Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

This post contains spoilers for the film Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. 

rey and ben

I guess so, but why? The following rambling is my attempt to uncover the meaning behind the most predictable pairing in the Star Wars canon. These are also my final thoughts on the last four years of my life that were intertwined with the story of Rey. I hop around from emotional comment to critical review. I don’t intend for this to be a cutting-edge film blog. I just want to delve into my own analysis of the new Star Wars. 

I have felt weirdly drawn to Adam Driver’s works of film ever since I gasped while standing in line to order a pizza from Cafe 1919, simultaneously discovering that he also starred in HBO’s Girls, a show I had free access to as a UCLA student. Coincidentally, every pop culture focus that I have grown in myself has come from someone telling me to not do something. Someone told me to never watch Girls because it was inappropriate. Well, I did, even if I was eighteen and in college. Adam Sackler is a wild character, but in the end I had so much respect for Adam Driver that I bamboozled my family into watching Blackkklansman on a family vacation to San Diego (they really had no prior knowledge, but I pride myself on being the cultured one in the family… which is also why I got them to see Uncut Gems a few days ago… AND WHY THEY WATCHED LITTLE WOMEN WITHOUT ME) I just watched Marriage Story on Netflix and I fully believe that if you want some raw footage of Adam Driver’s acting anger to fill the void of Kylo Ren in your life, watch Marriage Story. Also consider how Adam Driver will probably never be an Adam Sackler-esque character again because he is older and is now an Oscar-nominated actor. Adam Sackler was lightyears away from being a father character. I don’t know anything about Adam Driver and Keri Russell’s Broadway show because I’m central California-based and we don’t do Broadway out herebut I don’t think it was Adam Sackler-adjacent content either. 

Ben Solo, the henley-wearing redeemed quintessential white boy from outer space. Given too little time in the most important part of his character arc. All we have is a screen grab of his beautifully lighted face bones. Out of respect for chronology I will not talk about the kiss until the end of this blog post. But I will say that the time allotted for romantic gestures in The Rise of Skywalker is my agenda for my life, and while I agree with the subtlety, I don’t really care for it in this context. 

I have to say that in the last minutes before I started typing official words into this post, I have had to scribble down the Skywalker lineage to understand why Rey would choose Skywalker as her new last name and not Solo.

skywalker lineage

I think it’s because Luke and Leia were the most influential in making sure she became a Jedi.

At first I thought Rey said her last name was Skywalker as if she was choosing to say she was Ben Solo’s mate. Then I realized Ben’s last name is NOT Skywalker, so my initial thought that the choice was made out of love for Ben was wrong.

What a wild ride it has been to watch this new introduction into the Star Wars universe and feel like it was a generation that I belonged to. At the beginning of this trilogy I was barely starting college and I felt like I was also on Rey’s journey to find out why she was special. I listened to a lot of takes about how the trilogy was bad because “Rey gets her powers too quickly” which, I think, is a bad take considering no one hated the first ever Star Wars movie when Luke and Obi-Wan Kenobi had their powers.

I wrote a blog post about how I really enjoyed that Star Wars had a new female lead. To me, that is still important. The blog post is here: In 2005, I Told the Force to Wake Up (click). That title was meant to be a play on words, as in, I have always been super “woke” about women needing to be at the forefront of Star Wars ever since they killed off Padmé, who is the reason why Luke Skywalker exists.

(That actually ties perfectly into my master’s thesis about sacrificial mothers, but I’ll be damned if I write a thesis on Star Wars when I only want it to fry my brain on a visual scale.)

I had to watch the old movies as the only girl in a family of boys and I really didn’t know what the films were supposed to give me beyond shooting lasers and the Jedi lore. I didn’t feel particularly entertained by the plots until I saw the development of Padmé Amidala. And then they killed her off and I felt left out again.

padme amidala

We owe so much to Padmé. And what do we pay her? Dust. And what has the film industry given to Natalie Portman? Dust. Watch Jackie

Then Rey shows up and she’s a kickass girl who doesn’t have to fight to exist as a woman in the Star Wars universe. She just knows she’s part of it.

But fuck, this is Adam Driver’s world and we’re all living in it. After watching The Force Awakens back in 2015 I binge-watched all of Girls on HBO just to see the range and versatility of Adam Driver and it did not disappoint. He is incredible. I just don’t think this last Star Wars movie really did him justice. He was good as a brooding villain but in their attempt to humble him and bring him to the light side I think he didn’t have enough screen time as regular ol’ Ben Solo hopping around to save his true love.

My mom has a lot of questions. Did he love her?

I have a lot of questions. Is she pregnant? Are they married?

The best line was when Ben Solo/Kylo Ren said “My mother is the daughter of Vader. Your father is the son of Palpatine. We are a dyad in the Force.”

DYAD! Yes, logophilic king. My own dumb little reasoning for Reylo being endgame is that they were the most powerful, Force-sensitive children in existence and the Force was drawing them to each other.

I also think Jannah (Naomi Ackie) came from a Force-sensitive group of storm troopers just like Finn. Apparently Rey is the last Jedi, but Finn is also extremely Force-sensitive, and Jannah said she felt it too. It is not impossible that Jannah and Finn were two of many unaware people who had the potential to be Jedi but had no known knowledge what Jedi are, and were brainwashed through the First Order enough to never be aware that they had special powers. I THINK THERE WERE MORE JEDI. JANNAH. FINN. Finn had an entire fighting montage with a lightsaber in the first film, and then was never allowed to fight like that again. IT WAS THE LITERAL MOVIE POSTER.

finn saber

And like many others, I would not be surprised if Jannah was Lando’s child, stolen from him in a First Order raid, or maybe they just never met. Or if she was from the same family line as Finn. I think in the first film Finn said that he was born specifically to be a storm trooper, so I imagine the First Order doesn’t have family units and it’s more like a The Giver situation where women have children they give away to people in that dystopia (but in Star Wars they give birth to children who only exist to be storm troopers). 

I can’t believe the title The Rise of Skywalker is also somehow a spoiler for the entire movie.

I think it’s funny that my mom asked me to explain the love between Rey and Ben, when I have no concept of love in general. Hell if I know, mom. I am just as confused as this story by you. 

Sometimes I get so engrossed in a movie that I want to live in that world forever. I want to ask questions. I want to speak their dialogue. I want to live in their world. But the quick end of Rey’s mystery, Ben’s life, the Skywalker family tree, I am glad it’s over. I think they made good movies and made it exciting enough for me to wonder for four years: who is Rey, and why do I like her? But I want to put this to rest and I want to watch Adam Driver be a sociopath in Girls and a dad in Marriage Story.

adam girls

(I actually feel like I have a great understanding of the Twilight world so much that I can always pop back in their world and figure out what they are saying, and what they might say. Perks of being a reader, what can I say.)

After four years of Rey, this iconic woman whose intentions were to solidify her place in a history of powerful men, Rey is the true woman of the decade. She makes her own name from the people she knows. She finds out the truth and keeps going. She works on strengthening her powers. She defeats her enemy. She saves someone. She changes the course of history. 

Instead of living in that world, I will go to Disneyland and ride the new ride. I also met Rey once before, in Disneyland, and she completely saw how nervous and star-struck I was to see her with her complete attire and asked if I would like a hug! I don’t usually meet characters in Disneyland but I did it for Rey and I was fully star-struck. She asked me what ride I had ridden earlier, and I said, “Winnie the Pooh.” She said, “Would that be a good hiding place for the Resistance?” and I just nodded because I was so in shock. DISNEY MAGIC RIGHT THERE. 

I’m going to Disneyland in March to ride the new ride. Hopefully the crowds will have died by then. I had good luck in August when I went to Star Wars land for the first time and rode Smuggler’s Run in the single rider line. I hope the crowds are the same in March. If they are still horrible because of spring break, I may endure it, or I may save my money for later. Who knows. Disneyland is always full but I always manage to have a good time. RISE OF THE RESISTANCE 2K20!

I can’t believe Star Wars had ended. I also got rejected from my first real career-based job application, so in the time from The Force Awakens to The Rise of Skywalker, I have graduated college, basically graduated grad school, and am now trying to get my ass to Los Angeles one way or another so I can actually watch Little Women and the next Lady Bird when it actually opens and not six months later on DVD. I will get out of here eventually.

But at least we know Rey is Palpatine’s granddaughter! She was born into a Sith family but somehow her father, Palpatine’s son, was good, and tried to save her from the Sith. So she was always a massive threat to the Resistance, and to Star Wars. Maybe Kylo Ren was like, “Ooh, a hot daughter of the Sith” and then when Rey killed the Sith in Ben, he was like, “she is good, I am good, I love her.” But then again Luke and Leia kissed and they’re brother and sister, so maybe Rey and Ben had a friendly kiss! Platonic friend kissing 2k20! 

Okay, and one more thing. The HAND? Some tweet that spoiled the film for me made a statement that Ben putting his hand on Rey’s stomach meant that she was pregnant and carrying the next Skywalker child?! Do you think that makes sense? 

ben solo hand

Talk about “A thousand generations live in you now.” If Rey is the last Jedi but she’s also a person with the ability to have children (specifically the great-grandchild of Darth Vader) because Sith-Jedi Ben Solo is her partner (I gasped because Rey is also a Sith-Jedi???….Ben, Rey, and Anakin Skywalker are the only Sith-Jedi, right???), then she is also truly the future of the Jedi because her lineage through marriage/association/love/fanfic-established relationship with Ben Solo is that whatever child she has (hopefully, with Ben, even though he’s “dead”) will also have a thousand generations of Jedi behind them because they were born from the Skywalker line. 

Then again, in Star Wars history, I think any child born from Rey could be considered of the Skywalker line since she was trained by both Luke and Leia and is the last Jedi. They will be special regardless because Rey was the special, Force-sensitive person from the beginning. 

I wonder what new story will come from Star Wars. Daisy Ridley said in an interview that she would do more Star Wars films in the future if she was asked to. I really liked this generation and I hope that they at least make more films beyond this trilogy. But who knows. I don’t care for the spin-offs like Solo and Rogue One. GIVE ME BEN.  

Lastly, this beautiful yellow lightsaber. I am glad it exists. I am glad it is yellow. Give Rey all the special power. Let her create Jedi knights and train the Jedi children again. Bring back what Anakin destroyed. Let her learn about Ben’s grandmother Padmé and the power she had before Anakin killed her. Maybe it is a blessing that Ben did not live long enough to love Rey more than five minutes, because maybe he would have killed her too. 

yellow lightsaber

I was definitely the target demographic for this new Star Wars trilogy. Thank you to the movie gods for making a Star Wars character who fights and lives. (Look at me, thanking Hollywood men like there’s no problem in every situation in the entertainment industry. Look, you made a space trilogy I invested my money in. You got me.)

I love Rey. I think she’s amazing and I would do anything for her. I pledge allegiance to Rey, who made me a Star Wars fan. She exists with good purpose (but if she has a kid and dies I will definitely lose my shit). She knows her worth. I love it. 

I’m also going to go search for Adam Driver moments in Girls instead of trying to re-watch all seasons. Here’s a funny bit.

 


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