In Rise of Skywalker, we saw a massive plot to resurrect the Sith try to unfold. However, their fleet, military, and cultists were all destroyed before their scheme could truly take shape. In addition, the First Order suffered a colossal defeat in the end. Still, even though the Sith are permanently gone and the First Order is crippled, there will always be ways for the dark side of the Force to rear its ugly head again. As Maz Kanata pointed out, the dark side has ways of evolving and changing. As the Galactic Empire proved, there will always be remnants of the First Order that will never surrender. Since the First Order originated in the Unknown Regions, it is very likely they have strongholds and outposts that are beyond the reach of the known galaxy. Those strongholds will likely rebuild their strength in the Unknown Regions like they did the first time and one day renew their efforts to conquer the galaxy. Since Palpatine established no Contingency plan this time, whatever remnants of the First Order that remain will not implode and will last a lot longer than the Imperial remnants. Palpatine’s Sith Eternal cult may have been destroyed in the Battle of Exegol, but the chances of them being the only dark side cult in the whole galaxy are extremely slim. When the Galactic Empire collapsed, a dark side cult called the Acolytes of the Beyond emerged. With this in mind, it is very likely that more dark side cults will rise in the aftermath of the First Order’s defeat. Even though the Sith are permanently extinct, their dark legacy will ensure a new breed of dark side practitioners will rise to replace them. The ancient Sith left artifacts saturated in the dark side across the galaxy. Several were either recovered or destroyed, but it is unlikely that they were all found, which opens the door for Sith-like Force-users to rise. Overall, Rey Skywalker’s new Jedi Order will have no shortage of enemies to fight as they recover their strength.
When I saw Rise of Skywalker, I received a very intriguing revelation about Rey. She is the granddaughter and heir of Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine! That explains why she is so strong in the Force. Her grandfather was strong enough to fight a Jedi of Yoda’s caliber to a draw. In Legends, Palpatine was a dangerous Force-sensitive even before he received training and he was able to use his natural power to deadly effect when he killed his whole family and their personal guards. That power flows in Rey’s veins.
I like the thought that Rey can use her hereditary Force power for good. Rey has proven that even though evil created her and left its mark on her, evil does not rule her. The end of her story has a delicious sense of irony. The reason for this is because one Palpatine destroyed the Jedi and now another Palpatine will rebuild the Jedi. One way or another, the future of the Jedi Order rests in Rey’s hands. With Darth Sidious gone forever and no longer able to influence her future students, Rey will succeed where Luke Skywalker had failed.
Most significant of all about Rey’s ending is that she renounced her Palpatine name and Sith heritage. She did not let her bloodline define her. Darth Sidious may have been Rey’s blood relative, but he was NEVER her family. The Skywalker family (Luke, Leia, Han, and even Kylo Ren) were collectively the family she never had. Han Solo was both a mentor and father figure for Rey. Not only did Luke and Leia teach Rey the ways of the Force, but they each had their own life lessons to teach her. Luke taught Rey to face her fears and not let her heritage define her while Leia gave Rey a mother’s love and guidance. Kylo Ren/Ben Solo taught Rey to always see the good in everyone even when they are beyond saving. Along with all Jedi who came before her, Anakin Skywalker’s Force ghost encouraged Rey to take a stand against her grandfather, giving her a sense of willpower and perseverance. Rey’s interactions with the Skywalker family helped her become the person she is now. Taking the Skywalker name for herself was not just a way to honor them. It was also a way of Rey acknowledging them as her true family. When the Force ghosts of Luke and Leia appeared to Rey in the end, it was their way of adopting Rey and welcoming her into their family.
I just discovered something mind-blowing regarding The Rise of Skywalker! They released some footage of Kylo Ren confronting Darth Sidious, which is in the following link. In that footage, we learned that Sidious truly IS Supreme Leader Snoke! To be more specific, Snoke was Sidious’s puppet and mouthpiece. In addition, Sidious had been communicating with Kylo Ren through the remains of Darth Vader’s helmet. Throughout the footage, as he was talking to Kylo Ren, Sidious’s voice changed between his own and those of Snoke and Vader, saying, “I have been every voice you have ever heard inside your head.” This shows that it was Darth Sidious the entire time who manipulated Ben Solo into turning to the dark side. It appears that Sidious has been grooming Kylo Ren to be his new Sith apprentice from the shadows, using Snoke and Vader’s helmet as proxies. After Vader “killed” him, Sidious saw him as a failed apprentice so he turned his attention to Ben Solo, who had just as much potential in the Force as Vader. With Vader’s helmet, Sidious was able to tug on Kylo Ren’s sentiment towards his grandfather. Through Snoke, Sidious was able to do test trials with Kylo Ren, teaching him basic dark side knowledge before he was ready to fully commit to him as his Sith apprentice. Also, even if something were to happen to Snoke, Sidious himself would remain hidden until he was ready to reveal himself. Now, Kylo Ren has proven he has something his grandfather lacked: the ability to kill and overthrow the master and usurp his power, which is the prime principle behind the Rule of Two. With this in mind, Sidious wanted Kylo Ren to kill Snoke to prove that he is capable of completing the Rule of Two. Afterwards, Sidious would leave Kylo Ren to his own devices to see what he would do once he gained real power. Clearly, Sidious liked what Kylo Ren became and has called to him through the dark side to officially become his new Sith apprentice. Just thinking of the lengths Sidious went through to orchestrate the formation of the First Order and discreetly grooming Kylo Ren into his new apprentice makes my mind blow! Up until now, we have only seen the puppets, but we will soon see the puppeteer. With these new revelations, I look forward to see the movie in its entirety to see what plans Sidious has for his new apprentice.
I have always been fascinated by Kylo Ren’s mask. While Darth Vader’s mask was both functional and symbolic, Kylo Ren’s mask was purely symbolic in nature. Kylo Ren’s mask is not just a common prop. It is a representation of his identity as a dark side practitioner. The first version of the mask in The Force Awakens represented Ben Solo’s initial turn to the dark side. When the mask was shattered in The Last Jedi, it represented Kylo Ren’s soul being shattered as a result of him killing his father. Now, in The Rise of Skywalker, the mask is being rebuilt. The mask looks like the original mask, but its numerous pieces are held together by red cracks. This symbolizes that Kylo Ren’s previously shattered dark side identity was reforged into something stronger. This transformation started when he killed Supreme Leader Snoke, which allowed Kylo Ren to complete the Rule of Two. Upon his ascension as the new Supreme Leader of the First Order, Kylo Ren’s reforged dark side identity solidifies. Those red cracks represent the fragments of his soul being held together by his dark side rage. His identity may be reforged, but the flaws of his old identity as Ben Solo are still there. Now, Kylo Ren is not as conflicted as he was when we first met him and his turn to the dark side is closer to completion.
I was completely giddy when I found out that Galaxy’s Edge had another simulator ride like Star Tours. Unlike Star Tours, you got to control the starship instead of just ride it. This was not just any starship; my godmother and I got to pilot the Millennium Falcon itself! Under normal circumstances, we would have been assigned gunners and engineers. However, due to an unknown factor, my godmother and I had to pilot the Falcon by ourselves. So, we were down four crew members and we had to evade the First Order alone! We managed to get to our destination and aid the Resistance, but we took a lot of damage, which cost us valuable credits. I love my godmother more than life itself, but she is a useless copilot. Still, it was completely fun and nostalgic to be inside and pilot the most legendary smuggling freighter in the galaxy!
As I immersed myself in Galaxy’s Edge, I got to see so many nostalgic sights. Unlike the stormtroopers, I found the droids I was looking for. I saw Wild Space architecture, Jedi runes and statues, and even a flock of nunas being roasted next to a pod racer engine. I’m glad I did not eat the nunas because I didn’t want to get coaxium poisoning. For those of you who don’t know, coaxium is a type of hyperspace fuel that is potent yet unstable. It appeared in the Han Solo movie. I also found some die hard fans who spoke both Mandoa and Huttese like me and we had a conversation in both languages. I actually felt like I was in a settlement in the Star Wars universe.