Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker is finally here. Reviews are in, and there is a battle brewing between critics and audiences once again on whether The Rise of Skywalker is a successful conclusion to the Skywalker Saga.

We here at The Illuminerdi have kept ourselves out of the mayhem to evaluate certain items that stood out for us. There were plenty of successful choices and missed opportunities, but none of these moments changed our minds in regard to enjoying the film as a whole. That being said, we as a collective came to an agreement on our Top Ten Hits and Misses for The Rise of Skywalker.

(Note: Everything discussed takes into account the films with theatrical releases as well as The Mandalorian series. References to other media was not taken into consideration.)

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

10. Skywalker Miss: Wasted Use of Hux

The Rise of Skywalker Hux

Hux was a weasel-like villain who would get under your skin whenever he spoke, yet something about his weak ability to lead armies made you wonder why he oversaw the First Order. As we come to find out, he was a mole delivering intel to the Resistance. In the attempted execution of a captured Finn and Poe, he chooses to take out this act himself before turning his blaster on the Stormtroopers who accompanied him.

Then again, he didn’t want to help the Resistance; he just didn’t want Kylo Ren to succeed. What a weasel indeed. But instead of just being shot in the leg and then in the heart, Hux could have been developed more and made into an integral part of the Resistance’s final battle. Maybe he even could have helped the Resistance gain access to the flagship Destroyer in time for the ground assault.

9. Skywalker Hit: Lando to the Rescue

The Rise of Skywalker Lando

The Ol’ smoothy, Lando Calrissian, made his return to the Star Wars Saga. Showing up in disguise, much the same way he did in Return of the Jedi, Lando helped the younger heroes out of a jam. Not to mention arriving in the nick of time with every known ship in the galaxy. No more was needed from a old friend. It sure was awesome seeing him fly the Millenium Falcon again, especially as a callback to Han telling him he would never fly that ship again unless it was over his dead body.

8. Skywalker Miss: Maz Kanata and Luke’s Lightsaber

The Rise of Skywalker Maz Kanada

No explanation. Nothing. How did she come to be in possession of Luke’s lightsaber? All she says is that’s a story for another time. Well, there is no better time than now when all chips are down. Her acquisition could have easily tied into her connection with Han and Chewbacca. Connecting this new character even more to the overarching foundation of the Original Trilogy. Which leads right into…

7. Skywalker Hit: Chewbacca and Maz’s Relationship

Star Wars Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker - 10 Hits and Misses - The Illuminerdi

Now this is a big deal. A huge fan service wink to all of us who always wondered why Chewbacca never received a medal at the end of A New Hope. Now why would Maz give him the medal and not Leia? Well, there are a few things we can assume. Leia, knowing she was about to use the last of her energy to reach out to Ben, most likely gave it to Maz to hand over to one of her last surviving close friends.

But let’s dive deeper. In The Force Awakens, Maz refers to Chewbacca as her boyfriend. They had a relationship for sure. And we bet they must have had a conversation about this medal. So rightfully, it would make sense for Maz to be the one to give Chewbacca the medal he always deserved.

6. Skywalker Miss: Rose and Finn Fallout

Star Wars Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker - 10 Hits and Misses - The Illuminerdi

That was done and over before anyone could bat an eye. In all likelihood, Finn would have died in the Battle at Krait, sacrificing himself for something he believed in and trying to save everyone. But Rose thankfully saved him, kissing him after claiming she was saving what she loved. Ignoring that The Force Awakens clearly set up Rey and Finn as the primary romance, this could have been the start of something beautiful.

Apparently, though, they broke up – or else they never acknowledged the kiss. There was some obvious connection still there, but most of it was thrown by the wayside. We are guessing there will be more of Rose to accompany the deleted scenes, but the relationship for the most part is non-existent with no resolution. I am aware that is was explained in the novel, Star Wars: Resistance Reborn, where Finn tells Rose that is was “just a moment… That’s it.” Pretty heartbreaking, and certainly worth touching upon onscreen so that general audiences can understand.

For more hits and misses, go to the next page.