Palpatine is still alive having survived his encounter with Vader and has fooled the Resistance all along. The Rebels move quickly in order to track down the Sith on hearing the shocking revelation. But it is Kylo Ren who manages to discover Palpatine independently on planet Exegol with the aid of a Sith wayfinder. It is revealed that Snoke was really the Sith’s creation, a puppet to control the First Order and Kylo is manipulated once again. Rey, Finn and Poe Dameren’s Resistance mission leads to Rey’s fateful confrontation with Emperor Palpatine. When she discovers her true identity she must accept the shocking reality and realize that her relationship with those around her will never be the same.
At the core of the plot and providing the anchor to the story is the relationship between Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Their bond is both attracting and repelling and their psychic communication is played out in duelling combat. However complex and layered the plot becomes the key to the story is this relationship. Chris Terrio’s (Screenwriter) story succeeds where, no matter how complex and layered the plot becomes, this relationship is preserved. What is interesting in The Rise of Skywalker is that we witness the swapping of roles in the relationship for the first time where both identities move to apposing sides.
A plot wrapped around relationship shows the bond between Poe (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega) and Rey and connects with The Force Awakens where their friendship formed. This is in keeping with the original Star Wars films and their core archetypes.
Sheev Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) is shown to be more sinister and powerful in this latest film. This is a portrait of someone who is evil incarnate, the Dark Lord of the Sith. It’s through Rey that we are drawn into his destructive web and her inevitable confrontation with him. Abrams’ (Director) portrayal is a little more nuanced here. Palpatine’s external manifestation is symbolic with the cape, the lizard – like skin, the nasal delivery. But the strange umbilical apparatus connecting him from behind seems odd – more like a distraction. It’s weirdly reminiscent of Davros from Doctor Who.
The Rise of Skywalker is created so as to provide an end to the entire Skywalker saga. This is a big ask. Even if it were possible to do so solely in terms of plot, movie making isn’t entirely plot. The Star Wars fan base has varying expectations and is far from homogeneous. You cannot satisfy everyone all of the time. It feels as if this is Abrams intent.
The Rise of Skywalker has the effect of reaching back to the very beginning and in this way manages to unify and complete the series. As it first set out to do, the Star Wars odyssey attempts to express the epic to be compared with such works as Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings or Wagner’s Ring cycle.
Director J.J. Abrams
Screenplay Chris Terrio & J.J Abrams
Rey Daisy Ridley
Kylo Ren Adam Driver
Finn John Boyeger
Poe Dameron Oscar Isaac
Tran Kelly Marie
Luke Skywalker Mark Hamill
Princess Leia Carrie Fisher
C-3PO Anthony Daniels