Adstoppi Blog | The high and low points of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Published by: Adstoppi
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was designed to answer big questions about the entire Skywalker Saga. But it also raised a lot of new ones, including how well director J.J. Abrams handled its breakneck pacing and huge plot reveals. We offered our spoiler-free impressions earlier this week. But with the film now in theaters, it's time to take a closer (and, it should go without saying, spoiler-heavy) look at what worked and what didn't.
Adi Robertson, Senior Reporter: I had to corner you with a few dozen lore-related questions about this movie, Chaim, so I might as well start with Rise of Skywalker's big spoiler-y reveals. Rey is a Palpatine! Palpatine is chilling in a spooky lab full of Snoke clones! The spooky lab is on a secret Sith planet! Also Poe was a drug runner at some point, I guess! How well did you think all these twists worked?
Chaim Gartenberg, News Editor: So many twists. If anyone was worried going in that J.J. wasn't going to try and wrap up or address any of the outstanding questions from The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi, don't worry: he does. The movie even answers stuff that I don't think anyone was asking were there really folks wondering "How did Poe learn to fly so well?"
But to the main point, the Palpatine reveal(s) mostly worked for me. Is it a little too neat that Rey is the granddaughter of the uber-villain? Sure. But the symmetry bad guy daughter is good; good guy son is bad is cool, and "is it cool?" is basically the Star Wars guiding... star (something that felt especially true for this movie in particular). What did you think of the parade of plot-twists?
Adi Robertson: I fully expected Abrams to retcon The Last Jedi for a more impressive resolution to big questions like Rey's lineage and Snoke's backstory. But I'm surprised that I seemed more interested in the answers than he did.
"Rey is a Palpatine" implies Emperor Palpatine fathered a secret child on top of being a galactic power broker and Sith lord, murdered that child a couple decades later, and started a massive long con to lure his granddaughter into being the heir that a string of surrogate sons had failed to become. This could be an amazing soap opera plot and Rise of Skywalker just abandons it after using it to establish that Rey has a dark side.
I feel like I could have watched the entire final conflict between her and Palpatine without knowing they were related, and virtually nothing would change something I absolutely couldn't say about Darth Vader turning out to be Luke's father, for example.
I'm curious how you felt about Snoke's origin too. We've finally learned where he comes from, resolving years of fan theories. Was it satisfying to find out that he was (as far as I understand it) a Palpatine puppet?