The Rise of Skywalker. It’s all someone like me, a Star Wars fan, can think about these days. Why? Well, one, it’s the finale to the nine-film Skywalker saga. Two, it’s a new Star Wars movie. And three, what else is there to think about when it comes to Star Wars–besides The Mandalorian, The Clone Wars, Star Wars: Resistance, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order–okay, there’s a lot to think about but The Rise of Skywalker definitely sits at #1 on the most-interested-about list as of this moment.
I’m proud to say I finally own the latest issue of Vanity Fair (through the will of the Force I got the Kylo Ren version) featuring the stirring behind-the-scenes article of The Rise of Skywalker and as I read it I couldn’t help feeling a sense of extreme joy and immense worry at the same time.
J.J Abrams is evil, and I don’t mean that in a mean and literal sense, but in a sense of anxiety. Think about it. The Force Awakens builds your happiness as it introduces a thrilling cast of new characters played by, well, an amazing cast, embroiled in a riveting adventure that combines old and new. Friendships are forged, Kylo Ren is expectedly villainous, jokes are spewed left and right, it seems like the happiest, most incredible adventure I’ve ever had a chance to see on the big screen. And then, duh-duh-duh, events take a turn for the worse as Kylo Ren completely darkens the mood and kills his father, Han Solo.
To say that scene is devastating would be an understatement. After three and a half years, seeing Han get run through by a blood-red lightsaber still hurts to watch. And that’s why I say J.J Abrams is evil.
He delivered us so much joy only to have it crashing back down on us in a meteorite of extreme sadness. Of course, he manages to bring a bit of the joy back with the conclusion of the film but still, gone is the happy-go-lucky adventure replaced by a grim seriousness that is truly depressing. Han is dead, Finn is grievously injured, and Luke is found, on an island in exile, caught with the grimmest expression you have ever seen. It’s like he’s a seen a ghost rise from the dead to haunt him.
It’s this powerful sense of storytelling that has me worried about The Rise of Skywalker.
As is made clear in the Vanity Fair issue, The Rise of Skywalker is a film of adventure and dealing with the mistakes of the past. Wars will be waged, emotions will be high, (romance will be found?) and action is going to be very abundant through the course of the movie. It sounds super exciting, as it should. And yet, there’s this darkness that clouds everything. Like a looming storm ready to strike.
And that “looming storm” is Palpatine.
In an interview with J.J Abrams towards the end of the article J.J Abrams speaks a little more about what this story means and how it connects with the saga as a whole. At one point he says, and I quote, “And it’s the sins of the fathers, and it’s the wisdom and the accomplishments of those who did great things, but it’s also those who committed atrocities, and the idea that this group is up against this unspeakable evil and are they prepared? Are they ready?”
The last section of this quote is what has me figuratively shaking in my boots.
Before Palpatine’s unexpected inclusion in The Rise of Skywalker teaser,this was going to be a relatively simple conclusion to this overall story. With Kylo Ren boding as the major threat in the film, it pretty much seemed inevitable that this movie was going to have a happy ending for the heroes of the Resistance, considering that he isn’t the most terrifying member of the iconic Star Wars villain fraternity. And then, Palpatine’s chilling cackle echoed off of the screen at the end of the teaser for The Rise of Skywalker and my confidence for the good guys dropped to rock bottom. And J.J Abrams isn’t helping matters.
If you recall, Emperor Palpatine singlehandedly annihilated the Jedi to the point that the few who had managed to survive were either hiding from the Empire’s view or secluded in exile. He also took one of the Jedi’s greatest warriors, Anakin Skywalker, and turned him into his own personal pawn through fear. And what’s even more chilling about this fact is that it didn’t happen over the course of a week. He set up this horrifying plan over a decade.
Palpatine is patient. He bides his time, let’s people get comfortable, and then boom, he destroys everything in the blink of an eye. If Palpatine is returning from the dead now then that means there is a reason and that’s why I’m so terrified.
When J.J Abrams speaks of an “unspeakable evil” and whether the heroes and Kylo Ren potentially, are ready it seems pretty clear that they will have to come face to face with the evilest villain in the franchise, Palpatine and we have learned, that can be very horrifying. Think about the three times we got to see Palpatine in action in the movies.
In Revenge of the Sith, when his plan was set into motion, he finally let down his disguise as Emperor Palpatine, revealing himself to be Darth Sidious in front of the Jedi. In fifteen seconds, he killed four Jedi (masters by the way) before meeting his match with Mace Windu. But he had his backup plan with Anakin Skywalker. And, well you know what happened.
Then when fighting Yoda he turned out to be a greater warrior than the diminutive Jedi, sending Yoda not to death but into exile.
And then the final time we got to see him in action he nearly killed Luke Skywalker but his plan was thwarted by Darth Vader’s brilliantly unexpected streak of heroism.
These are three instances that prove when Palpatine decides to actually fight you it isn’t often pretty. In fact, it can turn deadly.
If Rey or Kylo Ren ends up having to face the dark lord of the Sith, whether that means as allies or alone, it could mean the demise of these beloved new faces of the current trilogy and that is a terrifying prospect.
I don’t want another Han Solo moment. I don’t want to see either Rey or Kylo Ren fall victim to Palpatine’s immense power and evil schemes and yet, I can feel a tremor in the Force.
There will be an adventure, there will be romance, there will be plenty of exhilarating action, but there will also be heartbreak. It is J.J Abrams’s way.
What do you think? Do you feel that Palpatine may bring a horrifying end to either Rey, Kylo, Finn, or Poe? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
I thank you for reading and I hope you have a splendid day. May the Force be with you.