Welcome back, Star Wars! Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker review

Written by on December 31, 2019

Welcome back Star Wars! The Rise of Skywalker is a return to form of sorts, especially if one considers that the original trilogy was based on old Saturday matinee drive-in Flash Gordon tales – and that is precisely what we get this time around – a classic adventure movie! Finn, Poe and Rey work together, mirroring the cherished trio of Han, Luke and Leia, finally proving that their chemistry is equally as impressive. Furthermore, director J.J. Abrams has wisely packed this movie with cameos and references to the fantastic story that started a long time ago, way back in 1977.

Episode IX is set one year after The Last Jedi and the dwindling Resistance battle the First Order for the last time in this (supposed) conclusion to the nine episode Skywalker saga, but a new / old threat is thrown in for good measure. Most fans are aware that Emperor Palpatine makes a welcome return (see the trailer online.) Indeed, we have witnessed characters come back from the dead many times in this galaxy – usually in the form of a Force ghost – but Palpatine’s return is comparable to Darth Maul’s excellent survival after the events of Episode I. Let’s compare the story threads:



  • Episode I shows Obi-Wan Kenobi chop Darth Maul in half and Maul’s remains tumble down a gaping chasm.
  • Episode VI shows Darth Vader (reborn as Anakin Skywalker) throw Palpatine down a gaping chasm.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (season five) shows Darth Maul surviving on the junk planet of Lotho Minor (robotic legs attached) and hatred / the dark side / a deep desire for revenge keeps him alive.
  • Episode IX shows The Emperor (reborn) surviving on the Sith planet of Exegol and hatred / the dark side / a deep desire for revenge keeps him alive.



Many argue that Palpatine’s resurrection detracts from Anakin Skywalker’s sacrifice / rebalancing of the Force at the end of Episode VI, but evil always finds a way. It is possible that J.J. Abrams has enriched the Emperor’s character, especially if we consider Palpatine’s Sith story concerning his former master (that ultimately lures Anakin towards the dark side) in Episode III: ‘Then his apprentice (Palpatine) killed him in his sleep. It’s ironic. He (Darth Plagueis the Wise) could save others from death, but not himself.’ Anakin is naturally curious and enquires if it is possible to learn this power. Palpatine delivers the immortally seductive response: ‘not from a Jedi.’ If this line of thought is correct then we merely witness Palpatine fulfil his destiny (in Episode IX) and return from the dead, just as he promised. It is also worth considering that Palpatine may have regenerated himself many times before and if that is true, just how old is he? This certainly unveils several potential story directions for the future of Star Wars adventures on the big screen!



All things considered – and taking into account the untimely tragic loss of Carrie Fisher – what J.J. Abrams achieves in seamlessly adding Leia Organa (to Episode IX) is nothing short of magical. Sure, we’ve seen Peter Cushing return to life in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and we’ll probably witness digital youthful recreations of our heroes for years to come, but what we are given here works very well indeed. The Rise of Skywalker is not perfect, but one thing is absolutely undeniable… the Force is strong with this one!

9/10 – Go and have fun because the 70s / 80s are well and truly back from the dead!


another fantastic review from Glenn Barr

have you seen the film? let us  know what you thought of the film


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