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Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (Spoiler Discussion)

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Okay, I don't know who all is left around here...I've been wanting to discuss The Rise of Skywalker with somebody, but I can't seem to get my regular buds to talk about it, so I thought I'd try here. And yes, I've been a traitor, I will admit it...Facebook and all of the toy groups I've discovered there has consumed my time and attention in recent months, but TNI will always be home for me online...

 

So anyway...a good friend of mine secured me a ticket on the premier night at one of our local theaters. I'm not sure it was the premier...I think it was even a night early, like a pre-screening or something...I don't know. All I know is we got to go to one of the very first viewings around here, and I was so excited considering this has been touted as the final chapter in the Skywalker saga, and so many questions and theories have been swirling in my head for the last couple of years, so naturally I was hoping TROS would be the finale I was expecting, and I'd get some satisfying answers to all my questions...

 

(WARNING: SPOILER ALERT FROM HERE ON OUT!!! TURN BACK IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT YET!!! (I'm sure, though, that most of you have...)) (lol)

 

Let me just say up-front, that this movie was the finale I was hoping for...and it wasn't. It answered some questions, but not others. And this is in no way me complaining...I absolutely LOVED this film. It was just as epic as I was hoping, but it didn't seem to be trying to be epic, if that even makes sense. I'm not going to summarize the plot or anything like that...I think I'm just going to talk about what I loved, what I was and wasn't surprised by, and the questions that I still have, even after watching it twice...

 

Upon my first viewing, I left the theater a little shell-shocked. Like you may have heard or read from other fans, there's ALOT jammed into this movie, and there's so much going on that you're just along for the ride, reacting to the plot points you've been wondering about, just following the story scene-by-scene, event-by-event, and there's not a whole lot of time to let anything sink in or to ponder what's going on, to make the connections. First of all, the return of Emperor Palpatine was probably the one thing I was most looking forward to...he's one of my favorite characters in the entire saga, in fact...he's probably my favorite villain of all time, even over Darth Vader. And even since I was a little kid seeing the bubble gum card of him way back in the spring of 1983 and wondering just who in the world Palpatine was...I was always endlessly fascinated by the mystery surrounding him. That's probably why I enjoyed his character in the prequels so much, which only served to deepen the mystery more than answering any questions about his origins or motivations...

 

Anyway, he's back...no one knows how, but he is. And I really expected them to explain how he survived the plummet down that generator shaft in Return of the Jedi, but they never do. On one hand, I love that...he's always been dripping with evil and so mysterious, and his survival falls right into that theme. He even quotes himself from Revenge of the Sith by telling Kylo Ren that the Dark Side of the Force is "...a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural." It was one of the best and creepiest lines from that movie, and for him to reference it in Episode IX was perfect. Now this leads me to my next point/observation...

 

Palpatine has inexplicably returned and sent out an ominous message from Exogol, a planet in the proximity of the galaxy referred to as the Unknown Regions, a mysterious region that supposedly Snoke and/or the beginnings of the First Order originated from, as the peripheral books and material has alluded to. This has caught the entire galaxy off-guard, understandibly, but Kylo Ren actively seeks Palpatine out, viewing him as a threat to his newfound power as Supreme Leader of the First Order. He goes directly to Exogol head-on to confront him in a total Sith/dark Jedi move, where he learns that Snoke was pretty-much a puppet...in one of the first scenes there, you see what looks like clone tanks or something of that nature in this dark and creepy lab-like setting, where there are Snoke  body parts foating in the tanks, and it's populated by what looks like those weird, shadowy, cloaked figures in the background of Snoke's throne room. Now here's I was asking "Whaa...???" (lol) So was Snoke simply a puppet controlled by Palpatine? He tells Kylo Ren that he "made Snoke", and that's it. That's the only reference he makes. Was he an early failed attempt in cloning Palpatine? Was he simply a body the Emperor possessed as a disguise or a ruse, a vessel for his evil spirit until his original body could completely re-generate through the Dark Side? It's never explained. And part of me likes the mystery of it, the stuff that's simply left up to my imagination...I don't necessarily need to have every single plot point explained away...I just felt like a character as influential and powerful as Snoke needed more exposition, but maybe it was enough simply knowing it didn't matter, that he was just a disguise for Palpatine, a placeholder until he could return to his full power. I like the idea that he could possess other bodies like that using the Dark Side, and the whole ghoulish returning-to-life ability he had is endlessly fascinating and so much fun to entertain. It reminds me of the likes of Dracula and characters in that vein...

 

Oh, and the Emperor looks so very creepy in this movie...he's downright horrifying. White skin, pupil-less eyes like a zombie, and black-looking lips and teeth. And he's hooked-up to this big apparatus that looks like something H.R. Giger would have designed that keeps him alive, perhaps, and he's suspended off the ground by it. The only thing I thought was kind silly or questionable was the fact that Palpatine seemed to simply be hanging-out in the weird lab-setting I described...he's just kind of there as Kylo Ren walked in. It wasn't like a dramatic entrance, where Ren walk into some elaborate chamber, and there you'd see Palpatine being attended by those mysterious robed figures. But Exogol itself is so very cool...it's like obscured within an almost impassable nebula or something, kinda like "The Briar Patch" thing in Star Trek: Insurrection, if you've seen that, and it's dark and cloudy, with lightning storms flashing all over the surface of the ancient-looking, rocky planet. And Palpatine's hang-out looks like this huge, monolithic, dark temple that's crumbling with ruins everywhere on this inside, complete with what looks like massive statues of past Sith Lords...it's fantastic-looking, and it hints a little at the origins of the dark, unknowable past of the Sith and Palpatine that I've always wondered about...

 

Okay...I'm gonna have to do this in parts, apparently. It's getting late, I've got to get in bed for work tomorrow, and I've only scratched the surface of my impressions of this film. Bear with me, guys. Part two, maybe tomorrow... 

 

                   

 

    

 

 

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First, of all.  I did not hate or love this final movie.  I have major problems with this movie, but I also praise certain aspects.

Here is my biggest issue with the Emperor coming back.  It totally ruins the redemption of Anikan.  Anikan brings balance to the force by killing the Emperor and thus redeeming him.  This new ending totally negates the whole point of the original ending.  Its obvious that Disney had no road map on how to franchise was to continue, and thus had to bring back the Emperor after Rian Johnson killed off Snoke in TLJ.

Secondly, you are telling me the entire Rebellion army could navigate its way through the asteroids and debris to make it to Exogol with the huge ships.  No way, most of them are not expert pilots.

Also, what is with all the fake out deaths.  We have way too many Chewie (what was with the out of nowhere second ship?), Kylo Ren/Ben,  and C3PO losing his memory.  I just feel they couldn't commit to anything, because it would make the fanbase upset.

Now that I spilled so much bad I will talk about this good.  I really enjoyed the fight between Rey and Kylo on the Death Star.  It showed Rey's anger, and Kylo just trying to stop/defend her.  You can see he is just trying to parry and deflect all of her attacks.  Next, the opening scene was very interesting with Kylo cutting down the Sith Cultists.  Although brief it shows Kylo's resolve to get to his new master.  The force connection between the two was used pretty well with the transfer of the lightsaber. 

Time will tell how I will rank it in my personal list, but it was a decent film that played it too safe.  Out of the endings for each trilogy (Revenge of the Sith, Return of the Jedi, Rise of the Skywalker) it is probably the weakest thematically.  

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37 minutes ago, Colt90 said:

We have way too many Chewie (what was with the out of nowhere second ship?)

The second transport was there the whole time. It was sitting right next to the one they put Chewie on.

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I enjoyed the movie, didn't come out of it as disappointed as I did Last Jedi. There were things that I didn't like and things I did enjoy a lot. The Palpatine thing didn't really bother me that much probably because it was already done in Dark Empire so I'm used to it but yeah it can come across as lessening the impact of Anakin's redemption and him fulfilling the prophecy. As for the resurrection itself I figured it was a combination of Sith Alchemy and cloning technology. What actually bothered me was the fact that he had a whole army at the ready and over a hundred Star Destroyers with planet destroying technology, although I guess when you are the head of a massive empire you can divert funds for a "secret" project but I don't know. I gotta say I did like the Sith Eternal army, especially their combination of black and red, by the way I'm gonna need Hasbro to make a figure of the Sith Eternal Fleet Technician because it looked pretty darn cool. Snoke being an artificial being created by Palpatine was interesting and far better than some of the theories people were coming up with. I didn't particular cared for his character in the previous two movies so when they revealed what he actually was I didn't really mind. The Knights of Ren were kind of meh; they were just standing there looking cool, then they got all killed by Kylo in about 3 minutes, so much for fearsome dark side warriors. I feel a lot of things were very convenient for sake of the one that particularly bothered me was the Throne Room from the second Death Star having a secret room with the wayfinder intact. I enjoyed most of the action sequences, particularly the assault on the Star Destroyer to rescue Chewie, the space battle was cool, I liked when all of the ships showed up to back the Resistance and the battle with the Sith Troopers on the hull of the Star Destroyer. I liked the flashback scene of Leia and Luke training and the fact that Leia had her own lightsaber. The dead jedi speaking to Rey was a nice touch but I would have liked the ones that are Force Ghosts to have made an appearance. While I'm still not sure how I feel about the way Leia died, I did like how they handled the character's reactions especially Chewbacca's.  I have only seen it once so I didn't catch or processed everything so maybe I will feel differently with another viewing but I liked the movie.   

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Overall I liked the movie and think they did the best with what they had to work with. The one thing I would have changed though was instead of making Rey Palpatine's granddaughter, she should have been created by Palpatine instead. I always felt while they never came out and actually said it, they hinted in the prequels that Palpatine had a hand in creating Anakin. After all Anakin had no father. So I think they should have just said Palpatine created Anakin and then when that didn't go as planned he did the same with Rey. The idea being he did this because he was trying to create an all powerful vessel he could put his consciousness in to become immortal. That's what Palpatine really wanted over all else was immortality.  That would explain his close ties to Anakin from day one and how he easily manipulated him, it would remove questions like why wasn't Palpatine's son powerful with the Force and it would have made Rey essentially a true Skywalker. Yes they would have had to cut out the whole Rey and Kylo love story aspect which didn't add much to the movie anyway, but they could have just made that more of a brother and sister type bond instead.

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1 hour ago, Belmont13 said:

While I'm still not sure how I feel about the way Leia died, I did like how they handled the character's reactions especially Chewbacca's.  

With the actress having died before they even started shooting this movie, I think that was the only way for them to go and think based on the circumstances did a very good job with it. If Carrie Fisher was still alive my guess this movie would have gone a bit differently.

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Yes, you guys have gotten a little ahead of me...you all are bringing up some of the same issues I had. Some stuff had me scratching my head, and other things just brought a smile to my face.

Just like you said, Colt90...how did that massive cobbled-together fleet make it through to the surface of Exogol?? I pondered that also, namely after my second viewing. It was one of those "hey-wait- a-minute" moments I had... (lol)

And JayC...I can't be sure, but...it seems like the notion of Rey being a Palpatine was an actual fan theory I had seen somewhere. I wasn't entirely shocked by this revelation, but I did find it interesting, especially the notion that Palpatine had a son that was not Force-sensitive, and maybe the Force-sensitivity seemed to skip a generation in his family. I don't know...it just seemed to add a cool layer of humanity to Palpatine, and it made sense for the story, which explained why Rey was so mysterious and seemed to have no connections to anyone, yet she was immensely powerful with the Force...  

Someone else mentioned the Dark Empire influences on the parts of the story involving Palpatine and the cloning stuff...I personally enjoyed that. It was one of the coolest aspects of that storyline, and I'm glad they incorporated at least some elements of it into the films...

One of you guys also mentioned the notion that Rey could have simply been created by Palpatine, like the books suggested he did with Anakin...my personal theory was similar...I suspected that she was going to be a clone of Luke AND Leia's DNA, which would have explained that weird Force vision she had in The Last Jedi...I thought that was a major clue...the long line of Reys, the fact that she asked to see her parents, and the image that was revealed to her was of what looked like a man and woman coming together as one person, and that person was Rey, like she simply came from cloning, or maybe the cloning of Luke and Leia somehow. But in retrospect, I guess she saw that she did indeed have two parents, but it could be seen now that although they were her parents, it was almost as if the Force itself was protecting her from knowing their true identities, her true lineage that came from evil origins. And, I guess also it's like mirroring Luke's journey to self realization, how there was the potential of her bloodline, not to quote Snoke...to lead down a dark path. It was just a cool angle for me to see a Palpatine become a good guy, as it were, and not submit to whatever sad excuse for family was promised by the Emperor...

Another head-scratcher, though for me was thinking about Snoke in The Last Jedi. Now I know all of the practical reasons why things don't completely make sense since Rian Johnson's and J.J. Abrams' stories weren't coordinated, but speaking solely based on story...why did Snoke want to seemingly kill Rey? Knowing that Palpatine wanted her body to possess, that might explain it, but I thought perhaps he wanted her delivered to him alive so that he could transfer her living essence. Or maybe if he killed her, or even had Kylo Ren kill her, as the scene alluded to, then maybe he could syphon her lifeforce through Snoke like a conduit? And did he even realize as Snoke that Rey was actually the missing granddaughter he had been looking for? I don't know... (lol)

 

Part three coming tomorrow, maybe...  

  

 

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11 hours ago, JayC said:

With the actress having died before they even started shooting this movie, I think that was the only way for them to go and think based on the circumstances did a very good job with it. If Carrie Fisher was still alive my guess this movie would have gone a bit differently.

Definitely, my problem is not with the death itself but more with the whole reaching out to Kylo Ren thing, it always bothered me that Han and Leia seemingly avoided confronting Ben Solo after his fall, and it came across as then not wanting to try and reach him and turn him back. I agree that this was the best case scenario under the circumstances.

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Okay, so I think this might be the third and final part of my review...

 

Going back to Palpatine and Snoke, on second thought, that whole dynamic was not really satisfactorily explained or fleshed-out enough for me, and Palpatine's return ultimately felt like something done for shock value, like something you'd see in an M. Night Shyamalan movie...big, unexpected surprise that ultimately feels empty or done as just a cheap shocker. I mean, don't get me wrong...I absolutely LOVE Palpatine, but, I really wanted to know more about that whole dynamic...why he would choose that particular form as a disguise. And speaking of disguises, I had often entertained the notion  that General Hux was actually a younger clone of Palpatine, that perhaps he was hiding in plain sight, secretly controlling Snoke as an underling, because he kind of looked like a young Palpatine, and he definitely sounded like Palpatine in his Starkiller Base speech...that would have been pretty cool, but maybe a little corny...

Another thing I keep wondering about was why Leia at one point was so weak...they acted like it took all of her remaining strength to reach out to Ben Solo through the Force...why? She didn't seem sick or weakened at the beginning of the movie, when she was training Rey. Maybe I missed something...

Something else I felt like was a missed opportunity, was the notion that Finn was beginning to realize he was Force-sensitive...it's a great angle, and it was like I read somewhere else, it explains why he was able to hold his own, at least for a little while, when fighting Kylo Ren. Leia could have been training both he and Rey, with Rey giving him pointers throughout the film, maybe. But in the end, it's fine how they just hinted at his Force-sensitivity, and perhaps it points to his journey towards becoming a Jedi in future films...

Yet another missed opportunity to me was Snoke...I know I keep gravitating back to him, but many fans had speculated that he was, in fact, Darth Plagueis, Palpatine's master that he hinted at killing in Episode III. I think had they stuck with him as being the main baddie, even after having been killed in The Last Jedi, he could have still returned on Exogol...he could have presented himself in dramatic fashion to Kylo Ren, showing how he could return to life at will through his Dark Side powers, making him even more powerful than even Palpatine, revealing a much more ancient and evil Sith Lord that had been lurking in the backgound, maybe biding his time until his apprentice was disposed of so he could retake his place as the ultimate Sith Lord. Then you would have had this all-powerful villain that you couldn't seemingly kill, that Rey, combined with Kylo Ren's Force powers, could maybe defeat using the power from all past Jedi, just like she did in the film, and you could still have the same conclusion, having preserved Snoke as a meanigful villain, and Vader's sacrifice in Return of the Jedi would not have been in vain. But that's all the should've/could've/would've stuff that we fans will be debating for decades to come... (lol)

Also...what was with all of those mysterious hooded acolytes in the Sith Temple on Exogol??? What happed to the supposed "Rule of Two" proposed in Episode I? Is there a difference between active Sith Lords and Sith followers, I guess? But it was creepy and cool, especially how they were all chanting the Sith incantations that you always heard whenever Darth Maul appeared on-screen in Episode I, but I also briefly imagined that under their dark hoods, which made them all look like Palpatine, were all Palpatine clones, which would have been completely silly and hilarious... (lol)

At the end of the day, though, even when sifting through all of the misgivings I might have and the questions that still remain, I still love this movie, and I want to see it again just as soon as possible, as there was so much that I loved about it, despite the supposed "plot holes" and unanswered questions:

I loved how it was revealed that Poe Dameron had been a spice smuggler like Han Solo before joining the Resistance, and it also made me wish we had seen Solo pilot an X-Wing like Poe did, see him be Luke's wing-man for real...

I loved the quests for the Wayfinders and the Sith blade...that stuff was fun. It was just fun to see all of the main characters together for true adventures...

I loved Lando's first scene...the stuff he talked about doing with Luke in the past reminded me of those old Marvel comics where they indeed went on adventures together.

I LOVED Kylo Ren's/Ben Solo's arc in this film...I know he probably couldn't live story-and-character-wise, considering he was such a homicidal maniac in these films, so having him sacrifice his very life-force to save Rey was a fantastic way to show his complete return to the "Light Side", or good, or whatever you want to call it...it was so satisfying to see him turn back to good and help defeat Palpatine.

I loved how Luke's Force ghost raised the X-Wing out of the ocean for Rey...it was an obvious nod to The Empire Strikes Back, of course, which was very cool, but also something I though he could have or should have done in The Last Jedi so he could go to Krayt in person to confront Kylo Ren. But I digress...

I loved seeing Luke and Leia together as Force Ghosts at the end...I'll admit that a little part of me wanted to see Luke return as a flesh-and-blood Jedi in this movie...I mean, if the Sith could figure out how to return to the land of the living, then why not the Jedi as well, and I thought thats exactly where they were heading story-wise when Rey revealed her healing powers, like maybe she was the first Jedi that could bring people back to life, and maybe that's why Palpatine wanted her powers so badly. but it really made more sense and felt right to have Luke simply be a Force Ghost just like Obi-Wan Kenobi, acting as a guide and mentor from beyond, just as Kenobi and Yoda have done. It seemed logical, even though new aspects of the Force have been abound in these films...

I liked how Hux turned out to be a spy...I've seen people complain that it was a silly development, but it really made sense to me...he seemed slightly cowardly throughout the first two films, and it fit his disposition to think he would try and undermine Kylo Ren's efforts as a turncoat...

 

This movie has just turned out to be tons of fun for me to ponder and debate, dissect and discuss at length, and I'm sure there are other points I'll think of, but for the most part, those are my thoughts concerning The Rise of Skywalker. Please feel free to keep the discussion going, as I am truly enjoying it and love hearing other questions and proposals.       

 

 

       

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