“The Force brought us together.” It’s a line from the latest, and final, trailer for J.J. Abrams’ anticipated STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER. But it’s also a truth that speaks to the Star Wars family, in general. For decades, it was the lure of the Force and the promise of drama in a galaxy far, far away that kept bringing us back to movie theatres for the latest STAR WARS movie.
But it’s all coming to an end.
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER marks the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga, a narrative that has enveloped characters like Anakin, Luke and Leia since George Lucas introduced them in 1977. But over the years, the focus has shifted to new characters. So, as we head into THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, we actually want to know what the “end” of the story means for vital characters like Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).
Our best guess? Redemption.
The STAR WARS stories have often been about luring someone away from the Dark Side and bringing them closer to the light. In some instances, the plan succeeded. See RETURN OF THE JEDI for a classic example. In other cases, it failed miserably, as when Ben Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) lost his star pupil, Anakin (Hayden Christensen), to the Dark Side.
The battle in the most recent series of films has been over the wayward soul of Ben Solo, aka Kylo Ren. And there are hints and clues scattered throughout the new trailer suggesting that “redemption” is in order for the man who killed his father, Han Solo (Harrison Ford), back in THE FORCE AWAKENS.
Here’s the trailer, if you want to give it one last look:
Pay attention to the voiceover. It matters both what is being said and who we think is saying it. “Good people will fight if we lead them.” This could be Poe summoning the Rebel forces. It also, to us, sounds like Kylo Ren is continuing to recruit Rey to a New Order, as he did in the Throne Room in THE LAST JEDI.
Kylo Ren wants to let the old ways die. He wants to see the fall of the Jedi AND the Sith. He’s tired of fighting to restore the way things USED to be and wants to see a different way forward. Could that point to what the “Rise” in THE RISE OF SKYWALKER means?
Naturally, the return of Palpatine puts a wrinkle into the return of Ben Solo and the redemption of the evil that is/was Kylo Ren. But when we factor in Ren’s treatment of Snoke (Andy Serkis) in THE LAST JEDI, we are beginning to feel that Ben needs to dismiss all traces of the former establishment — ending with Palpatine — before he can fully redeem himself and take the place at the head of whatever new regime is left standing.
The curiosity factor heading into THE RISE OF SKYWALKER lies in Rey’s role. Some think that because she has faced a hard truth about her parents, she might be the one who turns toward the Dark Side. This image was included at the end of the last trailer to suggest just such a plot twist.
But STAR WARS has never really been about seeing our heroes fall. Rather, it’s usually about seeing our villains find redemption, and the clues in the new trailer suggest that path forward for the conflicted Ben Solo.
We’ll find out soon enough. Tickets for STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER are currently on sale and moving fast. Grab them now to ensure that you see the movie on opening weekend, and say goodbye to a series that has meant the world to all of us for decades.