Tatooine as the music swells dramatically. While it’s not unusual for a story to end with the hero heading into a new adventure, for this to be the “end” of Rey’s story feels almost empty, because we never truly saw her beginning.

Anika: Where do I start with Rey’s journey in TROS? Quite honestly, except for Rey becoming the powerful Jedi we all knew she would be, I don’t think she had much of a journey. She wanted to know her place in all of this and she does learn it along with a few other truths, but her reaction to every thing she learns was virtually non-existent. Rey’s journey is the saddest part of this movie. She finds the belonging that she wanted, but she has lost a maternal and paternal figure, a mentor and her other half in the Force. Rey is at the end of it alone again. How is that a happy ending for her?

Logan: Trying to think through my opinion is making me realize she didn’t really have much of one in this film. She started a strong Jedi and ended a strong Jedi. She started out as part of The Resistance and ended as part of The Resistance. The only changes to her journey revolve around finding out her lineage, which didn’t change any part of who she is, and also loss. Loss of Leia. Loss of Ben. Isolating Rey’s journey leaves me sort of depressed. So, my thoughts are that I don’t like it. 

Maggie: At the end of The Last Jedi Rey was posed to have an incredible final act, unfortunately The Rise of Skywalker ended up being a regressive ending to her story. Her journey is rushed, disjointed, and nonsensical in this film. We never get her reacting to the revelation that she’s Darth Sidious’ granddaughter, which is perhaps one of the worst mistakes this film commits. The main protagonist is presented with a life changing detail about her past and is denied the chance to react verbally to the revelation. Not only was the implementation lacking, but the reasoning behind her having to be related to someone felt unnecessary. If Palpatine had always been the endgame for the trilogy, he should’ve been alluded to in the previous two films. 

Jenna: Not only did I think that Rey had no growth in this movie, but I would even go as far as to say she regressed. In The Force Awakens, Rey’s story began with her living in the desert alone and waiting for parents that would never come back to her. In The Rise of Skywalker, Rey’s story ended with her living in the desert alone and isolating herself from the friends and family she has come to know. At least, that’s how I interpreted it. The Last Jedi set this movie up to have Rey realize how special and loved she is regardless of who her parents were, but this idea was thrown aside in favor of making her special only because of her family name. 

Heather: Hated. It. I loved the message of TLJ that you don’t have to come from a powerful bloodline to be special or important and it was completely re-written. You’re only special if you come from one of these two families. Sucks to suck for the rest of you. 

What was your favorite part of the sequel trilogy?

Cam: Ben and Rey’s ever growing understanding and love for each other. And Kylo Ren/Ben Solo’s entire arc that showed his pull to the light and his pain regarding the darkness.

April: The chemistry between the new trio (Rey, Finn and Poe) is hands down my favorite aspect of the new trilogy. Oscar Issac, John Boyega and Daisy Ridley play excellently off of each other and their interactions are a joy to watch. One thing The Rise of Skywalker did tremendously well was highlight their relationship and it is my opinion that Rey is now happily touring the sky with her boyfriend (Finn) and his boyfriend (Poe).

Anika: It’s a tie between the Throne Room scene and the hand touch scene in the hut. In the scene where she touches Kylo’s hand, we get to see both their vulnerabilities. He’s admitting that what she is going through, her loneliness is how he feels, too, and she’s reassuring him that it’s never too late to change that. The Throne Room scene is the best one in the trilogy. It was perfection in it’s execution. They way moved in sync with each other, watched each other’s back and that heartbreaking end when he offers her his hand and she knows she cannot take it was beyond anything else I had seen.

Logan: Admiral Holdo lightspeeding through a Star Destroyer. Hands Down. For me, Holdo was one of the most memorable characters of the sequel trilogy and that moment was followed by an eerie silence in the theater that I will never forget. Aside from that is all the confirmation of Jedi Leia, the return of Han, Poe’s introduction in The Force Awakens, the glory of Rose Tico. There are many moments that I will remember for many Star Wars films to come.

Maggie: The Throne Room scene in The Last Jedi will remain my favorite part of this entire trilogy. The fight choreography is incredible and I felt like it was really a defining moment for both Rey and Ben. Watching them fight back-to-back was pretty amazing to see. Not to mention it’s some of Adam and Daisy’s best acting in the trilogy. So many emotions play out from the start to end of that scene. It’s flawless. 

Jenna: The Throne Room scene in The Last Jedi, by far. Adam so clearly showcased the emotions passing through Ben’s mind when he decided to take down the man who had been abusing him his whole life. When Ben and Rey stood back-to-back to fight together after Ben ripped Anakin’s lightsaber through Snoke I could feel every cell in my body start to scream in excitement. It felt like such a pivotal moment in not only the movie, but the entire trilogy. Seeing a clip of Ben leaning forward so Rey could grab onto his thigh and balance herself on his back to kick one of the Praetorian Guard is actually what convinced me to watch the sequel trilogy. 

Heather: Reylo. Kidding…mostly. I can’t deny that their chemistry and the thrill of a possible enemies to lovers/good girl & bad boy story was what made me originally interested in the first place but I think my favorite part was all of the fandom anticipation. Who would Rey be? Would Kylo turn back to the light? Would the Resistance survive? Would Leia keep her role as General? In between each movie fandom was always alive with theories and speculation and there’s a sort of magic and unity in that that I’ve always enjoyed.

What was your favorite part of TRoS?

Cam: Ben Solo being redeemed, as he should have. And all of the amazing scenes between him and Rey.

April: My favorite part of The Rise of Skywalker would have to be the reinforcement of the idea of “togetherness”. You see it, perhaps most clearly, in the moment when, wrapped up in his devastation about leading his forces once more into a hopeless battle, Poe hears Lando’s voice over the radio. When he pulls up and sees the crowd of ships full of “just people” to quote one First Order combatant, it’s such a powerful feeling. That same theme makes itself present again in Rey’s battle against Palpatines, when she is at her most defeated and we hear the voices of Obi-Wan, Anakin, Yoda, Luke, Ashoka and more, reminding her that she is not alone, because she is “all the Jedi”, it’s also repeated throughout the trio’s interactions, they even go so far as to use the word “together”. It’s a constant message in this film and it’s so necessary in our current time. It’s a reminder to each one and all of us that there are always “more of us” then those who would seek to keep us downtrodden and together, we can spark a true revolution.

Anika: Without a doubt, Han and Ben’s scene on the Death Star. Leia reached Ben, but it was his father’s love and forgiveness which truly made the difference. Ben was never the same after killing Han and he needed to make peace with what he did and to accept that forgiveness is possible. Change is possible, even if we veer so off course that we can’t possibly see the way back. My two favorite characters in Star Wars sharing a much needed cathartic moment literally made me tear up.

Logan: If I’m picking just one thing then I’m choosing General Leia Organa. My gasp at the flashback of her and Luke was loud and probably annoying to everyone around me. She has a lightsaber. She’s a Jedi Master. She’s fearless and selfless and as bad ass as she ever was. I got to say a beautiful goodbye to Carrie Fisher and that meant more than anything else. Honorable mentions, though, to Harrison Ford returning as Han for one brief shining moment and to Kylo/Ben’s redemption arc that I never for one second thought I would ever buy into and yet somehow did. (Also, D-O and Babu Frik because how can you not love them?)

Maggie: I wish I could say the Reylo kiss was my favorite part of the film, however the moment was so rushed and poorly orchestrated that I struggle with enjoying it. I can’t even think of dialogue in this film that I enjoyed. With The Last Jedi so many lines stood out — lines with substance. I suppose I enjoyed seeing the porgs one last time. 

Jenna: My favorite part was when Ben showed up on Exegol to help Rey. The second you saw him running, you knew you were no longer looking at Kylo Ren. This was now Ben Solo. From his hair to his loose sweater to his quiet “Ow”, there was no question about who was on the screen. When Rey and Ben finally used their forcebond to help each other and she gave him Anakin’s lightsaber, I could physically feel my heart squeeze in joy. Oh yeah, the Reylo kiss was pretty amazing, too. Too bad he had to die right after. 

Heather: The final force bond between Rey and Ben when she gives him the light saber and he pulls it out from behind his back. That was a moment. I also really liked when after the trio fell through the quicksand stuff Rey lit her saber to light the way and Poe turned on his little flashlight. It was a cheap way to make the audience laugh but it worked and I did. 

What was your least favorite part of TRoS?

Cam: I could say literally anything else but i’m gonna go with Ben Solo’s death.

April: The sidelining of Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose along with the insertion of Jannah and Zorrie feels purposeful and wrong. It was recently announced that Rose had only about one and a half minutes of screen time in the entirety of “The Rise of Skywalker” which seems particularly egregious when one considers how prominently she was featured in “The Last Jedi”. Even worse, she is almost “replaced” by the insertion of Zorrie and Jannah, both of whom serve no true purpose to the overall plot of the film.

 Zorrie is there to forcefully remind us that Oscar Issac’s Poe is straight and that’s it! You could argue that she put them in contact with the tiny alien (Babu Frik) who wound up highjacking C3PO’s memory drives, but, Poe was a spice runner in this same crew and thus already knew him. We never even see her entire face, but we do get to see her modeling a skin tight pink catsuit-to emphasis her femininity. 

The same thing happens with Jannah, an ex-Stormtrooper who exists only to provide a point of similarity with Finn and also to be Lando’s daughter (something that’s not even clearly told in the film. She’s tough and strong and has grit and determination in spades. She doesn’t hesitate to run into battle and in fact supports Finn as he makes what could be a suicide play to take out the lead ship. Both Jannah and Zorrie serve almost as opposites of Rose, in Zorrie: the ultrafeminine and in Jannah, the toughness that Rose wasn’t allowed to have. They even manage to strip Rose of her leadership, refusing to allow her to wear the badge of her station (commander). It’s a disgrace and it should be discussed far and wide.

Anika: I have two that really ticked me off. I absolutely hated Rose Tico’s arc in TROS. New character Beaumont had more lines than she did. After playing a big part in The Last Jedi, I expected more interactions between her, Finn, Poe and Rey, but instead she played the part of an extra, more or less. TROS made it seem as if she was an afterthought for Finn. I never got a chance to see a Rey and Rose friendship or even Rose on a mission with the others. She lost her voice because whiny, entitled fans were upset for no other reason than she was a woman and a person of color. It is even more upsetting that their vitriol was rewarded. The second thing that really bugged me was the predictability and, therefore, unoriginal end of Ben’s death. For once, it would have been nice to see the redeemed hero live.

Logan: There are two least favorite things that are tied for how enraged they make me. One, the obvious sidelining and invalidation of Rose Tico. Which is thanks to Abrams and Company caving to racist and misogynistic nerd boys. Two, the death of Ben Solo. I am by no means a fan of Kylo Ren. Prior to this movie I did not believe for one second that he could be redeemed. (Check my tweets, seriously). But his death does not enrage me for Ben’s sake but for Han and Leia’s. They sacrificed their lives to reach Ben and hopefully save his life. Ben’s death makes their sacrifices pointless. My two favorite Star Wars characters of all time were killed for nothing. Great. Perfect. Thanks, JJ Abrams. That feels fan-freaking-tastic.

Maggie: Where do I even begin? There was about 131 minutes of content I didn’t care for. I will die bitter about how they reduced Rose Tico’s role in response to racist men from the worst parts of the internet. The lines that were given to J.J.’s buddy Dominic Mongaghan could’ve been given to Rose. The fact that the only real lines that Rose had in the film were lines were she rejected joining the main plot seemed far too intentional. Outside of the #WheresRose issue, what they did with Poe Dameron’s character was perhaps my number one complaint coming out of the film. The entire subplot with Zorri Bliss was unnecessary and only served to remind FinnPoe shippers that Poe had a girlfriend and change his backstory to incorporate an unfortunate Latinx stereotype that he was a drug smuggler. Outside of yelling Rey’s name, what was Finn’s role in this film? Coming out of The Last Jedi he had matured as a character, but throughout The Rise of Skywalker it seemed like J.J. had no plan for what to do with him. Wouldn’t it have been awesome if he’d actually been able to say he was Force Sensitive and we didn’t have to get that information from subsequent interviews and an Instagram post? 

Jenna: I could probably write a whole book about what I didn’t like about this movie. Plot holes (how Palpatine is alive, Palpatine wanting Rey dead then all of a sudden wanting her alive, how a spaceship that’s been underwater for years and has been torn for scraps actually works), character stories (Rose being sidelined, Poe being a drug dealer, Ben’s redemption arc fading away with his body), and many many more aspects of this movie keep me up at night. 

Heather: The sloppy editing, the incoherent storyline beats, how much this movie wanted to be an action movie with all of the “pew pew!” instead of focusing on character and emotional beats and attempting to distract the audience with bright flashing lights and loud sounds so that they wouldn’t notice how nothing was actually making sense with the plot. 

If you could change one thing about this movie, what would it be and why?

Cam: I’d definitely make Ben Solo live. Perhaps this sounds simple for some but the fact is, for one if that happened I would have hope for the Skywalkers. All of their suffering, from Anakin Skywalker to Ben Solo wouldn’t have ended in such a bitter note. The Star Wars Saga have always been about the Skywalkers and while a lot is wrong in the last movie, you would think they at least would have respected the legacy and the theme of a 40 year old saga. But the way Rise ended the story Palpatine was able to manipulate and ultimately end their bloodline. It wasn’t a victory, it was a tragedy.

(I won’t even get into how watching the death of a character that felt lost and needed redemption is just a terrible message as well. The number of people that felt utterly defeated and left the movie crying speaks on its own)

April: The kiss between Kylo and Rey. I’ve seen the movie three times now, once alone, and two other times with people who are aware of the films but are not superfans. In every instance the kiss feels out of place, abrupt and unearned, not just to me but to those I attended with. I believe there were other ways to show the connection between Kylo and Rey (and in fact we’ve seen it highlighted in both “The Last Jedi” and “The Rise of Skywalker” via their force connection) without having them kiss. It is perhaps even more jarring to see them share a kiss in the moments before Ren’s death because we’ve never seen Rey or Ren acknowledge the injuries he’s dealt her, both physically and emotionally. It’s impossible to form an emotional investment in a relationship that is built on dishonesty, lack of trust and no genuine affection between either party. Perhaps if Kylo had actually been redeemed it’s a conversation worth having, but he wasn’t and thus, it isn’t.

Anika: Ben Solo’s death and, therefore, the end of the Skywalkers. When I say Ben deserved more, I am saying it from a place that wanted, needed and expected better for the last Skywalker and the child of Leia Organa and Han Solo. Ben Solo has never really known a moment’s peace. I wanted him to live so he could discover who he was without a Sith Lord in his head, to atone for the things he did and to finish the work his mother started. It was lazy and easy writing to kill Ben.

Logan: I’m gonna change two, because if you’re giving me this chance I’m pushing my limits. One: Ben lives. Two: Rose goes with our Main Trio. Ben lives so that Han and Leia’s deaths have meaning. Rose goes with the trio because the amount of times they needed a mechanic were numerous and Rose was wasted staying behind with Leia. (Obviously considering Merry from Lord of the Rings had all the dialogue Rose should have had.)

Maggie: That’s a loaded question. If I had to choose one singular change, I would’ve started the film with Leia having died in the time between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. In that situation, J.J. wouldn’t have been limited to playing around unused The Force Awakens scenes. Poe would’ve been General Poe outright, rather than handing him the role in Act 3 without any follow through. The pacing of the film would’ve likely been better and the stakes would’ve shifted. 

Jenna: There are many things I would change in this movie, but if I had to pick one, it would be that Ben would get to live in the end. I’ve heard arguments that he deserved to die because of everything that he’s done, but I would argue back that he deserves to live for those same reasons. Dying is easy, but living is hard. If he had lived, he wouldn’t have just been able to jump into the Resistance with open arms. He would’ve had to work for forgiveness. He deserved to live so that he could eventually earn that forgiveness. Not to mention that his dying also ripped away not only the first love that Rey ever had, but also her Force equivalent of a soulmate. 

Heather: I’ll give you three because I do what I want:

  1. Ben Solo should have lived and earned the right to his redemption. Being redeemed through death is cheap and manipulative and had already been done in the original trilogy. Tell a new story. Let the villain earn his redemption by actively righting their wrongs instead of just killing them off. 
  2. Rose going on the adventure with the trio. Her underutilization is disgustingly criminal. 
  3. Not making Poe a drug runner just for a laugh and a plot point. There wasn’t even a hint of shady behavior in the other two movies so pulling it out of left field was not only jarring but for fans who actually read the supplemental material, noticeably false.

What unanswered questions would you like to have been addressed?

Cam: How is Palpatine back? Why didn’t Rey’s dad show up to her all these years if he was Force Sensitive? If Palpatine created Snoke why didn’t he know about the Force Dyad until the end of the movie? Why didn’t Ben Solo’s force ghost show up? Why didn’t we see Rey mourn her canonical soulmate? What is happening between Finn and Rose?  Why was Kelly Marie Tran so terribly sidelined?

April: What is the confession Finn is trying to make? Yes, it has been purported that it’s pertaining to his force sensitivity. But this is a fact already known since The Force Awakens and one that he would not seek to hide from Poe, especially not in his potential dying moments. In fact, he mentions to Jannah that what led him away from the First Order was the force. We have no reason to believe force sensitivity is truly the secret. 

Why didn’t Lando search for his missing daughter? The Visual Dictionary advises us that Jannah is Lando’s daughter and yet we are to believe that Lando has not spent the past 20 years searching for his daughter but stuck on another desert planet doing exactly nothing. Even the ending scene is ambiguous about who Jannah really is. 

How did Palpatine survive being thrown down a shaft by Darth Vader and blown up in the second Death Star? We’re given no hints about that, although we are shown Palpatine hooked up to a crane like device receiving constant transfusions to a zombified corpse.

When did Palpatine even have time to have a child? Given the time frame, the only possible time for Rey’s father to have been, well…fathered is between “Revenge of the Sith” and “A New Hope” and I don’t know a lot of people who would have slept with Palpatine the way he looked back then. 

How did Luke and Leia discover Rey was a Palpatine? Did Luke discover it in the Force? Was it just a feeling he had? Why did neither of them think to mention it to to Rey? Why did they continue to train her after discovering it? 

Anika: How is Palpatine still alive and, if he created Snoke, why didn’t he know Ben and Rey were bonded? If Palpatine could find Ben in Leia’s womb, why couldn’t he find his granddaughter who shared his blood? Why didn’t Leia become a Force Ghost until Ben’s death and why didn’t Ben become one at all? Most importantly, I need to know where the Sith death eaters came from?

Logan: Does Rey ever find out that Finn has been pining for her for three films? That seemed like something important they introduced in The Force Awakens that got dropped for no reason. (Bonus: How was Palpatine behind Snoke this whole time? That made no sense whatsoever.)

Maggie: Why wasn’t Ben a Force Ghost at the end? Why did Rey decided to bury the lightsabers on Tatooine — a planet Luke despised, Anakin hated, and Leia never visited. How is the galaxy going to react to the granddaughter of Darth Sidious? How does Rey feel about the revelation? Why didn’t Rey mourn the loss of Ben? Why was Maz smiling when Leia vanished, given that Ben had died? Why was there so much focus on Rey staring at children? What was the point of the Force Dyad? What was the point of the visions in The Force Awakens? Why did the Knights of Ren exist? Why didn’t they just say Jannah is Lando’s daughter? 

Jenna: How did Palpatine survive? What happened to Finn and Rose’s relationship? What was the point of Rey’s vision in The Last Jedi signifying that she was a nobody if she was a Palpatine? How did Ben not die after being thrown off the cliff? Why did the Jedi not help Ben? Why did the Jedi not do something to help heal Rey when she died after killing Palpatine? Why was Ben not a Force Ghost in the end? Why did we see such little reaction from Rey when Ben died? Why did Rey bury the lightsabers on Tatooine? Why did Leia wait to become one with the Force until Ben died, as if that’s something she wanted? Why did Rey take the Skywalker name instead of embracing that she didn’t need a name to make her special?

Heather: So many questions. How is Palpatine back? How did Ben get to Exegol if Rey stole his Tie Fighter on the Death Star? Why did Palps not know Ben and Rey had a force bond if Snoke claimed to create it and he created Snoke? Why did both Snoke and Palpatine want Kylo to kill Rey if in the end he wanted Rey to kill him instead? How was Poe ever a drug runner when in his comic he was born and raised on the Rebel base? If killing Palpatine would bring all of the Sith in to Rey’s body and she did in fact kill him, do all of the Sith and all of the Jedi live in her now? Why did Anakin say, “Rise and bring balance to the force like I did.” when Palpatine wasn’t dead meaning he didn’t bring balance to the force (and really his whole arc is now obsolete since he was in fact, not the chosen one after all)? There are more but if I kept going I would have an entire essay. 

Were you satisfied by the ending of the trilogy? Why or why not?

Cam: Not at all. This trilogy ended making an even bigger tragedy out of the Skywalkers, I can barely watch the other movies without thinking “this was all for nothing.” The one character that knew enough about the Skywalkers and survived the ordeal (Rey) is alone. What is there to be satisfied about?

April: As an ending to Luke’s story I am absolutely satisfied with the ending of the trilogy and as a fan of his, I’m happy with what we received for him, Leia and even Anakin. As a fan of the new trio, I find myself wanting more of their stories. Who are they besides a former scavenger, spice runner and stormtrooper? Yes, Rey is “all the Jedi” and the granddaughter of Palpatine but who is Rey? We’ve spent three films with her and her primary focus has always been saving a male of the Skywalker line, in “The Force Awakens” that’s Luke and in “The Last Jedi” and “The Rise of Skywalker” that’s Kylo. 

Who is she when that’s not her primary focus? Now we’ll never know. Yes, Poe is a child of the resistance, a spice runner and, now, a general, but who is Poe? In both “The Force Awakens” and  “The Rise of Skywalker we see the beginnings of his story, a child of the resistance who, perhaps due to his parent’s deaths winds up a spice runner (something I don’t find as objectionable as many do-historically People of Color often do things deemed objectionable  to support themselves or their families in troubled times) before coming back into the resistance fold with the return of information about Luke Skywalker’s return. We are given hints of his time as a spice runner, a possible past romance with Zorrie and then nothing else. 

Finn is perhaps the biggest mystery. Even his name is not his own, given to him by Poe upon their first meeting. We will never know who he came from, what specifically about “the force” drove him to leave the First Order and trust the Resistance. We’ll never learn more about his force sensitivity and what that means for his potential future as a Jedi, we’ll never learn about the other stormtroopers who are also potentially force sensitive. So much is left up to guesswork and it is the worst part of the ending to me.

Anika: I was not satisfied at all. As I said before, the redeemed hero dying is so predictable. The story of the Skywalkers ends as one of tragedy and not hope(I’m sorry saying you are a Skywalker does not make you one). Rey is back in the desert again. I really don’t see how some found this satisfying.

Logan: No, because now Han and Leia died for nothing. That is the worst ending I could have imagined for two heroes of their caliber. 

Maggie: No. I genuinely do not know how anyone can be satisfied with that ending. Han, Leia, and Luke died for nothing. The Skywalker line is dead. A Palpatine is using their name. Rey is back on a desert planet, right where she began. 

Jenna: No. I felt like I left the theater with more questions than when I walked in, and that’s never something you want from the conclusion of a trilogy. I walked out literally feeling used and abused. 

Heather: No. I am not satisfied at all. As a whole this movie was a mess. I know that JJ Abrams and Chris Terrio want to place the blame of that on to literally everyone but themselves but the fact of the matter is Rian Johnson dismantled everything in The Last Jedi which gave them a fresh start to tell a different story. Instead, they pretended that TLJ didn’t happen at all, retconned everything that happened in it, and once again fell on to using what worked in the original trilogy, instead of doing what their paid to do and giving us a cohesive, good, imaginative story. Putting all of your faith in to a trilogy and thinking it’s going to lead somewhere that they assured you was hopeful and good and having the rug pulled from under you is not what I would call a good time. 

Kylo Ren; Redeemed or not? Do actions speak louder than words?

Cam: Definitely yes. Adam Driver was given nearly 0 lines after the redemption, so it’s hard to speak about words here, but ultimately his character did everything in his power to fight Palpatine and save Rey, so, yes.

April: I do not believe that Kylo Ren was redeemed, nor do I believe it was ever in the cards for him to be redeemed. There is a common belief that Kylo turned due to abuse, but we are not canonically shown any evidence of this. Yes, a voice whispering in your head can be stressful, but Kylo was born to two of the biggest heroes in the resistance and nephew to another, even if he didn’t feel comfortable turning to Luke (and who can blame him) in the aftermath of Luke contemplating killing him, his parents were still there. In choosing to run to Snoke, Kylo made a choice that would forever taint his life. In each movie of the franchise, we continue to see Kylo choose darkness and power. 

In “The Force Awakens” he slaughters a village to obtain information about his uncle. He kills Snoke to become the Supreme Leader, in “The Last Jedi”,  and when Rey offers him her hand, the final opportunity to truly do good, he refuses because his desire for power is stronger. Even as “The Rise of Skywalker” begins he is once again slaughtering people (who, to be fair, were a cult loyal to both Vader and Lady Corvax-but again, this information is not shown it is told in the Visual Dictionary). When he is searching out Palpatine it is, once again, to kill the person standing between him and the potential for true power. Kylo is, for all intents and purposes his grandfather all over again and neither of them deserved redemption in the true sense of the word. 

Kylo’s last few acts, to run to Exegol, to fight against Palpatine and to give his life force to Rey are-ultimately much the same as his grandfather’s. He realizes that he’ll never truly have the ability to atone for his actions and so he gives his life to Rey, allowing her to be the balance his grandfather was always meant to be. This sacrifice is the most noble thing Kylo is ever shown to have done and because it comes so late in the trilogy, literally the final act of the final act, it is largely worthless. It is possible to give characters like Kylo real redemption (see Zuko of “The Last Airbender” fame) and it would perhaps have been possible even for Kylo, if only they’d begin his journey to that redemption in the end of “The Force Awakens” or the beginning of “The Last Jedi.”.

Anika: Redeemed. It’s been something I have wanted for him since The Force Awakens. I expected more with his redemption, however. He never got to express himself through words and I hate that he was sidelined for the fight with Palpatine. I’m glad we got a redemption, but it felt a little anti-climatic.

Logan: Not a fan of Kylo Ren, but I would say yes. I think as Han said, Kylo Ren is dead. We were seeing Ben Solo by the end of that movie and I wish we hadn’t had to say goodbye so soon. Adam Driver made him the perfect combination of Han and Leia and that could have been a joy to watch for more than just a few minutes.

Maggie: I have been rooting for Bendemption since The Force Awakens. The execution of redemption was awful. I would love to know what J.J. has against Adam Driver, because from the moment Kylo Ren is “redeemed” he speaks a single line of dialogue — “ow”. While I love the moment where Ben fights the Knights of Ren, I would’ve preferred some sort of dialogue as a trade. Not to mention the film starts with Kylo Ren reduced to his The Force Awakens persona and seems to forget The Last Jedi even happened. I got redemption, but at what cost?

Jenna: Kylo Ren being redeemed was one of the things I was looking forward to most this movie, but I was severely let down with how I got it. The scene with Kylo and Han was cheaply ripped straight from The Force Awakens. I believe they could have done this in a good way, but sadly, the way they chose to do it wasn’t the best. However, I did enjoy his scene on Exegol when he fought against the Knights of Ren. Unfortunately, this was also downplayed by Ben’s lack of dialogue in the whole end of the movie. After his redemption, we never get to hear him talk again, and then he dies. 

Heather: Absolutely redeemed. Not only did Han explicitly say (and it doesn’t matter that it was in Kylo’s head because it’s what the writing wanted the audience to take away from the conversation by explicitly stating it) that “Kylo Ren is dead, my son is alive.” But Kylo threw his saber in to the ocean, picked up a blaster, and became Ben Solo. His mannerisms, his wardrobe, everything screamed, “I’m a different person now!” So, yes. It’s funny that you ask if actions speak louder than words though since the only word he said after his redemption was “Ow.” Don’t get me started.

Would you like to see more of the Skywalker saga? Is it put to rest?

Cam: Before watching Rise of Skywalker I would say no, but right now I kinda need one last movie to actually give justice to the Skywallkers. Just saying.

April: As I stated earlier, I believe that “The Rise of Skywalker” puts paid to the Skywalker Saga. I believe that their story has reached it’s natural, hard fought conclusion. I am satisfied with where our original characters have been left, with perhaps the exception of General Leia Organa but we all know why her story ended the way it did. With that being said, I would be interested in following the story of our sequel trio for one more film, watching them truly discover themselves and their reason independent of the influence of the Skywalker family. I’d also love a story about Rose Tico and Paige Tico, if Kelly Marie Tran would be interested.

Anika: In the current state of affairs, no. If they explain that Ben isn’t really dead, but exists in the World between worlds and there is a quest to bring him back, I’m all for it. I don’t see how you continue the saga without a Skywalker. Again, I don’t count Rey as one because she says so.

Logan: Unless they can give me a do over of this entire movie then no. Leave it lying in it’s own mediocrity. It’s what Abrams, Kennedy, and crew deserve for allowing fear of a fandom to dictate their every decision. They were afraid of giving any one group something so, as a result, no one got anything. Let’s just put the Skywalkers out of their misery and move on to new characters and new sagas. (Once again, unless I can get a do over of the final film in the saga which will never happen.)

Maggie: Look, if it’s the actual Skywalkers and not Rey Palpatine using their name, then sure. I keep saying I would love to see them create something like The Clone Wars to improve upon this terribly rushed film. 

Jenna: I would only like to see more of the Skywalker saga if they would bring back Ben. Put an actual Skywalker on my screen, or I don’t want it. 

Heather: I’m not particularly thrilled that at the end of the “Skywalker Saga”  all of the Skywalker’s are actually dead. In fact, I’m downright bitter about it and don’t find that satisfying in any way whatsoever. So, I think after a rest (perhaps 5-10 years) I would like to see more of the Skywalker Story. Maybe Ben is in the World Between Worlds paying penance, maybe Force Ghost Luke is getting up to some after life shenanigans. I don’t know but I do know that I’d love to see it. 

Who is your favorite character of the sequel trilogy?

Cam: Ben Solo.

April: My favorite character in this last installment of the Skywalker Saga is Finn. Former stormtrooper turned resistance hero his story is what a lot of people wanted Kylo Ren’s to be. He’s bold and protective of his found family. He’s kind and generous and, even as he makes mistakes, he works consistently to correct them. He has never left a friend behind. He is loyal and fair. His choice to consistently do “the right thing” when every piece of his upbringing tells him otherwise is hero-worthy. I’m so grateful that he was created and so grateful that John Boyega was chosen to breathe life into him.

Anika: Kylo Ren, hands down. He was more of an emotional, adult child still seeking love and approval than a real villain to me. His struggle with the Light that’s still a part of him, his connection to Rey which is his first real connection to anyone in years, his vulnerability and his redemption made him more than a one dimensional villain. No one could have done this character any more justice than Adam Driver did. 

Logan: If I discount one off characters then Poe Dameron. He’s a lot like Han Solo, who has been the love of my life for as far back as I can remember. Also, his introduction in The Force Awakens is one of my all time favorite sequel trilogy moments and I loved him butting heads with Holdo all through The Last Jedi. He was also was the sole character in our main trio to truly keep me invested in this last film.

Maggie: I’m torn between Kylo Ren and Poe Dameron. I think they’re both phenomenal characters and I only wish that the final film had done better with their storylines. 

Jenna: Kylo Ren is my absolute favorite. Watching his internal conflict turn to redemption, hate for Rey turn to love, and everything in between was what captivated me to this trilogy. It also helps that Adam Driver is such an amazing actor. He could make watching a cactus interesting. 

Heather: Despite being Reylo Trash (which I am and have the necklace that says so to prove it), after much thought I think I’m going to give my favorite character award to Rose. While she was disgustingly underutilized and truly only got one movie to show her stuff I find myself often thinking about “We win not by fighting what we hate but saving what we love.” I find Rose to be an inspirational character. She’s tough but loving. She seems less like a character and more like someone I would know in reality. I don’t know if my love for Rose is for the character herself or because of Kelly Marie Tran’s performance of her but that’s my final answer. 

Do you agree? Disagree? Love it, hate it? Either way sound off below in the comments or find us on twitter @TVSource. Thank you to all of our wonderful participants for giving us your wonderful, well thought out answers!

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