I must have been about five or six when my mother told me George Lucas wanted to make Nine Star Wars movies. I could only dream then about what fantastic stories were yet to come. Over the years, we were told there were only going to be three, but then the prequels appeared out of nowhere. George said he was done with it after Episode III, and we were content with six of the nine. Disney has now completed the saga with The Rise Of Skywalker, released today. I imagine people all around the world are reflecting like myself, on how these films have defined their lives. How lucky we are to be here to see this movie we have waited almost our entire lives for.
And what of the movie in question? The final movie in the Skywalker Saga, ending a trilogy of trilogies with lots of questions to be answered and just over two hours to wrap everything up. We left The Resistance at it’s lowest point at the end of The Last Jedi, with the remains of Leia’s army cramped into the Falcons hold. Time has passed and The Princess has found renewed strength, and The Resistance grows anew. Also growing is the threat of Kylo Ren, now Supreme Leader of The First Order. And the race is on, with fast paced action hurtling onwards from the very beginning, only pausing for you to catch your breath for a moment.
The decision to incorporate Leia into the final movie was a tough one, but fans can rest assured this is not some glimpse in the background. Carrie is alive and well, and gives a fitting final performance as The Princess allowing us to say goodbye properly. Also returning, and long overdue, Baron Administrator of Cloud City, Lando Calrissian himself, Billy Dee Williams. At 82 years old, Lando is strangely dressed in the yellow shirt he wore nearly forty years prior but that aside, he is still every bit the smoothie we remember.
Rounding out the Legacy players, Threepio and The Emperor pick up where they left off in their respective eras, and both have all new surprises in store for this last dance. Threepios comic releif is the best it’s been in years conjuring actual laugh out loud moments. Ian McDiarmid in particular shines in his reprisal of Papa Palpatine, and his gleeful evil is undiminished after all these years. Being bad feels so good!
The new era heroes finally working together after two movies following separate paths, bring an energy to the proceedings and deliver a fast paced romp across the stars. The balance between lively action from Rey and co, and nostalgic appearances from Lando and pals, combines together to make for a satisfying conclusion to the story. There are surprises, and excitement as new twists are revealed and unexpected resolutions to some of the trademark J.J. Abrams mysterious story elements.
Many of the questions we have carried with us are answered, but this is not Wookiepedia the movie, this is a fantasy and the story takes priority over pedantry. If people just sat in the Falcon explaining things to each other this would be a dull enterprise indeed. Are Artoo and Threepio Reys parents? Will Rose and Finn settle down on Aquilae or Sullust? Who will reign supreme in the last round of the Star War? Find your own answers in the theatre, it is after all how Star Wars was always meant to be seen. Reunite with your inner child at The Rise Of Skywalker, they’ve been waiting a lifetime for you.