(This article is pretty much just a list of major spoilers for “Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker,” but it’s tough to imagine that’s a surprise if you made it past the headline.)
After taking a few months to process just how completely wild “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is, it’s time to dive back in to the discourse. There’s not much else to do right now, of course, with the whole coronavirus thing running amok. And now that Disney has added the film to the Disney+ library for the annual “May the 4th” celebration, so many more people are getting in on this madness, or jumping back in.
But that’s fine, since it’s going to be a few years before we have another “Star Wars” movie to fight about, so we can pace ourselves with the “Rise of Skywalker” discourse for a while. And to help you with that, we’ve got here a list of the most ridiculous parts of the last film in the absolutely mad new trilogy that you can bring up when you wanna start a fight. But remember to keep the fight online — social distancing is still the order of business here.
So here you go. Below we’ve got 23 big gripes about “The Rise of Skywalker.” It’s not an exhaustive list — such a thing would require me to write a book — but we can only think about this movie for so long before we go crazy, so this will have to do for now.
1. Tens of thousands of Death Stars
Late in the movie it’s revealed that this massive fleet of Star Destroyers that Emperor Palpatine pulled out of the ice on Exegol at the beginning of the movie was equipped with Death Star lasers. The reveal is made when one of them blows up a planet for no particular reason. The Resistance folks then briefly huddle up and decide that probably all those ships can do that. That seems like an illogical conclusion to draw, because that would mean the bad guys have an entire fleet of Death Stars, which would be easily the most ludicrous thing that has ever happened in a “Star Wars” movie. But since the issue is never mentioned again we aren’t sure what other conclusion we could come to.
The novelization, in case you’re curious, puts the number of ships in this fleet at “tens of thousands.”
2. The Rebel fleet from nowhere
To challenge all those Death Stars, the Resistance launches an attack on Exegol with only a Corellian Corvette and like one single fighter squadron and one carrier ship full of troops. Fortunately for them, Lando spent a couple hours flying around the galaxy and casually assembling the biggest fleet we’ve ever seen in any of these movies. That’s absolutely crazy. Lando was not even gone that long.
3. The Emperor returns before the movie starts
There’s a lot of creative decisions on this movie I can’t even begin to understand, and the most confusing of those is the decision to have Emperor Palpatine make his big return to the galactic stage between movies. How do you bring back a dead character and not even let us see characters reacting to that revelation as it happens? This one actually makes me mad. If you’re gonna cram a whole trilogy of stories in one movie, you still have to start at the beginning.
4. Rey is the Emperor’s granddaughter
The climax of the “Skywalker Saga” was about two Palpatine family members fighting each other. Incredible.
5. Luke and Leia knew about Rey’s lineage the whole time
This is just a confusing bit. When did they learn this important fact? Why had they never done anything with that tidbit of key info? There’s a lot of weird ramifications to their possession of this knowledge, and “The Rise of Skywalker” has no interest in exploring any of them.
6. Leia died for no reason
They decided to kill off Leia in the strangest and low-key way: by calling out through the Force. It took Luke physically projecting himself across the galaxy and doing a lightsaber fight before the effort killed him. How weak are we supposed to think Leia is?
7. The Knights of Ren
Late in the film, Ben Solo/Kylo Ren is forced to fight his former bros the Knights of Ren in order to earn his redemption. It’s a powerful scene, the culmination of a character arc stretching back three films… is what we’d say if the Knights had like, any role before “The Rise of Skywalker.” They’re in this trilogy for less than 5 minutes, none of them speaks or has any personality, and they don’t even use lightsabers. They basically existed only so we’d know the origin of Kylo Ren’s dorky last name, and when we finally saw them up close, it turns out they dress like the corniest nu metal band of 1996. PASS.
8. The Resurrection
So Rey kills Palpatine, and then dies. Kylo Ren climbs out of the hole he fell into, and somehow uses the Force to revive her corpse. They can just resurrect people now! OK!
9. The Kiss
So Rey is alive again, and the first thing she does is make out with Kylo Ren. They haven’t had an ounce of romantic chemistry in these movies, but some “Star Wars” nerds shipped them so I guess they had to do it.
10. The Death
Immediately after this kiss, Ben rolls over and dies, apparently having given all of his life force to Rey to bring her back to life in what was supposed to be the film’s most dramatic and emotionally poignant scene. At that precise moment in our screening, the entire theater burst into hysterical laughter. Whoops.
11. The Force can do literally anything
All wounds are trivial now because Force users can easily heal them. If they’re too late and the person died, they can just bring them back from the dead. Need to ship a package? Just use the Force to teleport it! Wanna have a lightsaber duel with somebody a hundred miles away? The Force has online multiplayer. Rey is just a God now, the most powerful being who ever lived. But Leia died from yelling.
12. Chewie died but actually he didn’t
This whole sequence is strange. Chewie gets captured by the First Order when he’s like 30 yards from the rest of our heroes. Then Rey accidentally blows up the ship they were taking him away on. Except actually Chewie was on a different but identical ship because “The Rise of Skywalker” wanted to pull a stupidly manipulative misdirect.
13. C-3PO got his memory wiped but then got it back
So our heroes need to read something in the Sith language, which it turns out 3PO can read. Unfortunately, his programming forbids him from translating it. (Who did this? Doesn’t matter. It just is.) This forces them to reboot 3PO to override that programming, which will erase his memory and effectively kill him as he’s been known. It sounds sad, and 3PO even gets an emotional farewell out of it. Then the film pulls a movie length JK because not only is it played for laughs from there out, at the end 3PO gets his memories restored thanks to a backup on R2D2’s hard drive.
14. Poe has Han Solo’s backstory now
One of the 57 new planets we visit in “The Rise of Skywalker” is Kijimi, where we meet Poe’s ex-girlfriend, who reveals that Poe was a spice runner before becoming a Resistance fighter. Because for some reason they needed a new Han I guess.
15. General Hux
Speaking of criminally underdeveloped characters, Hux is revealed to be a mole within the First Order, feeding information to the R
esistance, uh Rebellion two movies after his Reichstag speech on Starkiller base, because he hates Kylo Ren more than he loves the First Order. And then, literally the next scene after we learn this, he’s unceremoniously killed by his commanding officer who announces “we found the mole.” Hux joins Boba Fett and Captain Phasma in the pantheon of Star Wars bad guys whose deaths are as pointless as, it turns out, the characters themselves were. At least he got more lines than Rose Tico.
16. The Force told those stormtroopers to rebel
Finn meets a woman name Jannah, who was also a former First Order stormtrooper who had been stolen from her parents when she was a kid and then rebelled as an adult. And they have this fun moment where they talk about how they decided to rebel because they had this weird feeling that they should. And they decide that feeling was the Force. Not, you know, their conscience. Or guilt about helping out a fascist government. They’d have happily done state-sponsored murder had the Force not pinged them, I guess.
17. Ghost Luke
So Luke died, and is a ghost. But he can still pick up physical objects with his non-physical hand. And he can use the Force to lift his X-Wing out of the ocean. Sounds like being dead is all upside.
18. Pretending Rose wasn’t a main character
Congratulations racist, sexist harassers: Your complaints were heard.
19. Maz Kanata
They got the amazing Lupita Nyong’o to play maybe the most pointless character in this whole trilogy. The only thing of note she does in this movie is give Chewbacca a medal in an egregiously annoying bit of fan service.
20. Chewbacca gets a medal
I’m not sure how Maz giving Chewie a medal for no reason whatsoever is supposed to make up for his snub in the original “Star Wars” film. This bit feels so shameless.
21. The Resistance did not actually win the war
So in the final battle of “The Rise of Skywalker,” the Resistance manages to take out Emperor Palpatine’s fleet, and one First Order Star Destroyer. So, uh, that means the rest of the First Order military is still out there. And the First Order military is apparently large enough that it conquered the entire galaxy in just a couple days. Which means that with the fleet of randoms that they assembled in this movie still, the Resistance still has a long road ahead it if it wants to liberate the galaxy. So, what I’m saying is that basically the entire war takes place during the epilogue of “The Rise of Skywalker,” when we see random Star Destroyers getting blown up. Yikes.
22. Finn wants to confess something to Rey but never actually does.
In the first half of “The Rise of Skywalker” there’s a recurring thing about how Finn, thinking he and his friends were about to die, wanted to tell Rey some big secret he’s been holding in. And then we never find out what that secret was because I guess Finn just forgot about it.
23. Still no space battles
While “The Last Jedi” had lots of space action, the two movies in this trilogy that JJ Abrams were responsible for are strangely lacking any at all. We couldn’t begin to guess why “The Force Awakens” and “The Rise of Skywalker” would have every starship battle take place in a planetary atmosphere, but we do know it’s weird. “The Rise of Skywalker” in particular has a battle involving the two biggest fleets we’ve seen in any of these movies, but that fight happens in Exegol’s atmosphere rather than space. And there’s a sequence at the beginning of the movie where Poe repeated does hyperspace jumps directly from one planet’s atmosphere to another. Why would a “Star Wars” movie try so hard to avoid outer space?