My Top 10 bits of Star Wars Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (spoilers galore!!)

Opinions seem to be divided on this; the last of the nine part saga that George Lucas started in 1977. I see a lot of people who love it and a lot of people who hate it. Some say it is a worthy ending; others that it is the worst type of fan service. Some say it puts right everything that The Last Jedi did wrong; others say that it is an insult to what Rian Johnson tried to do with that instalment.

I’ll put my hat in the ring and say that I really enjoyed it, even more the second time. I try to be positive in my writing as much as possible and so I’ve decided to not dwell on the stuff I’m not so happy about (if I wanted to, I could put together a list of ten things that bothered me). Instead, I’m going to write down the ten things that I really loved about JJ Abrams’ conclusion to the saga. These aren’t in any particular order. I’d love to hear from you if you disagree or think that other things should have been included in my ten.

So, just in case, a reminder that there are lots of spoilers below for those of you who haven’t seen the film.

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You’ve been warned………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

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One last warning…………………………………………………………….

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Ok, here goes..

1. Luke lifts the X-Wing

x wing

What a lovely call back to Empire Strikes Back, even down to the music. There’s something so iconic about the old X-Wing design and to see it rise from the water once again (they’re obviously built really well) was a moment of pure pleasure.

2. Babu Frik

babu

The Anzellan droidsmith working on Kijimi was a great character. Well designed and scripted to provide some great humour, he was voiced brilliantly by Scottish actress Shirley Henderson, who you might remember from trainspotting or the Harry Potter films (she was Moaning Myrtle)

3. Lando Returns

lando

It was great to see Billy Dee Williams back in the mix and he was clearly enjoying himself in his small role. I hope I look half that good when I’m 82.

4. The Fleets Arrive

fleets arrive

The rebels are completely overwhelmed before, out of nowhere, a massive fleet of ships arrives to help out. This was a nice “on your left” cavalry arriving moment. It reminded me of the climax of Bioware’s Mass Effect 3 when all the fleets arrive at Earth to take on the Reapers.

5. D-0

d0

Another great new character that I enjoyed was the anxious little droid, D-0. In fact, droids seem to be something that the latest Star Wars films have really nailed. C3PO had some great lines in Rise of Skywalker and really had a chance to shine, K2SO in Rogue One was superb thanks to the brilliance of Alan Tudyk, BB-8 is wonderful and now D-0. The great thing about him was that he didn’t outstay his welcome. These types of comic relief are great in small doses but soon get out of hand if they’re given too much screen time. According to Wookieepedia, JJ Abrams voiced D-0 himself albeit unintentionally. He added some voice tracks as tests and screenwriter Chris Terrio thought they fit so well, he decided they should keep them.

6. Rey kills a TiE fighter

rey jump

As I’d seen a version of this scene in the trailer, I thought I was prepared for what was coming. As a result, my anticipation of this was lesser than perhaps it would have been otherwise. The special effects in this scene (as in the whole film to be honest) are first rate. The run, the jump, the slice! Tremendous. It’s so graceful and so brutal in equal measure. Very well done to all involved.

7. Rey kills Chewie

kill chewie

A few moments later (what should have been about fifteen to twenty minutes given how far that TiE fighter rolled before coming to a stop) we have Rey and Kylo fighting over the transport with Chewbacca on it. All their ‘force pulling’ isn’t producing a clear winner and then lightning strikes. Rey unleashes hell through her fingertips causing the ship to explode. This was a true jaw-dropping moment for me in the midnight screening. She killed Chewie! I did feel a bit cheated a few minutes later with the ‘extra transport’ thing as I felt it took away some of the great, grey moral conflict that this action would have produced. This is predominantly a children’s film, however, and I see the reasons why Chewie had to be alive. We’re into the final film; we don’t have time to suddenly introduce a massive dose of guilt and ambiguity on a main character whose story we’re trying to resolve.

8. Rey ‘gives’ Ben her lightsaber

ben blue

A magical moment that brings together what these two characters have been experiencing throughout the last two films. Their connection is complete and she is able to hand over her saber to him at his moment of greatest need. It’s a wonderfully scripted scene made even better by Kylo’s little self-effacing bow to the knights of Ren as he powers it up.

9. Rey and Kylo in his quarters / and on Kijimi

kylo quarters

The relationship between these two characters is the thing I have enjoyed most from the sequel trilogy. I loved this confrontation between the two of them as she is on his command ship and he is searching for her on the planet below. It was well scripted, full of tension and the transfer of items between one place and another due to their connection was set up brilliantly.

10. Rey and Kylo on the Death Star

death star

This pivotal scene was very well executed. The fight between them was visceral and realistic without any showy moves or over-indulgence. What happens at the end with Leia and everything was beautiful, even before we got to Han’s return. This really made me emotional the second time around, thinking from a father’s perspective.

So. those are my ten favourite things about Episode IX. Like I said, please feel free to disagree or add more that you think should be there in the comments section below. If you enjoyed this, you can subscribe to my website or follow me on Facebook at richardaustinwriter or Twitter @richardfaustin

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year,

Richard

 

PS, these are some of my other posts that include stuff about Star Wars

Who’s the best dressed woman in Space?

Who’s the best dressed man in space?

Top 50 Spaceships ever (plus mine!)

Rewatching Star Wars Episode 1 – Part 1

Rewatching Star Wars Episode 1 – Part 2

 

 

 

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