- "The saga will end. The story lives forever."
- ―Final trailer
Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker, marketed as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, is a 2019 film directed by J.J. Abrams from a script by Abrams and Chris Terrio. It is the third and final part of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. The film, produced by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, is a continuation of 2015's The Force Awakens, which Abrams also directed and co-wrote, and 2017's The Last Jedi. Lucasfilm has referred to The Rise of Skywalker as the eleventh and final installment of the Skywalker saga.
The film stars Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong'o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, with Ian McDiarmid and Billy Dee Williams. Fisher, who passed away in 2016 prior to the film's production, appeared via unused footage from The Force Awakens. The film was first announced after The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm Ltd. in 2012. Colin Trevorrow was initially announced as the director and writer of the film, but he and Lucasfilm parted ways in September 2017, with Lucasfilm citing "creative differences" over the project. On September 12, 2017, Abrams and Terrio were announced as the new director and writers.
Principal photography began in 2018, and filming wrapped in 2019. Footage from The Rise of Skywalker was first made public on April 12, 2019 at Celebration Chicago. The film was released on December 20, 2019. It received mixed reviews from critics. The Rise of Skywalker received three nominations at the 92nd Academy Awards: Best Original Score, Best Visual Effects, and Best Sound Editing. It has grossed over $1 billion worldwide, making it the forty-sixth highest-grossing film of all time.
- "At last. Snoke trained you well."
- ―Darth Sidious, to Kylo Ren
One year after the events of The Last Jedi, a broadcast using the voice of the presumed deceased Galactic Emperor Sheev Palpatine is transmitted across the galaxy, which threatens revenge. Supreme Leader Kylo Ren leads a vicious assault against Alazmec colonists on a healing Mustafar, seeking a Sith wayfinder owned by Ren's grandfather, the Sith Lord Darth Vader. Ren wants to use the device as a guide in his hunt for the source of the broadcast, which he perceives as a threat to his power. The Supreme Leader slaughters many Alazmec cultists alongside his stormtroopers before retrieving the device and slotting it into his TIE whisper, allowing its dark power to lead him through the crimson nebula that surrounds the fabled Sith world of Exegol.
Landing at the base of an enormous citadel, Ren ignites his blade and enters. He descends down a floating platform into a vast chamber lined with worn statues of Sith legends. As he descends into its depths, he hears the voice of Palpatine telling him that Snoke trained him well. Ren responds that he had killed Snoke, but the voice replies that he "made" Snoke.
Lightning dances around the young dark side adept as he listens to the taunting words, spoken in a voice transitioning from that of the Emperor to that of Snoke and, finally, to that of Vader: "I have been every voice... you have ever heard... inside your head."
Ren, unshaken, proceeds further into the citadel, walking for some time among the towering effigies. His path lit by his blade, the young man eventually wanders into a maze of unfamiliar equipment tended to by robed acolytes. Tall cylinders filled with a sickly golden liquid hold motionless, incomplete bodies with the mutilated visage of the dead Snoke, confirming the Sith Lord's earlier words. Among these machines, bound by innumerable tubes and wires to machines of support and sustenance, is the emaciated and decaying figure of Darth Sidious, the true identity of the former Emperor Palpatine, himself.
Palpatine speaks, explaining to the Supreme Leader that he has died before, and that the dark side is a pathway to many abilities that some consider "unnatural," echoing his words to Ren's grandfather decades earlier from Revenge of the Sith. Ren raises his blade, but the threat seems to leave Sidious unfazed. Ren asks the Emperor what he could give him, and the Dark Lord of the Sith replies that he can give him everything: a new Empire.
At the surface of Exegol, the icy ground cracks and yields as innumerable Xyston-class Star Destroyers emerge from the frozen sea into the tempestuous sky. As the fleet rises, Palpatine offers to give Ren command of what he calls the Final Order in return for killing Rey, the last Jedi, and thus ending the Jedi Order and becoming what his grandfather, Vader, could not. He tells Ren that he will rule all the galaxy as the new Emperor, but he also issues a warning that Rey is not who he thinks she is. Ren asks the Dark Lord who Rey is as thunder crackles.
A vital mission
- "He's definitely cheating."
- ―Finn, on Chewbacca's playing of dejarik
Meanwhile, on the Millennium Falcon, ex-stormtrooper Finn and Resistance pilot Poe Dameron engage the Wookiee Chewbacca in an intense game of dejarik. The Wookiee takes some time considering his next move, and his human opponents jokingly suggest that he may be cheating. The implication infuriates Chewbacca, forcing Finn and Poe to calm him. Before their game can resume, an alarm sounds from the cockpit. Poe and Finn insist to Chewie that they won't turn off the game, before doing just that as they leave the dejarik table. Passing Klaud, a Resistance technician, in the corridor, the trio arrive in their seats just as the Falcon exits hyperspace.
The Falcon arrives at the Sinta Glacier Colony in order to meet a Resistance informant, the Ovissian Boolio, who tells them about a mysterious spy in the First Order and gives them a message in the form of a data encoder, ordering them to bring it to Leia. Finn proceeds to insert the message into R2-D2.
Before more can be said, several squadrons of TIE/sf fighters and TIE whisper fighters enter the system, prepared to take down the Falcon. As Finn prepares for the action and heads to the gunner cockpit, Boolio tells him to win the war before heading off.
Forced to head into the depths of the colony by a wall of TIE fighters, the Falcon destroys a number of its pursuers before jumping to hyperspace through one of the colony's walls. The remaining fighters pursue them regardless, and Poe begins lightspeed skipping through a number of systems including the Mirror-Spires of Ivexia and the Megafauna Chasm, whose dangers the First Order pilots are unable to evade. Poe is able to outmaneuver the enemy, though his reckless trick-flying heavily damages the Falcon.
A Jedi rises
- "Be with me. Be with me. They're not with me."
- ―Rey, as she meditates
On the jungle world of Ajan Kloss, which serves as the hidden base of the Resistance, Rey meditates solemnly, floating in the air alongside a number of rocks. She tries to maintain her composure and balance to contact the Jedi that came before her and connecting to the Cosmic energy of the Universe, but ultimately fails and, with a sigh, lowers herself to the ground. General Leia Organa, who had been watching nearby, comforts the discouraged acolyte, assuring her that nothing is impossible and that she will be able to commune with the Jedi who came before her, as she hopes to.
Reinvigorated, Rey accepts the Skywalker lightsaber and takes off running on another bout with her training course. She expertly runs and leaps through the obstacles, imbuing her actions with the Force. She blocks every bolt from her hovering training droid, but pauses and stares as it is revealed that Kylo Ren, to whom she is bound through the Force, is communing with his grandfather's helmet and speaking to her from his chambers far across the galaxy.
A vision, shared with Ren, terrifies the Jedi: the ascension of the Final Order above Exegol; the face of her murdered mentor and Ren's father, Han Solo; the pained words of her master, Luke Skywalker, as she tapped into the dark side; her duel with and alongside Ren against the Praetorian Guards of Snoke; the departure of her parents from Jakku, leaving her behind in the grip of Unkar Plutt. Distracted by the vision, she ultimately batters the training remote with her staff, but damages BB-8 in the process. Rescuing the droid from beneath the tree that had collapsed on him, Rey returns to the base and concedes to Leia that she feels tired and unready to wield the saber of her master. BB-8 excitedly volunteers to take up the mantle, which Rey dismisses. Leia kindly reminds her never to underestimate a droid.
Some time later, in the midst of Rey's studies of the ancient texts she retrieved from the First Jedi Temple, the Falcon returns. However, the ship has been damaged during the course of its escape from the First Order. Rey complains about the damage to the Falcon but Poe counters by pointing out that BB-8 has been battered by the earlier training accident. While Poe and Rey argue, Finn tries to brief Rey about their mission to meet with the spy. Despite their differences, Poe tells Rey that she is the "best fighter" in the Resistance and thinks that she should be helping them in the war against the First Order rather than training on Ajan Kloss.
- "We've decoded the intel from the First Order spy… and it confirms the worst. Somehow, Palpatine returned."
- ―Poe Dameron
At the Resistance briefing room, Poe confirms the authenticity of the message sent across the galaxy: that Palpatine has returned. Rose Tico is dubious that the Sith Lord has truly risen again; Beaumont Kin raises the possibility of secrets only the Sith knew, like dark science, and mentioned cloning to explain his return, later remarking that there were always whispers of Palpatine's desire to cheat death. Poe explains that Palpatine has been planning his revenge for years and that the Sith Eternal cultists have built a massive fleet known as the Final Order. In sixteen hours, the Sith fleet will embark from Exegol to attack the free worlds.
C-3PO chimes in, noting that Exegol is not on any star maps, but is described in lore as the hidden world of the Sith. As the Resistance debates their options, Maz Kanata proposes that they find the Emperor's hidden world as it's the only way to stop him. Having retrieved a tome, Rey speaks with Leia in private. She tells Leia that the late Jedi Master Luke had been searching for a wayfinder in order to reach Exegol. Rey vows to finish her former Master's work. Believing that it is too dangerous, Leia initially refuses to support the mission. However, Rey responds that she will go with or without the General's blessing, knowing that her newest mentor would do the same.
Having received Leia's permission, Rey tells Poe, Chewbacca and C-3PO that they need to travel to the Forbidden Desert of Pasaana. Though Rey plans to go alone, Poe, Chewie, Finn, and C-3PO insist that they will accompany her. Though initially unwilling to accept the help and claiming she must accomplish the task alone, with a small speech from Finn, Rey accepts their aid. Finn invites his friend Rose to come along but General Organa has tasked her with studying the specs of old Star Destroyers in order to defeat the Final Order. Finn promises to return.
Before departing, C-3PO also tells R2-D2 that should he not survive, the astromech droid was the "best friend he ever had." Before leaving, Rey speaks once more with Leia, wishing that she could tell the Princess of Alderaan everything she wanted to. Reassuring her student once again, Leia simply says: "tell me when you get back" before handing her the Skywalker lightsaber. Leia tells Rey never to be afraid of who she is. Rey and her friends then depart Ajan Kloss aboard the Falcon.
The Supreme Leader's court
- "We have a spy in our midst. Whoever that traitor is, it won't stop us."
- ―Kylo Ren, to the Supreme Council
A metalsmith, the Symeong Sith alchemist Albrekh, welds Ren's helmet back together as he looks on surrounded by his Knights of Ren. With his helmet reforged, the Supreme Leader convenes a meeting of the First Order's Supreme Council aboard his Resurgent-class Star Destroyer Steadfast, including General Armitage Hux and Allegiant General Enric Pryde. As Ren and his Knights stride through the Steadfast's corridors into the conference room, a stormtrooper notes the sudden appearance of the Knights of Ren, and his fellow trooper compares them to "ghouls."
Supreme Leader Ren slams Boolio's bloody, decapitated head on a table and informs the council that they have a spy in their midst, but says that this traitor won't stop the First Order from becoming a true Empire. Ren then asks if General Hux, his rival in the First Order power structure, is troubled by his appearance. General Hux dismisses this concern and compliments Ren, while General Bellava Parnadee says that she likes Ren's reassembled helmet.
General Domaric Quinn speaks up, dismissing the Sith loyalists as "a cult, conjurers and soothsayers." Allegiant General Enric Pryde refutes these concerns, stating that the resources of the First Order will be increased ten thousand fold by the incorporation of the Sith fleet into their own ranks. With a spiteful glance at a glowering Hux, Pryde remarks that the range and power of the fleet will "correct the error of Starkiller Base." Unconvinced, Quinn questions the fleet being a gift and what Palpatine might demand in return. In response, Ren brutally chokes the general through the Force and lifts his body to the ceiling without even looking at him.
Mission to Pasaana
- "The Aki-Aki Festival of the Ancestors! This celebration occurs only once every forty-two years!"
The Falcon exits hyperspace above the desert planet of Pasaana. They land at Luke's coordinates and arrive at the Aki-Aki Festival of the Ancestors. Wandering among the crowd for a while, the group tries to keep a low profile. As Rey gazes at some Aki Aki youngsters, a child approaches her. Translated by 3PO, the child says she is named Nambi Ghima and offers a necklace to Rey, who smiles and accepts the kind gesture. When Ghima inquires as to the Jedi acolyte's family name, she replies that she doesn't have one.
At that moment, Kylo Ren establishes a connection with Rey through their Force-bond. Speaking to her through this, Ren informs his quarry that Palpatine wants her dead. Rey comments that he is serving another master, but the fallen Jedi dismisses this, stating that he has plans of his own. Rey points out to Ren that he is haunted by killing his father, and Ren reminds Rey of her feelings of abandonment and loneliness from her parents abandoning her. After insisting that he will turn her to the dark side, Ren reaches out and grabs her necklace, pulling it through the Force into his own hands. Rey realizes the First Order will soon be coming and runs off to warn her friends.
Meanwhile, Ren brings the necklace to a First Order officer who recognizes the necklace as originating on Pasaana's Forbidden Valley. Ren orders Pryde to alert the local troops and to dispatch reinforcements to Pasaana. As Rey and her friends head back to the Falcon, a stormtrooper finds them but is quickly shot by a mysterious figure. This masked savior asks Rey and her team to follow him.
Once they enter a transport, he reveals himself to be General Lando Calrissian, the man who destroyed the second Death Star at the Battle of Endor many years prior. He shows them a hologram of a Sith wayfinder and explains that only two were ever created. He further reveals that he once accompanied Luke on a mission to track a man named Ochi, whom they believed held information key to locating one of the devices, but when they arrived, they found his ship abandoned. Lando apparently remained behind on Pasaana. While declining to join the fight due to his old age, the Rebellion hero offers them directions to Ochi's ship, which remains in the desert where he left it.
- C-3PO: "Oh! They fly now!"
- Finn: "They fly now?"
- Dameron: "They fly now."
- ―Resistance heroes react to the jet troopers
Squadrons of TIE/fo fighters and First Order dropships fly overhead as the crew hurries through the crowds to the fringes of the festival, eventually stealing a pair of skiff speeders. However, they are quickly spotted by a stormtrooper and pursued by First Order treadspeeders, which are carrying jet troopers. Poe and Rey split up to lose their pursuers.
Rey is pursued by the jet troopers and two treadspeeders while Poe takes the skiff speeder through a narrow canyon. However, they are intercepted by a treadspeeder lying in wait. BB-8 fires a colored smoke canister, blinding the pursuing treadspeeder and causing to crash onto rocks. Standing her group, Rey fires at the second treadspeeder, causing it to explode. She thanks BB-8, saying never underestimate a droid.
Meanwhile, Finn manages to tie a rope around the treadspeeder's engine. Poe then brings their skiff speeder to a halt, causing the pursuing speeder to crash against a rock. Chewbacca also shoots down a Jet trooper just as Poe's speeder catches up with Rey's speeder. However, the last remaining jet trooper shoots at their two skiffs, causing them to crash onto the rocks and throwing the Resistance team into the Sinking Fields. Rey and her comrades manage to shoot the jet trooper, causing the soldier to crash against the rocks. But then, the Resistance team are sucked by quicksand. Rey tells everyone to grab hold of something, but it doesn't work. As Rey and Finn are sucked into the sand, Finn yells "I never told you!..." to Rey before they both sink.
Back at the Resistance base, Major Temmin Wexley informs General Organa that they have received reports of a raid at the Festival of the Ancestors. Organa says that they cannot afford to fail on this mission. When Wexley says they have not heard from the Falcon, Tico asks if he has to be pessimistic. General Organa asks if Wexley can be optimistic, with Wexley saying that he hopes that things turn out to be great.
Lair of the vexis
- "My programming forbids me from translating it."
- ―C-3PO refuses to translate Sith
Meanwhile, Rey and her team fall through the quicksand into a network of underground tunnels. C-3PO think that they are in the underworld. Rey and Poe use the Skywalker blade and Poe's diminutive flashlight to guide them through the tunnels. Rey asks Finn what he meant when he said that he never told her. Finn says that he will tell her later. When Poe asks why Finn is keeping secrets, Finn replies that he will tell them when Poe discloses his "shady" things.
C-3PO leads them to a speeder and discovers a hex charm, a common emblem of the Sith loyalists. Rey and Poe work out that Ochi was heading back to his ship when he got trapped inside the tunnels. Alongside his bones is a dagger that Rey senses has a dark past, while 3PO recognizes that it is inscribed with the ancient language of the Sith and is unable to translate due to restrictions on his programming dating back to the Galactic Senate of the Old Republic. Dameron complains to the droid that this is "the one time we need you to talk, and you can't."
While looking for a way out, the team is cornered by an aggressive serpentine vexis. They prepare to fight the beast but Rey notices that the serpent is injured. Using Force healing, Rey manages to heal the creature, which tunnels through the rock to create an escape for the team. At the same time, it is revealed that the Knights of Ren have arrived on Pasaana, and are hunting them.
A narrow escape
The team hurries to Ochi's ship. C-3PO thinks they should go back to the Falcon but Poe warns that the First Order will be waiting for them there. While climbing the rock where Ochi's ship rests, Rey senses that Kylo Ren has arrived through the Force, but sends her friends ahead to the ship before running back into the desert to confront her nemesis. Poe and Finn begin to start up Ochi's ship, and opening the blinders to check on Rey.
Seeing Rey running down the hill, Finn sends Chewbcca after her. However, a Knight of Ren is watching the Wookiee from behind. As Rey waits in the desert, Ren's TIE whisper roars through the desert only meters above the sand. While Poe is waiting for Rey, Finn runs out of the ship only to find that the Knights of Ren and stormtroopers had captured Chewbacca and Ochi's dagger while the Wookiee was searching for Rey. Finn watches as Chewbacca is led aboard an Atmospheric Assault Transport.
As Ren approaches Rey in his new TIE whisper, Rey runs into a leap. As the ship flies beneath her, she severs a wing with her lightsaber and sends the ship into a tailspin. It crashes in a fireball some distance away. Finn informs Rey of Chewbacca's capture and Rey uses the Force to try and pull down the troop transport that she believes is carrying the Wookiee. Poe and C-3PO also watch from the distance.
Kylo Ren, having emerged from the wreckage of his ship, advances across the desert and engages in a duel of the Force with Rey, each of them pulling the First Order transport to their side. In this struggle, Rey accidentally releases a burst of Force lightning, destroying the vessel and seemingly killing Chewbacca. Ren allows the Jedi and her allies to escape in Ochi's vessel, as his own troops have captured the Falcon.
Setbacks for Team Rey
As the Jedi hunter's ship hurries away from Pasaana, Rey mourns that she has apparently killed Chewbacca. Finn attempts to reassure her that it is not his fault, stating that he knows the good person he believes her to be. Rey dismisses his words, telling him that she experienced a vision of herself and Ren on the Throne of the Sith while touching the dagger.
Meanwhile, the captured Millennium Falcon is escorted by First Order TIEs aboard the Steadfast. General Hux informs Allegiant General Pryde that they captured the scavenger's ship but that Rey got away. Hux attempts to pin the blame for the loss of shuttle on the Knights of Ren. Pryde is not interested until Hux informs him that a second shuttle brought back a valuable prisoner. As a manacled Chewbacca is led aboard the bridge of the Steadfast, Hux tells Pryde that the "beast" used to fly with Han Solo. Pryde orders that Chewbacca be brought to Interrogation Six.
Back aboard Ochi's ship, Poe tells Finn and Rey they have eight hours left and asks what they should do. Finn proposes going back to base but Poe doesn't want to give up. Finn counters that Chewbacca was carrying the dagger and that without it, they have no way to reach Exegol. However, C-3PO reveals that he has retained the inscription in his memory banks. Due to his programming, it cannot be retrieved without a complete redacted memory bypass, effectively a memory wipe.
Despite the risk to C-3PO, a desperate Poe and Finn decide to perform the memory wipe since the galaxy is at stake. Poe decides to seek out a black market droidsmith on the planet Kijimi, a place where he doesn't have fond memories. Despite the risks, Poe, Finn, Rey, and C-3PO resolve to do it in memory of Chewbacca. However, they are followed by another ship.
During the trip, BB-8 finds and reactivates the droid D-O on Ochi's ship, who requests a battery charge and befriends Rey. Rey takes pity on D-O, who had been treated badly by his previous master and tells the droid that he is safe with them.
A new mission
- "You were a spice runner?!"
- ―Finn, after finding out Poe's former occupation
The heroes of the Resistance make their way to the snow-dusted planet of Kijimi to execute their plan to discover what secrets the Dagger held. After landing in Kijimi City, the Resistance team avoids a stormtrooper patrol, who are searching and rounding up local civilians. Shortly later, Poe and his friends are cornered by Zorii Bliss and her crew. She reveals that Poe has a colorful past, once worked as a spice runner and that he still owes her money.
Zorii tries to collect a bounty on Rey, leading to a skirmish between the two sides. Rey gains the upper hand over Zorri with her lightsaber and Zorii agrees to help them. The group narrowly avoid a First Order patrol but the Knights of Ren have already tracked them there.
Zorii Bliss brings them through a back alley into Babu Frik's workshop in the Thieves' Quarter. As he is wired up to the computer, C-3PO grumbles that he does not have the faintest idea as to why he agreed to this operation and thinks he must be malfunctioning. Rey asks if Babu Frik can help them. Zorii interprets for Babu, who explains that he has found Sith words in C-3PO's forbidden memory.
Poe asks if Babu can make C-3PO translate the Sith inscriptions. Frik tells everyone that he can unlock the message to be read, but in doing so C-3PO's memory will be wiped. Still reeling from the loss of Chewbacca, the heroes argue about finding another way to get the job done, but in an act of self-sacrifice C-3PO voluntarily consent to the modifications, knowing that he will be lost in the act.
- C-3PO: "If this mission fails, it was all for nothing. All we've done. All this time."
- Poe: "What're you doing there, 3PO?"
- C-3PO: "Taking one last look, sir. At my friends."
- ―C-3PO to Poe
While Poe and Zorii leave to keep a watch for First Order patrols, Frik begins performing the hack on C-3PO. Meanwhile, Allegiant General Pryde informs Kylo Ren that the Knights of Ren have tracked the "scavenger," which Admiral Frantis Griss identifies as a settlement called Kijimi. General Hux proposes destroying the city but Ren raises his finger menacingly, cutting him off.
Outside the bar, Zorii and Poe reminisce about old times. There is some lingering connection there even though they had some sort of falling out in the past. Zorii tells Poe that she had saved up enough money to procure a First Order Captain's Medallion, which she intends to use to travel offworld to the Colonies, leaving her spice running days behind. Poe also tells Zorii that the Resistance sent out a distress call during the Battle of Crait but that nobody came, which he blames on fear and people giving up. Zorii disagrees and says that the First Order wins by making people think they are alone. She reminds Poe that there is more of them.
Meanwhile, Rey socializes with D-O, who takes a liking to Rey and her friends. Rey confides in Finn that she sensed that her parents were on Ochi's ship through the Force. Shortly later, Poe and Zorii return with news that the Steadfast is approaching Kijimi. Babu completes the hack, allowing 3PO to read the message inscribed on the dagger. The translated text points them to the location of Emperor's wayfinder, which is located on the Death Star ruins on a moon of Endor. Having served his purpose, 3PO's memory wipe begins, and he shuts down. Once the memory wipe is complete, 3PO reboots with a completely empty memory.
As the Steadfast arrives above Kijimi City, Rey senses that Chewie is alive. Before leaving, Zorii gives Poe her Captain's Medallion as a gesture of goodwill to help him and his Resistance team get through the First Order blockade. Poe tries to convince Zorii to leave, but she turns down his offer. As the heroes escape on Ochi's ship, the group makes the decision to use the passage device to board the Steadfast and recapture the Falcon and save Chewie.
The device works and their ship lands in the Star Destroyer without question. After landing, Rey, Finn and Poe shoot the stormtrooper sentries and head to Chewie's cell. While navigating through the Star Destroyer's corridors, Rey uses a mind trick to confuse the stormtroopers, enabling them to find Chewie. Heading into Chewbacca's detention block, they shoot the cameras. Sensing that Ochi's dagger is on the ship, Rey splits off from the group to retrieve the relic.
On Kijimi, Kylo Ren oversees a manhunt but senses that Rey is close. Meanwhile, Poe and Finn find Chewie and free him from his cell. Elsewhere, Allegiant General Pryde discovers Ochi's ship in the hangar and realizes that there are intruders aboard the Steadfast. Finn, Poe, and Chewbacca exchange fire with stormtroopers while fleeing through the Star Destroyer's corridors. Poe is shot and the group are surrounded by stormtrooper reinforcements, who take them captive.
Glimpses of Rey's past
Meanwhile, Ochi's dagger leads Rey to Kylo's living quarters where she discovers Darth Vader's charred helmet. Rey finds and grabs Ochi's blade, which carries a vision of her parents, when she breaks free of the vision a bond with Kylo begins. Ren tells Rey that he knows the rest of the story about her origins but Rey claims that he is lying.
Ren replies that he never lied to her and that her parents were "no ones" because they chose to be to keep her safe. Resisting his mental probe, Rey crosses blades with Kylo Ren, and a lightsaber duel breaks out between the two of them across two different locations, Kylo on the surface of Kijimi and Rey aboard the Steadfast. Rey discovers that her parents left her on Jakku to protect her.
Meanwhile, Allegiant General Pryde orders the stormtroopers to terminate Poe, Finn, and Chewbacca. While parrying in Ren's quarters, Ren tells Rey that the Emperor had sent Ochi to find and recover Rey. When her parents got in the way and refused to tell Ochi where she was, the Dark Lord gave the order to kill them. As the lightsaber duel continues, Ren discovers that Rey is aboard his flagship after she shatters a stand containing Darth Vader's helmet. Ren tells Rey that she knows why the Emperor always wanted her dead.
A new revelation
- "You're a Palpatine."
- ―Kylo Ren, to Rey
Before the stormtroopers can execute Finn, Poe, and Chewie, General Hux arrives and volunteers to terminate the prisoners himself. Believing that this is the end, Finn attempts to tell Poe the secret he was going to tell Rey. However, Hux guns down the firing squad and tells a surprised Poe and Finn that he was the spy within the First Order that Finn and Poe had received information from.
Meanwhile, in the hangar, a mind-wiped C-3PO haggles with the stormtroopers. However, Rey arrives and guns down stormtroopers with Chewie's bowcaster. Before they can find the others, Kylo Ren returns in his shuttle. Rey sends C-3PO, D-O and BB-8 to find Poe, Finn, and Chewbacca. However, Hux leads the Resistance team to the hangar and convinces Finn to shoot him in the arm. When Finn asks Hux about his motives, he tells them that he wasn't doing it to help the Resistance, but rather because he didn't want Kylo Ren to win.
As stormtroopers converge in the hangar, Kylo Ren arrives and faces off Rey. When Rey asks why the Emperor would want to kill a child, Ren reveals that she is Palpatine's granddaughter; her father was the son of the Emperor. Since Ren's mother Leia is the daughter of Darth Vader, he also reveals that they are a dyad in the Force, two that are one in the Force. Rey walks to the edge of the hangar as Kylo extends an offer for Rey to join him in killing the Sith Lord and taking his throne. However, Rey turns down his offer again as the Falcon arrives and uses its thrusters to throw back the stormtroopers. Finn helps Rey up the gangplank.
After they leave, Hux claims that it was a coordinated incursion and that the Resistance team overpowered the guards and forced him to take them to his ship. However, Pryde is not fooled and executes Hux for treason against the First Order. Pryde then orders a First Order officer to inform the Supreme Leader that they have found their spy.
While the Falcon is traveling through hyperspace, Poe tells Chewbacca and C-3PO that he doesn't know why the First Order is not following them and that he doesn't trust them. Chewbacca reveals that the Falcon's landing gear is busted. While making repairs to the Falcon, Rey tells Finn that all that matters is finding the wayfinder and Exegol. Finn reassures her that is what they are doing. Rey vows to destroy Darth Sidious for killing her father and mother. Finn tells Rey that this doesn't sound like her but Rey responds that nobody knows her.
Meanwhile, the Sith Lord learns from Ren that the Jedi apprentice still lives. Questioning Ren's loyalty, he warns the Supreme Leader not to make him turn his fleet against him. Ren replies that he knows where Rey is going and vows that she will never be a Jedi. Sidious demands Ren to kill Rey.
Mission to Kef Bir
- "He said you'd come. He said you were the last hope."
- ―Jannah, of Rey's team
Using the information learned from C-3PO's translation of the dagger's writing, the Resistance team takes the Millennium Falcon to the ocean moon of Kef Bir in the Endor system. As the Falcon descends into Kef Bir, they are detected by a woman named Jannah, who is riding an Orbak. Due to its damaged struts, the Falcon has a hard landing, carving up soil.
Rey, Finn, Poe, C-3PO, Chewbacca, BB-8, and D-O approach a cliff overlooking the sea, where the wreckage of the second Death Star lies in the distance. While Poe and Finn think that it will be difficult to find the wayfinder in the Death Star ruins, Rey uses the dagger to locate the wayfinder by aligning a plate hidden in the hilt with a specific part of the Death Star's wreckage, and discovering the two shapes match perfectly.
The Resistance team is soon joined by a group of humans riding orbak led by Jannah, who asks if they are from the Resistance. When Poe confirms they are from the Resistance, she tells them that they picked up a transmission from Babu Frik telling that Rey and her team were the last hope. Jannah offers to take them to the location of the wayfinder the next day. Since they cannot wait till tomorrow, Poe convinces Jannah and her followers to help them repair the Falcon.
While the droids mingle with the orbaks, Poe and the others repair the Falcon with the help of Jannah. Finn chats with Jannah, who reveals that she was once a stormtrooper known as TZ-1719 and that her whole tribe were former troopers. Finn is glad to learn that he is not the only deserter from the First Order. They mutinied at a battle in which they were ordered to fire on civilians. Jannah likened it to an instinct while Finn says that Force brought him and his friends here. He admits that he was skeptical but has now embraced the Force.
Light versus darkness
BB-8 soon tells the group that he has not seen Rey. Returning to the cliff, Poe and the others discover that Rey had commandeered a skimmer and taken it to the Death Star ruins with the intention of retrieving the wayfinder. Rey takes the skimmer through the choppy seas. Poe and Finn argue about going after Rey. Poe wants to fix the ship first but Finn insists on going after their friend. Finn tells Poe that he and Leia know what Rey is fighting against. Finn and Jannah prepare to leave on a second skimmer to find Rey.
Meanwhile, Rey climbs through the wreckage of the second Death Star to reach the Emperor's Throne Room. Inside the throne room, Rey senses a dark presence calling her into an adjacent chamber where she finds the second wayfinder. Upon contacting the wayfinder, she is confronted by a Force vision of herself as a Sith Lady, resulting in a brief duel. The Sith vision abruptly growls and bares fangs at her, causing her to stumble outside the chamber and drop the wayfinder on the floor.
Immediately after, Rey is confronted by Kylo Ren, who had tracked the Resistance team to Kef Bir. After retrieving the wayfinder, Ren urges Rey to embrace the dark side. Rey demands that he return the wayfinder but Kylo Ren counters that the only way that she is going to Exegol is with him before destroying the relic. Furious, Rey attacks Kylo Ren with the Skywalker lightsaber. He dodges her blade before igniting his own crossblade lightsaber and leads Rey down a chute.
Back at the Resistance base on Ajan Kloss, Leia senses her son's confrontation with Rey and walks out of the command center, aided by Lieutenant Kaydel Connix. Maz Kanata tells R2-D2 that Leia knows what must be done, adding that it will take all her strength to reach her son.
Meanwhile, on Kef Bir, Rey and Kylo Ren continue their duel on the watery Death Star ruins as the waves crash around them. Finn and Jannah, who have arrived, witness the lightsaber duel. Finn calls out to Rey, but she uses the Force to hurl him aside, unwilling to see him get hurt. Rey uses the Force to jump to another floating wreck. Finn tries to follow but is stopped by Jannah.
After exchanging blades, Kylo Ren manages to maneuver Rey towards a laser cannon. He uses the Force to block her moves and gains the upper hand. However, a dying Leia calls to Kylo through the Force by his birth name, Ben, momentarily distracting him long enough for Rey to grab his crossblade lightsaber and stab him through his torso. At the same time, Leia breathes her last with R2-D2 mourning over his fallen master.
- "No. Kylo Ren is dead. My son is alive."
- ―Han's memory
Sensing Leia's death, Rey regrets her actions and uses the Force to heal Ren's wound, making it whole again. Rey then confesses to him that she wanted to join him and take his hand as Ben Solo. Rey then flies away on Ren's TIE whisper, still shaken about her own actions and by her Sith lineage. While Finn and Jannah watch in shock, several Resistance members including Maz Kanata, R2-D2, Kaydel Connix, Beaumont Kin, and Temmin Wexley gather to pay respects to their fallen leader. Poe and his team return to Ajan Kloss only to learn from Commander Larma D'Acy that Leia has passed away. Chewbacca grieves for his fallen friend.
Back on Kef Bir, Ren converses with a memory of his late father Han Solo, who tells him that Kylo Ren is dead, though his son - Ben Solo - is alive. Ren says that Solo is a memory, but Solo says that he is his memory. Solo urges Ren to return even though his mother is gone, stating that what she stood and fought for is not gone. Addressing his son as Ben, Solo touches his cheeks and reassures him that he has the strength to do what he needs to do. Reconciling with his late father, Kylo Ren throws his lightsaber far off into the water near the wreckage of the Death Star, reclaiming his identity as Ben Solo and rejecting the dark side.
A show of force
- "Send a ship to a world they know. Let it burn"
- ―Palpatine to Pryde
Aboard the Steadfast, Palpatine communes with Pryde via hologram. The Emperor is displeased that the late Princess of Alderaan has disrupted his plan but thinks that her "foolish act" was in vain. He orders Allegiant General Pryde to come to him on Exegol. In light of Kylo Ren's failure to kill Rey, Pryde, a loyal Imperial who had served the Emperor during the time of the "old wars," pledges himself to the Sith Lord once again. Palpatine then commands Pryde to send a ship to a world that is familiar to Rey and her friends. Acting under Palpatine's orders, Pryde sends a Xyston-class Star Destroyer from the Sith fleet to destroy Kijimi with its axial superlaser.
Back at the Resistance base, Poe, D'Acy, and Beaumont receive news of the destruction of Kijimi and realize that Palpatine has a fleet of planet-destroying warships. Rose intercepts a transmission from Palpatine stating that "the Resistance is dead and that the Sith flame will burn." Palpatine demands that all worlds surrender or die as the Final Order begins. Rose informs Poe that Leia also made him acting general and asks what they should do.
Passing the torch
- "Confronting fear is the destiny of a Jedi. Your destiny. If you don't face Palpatine, it will mean the end of the Jedi, and the war will be lost."
- ―Luke's Force spirit encouraging Rey
In private, Poe pays his respects to the late General Organa and confides that he is not ready. He is soon joined by Lando Calrissian who confides that neither were he, Luke, Han or Leia during the days of the Rebellion. When Poe asks Lando how he defeated an Empire with almost nothing, Lando replies that they had each other.
D-O tells Finn that he misses Rey. Later, Poe appoints Finn as his second-in-command. Finn tells Poe that D-O can help them get to Exegol and explains that D-O's former master Ochi had intended to bring Rey to Sidious on Exegol.
Meanwhile, on Ahch-To, Rey burns Kylo Ren's TIE whisper, intending to exile herself to the oceanic world. As she prepares to throw the Skywalker lightsaber into the burning wreckage of Kylo's TIE whisper, Luke's Force spirit appears and tells Rey that a Jedi's weapon deserves more respect. Rey tells Luke that she was haunted by the dark vision and that she plans to exile herself to prevent that from happening.
Luke tells Rey that he was wrong to let fear keep him here. When Luke asks Rey about her greatest fear, Rey confides that she is a Palpatine. Skywalker comforts Rey by telling her that he and his sister Leia knew her true lineage but still trained her because she knew Rey's spirit and heart. Luke tells her that confronting fear is the destiny of the Jedi and encourages Rey to face Darth Sidious or else it will mean the end of the Jedi and the War will be lost.
He also gifts Rey Leia's lightsaber, explaining that during the last night of Leia's Jedi training, she had sensed the death of her son. Leia had surrendered her saber to her so that it would be picked up by someone who would finish her journey. Luke tells Rey that a thousand generations now live in her and tells her to take both blades to Exegol. Rey is still dismayed, as Kylo destroyed the wayfinder on Kef Bir. Luke says that Rey has everything she needs. Then, Rey remembers that two Sith wayfinders were made, and salvages Kylo's wayfinder from the burning TIE whisper. Luke then uses the Force to levitate his old T-65B X-wing, Red Five, from the depths of the sea.
Preparing for war
Back on Ajan Kloss, a memory–wiped C-3PO interacts with R2-D2, whom he does not remember. R2-D2 restores C-3PO's memories, and he recalls that he is going to embark on his first mission with Rey. R2-D2 reminds him that the mission has already occurred. R2-D2 then picks up a signal.
Meanwhile, Finn, Poe and Rose plug D-O into a navigation computer in order to access the coordinates to Exegol to plan their air strike against the Sith fleet. They find that the planet is surrounded by various obstacles including magnetic crossfields, gravity wells, and solar winds. C-3PO then informs them that they are receiving a transmission from Red Five, which is transmitting the coordinates to Exegol.
Guided by Kylo Ren's Sith wayfinder, Rey flies Red Five through the obstacles around Exegol. Finn and Poe realize that Rey is showing them the way to Exegol. Beaumont tells Chewbacca that they need him. Poe briefs the Resistance pilots about their planned airstrike on Exegol, telling them that they need to take out the navigation tower that the Sith Eternal is using to guide the Sith fleet. Finn and Poe propose taking out the tower in a joint air and ground assault. Their plan is to attack the scattered Sith fleet. Lando supports their plans.
When Beaumont proposes the "Holdo maneuver," Finn disagrees since that move is one in a million and says that fighters and cannons would destroy their ships. Nien Nunb and Kaydel Ko Connix point out that the Resistance fleet is outnumbered but Finn says that Lando and Chewbacca will go to the Core Systems and rally support for the Resistance. Poe tells the Resistance fighters not to fall into the trap of thinking they are alone and that good people will fight with the right leadership. As Poe speaks, the Resistance pilots climb into their starfighters and starships including the CR90 corvette Tantive IV. Finn ends the speech by saying that they are now taking the war back to the First Order.
Into the thick of battle
As Rey approaches Exegol, a Sith Eternal officer alerts her superiors while Allegiant General Pryde orders the Sith fleet to rise to deployment altitude. Rey lands Red Five on the dark surface of Exegol and walks into the Sith Citadel. Rey walks past several statues and machines into a tunnel.
Meanwhile, Poe and Finn lead the Resistance fleet through the cloud of red gas and debris and exit hyperspace above Exegol. Alerted to the arrival of the Resistance fleet, Allegiant General Pryde orders the Sith fleet to use ion cannons. The Sith Star Destroyers blast the Resistance ships and starfighters with ion cannons and turbolasers. Poe leads the Exegol landing team towards the navigation tower on Exegol's surface.
The Sith Eternal deploys swarms of Sith TIE fighters. Realizing the Resistance's plan to attack the navigation tower, Pryde orders the First Order officers to switch the navigation source to the Steadfast, saying that they will guide the Sith fleet out themselves. The navigation tower is deactivated, forcing Finn to call off the ground invasion.
Through the Force, Finn senses that the navigation signal is coming from the Steadfast. When Jannah asks how he knows, he replies that he feels it. Finn convinces a female starfighter commander to give the Resistance troop carrier covering fire while they attack the command ship. Finn and Jannah lead the landing party, who are riding obraks, in the assault against the Steadfast's navigation tower, facing opposition from crimson Sith troopers and Sith Jetpack Troopers.
- "She will take her revenge, and with a stroke of her saber, the Sith will be reborn! The Jedi are dead!"
- ―Darth Sidious, to Rey and the Sith loyalists
Meanwhile, Rey enters a massive auditorium where she discovers the empty throne of the Sith and a large crowd of Sith loyalists. Rey is soon joined by the Dark Lord, who is supported by an Ommin harness. Darth Sidious tells Rey that he has been waiting for the return of his grandchild. The Sith Lord claims that he never wanted her dead and that he only wanted her to assume the Sith throne, stating that it is her birthright. Rey says that she has come to end the Sith as a Jedi. Sidious tries to goad Rey into killing him, telling her that by doing so all of the spirits of the Sith will flow into her, and they will become one.
Above Exegol, the Sith Star Destroyers fire up their engines. Poe asks Finn about the landing team's progress. Finn tells them that the hatches are sealed and that they are facing opposition. While BB-8 opens a manhole, Finn and Jannah provide covering fire, with Jannah using a crossbow to shoot down a Sith jet trooper. Jannah throws explosives inside the manhole, causing an explosion that takes out the navigation signal temporarily.
In response, Allegiant General Pryde orders his subordinates, including Admiral Griss, to reset the navigation signal. As the Resistance strike team prepares to leave, Finn tells Jannah that he needs to stay behind to stop them from resetting the signal. Jannah insists that she stay with Finn. Meanwhile, Poe admits to R2-D2 that he doesn't know when Lando and reinforcements are coming. When Colonel Aftab Ackbar asks what they should do, Poe orders the starfighter pilots to hit the Sith Star Destroyers until reinforcements arrive.
Back in the Sith Citadel, Sidious calls on Rey to give into her hatred and kill him, though Rey refuses to show her hatred for the Sith Lord. When Sidious calls her parents weak, Rey counters that they were strong and saved her from him. Sidious recalls that her master Luke had his father to help him while the only family that Rey has is him. Just then, the roof of the Sith Citadel opens, showing the battle above.
Sidious claims that Rey can save her friends by killing him and assuming the throne. He invites her to become Empress of the new Sith Empire and command the Sith fleet. As he speaks, the Sith Eternal forces inflict damage on the Resistance starfighters and landing team.
A dyad in the Force
Meanwhile, Ben Solo lands on Exegol in an old TIE scout and runs to the Sith Citadel. As the Dark Lord tempts Rey, Ben forces his way into the depths of the Sith Citadel, taking down several Sovereign Protectors.
Back on the Steadfast, Finn convinces Rose to go while he and Jannah prepare to take the command bridge down. At the Sith Citadel, Sidious calls on Rey to embrace the dark side and pledge herself as a Sith while his disciples chant in unison. Ben soon runs into the Knights of Ren and fights them, but he is quickly overwhelmed. As Rey draws the Skywalker lightsaber, Sidious implores her to strike him down, ending the Jedi and rebirthing the Sith.
However, Rey rejects the Sith Lord's demand and, sensing him through their dyad, transfers the lightsaber to Ben, who uses it to fight the Knights of Ren. One by one they are defeated. At the throne room, Rey draws Leia's lightsaber and fights the Sovereign Protectors while Sidious retreats in the Ommin harness. Ben hurls the last Sovereign Protector aside with the Force. Together, he and Rey face the Emperor, who taunts them that they will die together for daring to stand against him.
Sidious uses the Force to throw Rey and Ben to their knees, inadvertently drawing part of their life essences. Realizing that the two are a dyad in the Force, the Sith Lord decides to rejuvenate himself by draining their life essences and become the one true Emperor. Rey and Ben are weakened by the exertion and collapse on the floor. Meanwhile, the Resistance suffers heavy losses, including Wexley, whose X-wing crashes into a Sith Star Destroyer much to the dismay of Poe. As Poe hears the distress of his comrades on the comlink, he apologizes that he thought that they had a chance, but there is just too many of them.
Allies to the rescue
Just then, Poe hears Lando's voice on the comlink, reassuring him that "there are more of them." Shortly later, Lando and Chewbacca arrive in the Millennium Falcon, accompanied by a massive Citizens' Fleet, including Rebellion hero Commander Wedge Antilles, who compliments Lando's flying as he guns on the Falcon. The reinforcements reinvigorate the Resistance forces. Poe orders the combined forces to take out the Sith Star Destroyers' world-destroying superlaser cannons. As several Sith Star Destroyers go up in flames, Pryde asks where they got this navy from. Admiral Griss replies that the armada is not a navy, but are just people. Poe is also relieved that his former associate Zorii Bliss has come to their aid.
Back at the Sith Citadel, the rejuvenated Emperor reveals himself to his Sith followers, who chant in unison. Ben rises to his feet but the Dark Lord levitates him in mid-air. Sidious tells Ben that he will be the last Skywalker and uses the Force to throw him into a nearby chasm, seemingly killing him. Determined to let nothing stop the return of the Sith, Sidious unleashes Force lightning on the Resistance fleet and allied armada, destroying several ships, including the Tantive IV, and killing Resistance members like Lieutenant Commander Nien Nunb.
As Rey lies on the ground, she repeatedly says "be with me", continuing contacting the Jedi ghost and connecting to the Pure Cosmic energy of the entire Universe. She then hears the voice of Luke and his father's master Obi-Wan Kenobi telling her that these are her final steps and telling her to rise and take them. This is followed by the voices of Luke's father Anakin Skywalker, Anakin's former apprentice Ahsoka Tano, and Knight Kanan Jarrus calling out her name. Anakin urges Rey to bring back the balance to the Force as he did. The voice of Master Luminara Unduli calls on Rey to find the light.
The voices of Master Yoda reassure Rey that she has never been alone. The voice of Master Qui-Gon Jinn tells Rey that every Jedi who has ever lived lives in her. Anakin then reminds Rey that the Force surrounds her while Master Aayla Secura tells Rey to let the Force guide her as Ahsoka's voice finishes the statement. Master Mace Windu tells her to feel the Force while Anakin tells her to let it lift her. The voice of Master Adi Gallia encourage Rey to rise while Qui-Gon tells her that they stand behind her.
Kenobi calls out to Rey while Yoda urges Rey to rise. The voice of Kanan tells Rey that in the heart of a Jedi lies their strength. Kenobi then joins the other Jedi in urging Rey to rise, lending their strength to the weakened woman. As she rises to her feet, Luke tells her that the Force will be with her always. Drawing Leia's lightsaber, Rey confronts Sidious, who halts his attack on the fleet.
Believing that he is at the cusp of victory, the Sith Lord taunts Rey that her death will be the final word in the story of Rebellion. Sidious furiously attempts to destroy Rey with Force lightning, but she deflects it back with Leia's lightsaber. Free of the Force lightning attack, Poe urges the allied fleet to make a final offensive against the Sith Star Destroyers, which have ascended into Exegol's upper atmosphere.
Continuing the Force lightning attack on Rey, the Sith Lord angrily taunts her that she is nothing more than a scavenger girl and no match for the power in him. Darth Sidious boasts that he is all the Sith, but Rey retorts that she is all the Jedi. Using the Force to retrieve the Skywalker lightsaber, she crosses blades and uses them to push back the Dark Lord's Force lightning attack. The Emperor is disintegrated by his own Force lightning, which triggers a massive wave of energy that destroys the throne of the Sith and the auditorium, crushing and killing all of his followers.
Victory and Sacrifice
Meanwhile, on the Steadfast, Jannah connects the cables on a hijacked laser cannon, which opens fire on the bridge of the command ship. On the Resurgent Star Destroyer, Allegiant General Pryde watches in horror as the Resistance destroys the Sith fleet. Moments later he is killed when the bridge explodes. An Abednedo pilot named C'ai Threnalli tells Poe that the Steadfast has been destroyed. The Resistance and allied armada take out the remaining Sith forces.
Meanwhile, Finn and Jannah cling on to dear life as the stricken Steadfast descends into the atmosphere. Poe wants to rescue Finn and Jannah but Lando and Chewbacca use the Falcon to rescue the two Resistance fighters, who jump to safety before the Steadfast crashes onto the surface and disintegrates.
Back at the Sith Citadel, an exhausted Rey dies as a result of the duel with the Sith Lord. Her death is sensed through the Force by Finn. Shortly later, a hand appears at the edge of the chasm and an injured Ben pulls himself up, falling to his knees beside Rey and pulling her dead body into his lap. He embraces Rey's body. Pulling away, Ben puts his hand on her stomach and uses the Force to resurrect her. Rey awakens, smiling at Ben and touching his cheek gently. The two embrace before Rey kisses him. After they kiss, Ben smiles at her as he closes his eyes. Moments later, he falls backward and vanishes, having given his remaining life essence to Rey. His body fades away at the same moment that Leia's body becomes one with the Force. Maz Kanata also senses Ben's death from afar.
As the wrecked Sith fleet crashes on the surface of Exegol, Finn and Poe spot Red Five. Finn tells Poe that people are rising up against the First Order all over the galaxy and the two say they did it. On Bespin, a damaged Resurgent Star Destroyer descends into the atmosphere below Cloud City. On Endor, the Ewok war hero Wicket W. Warrick and his son, Pommet, watch as another Resurgent Star Destroyer is destroyed by a heavy freighter via the "Holdo manuever" in the skies above the moon. On Jakku, a stricken Resurgent Star Destroyer crashes, joining a wrecked Imperial Star Destroyer from the Battle of Jakku.
Triumph of the Resistance
- "People are rising up all over the galaxy. Poe, we did it."
"We did it."
- ―Finn and Poe Dameron
The Resistance and the galaxy at large celebrate their victory against Sidious and the Sith Eternal. On Ajan Kloss, the victorious pilots and Resistance fighters embrace each other. Finn watches as Rose hugs Chewbacca. Maz Kanata bestows Chewbacca with a Medal of Bravery, which Han and Luke were awarded following the Battle of Yavin. Poe and Zorii exchange a look and it seems like Poe is trying to ask Zorii if she would like to celebrate with him privately, to which she shakes her head.
Poe then hugs Finn. Shortly later, Rey returns aboard Red Five. Jannah asks Lando where he is from and he tells her that he is from the Gold system. Lando in turn asks Jannah where she is from, and she tells him that she doesn't know, and Lando responds by saying "well, let's find out." Rey sees Finn and Poe, and the three of them embrace.
Heir to the Skywalkers
- "I'm Rey."
- ―Rey Skywalker and the Tatooine elder
On Tatooine, Rey flies the Millennium Falcon past a Jawa sandcrawler. Together with BB-8, Rey visits the abandoned Lars homestead, where she buries Anakin and Leia's lightsabers in the sand, having now built her own— a black-handled lightsaber with a yellow blade. A local asks her name and, seeing spirits of Luke and Leia look on, Rey gives her name as "Rey Skywalker." Rey and BB-8 then watch the twin suns of Tatooine set.
- "To have no script and to have a release date and have it be essentially a two-year window when you're saying (to yourself), you've got two years from the decision to do it to release, and you have literally nothing... You don't have the story, you don't have the cast, you don't have the designers, the sets. There was a crew, and there were things that will be worked on for the version that preceded ours, but this was starting over."
- ―J.J. Abrams, on taking over from Colin Trevorrow
Long before Lucasfilm's acquisition by Disney in 2012, Star Wars creator George Lucas mentioned that he had plans to make nine films. In 1976, Lucas asked Mark Hamill to make a cameo in the film ("like Obi-Wan handing the lightsaber down to the next new hope"), which he estimated at the time would be filmed "around 2011." According to Hamill, Lucas's outline for the sequel trilogy had Luke Skywalker surviving until Episode IX and training Leia Organa in the Force; Hamill was an advocate for this version of the story. Producer Gary Kurtz mentioned in a 1999 interview that Lucas's plans for Episode IX included the first appearance of the Emperor, a plot point ultimately used in the original trilogy's conclusion.
Both J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson were rumored to be involved with early development for Episode IX, though they each denied this, with Abrams saying on his part, "We don't write a treatment but there are countless times we came up with something and said 'oh, this would be so great for Episode VIII!' or 'That's what we could get to in IX!'" According to The Force Awakens co-writer Lawrence Kasdan, the Lucasfilm creative team developed a general idea early on as to how they wanted the film to end. This was echoed by Kylo Ren actor Adam Driver: "With Star Wars, I had one piece of information of where it was all going, and that's where it has been in my head for a long time, and things were building towards that."
In August 2015, Colin Trevorrow was announced as director for Episode IX. As Abrams and Johnson had to ensure a smooth transition between Episodes VII and VIII, Johnson and Trevorrow worked closely to ensure continuity between their respective films. With cinematographer John Schwartzman, Trevorrow planned to shoot on 65 mm film, and wanted to capture some footage in actual outer space. He contributed two spaceship designs for the movie—the TIE Echelon and the TIE Marauder—the former of which was ultimately used for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. In early December of 2016, Trevorrow presented a completed script to Lucasfilm (as well as Lucas and Hamill)—entitled Duel of the Fates.
Death of Carrie Fisher
- "The minute she finished, she grabbed me and said, 'I'd better be at the forefront of IX!' Because Harrison was front and center on VII, and Mark is front and center on VIII. She thought IX would be her movie. And it would have been."
- ―Kathleen Kennedy, on Carrie Fisher's death
Carrie Fisher died on December 27, 2016. Given that her character had featured prominently in Trevorrow's script, the filmmaker met with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy in January 2017 to discuss possible story solutions. Kennedy said that the team had "pretty much started over," Jack Thorne was briefly hired to rewrite the initial script, but according to Thorne, "the process was tough and didn't end well." In September 2017, it was announced that Trevorrow had left the project due to creative differences, and that he would be replaced by Abrams. According to Kennedy, it was during the initial scripting phase that she realized Trevorrow wasn't the right person for the job; she attributed this to Trevorrow having not been present at the story conferences for The Force Awakens, during which a basic plan for the trilogy had been laid out. Disney reportedly agreed to pay a fee to Paramount Pictures so that Abrams could make the film, as he had been in breach of contract with the latter by his involvement in The Force Awakens. Abrams pitched his story to Disney head Bob Iger in December 2017 and had a script ready by February 2018. As he told Rolling Stone, "I had no intention to return. But when the opportunity presented itself to finish a story that we had begun with these new characters, to tell the last chapter of their story, it felt like there was a chance to do it in a way where we could go beyond, and do better than we did in Seven."
Due to the time constraints and pressure of returning to the series, Abrams asked Chris Terrio to co-write the film. In May 2018, he told The Wall Street Journal: "I had a bunch of ideas from the beginning, back on VII, of where the story would go. I just never in my wildest dreams thought I would have a chance to execute them." The creative team met with Lucas, Johnson and Kasdan before writing the script; according to Abrams, Lucas explained many of his own ideas about the Force and the midi-chlorians. Terrio also spent some time doing extensive research into the Expanded Universe and recent Star Wars animation; he was influenced by many of those stories in writing the film, comparing the process to writing nonfiction: "When we would make a story decision, we were fully aware that this now will become canon, and so are we sure that this is the right story decision? Are we sure about it character-wise? Are we sure about it thematically? Does it seem like it gels with George's original intentions from Episode IV? Does it gel with what we learned in the prequels and what we learned in the sequel trilogy?" He thought of the core characters as analogous to children of revolutionaries who fought in the War of 1812.
Abrams and Terrio were determined to make a film that would conclude the Skywalker saga and tie together the previous eight chapters. The pair began the process by writing ideas on a series of dry erase boards at Bad Robot, and then transferring them to a Microsoft Word document. They would also meet in coffee shops to discuss the script, at which they would use code names to refer to the characters. During the process, they collaborated on ideas with Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Rick Carter, Roger Guyett, Kevin Jenkins, Michael Kaplan, and Neal Scanlan. Kennedy and Rejwan gave them certain narrative beats that had to be hit. Kennedy described the process to Gizmodo: "Nobody was being overly polite. If you didn't think something made sense. If you couldn't follow it, if you thought, from a fan's point of view, that you're stepping outside the lines and it was a bogus kind of thinking, no one was afraid to say that because we knew how important this was to get right. And we didn't let things go." Abrams also described it as "this crazy challenge that could have been a wildly uncomfortable contortion of ideas and shoving in of answers and Band-Aids and bridges … I feel like we've gotten to a place–without jinxing anything–where we might have something incredibly special." Terrio is quoted in The Art of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker as saying "I've never rewritten a film as much as this one. It's like a tide. There's a new script every morning. But we just keep going at it and going at it, loosely thinking that it's not good enough. It's never good enough."
The writers revisited some of the ideas Abrams and Kasdan had for The Force Awakens, and also used some ideas that were present in Trevorrow's script. Some major elements of the plot originated in a 2014 Lucasfilm story meeting: Leia being involved in bringing her son back to the light, the notion of Leia being a mentor to Rey, and Rey being a metaphorical Skywalker. Certain aspects of the story changed significantly during pre-production, and the film had frequent dialogue changes from day to day. Producer Kathleen Kennedy claimed that Palpatine's return (an idea first used in Star Wars: Dark Empire) was planned from the beginning, although Trevorrow believed it was a new idea by Abrams. According to Terrio, he and Abrams didn't use anything from Trevorrow's script, although "There may have been certain elements that we used that had been in the original script and we weren't aware of it. The Guild makes the determination about those things." Regardless, Trevorrow and his frequent writing partner Derek Connolly received story credits in the final film. In regards to The Last Jedi's influence on the film, Abrams told Esquire: "As a filmmaker, working on episode IX, amazingly, nothing that he [Rian Johnson] did in Last Jedi got in the way of things that we had talked about wanting to do down the line, ideas that I had about where things might go, so… it wasn't like his story somehow derailed the things I wanted to pursue. In fact, strangely, they might have even helped strengthen them because we got to make some choices that sort of take advantage of the fact that Rian hadn't done the things that we were thinking about doing."
Lucasfilm dispelled rumors that it would digitally recreate Fisher in future films. Fisher's brother Todd said that he and Billie Lourd had granted Lucasfilm rights to use footage of her. Kennedy initially claimed that Ms. Fisher would not appear in the film, though Abrams later confirmed that Ms. Fisher would appear in the film via unused footage from The Force Awakens. Mr. Fisher credited this decision to Abrams, who said, "It was like finding this impossible answer to this impossible question." According to Mr. Fisher: "There's a lot of minutes of footage. I don't mean just outtakes. This is unused, new content that could be woven into the storyline. That's what's going to give everybody such a great kick. It's going to look like it was meant to be. Like it was shot yesterday." He also claimed that unused footage from The Last Jedi would also be used, but Abrams later clarified that no footage from that film was used due to nothing substantial being available. Ultimately, ILM placed Fisher's facial performance onto a digital body, with an on-set stand-in serving as a visual reference for the actors. This allowed the character to be placed in new locations, and for the effects artists to give her different clothes and a new hairstyle that would be unique to The Rise of Skywalker.
- "We went into this movie very much in the mindset that this has to be conclusive. It has to. You have to get some answers. You have to learn some things."
- ―J.J. Abrams
Principal photography began at Pinewood Studios on August 1, 2018, under the working title of "trlXie" (originally "Black Diamond"). Production also took place in Wadi Rum, Jordan (the same filming location for Jedha in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) for three weeks. Some sequences were filmed with 65mm film and IMAX cameras. Because the film was under a shortened production timeline, the crew had to shoot everything they needed during principal photography, and Maryann Brandon began editing on set. Matt Smith was initially set to play a role in the film, but by early 2019 the actor was no longer involved; When he later spoke to the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Smith described his character as "a really groovy part and concept. It was a big thing, it was a big story detail, a transformative 'Star Wars' story detail and it never got quite over the line."
Abrams felt less creatively constrained in making The Rise of Skywalker than he did with The Force Awakens, citing Rian Johnson's work on The Last Jedi as the inspiration: "Rian helped remind me that that's why we're on these movies—not to just do something that you've seen before." According to Poe Dameron actor Oscar Isaac, the shooting of The Rise of Skywalker allowed for more improvisation than The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi: "It's a testament to J.J. coming back and feeling confident. There's less pressure for it to be right. We just want to make a good movie and have a really good time while doing it." Abrams shot many of the character interactions in long takes, with actors sometimes coming up with their own lines. Daisy Ridley also commented: "There was this thing: JJ would ask us to do the scene without speaking, just to feel the emotional… whatever. He was like, 'You never know what could come up.' We did that a couple of times. Then it became a joke, because we would just wet ourselves laughing."
Prior to shooting, members of the cast were trained in various specialties to prepare for the shoot, such as kickboxing, horseback riding, using a bow-and-arrow and holding a gun. Ridley performed the majority of her character's stunts herself. Filmmaker Kevin Smith visited the set (just as he did for The Force Awakens) and described what he saw: "Biggest set I've ever seen in my life. The dude's not directing a movie, it's like he's directing a small country." The script was under even greater security than those of previous films, with actors not allowed to take copies home; despite this, a copy was put up for sale on eBay, after Finn actor John Boyega accidentally left it under his bed and it was found by a cleaning person. However, Lucasfilm was warned about it and recovered the script before someone could buy it. By December 11, 2018, Hamill had worked for "about a week" on the film, but had yet to shoot most of his scenes, which he expected to do alongside his work on the TV series Knightfall.
John Williams had begun work on the musical score by May 2019, and was scheduled to begin recording in June. Recording took a total of 11 days from July through November of 2019. Williams said that it will most likely be his final Star Wars project.
The film was the first project for a new ILM division in Sydney, Australia. The Luke/Leia flashback scene was created by using the facial likenesses of the characters from The Empire Strikes back and Return of the Jedi, with Billie Lourd acting as a stand-in for Leia. Abrams told Entertainment Weekly that the film had significantly less post-production time than normal, and that it was "literally a practical race to get it finished." However, he felt more confident about The Rise of Skywalker than he had The Force Awakens. The editing of The Rise of Skywalker was finished on November 24, 2019. Taken as a whole, Abrams described the film as "the most challenging" project he'd ever been involved with.
- "The beauty of working with Chris Terrio and producing with Kathleen Kennedy is that I think we have found a way — I hope, it's up for you to decide — to bring this story to a conclusion in a way that feels satisfying, surprising, amusing, shocking, all the ways that a story should make you feel."
- ―J.J. Abrams
The film was originally scheduled for release on May 24, 2019, but was later pushed back to December 20, giving the May 24 date to the live-action remake of Aladdin. Footage was first publicly screened at Disney's March 8 investor's conference, and briefly at CinemaCon 2019 as part of a montage of upcoming Disney films. The film was featured in a panel at Celebration Chicago, featuring director/co-writer J.J. Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy. The teaser trailer debuted at this event, which also revealed the film's title and teaser poster. During the convention, Abrams, Kennedy, and members of the cast were interviewed for Good Morning America. The film was featured in the May issue of Vanity Fair, the November issues of Empire, Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone, the December issue of People, and the January 2020 issue of Empire. A panel was held at the 2019 D23 Expo, featuring cast and crew, with the reveal of a new teaser poster and two show casings of footage; The latter of the two was later released online and aired on television.
The cast and crew made a number of television appearances to promote the film, including Good Morning America, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Live with Kelly and Ryan, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. The cast and crew participated in a livestream Q&A on December 2, a press conference on December 4. Brazil's Comic Con Experience on December 7, and the film's Japan premiere on December 11. On December 12, Amazon.com released an exclusive behind-the-scenes video. Tickets went on sale October 21, followed by the release of the final trailer on Monday Night Football and the theatrical poster. Lucasfilm collaborated with Porsche on a new Star Wars spaceship design that was built for the film's premiere, named the Tri-Wing S-91x Pegasus Starfighter. Beginning on December 18, AMC Theaters held a 27+ hour marathon of Episodes I through VIII, leading up to Episode IX. Adam Driver, Greg Grunberg and Mark Hamill each held Omaze fundraisers for which winners could attend the film's U.S. premiere, which was held on December 16. As happened with The Force Awakens, a dying fan was given a screening of the film, with Bob Iger himself confirming it on Twitter.
In November 2018, Lucasfilm debuted the animated shorts Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures as an introduction to the saga for children, beginning a year-long lead-up to the film. In December 2018, Topps began a year-long campaign, dubbed "Star Wars Galactic Moments: Countdown to Episode IX," in which three cards were released each week leading up to the release of the film. Sith trooper merchandise debuted in stores on September 1, 2019, while the film's main merchandise push began on October 4, 2019, known as Triple Force Friday. Aside from The Rise of Skywalker, the event debuted merchandise for the TV series The Mandalorian and the video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
Lucasfilm partnered with eight product brands to promote the film: Bose, Dannon, General Electric, General Mills, Porsche, Samsung, McDonald's, and United Airlines—with each ad campaign beginning on November 1. Like with The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, the months leading up to the debut of The Rise of Skywalker saw the release of tie-in novels, short stories, comics, reference books, and activity books known collectively as Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. (Additional books would be released throughout 2020, including the novel, junior novel, and graphic novel adaptations of the film and the Art of book. The ) A comic adaptation from Marvel Comics was planned but ultimately cancelled. Star Tours: The Adventures Continue introduced The Rise of Skywalker–themed content. Funko released an animated short inspired by the film. Lucasfilm hosted Star Wars Nights at NBA games in December 2019 and January 2020.
Several Disney-owned video games were updated with content from the film: Disney Emoji Blitz, Disney Magic Kingdoms, Star Wars: Commander, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, and Star Wars Battlefront II. Beginning on December 12, Fortnite rolled out a series of The Rise of Skywalker skins and emotes, and on December 14 previewed a scene from the film in an in-game event. (The event concluded with exclusive Palpatine dialogue that has been interpreted as the transmission mentioned in the film's opening crawl.) Roblox also featured tie-in elements with the film. The video game LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga will include levels from the film.
While schedule for release on March 17, the film became available on most digital platforms in HD and 4K Ultra HD on March 13. A number of physical releases followed on March 31, including a Multiscreen Edition (Blu Ray and Digital Code), an Ultimate Collector's Edition (4K, Blu Ray, and Digital Code) and a DVD edition; Best Buy, Target, and Wal Mart will offer exclusive versions of the sets, as well as a 27-disc "Skywalker Saga" set (4K, Blu Ray, Digital Code) exclusive to Best Buy.
Special features include:
- The Skywalker Legacy – The story lives forever in this feature-length documentary that charts the making of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
- Pasaana Pursuit: Creating the Speeder Chase – Dive into the making of the movie's epic landspeeder chase and discover how this spectacular sequence was brought to the screen.
- Aliens in the Desert – See what it took to create the Pasaana desert scenes, from the sheer scale and complexity of the shoot to its colorful details.
- D-O: Key to the Past – Explore the ship that connects Rey to the mystery of her missing parents and get to know the galaxy's newest, irresistible droid.
- Warwick & Son – Warwick Davis, who played Wicket in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, dons the Ewok costume once more; this time joined by his son Harrison.
- Cast of Creatures – The team behind the film's memorable creatures reveal the puppetry, makeup, prosthetics and digital magic that bring them to life!
- The Maestro's Finale – Composer John Williams reflects on his body of work for the Star Wars saga and shares insights on scoring Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Digital Exclusive).
The Target exclusive edition features A Final Alliance bonus featurette 25 minutes in length focusing on the ships and effects of the film.
A Fandango poll ranked the film as the third most anticipated movie of 2019, behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel. In November 2019, the film was tracking for an opening box office of between $175 and $205 million.
It opened to $177 million domestic and $376 million worldwide box office. Notably, it performed poorly in China, continuing a downward trend from The Force Awakens. The film went on to make over $1.074 billion worldwide.
The film received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the acting but criticized the story and pacing. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, The Rise of Skywalker currently holds an approval rating of 51% based on 489 critics, with an average rating of 6.13/10. The critics consensus reads: "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker suffers from a frustrating lack of imagination, but concludes this beloved saga with fan-focused devotion." At Metacritic, the film has a weighted average of 53 out of 100 based on sixty-one critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."
Audiences polled at random by CinemaScore gave the film a "B+" grade on average, on an "A+" to "F" scale. By comparison, The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi were both given an "A," and each of the prequel trilogy films was given an "A−." Verified audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes currently have an average rating of 4.31 out of 5, with an approval rating of 86%. Conversely, user-generated reviews at Metacritic hold an average score of 4.7 out of 10.
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