My Five Favorite Things About The Rise of Skywalker

So we’ve come to the last film of the sequel trilogy (and of the Skywalker Saga) and I had to pick out my five favorite moments of The Rise of Skywalker. (Solo and Rogue One will come next, as I forgot to put them in the proper timeline, lol). Here are my picks:

Favorite Scene

“Dad..”” I know.” This scene was incredible in several different ways. First, I never thought Han Solo would make any kind of reappearance in Star Wars again, and yet here he is. And it wasn’t just for nostalgia’s sake; it was a very important thread of Ben Solo’s redemption. I’ve seen some fans comment that it should have been Anakin’s ghost he talked to–No. No, no, no. That WOULD have just been for nostalgia’s sake. It had to be his father. Ben never knew Anakin, and misguidedly worshipped Vader. The conflict and crux of his dilemma had always been his father, and it needed resolution. One of the other ways this scene is amazing is the way it was done. Obviously, Han is not a Force ghost. It’s a projection of Ben’s memory of his father. Maybe it’s so vivid because of his connection to the Force, I don’t know, but it was a way for Ben to seek his father’s forgiveness so he could do what he had to do next. It was also a clever reverse on the dialogue between the two when Kylo killed Han. Maybe it’s Ben’s way of “correcting” that scene. That’s my take on it, anyway. However you interpret it, it’s a powerful scene, possibly the most moving scene (for me) in all of Star Wars.

Favorite Duel

Kylo vs. Rey on Kef Bir. Kylo and Rey had a confrontation on Kijimi, which was interesting in its own way (Kylo doesn’t want to kill her; he’s still trying to lure her in), but this one on the Endor moon is epic. At this point, Kylo is trying to kill her, as she’s proving quite stubborn in not joining him. That makes him, well, mad. She’s also furious at him for destroying the Wayfinder they all worked so hard to find. They battle out their rage at each other on the wreckage of the second Death Star, with huge swells of water crashing down around them. They’re both equally skilled, but Kylo is obviously physically stronger, and Rey is still a bit drained from healing the Vexis. It comes down to Kylo nearly killing Rey, until Leia reaches out to Ben. He hesitates, and Rey takes the opportunity to stab him with his own lightsaber. She then heals him, when she could have left him for dead. The water imagery really comes into play here, as it serves as a kind of baptism for Kylo: he’s reborn as Ben Solo again, all the hate and anger and bitterness is washed away, leading up to the scene with Han. The whole thing is quite visually stunning, as well as emotionally satisfying.

Favorite Line

“I am all the Jedi.” This is a great line as a counter to Palpatine’s claim that he is all the Sith; it also happens to be true, as all the prior Jedi spoke to Rey and gave her the strength to get up and face Palpatine again. They’re with her. It’s also the culmination of Rey’s character arc, as she accepts who she is, gains confidence from that, and defeats Palpy once and for all.

Funniest Moment

C-3PO: They fly now! Finn: They fly now?! Poe: They fly now!

Most Impactful Character

I adore Rey’s lightsaber.

Rey Skywalker. Yes, Rey Skywalker. Some people took issue with her choosing the Skywalker name, but those people are the ones who generally dislike the sequels, and Rey in particular. I don’t really care which name she chose (Skywalker, Palpatine, Solo, Organa); it’s the fact that she chose it. Throughout the entire sequel trilogy, Rey is on a mission of identity–we don’t know who she is, or where she comes from, and neither does she. It agonizes her. “Who are you?” Luke queries her on Ach-To, and the question burns in her. Everyone wants to put labels on her: Kylo claims they are a dyad, and she’s meant to join him in the dark side, even though she’s “nothing”; Palpatine claims her as his granddaughter and heir, the Empress; even Finn, her good friend, thinks he knows her: “Rey, that doesn’t sound like you.” To which she replies angrily, “Everyone thinks they know me. I’m afraid no one does.” This is after she learns of her Palpatine heritage, and now, after finally learning who she is and where she comes from, it’s almost worse than not knowing. By the end of the film, however, after claiming “I am all the Jedi,” she’s come to accept who she is: she is all of these things. Part of a dyad, a Jedi, a friend, a Palpatine (though she ultimately rejects it), and someone who chooses her own destiny. And her own name. You can’t choose your blood family, but you can choose who you identify with, who you honor, and who you love. For Rey, that’s the Skywalker family. And oh yeah, she saved the galaxy and stuff.

What are your favorite moments of The Rise of Skywalker? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!

TROS Novelization: A Good Read

Not sure where they got this image. Kylo never wore his helmet during this scene.

So I’ve just finished reading The Rise of Skywalker novelization by Rae Carson, and I have to say, it was a wonderful read. Not because it’s Great Literature (though she does a fine job with it), but because it adds so much to the story.

Some fans feel that the movie is a rushed mess, that there’s no context in many scenes, and the editing was terrible. I don’t disagree with this; but at two and a half hours already, there’s just so much you can put in there.

That’s where a great novelization comes in.

Here’s my list of Really Interesting Things in the book that’s not in the movie but would have been awesome to see:

Will Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Expand On Leia's Force Powers?
  • Leia gets more attention. Obviously, with Carrie Fisher’s death, we were lucky to get what we did in the film. And while it’s amazing what they did with what they had, the book is able to give her more attention, especially her scenes with Rey. We get see her thoughts on thinking back to her training with Luke, and more memories with Ben as a baby. More importantly, I think, we see that Luke has been speaking with her from beyond, telling her “It’s time,” as in, time to die. “Not yet,” she keeps replying, reluctant to let go of her responsibilities. She also still wants to try to reach Ben, to show him she still loves him. “Then tell him,” Luke says, and that’s when she reaches out, and Kylo begins his journey back to Ben Solo.
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER - Eye Of Webbish Bog Scene Was Indeed Filmed (But Isn't On The Blu-ray)
  • The Webbish Bog on Mustafar. At the very beginning of the film, when Kylo scythes through all those aliens to get to the Wayfinder, it’s a little confusing as to what exactly he’s doing and why. The book includes an extended scene of Kylo finding a strange being in a bog: a huge bald head emerges from the water with a spidery being attached to its skull, a symbiotic but painful relationship that’s a bit horrifying. The spidery thing tells Kylo that he’s earned Vader’s Wayfinder, but if he continues on this path, he’ll encounter his true self. Hmmm….The scene also has Hux and Pryde watching from afar and commenting on Kylo’s actions. Hux is impatient with Kylo’s mystical shenanigans, as usual, but Pryde comments that Ren’s carnage is “almost a thing of beauty.” We see the stark contrast between these two men immediately, and that Pryde, older and with Imperial ties, may have some sympathy with the old ideas of the Force, the Jedi, and the Sith.
Billy Dee Williams Talks Lando Calrissian and 'Rise of Skywalker' - Rolling Stone
  • Lando’s child. We get more from Lando, too, including his thinking back about losing his own child, a young daughter, to the First Order. This would have cleared up my confusion on first seeing the film, at the end when Lando asks Janna about her home system. Not necessarily that he might be her father (C3PO wouldn’t have very good odds on that), but just why he would be so interested in helping others find their original homes. It’s personal to him. “They got their revenge by turning our children against us,” he says earlier in the film, to Rey and her companions. We also get to see him reminiscing aboard the Millenium Falcon, and being outraged that his cloak closet had been converted to something else. The nerve!
Chewbacca Actor Got Really Emotional Filming Leia Scenes For The Rise Of Skywalker Without Carrie Fisher
  • Kylo Ren interrogates Chewie. When Chewie is taken aboard Ren’s ship, he probes the Wookie’s mind to find out where Rey is. He gets that info, but he also sees more than he bargained for: Chewie’s warm, tender memories of young Ben Solo, the toddler cuddling the big furry lug, Chewie teaching him things, and just basically how Chewie loved him. It makes Kylo nauseous, and clearly affects him deeply. We get to see that these two had a relationship in the past; Chewie isn’t just an afterthought.
  • Zorii’s escape from Kijimi. We get an extended scene of Zorii escaping Kijimi before the First Order blows it up. We meet the people in her gang, including a young girl named Lluda. Zorii originally was going to take Lluda with her, but the girl decides to stay and helps her escape instead. I’m guessing the girl died on the planet when it blew up. This, along with the death of other friends, may be why Zorii decided to join the fight of the Resistance at battle of Exegol.
Reylo: Star-Crossed Lovers🔥 on Instagram: ““Their bond, a dyad in the Force. Unseen for generations.”✨ • • • #reylo #bensolo #rey #theriseofskywalker #forcebond #dyad”
  • Getting into the heads of Rey and Ben at the end. The scenes with Rey and Ben as they face the Emperor, and then Ben’s reviving of Rey, and his subsequent death, are pretty much the same as in the film, but it’s wonderful to get into their heads as all this is going on. We get a better sense of how they feel as they realize the true nature of their shared connection; in fact, they realize they’d been “robbed” of this very special bond, and that it had only been a twisted version that they’d been living thus far. It adds to the tragedy of the whole thing, but we get a better sense of satisfaction in knowing the intimate nature of their bond. Most importantly–and this absolutely should have been in the movie–after Ben dies, Rey hears his voice say, “I will always be with you.” And Rey thinks, No one is ever really gone. Geez, that would have added, what, 5 seconds to the film? Why couldn’t we have seen that?! It’s so much more satisfying than what we got, a more complete sense of closure.

Those are the big things that stood out, but there were some little things that were delightful to read, such as:

  • At one point, Kylo Ren refers, in his thoughts, to Rey’s “lovely face.” Bae is pretty!
  • Poe reminds himself to ask Lando about his awesome cape. I can so see Poe wanting a cape.
  • Rey’s original idea about her own lightsaber was to make a double-bladed one–the very kind she saw Dark Rey using. Probably why she changed her mind and went with the single blade.
  • Hux hates Ren’s hair! Absolutely. Hates. It. Its messy length goes against everything he believes in: order, order, order; and he muses on the idea of making Ren cut it off when he, Hux, is in charge. I thought this was a great tidbit.
Kylo Ren during the Throne Room battle
Got a comb?

Have you read the TROS novelization? What did you think? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!

Monday Musings: Should Ben Solo Have Died?

liz (tros spoilers) on Twitter:   "TFA: "The belonging you seek it is not behind you. It is ahead. Whoever you were waiting for on Jakku, they're never coming back. But there's someone who still could."   TLJ: "You are not alone.", "Neither are you." "They would never have to be alone again."   TROS:
No one is ever really gone?

In The Rise of Skywalker, Kylo Ren’s turn from the Dark Side back to the light and becoming Ben Solo again–“Bendemption”–is one of the highlights of the film, and one of the things I looked forward to the most.

That it would happen seemed pre-ordained. Even after I watched the first film, I had the vague sense that his arc would lead to eventual redemption. But I also knew that it would lead to his probable death. At the time of The Force Awakens, I wanted him to die, to pay for his murder of Han Solo. I hated him.

By the time of TROS, I didn’t want him to die. Every fiber of my being longed for him to live. But the writer in me knew that it was impossible. Why, you ask?

Well, let’s back up a bit. What, exactly, does “redemption” mean, anyway? You know what’s coming: a dictionary definition. Here it is from


1. An act of redeeming or atoning for a fault or mistake, or the state of being redeemed.

2. Deliverance; rescue.

3. Theology. Deliverance from sin; salvation; atonement for guilt.

So how is Ben Solo redeemed?

In several ways. He throws Kylo’s lightsaber away. He rushes to Exegol to help Rey against the Emperor. And most importantly, he sacrifices his own life to bring Rey back from the dead.

It’s that last one that we need to look at closely. When he finds Rey on the floor and realizes she’s dead, he’s devastated. But you can see in his face the moment he realizes what he must do. He knows he can bring her back. And he knows that he must exchange his own life for hers. He mulls this over for about two seconds, and then willingly, without hesitation or regret, brings her back. They have a few precious moments together, and then–he dies.

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Ben realizes what he must do.

So, I think it’s important to remember here that Ben chooses to give his life for Rey’s. It’s not like he wasn’t sure what would happen, but tried it anyway, and then died. That would have been his life being taken away from him, and kind of unfair. No–he knew. His life wasn’t taken away from him; he gave it away, for the sake of Rey. It’s an important distinction. It makes any notion of fairness moot.

It makes sense that to bring a life back from the dead, a life must be given. It’s all about balance, in the Force, in the Galaxy, in life and death.

But supposing the writers decided he didn’t have to die to bring her back. What then?

Could Ben Solo really ride off into the sunset with Rey to live happily ever after? Should he?

Not to get too Crime and Punishment here, but does his act of bringing Rey back to life warrant complete forgiveness? Yes, he did have a hand in helping Rey defeat the Emperor, which saved the galaxy. Does it erase all the terrible things he did as Kylo Ren? Maybe. What kind of atonement can account for all that?

I'm just an empty void waiting to be filled... #movietimes Star Wars | Adam Driver | Animation |
Bringing her back

Perhaps he could spend the rest of his days doing Good Works, bringing the Jedi back, working for the good of the galaxy. That’s supposing he’s accepted back into the fold after all he’s done, which is not guaranteed. He could very well be tried for crimes against humanity. Just because we the audience see his complete turnaround to the Light–and perhaps Rey’s testimony to it as well–doesn’t mean the rest of the Galaxy would forgive him. Kylo, Ben, what does it matter? To them, he’s the same dude who did a lot of bad stuff.

And finally, Ben’s death just makes sense from a storytelling standpoint. There needs to be an emotional wallop in the third act. Not just Kylo turning back to the Light, not even Ben saving Rey’s life. There has to be some poignancy, a sense of loss to complement the victory. Freedom isn’t free, as they say. Something has to be offered, sacrificed, to bring it to fruition. And in TROS, that something was Ben’s life.

Am I happy about it? No. I’m devastated. But that’s the mark of a good story: it moves you, leaves a mark on you, haunts you in some way. It offers some bitter to the sweet.

That’s my take on it, anyway.

What are your thoughts? Do you think Ben should have lived? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!