We all saw the final trailer for The Rise of Skywalker last night. It was extremely light on story, to the point that it didn’t give away anything at all, but instead was filled with beautiful, sometimes breathtaking imagery and epic scenes. But the trailer also confirms basically everything that was reported in leaks weeks ago. Which begs the question if the rest of the leaks, the leaks about story and plot are also true. So let’s have a final discussion about The Rise of Skywalker spoilers!
Absolutely stay away from this article if you don’t want to read potential spoilers! If you want to discuss spoilers, then please click through! There’s much to discuss!
Rey meets Palpatine
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
Final warning! Turn around NOW if you inadvertently clicked on the article link, unless you want to read about potential spoilers!
Weeks ago a detailed synopsis of the Rise of Skywalker was posted on Reddit by someone called “JediPaxis”. People were wary, understandably, because without any proof it’s always better to be cautious. But now that the trailer was finally released it may very well be that the leaks are true.
Because virtually everything you saw in the trailer last night is also found in the leaks. And that may be a huge problem. Why?
Well, the leaks also do something which the trailer doesn’t, they give away the basic plot. And this is where the potential issues may arise. But to talk about it we need to talk about the leaks.
Things from the trailer that are also in the leaks include…
- Rey training on the forest planet
- Rey’s encounter with Kylo on the Death Star II
- Rey’s encounter with Kylo in the throne room
- the Ice Asteroid in space and the attack by the First Order
- Babu Frik working on C-3PO
- Finn and Jannah landing on the Star Destroyer of General Pryde in an attempt to destroy it, the leaks also say that they use the space horses for that (it sounded silly, but it’s apparently all true)
- Rey encountering Palpatine in an open air arena, Palpatine is attached to some mechanical arm/contraption (the scene in the trailer clearly shows an arena like location and that Palpatine is high up in the air attached to some contraption)
- a Star Destroyer breaking through the surface of a planet (it’s said to be the planet Palpatine is on, the Sith Fleet is hidden there in the beginning of the movie)
- Finn (and the leak also says Jannah) following Rey onto the Death Star II (this was added in reshoots)
- the speeder chase scene on Pasaana
- Lando joining the Rebels after all and coming to their base (he’s on Pasaana at first, retired)
- Rey and Kylo fighting on the Star Destroyer (when Vader’s mask etc is destroyed), this is when Rey recovers the Sith Dagger that the First Order managed to take from her on Pasaana
Now while some of these things, for example the speeder chase scene, were shown months earlier many of the other things are new to the trailer and unless the source for the leaks had early access to the trailer and just made up things based on that… the source has actual inside info about the movie and the plot.
So based on the assumption that the Reddit leak may be quite accurate, why could that be problematic for the movie?
Because of certain key plot elements and character arcs.
What I see as potentially problematic for some fans follows now.
- Rey gains some more powers out of thin air, she shoots down a First Order transport ship with Force lightning coming from her hands
- Rey gains yet another power out of thin air, she can suddenly heal wounds, when they encounter a giant Sand Worm on Pasaana she realizes the worm is injured, heals it (because she suddenly realizes she can) and the worm breaks off the attack
- Rey then uses her healing power later in the movie when she actually stabs Kylo Ren through the chest with his own lightsaber, more or less killing him, but she instantly heals him and leaves him behind on the Death Star wreck
- Rey is revealed to be the actual granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine, her parents were “nobodies”, but she is not. How that is even remotely possible is not made clear in the leaks, because one would assume that the child of the Emperor (Rey’s father or mother) would be special, but apparently not, only she is special. The leaks go on and say that Palpatine hired a Sith Assassin to take out Rey’s parents and to deliver Rey to him, the Assassin did find her parents and killed them, but failed to find Rey, who was hidden away. The dagger found in the movie is the weapon that killed Rey’s parents!
- Palpatine wants Rey to become his successor, when Rey refuses Palpatine resorts to his contingency plan and drains the “life force” (?) from both Ben/Kylo and Rey to rejuvenate himself
- and now the one thing that may be most controversial, even more than her lineage: at the end of the movie Rey assumes the name “Skywalker”, so she’s Rey Skywalker now. Just like that. And this is apparently how Skywalker “rises”.
- Kylo turns back to the light side after being stabbed through the chest and subsequently getting healed by Rey, when he sees a vision of Han Solo who tells him it’s never too late to return to the light, Kylo becomes Ben Solo again and discards his crossguard lightsaber
- And now the one thing that has many Kylo fans very upset already: according to the leaks Ben Solo is killed by Emperor Palpatine in the final duel, the leaks say that Ben/Kylo is thrown into a bottomless pit “never to be seen again”
- in the movie Chewie gets captured by the First Order on Pasaana, Rey thinks he’s on the transport that she spots, Kylo and Rey struggle with their Force powers over that transport, Rey wants to bring it down to the ground, but when she says that Kylo is getting the upper hand she gets very angry and it is then that – inadvertently – Rey shoots lightning from her hands at the ship, destroying it, with Chewie on it. Now everyone believes he’s dead. However, that death is a cop out, and it turns out Chewie was on a different transport, so he’s NOT dead after all
- in the movie C-3PO will get his memory wiped (the teary “goodbye” scene from the trailer) because some internal block prevents him from relaying the info found on the dagger (it’s a Sith language). So for all intents and purposes it’s the death of C-3PO as we know him, with all memories gone. HOWEVER, later in the movie, back on the base, it is found that R2-D2 has a backup copy of C-3PO, it’s not up to date, according to the leak, it was made around the time of The Force Awakens, so C-3PO gets restored, more or less, with only one year or so of memories missing, it’s another fake “death” so to speak
Overall, the most potentially problematic elements in the movie are Rey’s parentage (or “grand-parentage”), that she assumes the name “Skywalker”, making her a Skywalker in name only (unless we assume that Anakin is Palpatine’s child through the Force and thus Rey is related to the Skywalkers by blood after all?) and Kylo’s alleged unceremonious death, or at least disappearance.
Of course the leaks still lack much context. And the information is not complete. However, with the trailer 100% confirming what we read in the leaks (at least as far as the scenes shown in the trailer are concerned), it may be very likely that the entire leak is accurate.
That leaves the big question: how will you react when Rey is actually shown to be Palpatine’s granddaughter? When Rey assumes the name “Skywalker” in the end? When Kylo is killed off (or at least disappears into a pit) just like that by Palpatine?
I think that fans of Rian Johnson and The Last Jedi may not like how Rise of Skywalker undoes the few things The Last Jedi tried to set up, especially Rey’s “you’re no one” background, she IS special after all, in true Star Wars tradition.
And Reylo fans worldwide will probably absolutely hate it that Kylo gets thrown into some bottomless pit, never to be seen again.
Other things from the leaks:
- Hux is a traitor and mole, he helps the heroes escape and gets killed for it by General Pryde (what is Hux’ motivation???
- Jannah is Lando’s daughter
- Rey assembles a new lightsaber of her own in the end, made from parts of both Luke’s and Leia’s saber, allegedly the blade now has a golden color.
- Kylo, now Ben, travels to Exogol (the planet Palpatine is on), in order to save Rey or to help her at least, he fights the Knights of Ren but only succeeds when Rey gives him Anakin’s lightsaber through a Force Link (there are several Force Links in the movie), so we will get to see Ben Solo fighting with his grandfather’s lightsaber and cutting down the Knights of Ren with it
- several scenes with Luke & Leia were cut, unfortunately, including a flashback to a training scene with Luke & Leia, that was supposed to be the beginning of the movie, also cut were Luke & Leia aiding Rey in her fight against Palpatine, they are now said to be disembodied voices only who inspire her or something like that (the voices you hear in the trailer towards the end)
- Rey, after her bursts of anger (she is seen very angry even in the trailer) and the dark side vision, actually wants to retire to Ahch-To just like Luke did and isolate herself. She even wants to toss the saber away when, wait for it, Force ghost Luke catches it mid-air and gives her a pep-talk and changes her mind. Because Rey destroyed her ship when she arrived on Ahch-To, Luke raises his old X-Wing from the ocean (Red V seems to be in the movie after all), so Rey can join her friends and fight Palpatine. I am not certain TLJ fans will like how this scene subverts Rian Johnson’s movie once more
- When Palpatine shoots Sith lightning at Rey she deflects it with her sabers, then the spirits of Luke and Leia (not to be seen, but you know they are present) help her deflect the lightning back to Palpatine, killing him once and for all
So, what do you think? How do you think the average Star Wars fan will react when the leaks are actually all true? And how will you react? Of course a lot depends on context and execution. Maybe the actual scenes in the movie will work. But on paper, in the current barebones description we have, I think the movie may face a backlash by several angry fan groups. It will certainly be interesting to see what happens on the first weekend. I still hope the movie will be entertaining and exciting. But will it really be a satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga? With all Skywalkers dead and Rey a Skywalker in name only?