Warning: The following contains spoilers for Star Wars: Rise of the Skywalker
The Rise of Skywalker has finally been released, the Skywalker Saga is concluded, and Disney has probably made at least an additional $1 billion on a year where they’ve already made just about all of the money.
Advertised as the conclusion of this iteration of the Star Wars franchise, the film ends up tackling more than just the legacy of the Skywalker name. It’s way more than just that. It’s about the galaxy rising up against the literal final iteration of the Empire. It’s the endgame of a nine-plan scheme from Emperor Palpatine. It’s the final battle between the Jedi and the Sith, taking place on both the grandest and most personal stage possible.
The Rise of Skywalker was a whole lot, but for all the leaps in logic and skipping of major revelations, it actually ended up tying together many of the biggest aspects of the entire franchise into one ambitious (and occasionally unwieldy) finale.
THE RISE OF SKYWALKER & THE FALL OF AN EMPIRE
We may all skip over the prequels as much as possible when looking back at the history of the Star Wars franchise, but it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Almost more than revealing the fall of the Jedi Order or the corruption of Anakin Skywalker, the prequel films charted the growth of Sheev Palpatine from a treacherous Naboo Senator to become one of the most powerful people in the galaxy. All it took was a literal galaxy of corpses, which he was more than willing to create.
The impact of his actions playout across three separate trilogies. Even before he was revealed to be alive in The Rise of Skywalker, attempts to recreate the galaxy he envisioned dominated the current era of the Skywalker Saga. The ultimate enemy of the galaxy has always been Palpatine, so revealing that he’s a major piece of the final moments in the mythos makes perfect sense. Unless the series was going to conclude with a Darth Jar Jar revelation, there was no other character with the right kind of pathos who would have had the kind of impact needed to be the genuine threat the movie would need to feel justifiably epic. Having the Emperor get his final chance to dominate the galaxy was a fitting direction to take.
More thoughts on why this was a fitting conclusion for the Star Wars on the next page.