The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker**. Seriously, read our** spoiler-free review if you haven't seen it, and come back here only after you have. Seriously, this is your last chance.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is finally here, and finally, the story of the Skywalker Saga is over and fans are at peace. Just kidding, a good chunk of people seem to be largely losing their shit to one degree or another. Whether you loved the movie, hated it, or, more likely fell someplace in between there's a lot to talk about in regards to Episode IX, particularly when it comes to WTF moments.
In fact, there's a lot that happens in Rise of Skywalker. The movie jumps right into the adventure from the first moments of the opening crawl and it never stops from there. It has a lot to get done in two and a half hours, and as such, there are a lot of big reveals, epic moments and major surprises. It's just the sort of movie that makes you want to cry out, "What the fuck?"
To be clear, that's not necessarily a bad thing. This isn't a list of moments that were necessarily bad or wrong. WTF covers all manner of things. Major shocking twists, exciting epic events, and yes, sometimes the slightly (or more than slightly) confusing moments. Here are the times The Rise of Skywalker just left us asking, WTF?
The Emperor Returns (In The Opening Crawl)
The revelation that Emperor Palpatine would be back in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was technically a WTF moment that took place when we saw the first trailer back during Star Wars Celebration. Since then, we knew it was happening; what we didn't know was exactly how it would happen or what it would it would mean. It's safe to say we weren't expecting it to happen the way that it did.
Most of us probably assumed that the discovery that Palpatine was alive and behind everything would be, you know, part of the movie. Instead, right there, in literally the first sentence of the opening text crawl, we were privy to the fact the Emperor was back. Not only that, but we saw him back within minutes of the opening text crawl being over. Kylo Ren found his way to the mysterious Sith home world and there was the Emperor waiting for him.
Force Matter Transportation
New Force powers were a big topic of conversation in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. We saw Rey and Kylo Ren having conversations over vast reaches of space and Luke Skywalker astral projecting himself to other planets. A lot of people had issues with some of these new abilities, but The Rise of Skywalker doesn't go back to basics, it ups the ante.
The long distance communication is back in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywallker and not only that, but Rey and Kylo Ren have gained the ability to transfer physical objects between themselves. The first moment comes when Ren grabs a necklace off Rey, and uses it to learn where she is. That single instant was quite surprising because we had no idea it was going to happen. Of course, it's really all a setup so that we could get an awesome moment later in the film, and it was used several more times, but that first instance was quite unexpected.
The "Death" Of Chewbacca
Death has been a constant part of this new trilogy. We lost Han Solo in The Force Awakens and Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi. The specter of death hung over the entirety of The Rise of Skywalker because we knew that Carrie Fisher, while in the film, was no longer with us. The idea that we might lose something more in the new movie was always there, but we never dreamed it would pan out the way it did in the movie.
In The Rise of Skywalker, Chewbacca was captured and Rey attempted to use her Force abilities to bring the transport back down to the planet. In a tug of war with Kylo Ren, Rey's emotions got the better of her and she used Force Lightning to blow up the ship, apparently killing Chewbacca. The moment was ultimately undone and Chewy was fine, but in that moment of the explosion, and knowing that death is a possibility in this trilogy, we had to believe it was possible we'd really seen the death of one character we believed was immortal. It was shocking, and a bit scary and unbelievable, even if the movie decided not to go all the way with it.
Rey’s Family Revelation
Certainly the biggest and most shocking moment in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was the final revelation of just who Rey really was. Her heritage had been an open question following Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but it appeared that the question had already been answered in Star Wars: The Last Jedi that Rey's parents were nothing more than junk traders who needed money. However, Rise of Skywalker pulled a fake out on us and told us that actually that last bit wasn't true.
Instead, it turns out Rey is actually the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine. So, Palpatine had at least one kid, who was then killed by the Emperor after Rey was hidden away. The idea that Rey was a Palpatine certainly wasn't new, it was one of the many theories that have been around since the beginning of this trilogy, but the shift from "you're nobody" to "you're the daughter of the Sith Lord" was enough to give some a case of whiplash.
The Death Of General Hux
General Hux has been one of the more interesting characters in the new trilogy if only because he was always a significant part of the First Order, even though he seemed to rarely have much of a purpose. He was there as both an ally and an antagonist for Kylo Ren, and following The Last Jedi, where he very nearly tried to kill Ren, it seemed like he might be getting setup for something in Episode IX.
And yet, that's not exactly what happened. Hux was barely around in The Rise of Skywalker until the sequence where he revealed himself to be the spy in The First Order. This in itself wasn't necessarily all that shocking and was sort of fitting, given Hux explained he was doing it not to help the Resistance, but to damage Kylo Ren, which sounds exactly like something Hux would do. However, the next time we saw him, he was revealed to be the spy and was killed, just like that. A pretty unceremonious end to somebody who was really one of the major villains of this trilogy.
The Return Of Han Solo
No one's ever really gone. We've seen the return of several characters before in the Star Wars films. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda have returned as Force Ghosts and no secret was made of the fact that Luke Skywalker would be back in The Rise of Skywalker. Of course, the Emperor's return from apparent death was central to the new movie. However, the characters that come back have always been Jedi. So one return we saw in the new film was a bit more surprising.
Following one of Kylo Ren's many battles with Rey, she healed him, and he began to finally question the path he had been on. In this moment of reflection, Ben Solo had a conversation with his father, Han Solo, the man he killed in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Ben conversed with what he referred to as a "memory," but it certainly seemed like more than that. Had some form of Han been brought back by the Force? Was Ben Solo just having some sort of hallucination? It's not clear, but it's certainly WTF-inducing.
The Emperor’s Audience
When Star Wars; The Return of the Jedi ended we though that the Sith had finally been destroyed. All that had been left was the Emperor and Darth Vader, and they were both gone. The discovery that the Emperor still lived meant that the Sith still existed, but only because he still lived. At least, that's what we thought until Rey finally stood against Palpatine and we discovered that, apparently there are a lot more Sith left in the galaxy.
The final battle took place in an arena. The Emperor and Rey stood in the middle of it, and they appeared to be surrounded by a stadium full of... other Sith, I guess? It was not really clear. Whatever was out there was just a bunch of shimmering blackness. Were they people? Were they living things at all, or what? When the Emperor was destroyed they all seemed to vanish in a wave of energy, but are they dead, sent back to the spirit realm from where they came? It's impossible to guess what happened to them considering we don't really know what they were to begin with.
We've been debating Star Wars: The Last Jedi for the last two years and I feel confident that now that people have seen The Rise of Skywalker, we'll continue to debate Star Wars until the next movie, whatever the hell that is, comes along. What Rise of Skywalker moment had you saying "WTF?" Let us know in the poll below.
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