‘The Rise of Skywalker’ concludes a 4-decade saga

While eagerly waiting, fans from all over the world have been sharing their theories and predictions on what will happen in the finale

By AZALEA AZUAR

“WHAT are you doing there, Threepio?” a concerned Poe Dameron asked.

During ‘The Last Jedi’, it has been revealed that her parents sold her on Jakku for drinking money, but is Rey really a nobody?

“Taking one last look, sir,” a sad C-3PO answered with a long pause before continuing “…at my friends.”

In the trailer, he seemed to be looking at Poe and company, but C-3PO was, in fact, breaking the fourth wall and looking at us, the audience.

Honestly, it is hard not to tear up watching that scene.

Perhaps, that is how Star Wars fans feel when they watch the “Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker”, the finale to an epic conclusion that spans four decades.

It is the longest Star Wars film with a running time of 145 minutes, with JJ Abrams returning as the film’s director.

Abrams previously directed the first film in the sequel trilogy, “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens”, while the second instalment, “Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi” was directed by Rian Johnson.

“The Rise of Skywalker” kicks off about a year after the events of “The Last Jedi” and concludes the long epic conflict between the Jedi (the good guys) and the Sith (the bad guys).

Our heroes Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac), Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo, though originally played by the late Peter Mayhew), return for one last adventure.

They form allies with Zorri Bliss (Kerri Russel) and Jannah (Naomie Ackie), with the help of droids C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), R2-D2, BB-8 and D-O.

Together, they would face the evil might of the First Order led by the Supreme Leader Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and General Hux (Domnhall Gleeson).

“Game of Thrones” alumni Richard E Grant will join the cast as Allegiant General Pryde.

Mark Hamill also returns in this latest instalment as the iconic Luke Skywalker, while Billy Dee Williams plays the smooth Lando Calrissian.

Although Carrie Fisher is one with the Force, the General-turned Princess Leia Organa will play an important role in the movie through unused footage from “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi”.

While eagerly waiting, fans from all over the world have been sharing their theories and predictions on what will happen in the finale.

This is where the fun begins…

‘The Senate’ Strikes Back
During the Star Wars Celebration 2019 in Chicago, the first teaser of “The Rise of Skywalker” was shown during the “Star Wars Episode XI” panel.

There have been theories that Kylo Ren, whose birth name is Ben Solo, will be redeemed into the light

The hall immediately fell silent as the audience had their eyes glued to the large screen.

There were many reactions, but nothing could prepare the fans for the ominous laughter of Emperor Sheev Palpatine, the main antagonist of the Skywalker Saga who is played by Ian McDiarmid.

Right after the trailer was played, the Scottish actor appeared onstage and was met with a thunderous applause.

McDiarmid commanded for the trailer to be replayed for his Imperial subjects using the Palpatine’s creepy guttural voice, “Roll it again!”

That certainly was a welcoming surprise! Some fans are happy that McDiarmid is coming back as one of Star Wars’ most memorable villains from the original trilogy.

Fans may criticise the prequel trilogy which consists of the first three films, but McDiarmid’s Palpatine stole the show, alongside the likes of Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi and Samuel L Jackson’s Mace Windu.

In fact, McDiarmid’s performance is a subject of meme material by prequel trilogy appreciation sites, notably Reddit’s r/prequelmemes.

The memes are tributes to Palpatine’s “The Senate” nickname and the scene of his at tempted ar rest in “Revenge of the Sith” where he tells Mace Windu, “I am the Senate.”

Although many fans are excited for the return of Palpatine, some are sceptical about his return, saying that it would undermine Anakin Skywalker’s sacrifice.

The redeemed Skywalker killed the decrepit monarch by throwing him down a shaft during the end of “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” as he was trying to save his son, Luke Skywalker from Palpatine’s wrath. 

Some fans even accused Disney for being desperate to bring back a fan-favourite character at the very end since the main antagonist, Snoke (played by Andy Serkis), died in the previous film.

Fans are curious to know how Palpatine would fit into the story and how he had survived the fall since “the dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities, some considered to be unnatural”.

Perhaps, there should be references from Legends (non-canon material after Lucas films was bought by Disney) such as the Dark Empire comic series where Palpatine is reborn and uses his powers to transfer his essence into his clone bodies.

Maybe the Palpatine who fell in “The Return of the Jedi” is not the real one, but another clone — but that is highly unlikely.

All we know is that McDiarmid hinted that his character’s body may have been a little physically impaired, but his mind remains sharp.

Let’s just hope that “The Senate” will do justice to “The Rise of Skywalker”.

Who is The ‘Skywalker’ that Will Rise?
When the official title of “The Rise of Skywalker” was revealed to the audience in the teaser, they were obviously curious to know who is this “Skywalker” that would be rising?

There have been theories that Kylo Ren, whose birth name is Ben Solo, will be redeemed into the light.

The allies (from left) Chewbacca, BB-8, D-O, C-3PO, Rey, Poe and Finn would face the evil might of the First Order

Since “The Force Awakens”, Kylo Ren has been torn between the dark side and the light, and is obsessed with his grandfather Darth Vader (who is Anakin Skywalker).

In “The Last Jedi”, Rey tries to redeem Kylo Ren when she realised the reason of his turning to the dark side.

Kylo Ren is born from the Skywalker bloodline, so it would make sense if he is the Skywalker that would “rise”, following his grandfather’s footsteps in finishing what he started, which is overthrowing Palpatine the second time.

Since the events of “The Phantom Menace”, it has been revealed that Anakin Skywalker is “The Chosen One” to bring balance to the Force.

Anakin’s ghost would appear in the film and defeat his former Sith master, so it would not put in vain his sacrifice in “The Return of the Jedi”.

On the other hand, the president of the Star Wars Malaysia Fan Club Sanjiv Indran said Anakin’s return to defeat The Emperor might happen again.

“What does ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ actually mean? Are we going to have Luke Skywalker rise? Is it going to be Anakin Skywalker coming back and say, ‘Didn’t I throw you off the cliff on the Second Death Star?’ Let me tell you guys that none of this is going to be written in,” he said.

He believed that the film needs to be clear, especially to the general audience, so that they will not get confused.

“They are already confused with the timeline that the filmmakers need to put in something simple,” he said.

Another huge theory that Indran highlighted is that, at the end of the film, there will be a new breed of Jedi who are on the Grey spectrum.

“So, the rise of Skywalker would be neither a Jedi nor a Sith, but a whole new class. Characters of Star Wars Force-users which use both the light and dark sides to keep balance of the Force,” he predicted.

Is Rey Really a Nobody?
Since her introduction in “The Force Awakens”, Rey’s origins have always been a mystery.

What we know about her is that Rey was born 11 years after the events in “The Return of the Jedi” and started off as a scavenger from the desert planet of Jakku.

Our heroes, among others, Finn (left) and Poe (centre) return for one last adventure

Rey was abandoned by her parents and has been counting the days of their return ever since.

During “The Last Jedi”, it has been revealed that her parents sold her on Jakku for drinking money, but is Rey really a nobody?

She is obsessed with her parentage and there have been numerous theories about it around the Internet.

One such example is that Rey is a Kenobi, the daughter of Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and Duchess Satine Kryze from the Clone Wars animated series.

It could be because Obi-Wan had called her name in “The Force Awakens”, “Rey, these are your first steps” when she had a Force vision.

Moreover, it is a nice contrast to have a Skywalker train a Kenobi in the sequel trilogy, rather than in the prequel and original trilogies, where a Kenobi trains a Skywalker.

Another possible theory is that Rey is a clone created by Palpatine as an experiment or to create the perfect apprentice.

Perhaps that could explain why she sees multiple reflections of herself when she entered the cave in “The Last Jedi”.

In fact, in the canon novel “Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy”, Palpatine ordered an observatory to be built in Jakku as part of his contingency plan to destroy the Empire if he “dies”.

Perhaps inside the observatory, there are cloning facilities he would use for his experiments and that could be where Rey came from.

Another interesting theory is that Rey could be a descendent of Palpatine himself.

Fans have been observing her character from her choreography, her powers and even her accent.

Unfortunately, Rey has been described as a “Mary Sue” because she beat Kylo Ren in her first battle with him, holding a lightsaber for the first time without any training.

Since Palpatine is known as a very powerful Sith Lord, it would make sense that she is descended from the Palpatine bloodline because she has his powers.

During her fight with Kylo Ren in “The Force Awakens”, she is known for her stabbing motions when using a lightsaber. Palpatine tends to stab his opponents, as seen in his duel with Mace Windu and other Jedi Masters in “Revenge of The Sith”.

That could also explain the similarities between Rey’s theme and The Emperor’s theme, both brilliantly composed by maestro John Williams.

In the D23 special preview, Rey was shown cladded in a black robe and holding a red double-bladed lightsaber.

This could mean that she is probably fulfilling her dark bloodline by joining the Sith, while at the same time Kylo Ren would come back to the light and kill her.

However, some fans think it is either a vision or a clone.

At the time, Palpatine is already gone when Rey is born, so he would probably be her grandfather, but the question is, who did he “do it” with?

Abrams will finally answer the questions to her lineage. Let’s hope that we will not be disappointed.

This is the Way
The Skywalker Saga may have ended, but that does not mean it is the end. A few weeks before the release of the latest film, Disney’s own streaming service Disney+ has released Lucasfilm’s first live-action series, “The Mandalorian”.

The web series took place after the events between “The Return of The Jedi” and “The Force Awakens”.

The series is created by Jon Favreau (who also voiced a Mandalorian character Pre Vizsla in “The Clone Wars”) and stars Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Werner Herzog and Taika Waititi.

“The Mandalorian” has been widely praised by Star Wars fans and it seems to get better with every episode. The scene-stealer of the show is a child from Yoda’s species whom fans call “Baby Yoda”, although he is clearly not Yoda.

The irresistibly cute Baby Yoda has been melting hearts around the Internet and gave fans a strong urge to protect him.

During Disney’s D23’s expo, it has also been revealed that Ewan McGregor will return for an Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney+.

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has announced that all the scripts are finished, and filming will commence next year.

Unfortunately, Disney+ is not available in Malaysia yet, so we would have to wait for some time.

“The Rise of Skywalker” arrived in cinemas on Dec 19.