Star Wars is a cultural cinema staple that has thrived across multiple decades and generations, introduced multiple chapters and numerous characters not always to the satisfaction of its fan base. However, this fan was thoroughly satisfied and engrossed with its final saga The Rise of Skywalker.
At the core of this franchise, the ideology of finding one’s own path or journey with or without ‘the force’ has always been at the forefront of each chapter. The Rise of Skywalker follows Rey (Daisy Ridley) on her journey to decide whether or not to relenting from being a Jedi and embracing her Palaptine birthright to sit on the Sith throne alongside Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is one she is willing to take on. The chemistry between Ridley and Driver is palpably intense which makes their story intriguing and engaging to behold.
A strong sense of nostalgia permeates with heartbreaking (yet limited) scenes of the late Carrie Fisher (Princess/General Leia), the return of Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) and Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine), plus many surprise voices and cameos along the way that fans will lose their minds over.
Director JJ Abrams had no easy feat being trusted with the final saga in a beloved franchise. It could’ve gone terribly awry or become an unforgettable moment in Star Wars cinematic history. Abrams’ screenplay (written alongside Chris Terrio) is a throwback to the playful humor, action sequences and emotional conflict that initially made us fall in love. Oscar Isaac (Poe), Daisy Ridley (Rey) and John Boyega (Finn) have undeniable chemistry and comic timing just like the original trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. The droids (C-3P0, BB-8, R2-D2) provide even more humor, but some nostalgic, tear-jerking moments as well.
Unlike the original, this chapter allows Rey to reflect the current times being the ‘best of the Jedi fighters’ despite her gender, but simply because she possesses the intuitiveness and skillset her colleagues recognize and respect. There’s been the introduction of Kelly Marie Tran (Rose) and Naomi Ackie (Jannah), to name a few, as women who are smart, capable and forces to be reckoned within their own right. In general, I would love to have seen more of them instead of stackable appetizers.
At then end of the day, as a lifelong fan, I was emotionally distraught, laughed a lot and walked away feeling all entities did George Lucas’ Star Wars last and final trip right with the respect, frolicking and fighting spirit of wills we as an audience have come to know and love. May the Force Forever Be With You on Christmas Day when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Disney spin into your orbit.