Everything You Need To Remember About Star Wars Before Seeing The Rise Of Skywalker

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker main cast

It’s almost time, folks. Following the initial reactions and reviews, we’re now just a day away from the first public screenings of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. And if you’re like me, you’ve probably been getting ready for the last chapter of the Skywalker Saga by re-watching some or all of the Star Wars movies in the last several weeks. Granted, this is something lots of fans do before the release of a new Star Wars movie, but considering that this is the end of a four decade+ era, going through these past tales is more appropriate than ever.

But what if you haven’t had time to re-watch the Star Wars movies lately? And what if when it comes to the Star Wars mythos, you have trouble retaining key information? Not to worry, I have you covered! Before you put Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in your eyeholes, here are all the important things you need to remember going in, which naturally include important beats from The Last Jedi just two years ago.

Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Emperor Palpatine Was Tossed To His Presumed Death

Although we saw Sheev Palpatine’s rise from Naboo senator to galactic dictator in the Prequel Trilogy from 1999-2005, within the Star Wars timeline, his last chronological appearance was in 1983’s Return of the Jedi. Palatine traveled to the second Death Star in the final Original Trilogy installment to oversee the completion of the space station and sway Luke Skywalker to turn to the dark side.

When Luke refused to kill his father and take his place as Palpatine’s apprentice, the Emperor unleashed a barrage of Force lightning on the newly-minted Jedi Knight. Unable to bear seeing his son suffer so much agony, Darth Vader finally turned back to the light, grabbed Palpatine and tossed him into the Death Star’s reactor. With a fall like that, not to mention that the space station was destroyed soon after, naturally it was assumed that Palpatine had died. And yet, just like in the Legends continuity, Palpatine has been brought back into play for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and judging by a recent preview, it sounds like he’s been alive this whole time, as opposed to will be resurrected during the course of Episode IX.

Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Lando Calrissian Is A Rebel War Hero

Donald Glover did a good job playing Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story, but it’s nice to have Billy Dee Williams back in the role of the mustachioed charmer. When we met Lando in The Empire Strikes Back, he was forced by the Empire to betray Han Solo, Leia Organa, Chewbacca and C-3PO, but he eventually had a change of heart and decided to switch sides. Leaving Cloud City behind, Lando became a key member of the Rebellion, and after he helped rescue Han from Jabba the Hutt, he led the assault on the second Death Star as Gold Leader.

Although Lando has appeared in a handful of canon stories set in the immediate years after Return of the Jedi, we have no idea what he’s been up to in the lead-up to the Sequel Trilogy. Whether or not Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will shed insight in that regard remains to be seen, it’s nice to see that Lando's back to fighting the forces of darkness again. It’s unfortunate though that we won’t get to see him and Han together again.

Rey in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Rey Was Told Her Parents Were Nobodies

Like the rest of us, Rey had no knowledge of her family in The Force Awakens, but she believed if she kept waiting on Jakku, they would return to her. That never happened, and when Rey touched the lightsaber that had previously belonged to Anakin and Luke Skywalker, one of the things she saw in her Force vision was being given up as a child. So naturally going into The Last Jedi, people were wondering if Rey’s parents would be identified, and they were. According to Kylo Ren, they were nobodies who sold Rey for drinking money and were buried in a pauper’s grave on Jakku.

Despite the curtain finally being pulled back on Rey’s parents, some fans believe there’s still more to Rey’s parentage, and to be fair, it is possible that Kylo Ren was lying in order to manipulate her. As such, even more theories on that topic have been churned out in the last two years, but we’re finally getting a definitive answer to the ‘Who are Rey’s parents?’ question in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Kylo Ren Now Leads The First Order

When we met Supreme Leader Snoke in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, because he was serving in the same capacity that Emperor Palpatine was in the Original Trilogy, it was naturally assumed he’d be the main antagonist across the entire Sequel Trilogy. That was not the case at all, because while Snoke was strong in the Force, he did not foresee his most powerful apprentice, Kylo Ren, betraying him.

While it initially looked like Kylo would kill Rey on Snoke’s behalf in The Last Jedi, he instead activated Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber and cut his master in half. Later pinning Snoke’s death on Rey after she refused to join forces with him, Kylo seized control of The First Order, much to the chagrin of General Hux. Kylo is still leading the show when The Rise of Skywalker rolls around (though now he’s gone back to wearing a helmet), and while the dictatorship continues to thrive, it hasn’t quite yet snuffed out The Resistance, but we’ll talk more about that in a bit.

Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Luke Skywalker Became One With The Force

Following Luke Skywalker’s incredibly brief and silent appearance in The Force Awakens, we learned in The Last Jedi that he’d exiled himself to Ahch-To and cut himself off from the Force as penance for inadvertently pushing Ben Solo to the dark side. Even though he reluctantly trained Rey in the ways of the Force, by the time she left, he was still unwilling to aid the Resistance, but one visit from a Force lightning-casting Yoda changed his outlook.

While it initially looked like Luke had cleaned himself up and traveled to Crait to duel Kylo Ren, it turned out he was Force projecting himself all the way from Ahch-To and distracting the First Order so that the remaining Resistance survivors could escape. His plan was successful, but the strain was too much, and after looking at a twin sunset that reminded him of his upbringing on Tatooine, Luke disappeared and became one with the Force. Mark Hamill is confirmed to appear in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and while we can’t say with 100% certainty yet how he’ll show up, the logical guess is he’ll be a Force ghost and pass on some last pieces of advice to Rey and/or haunt his nephew.

Finn and Rose in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The Resistance Was Almost Completely Wiped Out

As alluded to in the last section, the Resistance did not fare well in The Last Jedi… at all. At the start of the movie, there were close to 500 of them (give or take), but because The First Order had developed hyperspace tracking, the bad buys were able to pick them off one by one. By the time we reached Crait, there were only a couple transport ships full of Resistance personnel that managed to reach the surface, and even more fighters died during The First Order’s assault on the old Rebel base.

Fortunately due to Luke Skywalker’s distraction and Rey arriving to clear an exit, the handful of Resistance survivors left over were able to escape aboard the Millennium Falcon. While Rey was skeptical about how the Resistance could rise again, but Leia Organa felt they had all they needed to get the job done. The novel Resistance Reborn and the limited Marvel comic book series Allegiance have chronicled the Resistance recruiting more people to their cause in the immediate aftermath of the massacre, and the end of The Last Jedi indicated that Luke’s sacrifice will inspire many across the galaxy. By the time Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker unfolds, the Resistance is back to sizable fighting force, though they’ve had to adjust their tactics.

Voila! Now you’re caught up on everything you need to remember to fully enjoy Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker before seeing it in theaters this weekend. And for those of you who are already looking to what silver screen offerings are coming out next year, look through our 2020 release schedule for that information.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.