Since the release of The Rise of Skywalker, something has irked me quite a bit in regards to the way the story ended. I Understand that things are always easier to explore and fix in hindsight, but there is a part of me that feels they hardly even considered how the ending could affect those who had poured their heart and soul into this franchise over the last 40 years.
While I don’t agree with all that transpired over the course of the three films in the Disney era of Lucasfilm, I feel fixing the final 5/10 minutes would better cement the Sequel Trilogy as a true continuation as well as a more fitting finale of the Skywalker story.
The main protagonist in the three films was Rey. While we know that Abrams and Johnson both had different ideas on where to take her story. It seemed that by the time we hit the third movie a major shift occurred making her a Palpatine. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the idea, but the moment she states “Rey Skywalker” seconds before the credits role just doesn’t sit with me.
Rey’s entire motivation within the trilogy was to find where she fit within the Universe. Her being a Palpatine seemingly places her right in the middle of the ongoing struggle between good and evil that has transpired for 50+ years. But, what if that was only part of who she was?
Don’t lie to yourself, TROS did nothing to make her anything more than a pawn in Palpatine’s plans. They attempted, and failed, to make her seem heroic allowing her to “choose” her own destiny claiming the Skywalker name at the end. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sit right with fans who have been on this journey over the last 40 odd years. There is no denying that the end of the Skywalker Saga was poorly executed and in a way feels like Lucasfilm shoved a half-assed story down our throats to make a buck or two.
But I digress, You are here to see how a proper end to the Saga and trilogy should have played out. This isn’t a retelling of the entire Episode IX film, rather I take the final 5/10 minutes of the film, from the fight of Rey and her Grandfather Sheev Palpatine to the end, and restructure it to help clarify the title of the movie ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ as well as making it a Goodbye to those who have come before.
I hope you enjoy.
On the Planet Exogol
As Rey brings up the second lightsaber reflecting Palpatine’s Force lightning she feels all the Jedi who came before flowing through her, “And I am all the Jedi.” And with that the lightning completely reflects back to Palpatine melting him and destroying the temple around them.
Rey, completely drained looks around, coming to the realization that she has fulfilled her destiny and found her place in the story, smiles and falls to the ground lifeless.
Ben climbs out of the pit in which he was thrown and notices Rey laying motionless. “No!” Ben shouts.
He rushes over to her pulls her into his arms and realizes she is gone. Panicked with tears in his eyes he attempts to use the same technique that Rey had used to heal him.
“It’s no use Ben, she is gone.” A ghostly voice is heard from the shadows.
Ben angrily shouts “No, the Galaxy needs her!”
We see a ghostly figure of Luke Skywalker, “She has completed what she was meant to do Ben. Don’t you see it?”
Ben, sobbing “Master, I failed you. I failed all of you. This should have been me!”
Now visible within the crumbling structure we see multiple former Jedi appear. Mace Windu, Yoda, Qui Gon and many others.
Anakin appears directly behind his grandson. “Your story is not over yet.” he says laying his hand on Ben’s shoulder.
Young solo is hit with a sense of calm and understanding. He lays Rey down and stands before the Jedi. Sunlight shining down on Ben and her from the sky.
Poe and Finn come racing into the throne room. Poe is completely shocked at the destruction around him. Finn, eyes wide, not believing that he is seeing the ghosts of Jedi past a split second before they disappear. Both refocusing they notice Ben standing over the lifeless Rey and begin to charge towards him to attack.
Finn seeing the tears in Ben’s eyes stops and grabs Poe.
“What, what are you doing!?” Poe screams.
Finn calmly, as he exams the former leader of the First Order. “He is no longer our enemy.”
Poe confused “How do you know?”
“Just a feeling” responds Finn.
Ben looking at the two men just a few feet away nods his head. Finn, understanding that Rey accomplished her mission in bringing the once lost soul back to the light, returns a nod.
Ben rushes off.
Poe loses his composure bursting into tears and falling to the ground next to Rey. Finn lays his hand on his shoulder as they both begin to accept the loss of the one they loved.
Ben, quickly making his way through the destroyed temple finds his way to the Millennium Falcon and walks up the ramp
“Hello old friend.” as he looks down at the old R2 unit. Chewy roars as both he and Ben embrace in a hug. The two make their way to the cockpit as Ben gleefully looks around his father’s ship coming to notice the dice hanging above the control panel. He smirks “I’m back dad.” he says.
“Roar!” says Chewbacca.
“I have just the place in mind.” Ben responds. The engines come to life and The Millennium Falcon takes off.
At the resistance base there is a celebration, but despite all the excitement and music both Finn and Poe are struggling with the loss of their friend as they stand over her covered body laying on a bed.
“We have lost so much in this war. But why did it have to take her?” Poe asks angrily.
Finn, focused and seemingly attuned to his newly found Force abilities, lifts his head and looks at Poe “No, she’s still with us.” he responds. The two embrace as the their story comes to an end.
On the Millennium Falcon we see Chewy manning the cockpit as it comes out of hyperspace. In the distance we see a familiar planet, Tattooine. Chewy stands and heads to the back of the ship where we see R2 recording Ben now dressed in attire similar to his father’s.
“Roar!” says Chewy.
Ben nods, looks down at R2-D2 “You got all that buddy?” R2 beeps assuredly as Ben stands and pats Chewy’s shoulder. “Alright lets get this done.” They both walk towards the cockpit.
As the Falcon glides across the sand dunes and through beggars canyon, it quickly approaches an abandoned farm, Lars Homestead. As the ship begins to land Ben looks through the window concerned yet, at peace for the first time in years. He smiles and stands as he makes his way to exit the falcon.
Walking down the ramp R2 and Chewy attempt to follow him. “No, this is something I must do on my own” he says.
Ben slowly explores his Uncle’s old home as he finds himself in a garage. He picks up a dated T16 Skyhopper model and realizing it must have at one point belonged to his old Master.
“Seems so long ago I felt stuck here.” Luke’s ghostly voice says.
“And Before then I too felt the same” Ben now hearing his grandfather, Anakin.
Ben turns and sees both standing before him in their blue hew.
“You have chosen the most difficult path put before you.” says Anakin
“But there is no better man to for the adventure.” Responds Luke confidently.
Anakin, looks at his son smiles and then looks towards Ben. “May the Force Be With you grandson” The two men fade away.
Ben makes his way back outside to an embankment looking over the empty desert. He kneels down, places Luke’s lightsaber and his mothers on the ground. Ben, now crying, reminisces about a time with his mother when he was a young boy. She was Regal and demanding yet patient and caring.
“Thank you mother, for all you did.” Ben whispers.
He wraps the sabers up and then uses the force to push them into the ground burying them.
Ben stands, looks into the distance at the twin suns. “Because of you Rey, we have a new beginning.”
The Force theme swells.
I realize what’s laid out above doesn’t fix all the issues that the sequel trilogy has. It does however accomplish in giving us a fitting end to the Luke, Leia and Han arc. The title of the film makes more sense signifying the Rise of Skywalker was the emergence of the Skywalker lineage being saved because of Rey. The Redemption of Ben is not complete at this moment. It is but the beginning of his path towards him redeeming his past and keeping balance within the Galaxy. It leaves the saga open to be reexplored but also ends all that came before it.
Rey sacrificing herself to once again bring peace to the Galaxy goes far and above what she ever thought would be possible in herself. Much like Ben, Rey struggled with being accepted and having a purpose. For this trilogy they are the two sides of the same penny. The story would further explore the mysticism of the Force and how it can manipulate those who wield it. Without Rey there would be no peace, without Ben there would be no future. Both are necessary in this trilogy but only one can carry on forward. These three films then become the opposite of what transpired in the Prequels. The death of Padme is what sends Anakin spiraling out of control down his dark path. Where the death of Rey brings Ben to the light.
Poetic and beautiful.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Also, give us your ideas on how the Skywalker saga could or should have ended.