20 Reasons Why Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Makes No Sense
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2019, with fans all over the globe eagerly booking cinema tickets to find out how three iconic trilogies would finally close out.
However, right from the beginning, the sequel trilogy proved contentious. After the incredibly divisive The Last Jedi, though, fans were pretty confident in JJ Abrams’ ability to deliver a safe and satisfying end to the main series.
What no one could have predicted was Rise of Skywalker creating even more controversy and confusion than its predecessor, thanks largely to the fact that the movie makes no sense. Despite some funny dialogue, satisfying fan service and stunning visuals, cinema-goers left The Rise of Skywalker with more questions than answers. Here are just some of the things we were left wondering about.
20. Why did Palpatine need Snoke?
The Rise of Skywalker is a movie full of reveals, but the first and most shocking of them all is that Palpatine is back, and has been lurking in the shadows throughout the entire sequel trilogy.
In his first confrontation with Kylo Ren, we learn that it was the Emperor’s voice that slowly lured Kylo to the dark side, as he’s been whispering in his mind since the beginning.
However, the Emperor’s plan is far more complicated than just speaking to Ben as himself. He also used Darth Vader’s voice to corrupt and tempt Kylo, by making him believe that the dark side was in his blood.
Obviously both of these techniques were pretty successful since they were enough to make Kylo burn Luke’s training temple to the ground and keep Vader’s mask around as a source of power and comfort, but all of this begs the question: what was Snoke for?
As if the Emperor pretending to be Kylo’s grandfather wasn’t enough, Rise of Skywalker also reveals that it was Palpatine who created Snoke, growing him in a cloning machine to gain Kylo’s trust. It’s difficult to see why this would even be necessary since Kylo was already ready to commit to the dark side thanks to the connection he thought he had with Vader, and Snoke neither looks nor acts more trustworthy or less creepy than the Emperor himself.
19. Everything about the Sith Wayfinder
Much of The Rise of Skywalker is dedicated to fetch quests, in which our heroes have to traverse the galaxy in order to find some person or item that will help them on their quest.
For this instalment, those items take the form of a ceremonial Sith dagger and a Sith Holocron, with the knife leading the gang to the Holocron, and the Holocron leading the gang to the Emperor’s hidden planet.
Sounds simple, right? Well, there are numerous issues with these two artefacts right from the get-go. First off: the location the knife leads them to is so obvious that they hardly need to translate a riddle on the side of a ceremonial blade at all, as a good guess would have worked just as well.
Ask any person with no knowledge of Star Wars were they would expect an evil artefact leading to Emperor Palpatine to be hidden, and they would probably say the Death Star, just because it’s the only evil Star Wars location they can name.
It turns out they’d be right, as the Sith were apparently obvious enough to hide a Holocron leading to the Emperor where the Emperor’s own throne room used to be.
The reason the Holocron was necessary was apparently that the Sith hideout is uniquely hard to find, since it exists in a pocket of hidden space that couldn’t be located by normal means.
Even once Rey has collected all the items she needs to solve all the riddles and access the co-ordinates, she has a difficult time flying to Exogol itself, and even though she sends the location to Leia and the other Rebels back at the base, it’s implied that the journey there would be perilous for them, too.
All of this is fine, but the logic of how remote and inaccessible Exegol is is completely undone later in the movie when, at a climactic moment, thousands of ships from all across the galaxy show up to fight the evil Emperor. It’s a triumphant scene, but it raises one huge question: how did all of these ships find this supposedly hidden planet?
We’re supposed to believe that the message of hope was passed by Rebels from planet to planet, inspiring people to get in their crafts and join the rebellion. If that’s the case though, then surely not all of them could have access to the co-ordinates, even if some of them were directly recruited by Lando.
Even if they did have the location, we’re told specifically that they’re all civilians of some kind or another, which makes the kind of advanced and dangerous flying necessary to reach Exogol they achieve seem pretty miraculous.
17. Lando’s holiday home
One of the strengths of Rise of Skywalker lies in its taste fir feel-good moments, which evoke the same kind of joy in the audience as the original trilogy did way back when. One of the easiest ways the movie does this is by referencing things from previous movies – whether it’s Luke’s prized X-Wing or just bringing back an entire character.
Anyone who knew about this strategy couldn’t have been too surprised to see Lando Calrissian back on the screen, but his return to the fold of the Rebellion brings up a whole host of questions.
First off: why was Lando on Pasaana? Even if he’d been helping Luke in his investigation of the last location of the dagger, he must have known that Luke had passed during the events of the Last Jedi, and that he’d be of more use to the Rebellion in other ways.
Not only that, but if Lando had been helping Luke as we’re led to believe, then his reluctance to come back to the Rebel base and join the fight seems entirely arbitrary.
Either way, it seems hugely out of character that this glamorous playboy character would be happy on an alien planet that seems to lack all of the creature comforts he cares about, and has no other native humanoid characters to boot. It’s unclear if the native aliens even know that Lando is hiding out in a hut on their land, without even a place to hang his many, many capes.
16. There were two transports?
On first viewing at least, one of the most heart-breaking and impactful scenes in The Rise of Skywalker is the scene where Chewbacca ‘dies’. Of course, we find out soon after that the beloved Wookie is actually fine, and his apparent death was just the result of a mix-up, but that doesn’t mean that the initial scene isn’t shocking.
Unfortunately, the scene loses its punch on subsequent viewings, not just because we already know that it’s all going to turn out fine, but because the moment doesn’t actually make a lot of sense in the first place.
To break it down: Finn sees one First Order transport land in the desert, and immediately points it out to Poe. He then sees Chewie being led onto the transport before it is obscured from his vision for a minute or two, and then we see the transport explode as a result of Rey’s loss of control.
We’re later told that there were actually two transports all along, and the one Rey destroyed with her force lightning was actually just filled with First Order soldiers. However, it’s unclear how Finn and Poe could have failed to notice this.
Poe surely has navigational equipment on his ship that would show him how many other crafts were around, and Finn later admits that he’s Force sensitive. Shouldn’t it follow that Finn would be able to sense the death of his friend, especially when it’s supposed to happen in such a brutal and extreme way as a ship exploding?
15. Palpatine’s power set makes no sense
Aside from the reveal in Rise of Skywalker’s opening crawl, the only information we get regarding how exactly Palpatine has survived is that it probably has something to do with cloning.
We see the Emperor cloning version after version of Snoke, he’s being attended to by clones and it’s implied that the giant audience of hooded figures that we see throughout the movie are also just more failed clones of the Emperor. Aside from this, the only information we get about Palpatine is in his appearance and in his actions, and those two things contradict wildly.
Despite keeping himself alive through cloning, the Emperor looks more ragged and broken down than ever in Rise of Skywalker, and doesn’t seem to be able to move. Instead of walking around, he is instead held up and hoisted around by some sort of giant crane contraption, which allows him some level of mobility.
At first this seems to make sense – maybe a body so altered over time would lose some abilities – but one scene offers a glaring solution to his problem that it’s hard to look past. Put simply: Palpatine uses the Force to pick up the entire Final Order fleet all at once, which includes thousands of ships, each mounted with a planet-destroying weapon, fully crewed and fully stocked.
That’s an unfathomable amount of weight, and the Emperor lifts it using the force with ease, showing no sign of fatigue afterwards. Surely if he can do that, tapping into his dark side connection to the Force to lift his own bodyweight really shouldn’t be that much of a problem?
14. Hux the spy
General Hux has had a fairly strange arc across the sequel trilogy. Beginning as a terrifying symbol of order and brutality, he’s slowly revealed to be more of a middle-management type, constantly struggling to assert his own power in a hierarchy dominated first by Snoke, and then by Kylo Ren.
In both cases, he’s constantly belittled and taken advantage of, leaving him furious at both his enemies and allies. It’s an interesting journey for a villain to go through, and as well as providing a few quality comedic moments, it led many fans to assume that Hux’s resentment would eventually fuel him to become the big bad of the series.
Instead, Hux’s arc is flipped entirely the other way in Rise of Skywalker, with him selling out the First Order to help out the Rebellion with information. Why? Well, in his words “I don’t care who wins, I just need them to lose”.
Here’s the problem with that. Despite his issues with Kylo Ren making complete sense, Hux is consistently painted as the only one who actually cares about the First Order. Hux is the one leading the rallies, screaming at the podium in front of legions of stormtroopers, and he’s the only one who seems to believe in the regime and its ability to bring order to the galaxy.
Snoke is a Palpatine-controlled clone who spent most of his time discussing the Force in a basement, with little or no impact for the actual day to day running of the Order. Kylo was constantly conflicted, and openly admitted he cared no more about the First Order than the rebellion. With Hux gone, it’s hard to imagine the upper echelons doing anything but crumbling.
13. The Rebellion’s convenient allies
The second movie in a trilogy is always supposed to be the low point for the heroes, especially when it comes to Star Wars.
So it makes sense that by the end of The Last Jedi, the final blow to the rebellion is that when they call for help from their allies on the outer-reaches, nobody comes. It’s meant to show the hopelessness of their situation, but also show the height of the First Order’s power, since they’ve managed to stamp out any dissent in the galaxy.
The problem is, we’re told that between the second and third movies in the trilogy, the power of the First Order has actually increased exponentially, and their newfound collaboration with the Emperor means that they’re about to get a weapons upgrade the likes of which the galaxy has never seen.
So why then, when in Rise of Skywalker the Rebels put out an even more desperate call for help, in a scenario with far worse odds and in an even more unreachable place, do people come?
The only explanation – except for Lando’s charisma being strong enough to change the mind of every rebel in the galaxy – is that it’s the end of the movie, and the filmmakers just want us to be happy.
12. What was Leia even doing?
The tragic passing of Carrie Fisher was always going to make Leia a difficult character to write into Rise of Skywalker, especially since her arc needed to be wrapped up in a way that did justice to such an iconic character.
That’s why it makes sense that footage of her in Rise of Skywalker is so limited, and that CGI shots are used sparingly to make her presence felt. It also makes sense that Leia would give her life to support the Rebellion, but the actual reasoning behind her death in the film is completely confusing.
On first viewing, all we know is that Leia uses the last of her strength to reach out to her son with the Force, and both that and her subsequent death is felt by Kylo Ren. Rey uses this distraction to first wound Kylo, and then heal him and inadvertently leave him to become redeemed, but it’s unclear how much of this is actually deliberate.
What is Leia trying to do here? Distract Kylo so that Rey will take the opportunity to kill him? Attempt to break through to him one last time? Possess Kylo to help him fight for good for the rest of the movie?
All of these are theories that fans have posed, but the actual explanation JJ Abrams has given is no less confusing: Allegedly, Leia reached out to Kylo and forced his heart to change, meaning neither his turn to the dark side nor his redemption actually came from him at all.
11. “Rey Skywalker”
In the final shots of Rise Of Skywalker, Rey goes to Tatooine, in order to bury Luke and Leia’s lightsabers side by side. She’s approached by a friendly stranger who asks her name, to which she confidently replies “Rey. Rey Skywalker.”
This is the last moment of a trilogy spanning several decades, and the only thing it leaves anybody thinking is… why?
Why would Rey bury the lightsabers on Tatooine anyway? For Luke, the barren sand planet was a place of boredom and toil, a place that he desperately wanted to leave, and the place that his loving aunt and uncle were brutally murdered. For Leia, meanwhile, Tatooine was primarily the place she was held captive and forced to wear a gold bikini. Neither Skywalker sibling had particularly happy memories of the place.
Not only that, but why would Rey take the name Skywalker? Obviously Luke was an important figure in her life, as was Leia, but Leia never even reclaimed the name Skywalker, believing that to do so would be to forgive a father she never got closure with.
Not only that, but given that she passionately kissed someone with Skywalker blood just before he died (and probably would have continued to do so if he had lived), Rey symbolically becoming Luke’s daughter retroactively puts her make-out session into kissing her cousin territory. Grim.
10. Finn’s (non-)confession
Over the years, there have been a lot of plot threads that have been left dangling throughout the Star Wars franchise. In the newest sequel trilogy alone, we still don’t know where Maz Kanata found Luke’s lightsaber, or why exactly she was keeping it.
Rise of Skywalker itself also fails to tie up a lot of loose ends, but maybe the most glaring of them all is what Finn wanted to tell Rey at the end of the film.
Throughout Episode IX, Finn is constantly distracted from his own part of the plan by his need to make sure Rey is safe and to know where she is at all times. He follows her into increasingly dangerous situations, often just to call her name, and talks about her constantly when they’re apart.
So when Finn finally admits that he has something super important to tell Rey, that he wants to confess in a scenario where he thinks he might die, it seems pretty obvious what he’s getting at. It’s got to be some kind of romantic confession, right?
Wrong. Finn never actually reveals what he wanted to tell Rey, and in a post-release press conference, JJ hurridly confirmed it was the character’s new Force sensitivity that Finn wanted to share. The question is, why is that what he would want to say with his dying breath? Plus, why would he be embarrassed to admit it later on?
9. The other rebel stormtroopers
One of the biggest reveals of Rise of Skywalker comes in the form of the bombshell that Finn is not the only stormtrooper to ever rebel. In fact, there’s a whole contingent out there that decided to walk out on the First Order.
This is great news for Finn, but also raises a fair few questions, such as how a whole squad of stormtroopers managed to somehow sneak away from the regime in a scenario where they had a specific mission and openly refused to even pretend to do it.
Not only that, but if a whole group of stormtroopers could be shaken out of their programming just for being called to shoot civilians, then it seems like the brainwashing they are subjected to as children isn’t very effective.
After all, shooting innocent people is something stormtroopers are asked to do pretty frequently in the sequel trilogy, so there must be a ton more reformed stormtroopers out there who just couldn’t stomach it.
If this is the case, then why isn’t the Rebellion using this to its advantage? Stormtroopers are treated so badly that, once freed from programming, they almost always are sympathetic to the Rebels – so why isn’t Leia at any point reaching out to them to convince them to change?
8. Palpatine’s appearance
This might seem like kind of a minor problem in the grand scale of the franchise, but it’s still one that had a lot of people scratching their heads in the cinema. To put it bluntly: why is Palpatine so ugly in Rise of Skywalker?
We’re told in one of the first scenes in the movie that the reason the former Emperor has stayed alive for so long is that he has access to cloning technology, and also has knowledge of dark science that rejuvenates him.
If that’s the case, why can’t he make himself look less incredibly ravaged by time? He can grow whole Snokes from scratch in his cloning machine, and his secret lair is entirely populated by clones of himself.
Admittedly, the clones tending to him and his equipment are all wearing cloaks too, so perhaps there really is some defect with the technology that means it cannot make the Emperor look younger or less… lumpy.
However, it does seem strange that growing thousands of people to worship him and build more cloning machines is within the Emperor’s capabilities but growing some new skin that’s less terrifying to behold is not.
7. How did Babu Frik and Zorii survive?
One of the ways in which Rise of Skywalker ups the stakes is with the Final Order’s fleet of ships, which is upgraded so that each individual ship has its own Star Destroyer mounted to the front.
This means that every ship in the fleet has the power to destroy a whole planet all by itself, and the fleet is therefore way more dangerous than anything the First Order has to offer.
The power of the Final Order’s fleet is first demonstrated to us when just one ship is activated, and the planet of Kijimi is destroyed.
This is especially devastating given that we are introduced to Kijimi as the place where Poe’s old friends live, and where Poe’s friend Zorii, in particular, gave up her one chance of escape.
It’s a sombre moment for sure, but it’s a little undercut by the final scenes of the film, when we realise Zorii and Babu Frik somehow made it off-world. Who took them? And how did they know to escape?
6. “The Final Order”
There’s no doubt about it, the Final Order that Palpatine uses to recruit Kylo Ren and the rest of the First Order is one of the most formidable things we’ve seen in a recent blockbuster.
With that said, the Final Order fleet is shown to us as the creation of just Palpatine’s own creation that he’s housing on his own isolated planet, and that raises some serious questions.
For example: who built the ships? Not only that, but given that Exogol is one of the most difficult places to travel to in the whole galaxy, where did the people who built them go to gather the huge amount of materials that they’d need?
It could be that all the builders and pilots of the ships are actually just more Palpatine clones at work, but where are they living when they’re not waiting in the ships? Surely they’d have to be designed as pretty intelligent to be part of the most dangerous fleet in the galaxy, so they’d probably want some quality of life.
Perhaps the biggest question of all though, and definitely the funniest to think about, is that all the ships were raised out of the water featuring their pilots. Were the pilots just hanging out at the bottom of the lakes? Or did they scramble to sit there all spooky and silently when no one was looking?
5. Lando’s daughter(?)
One of the problems with Rise of Skywalker is that it includes a lot of reveals that suddenly make the galaxy far, far away feel very small, by implying that everything and everyone important must have crossed paths at some point.
From Rey being a Palpatine to Lando Calrissian hanging out on the specific planet Rey and friends needed to go to, it all threatens to break audiences’ suspension of disbelief in a fair few places.
We should be grateful, then, that one of the worst-offending reveals for this was actually taken out of the movie, despite some details being confusingly left in.
In short: it was originally supposed to be revealed that Jannah was Lando Calrissian’s daughter, who was taken from the former Rebel leader and reprogrammed as a stormtrooper.
Aside from the question of how stormtroopers would ever manage to kidnap Jannah but somehow leave her father behind, and how he would let that happen, this twist even does some damage once edited out. For some reason, the movie leaves a strange lingering look between the characters in the final scene – and it’s just never explained.
4. Rey recognises the ship
The twist that Rey’s parents were just trying to protect her all along is the storyline in the movie that takes the longest to reveal, right from the moment where Rey accidentally taps into the dark side in a scarily familiar way.
With that said, one of the biggest clues as to the truth of what happened is when Rey says she recognises the abandoned ship of the evil sith follower Ochi.
We later find out that Ochi is the Jedi hunter who took her parents away, but under close inspection, this twist actually makes very little sense.
For example, the only place Rey could have seen the ship is pulling away from Jakku, presumably after her parents dropped her off. However, the first thing her kidnapped parents say to Ochi once on the ship is “She’s not on Jakku!” which probably seemed a little suspicious.
Not only that, but it’s also strange that Rey would remember the ship so specifically when she only saw it from a distance at a very young age. Ships are mass-produced in the Star Wars universe, so it’s the equivalent of someone thinking it must be their father’s old car, every time they see a beat-up red Mini Cooper on the road.
3. What is Han?
Star Wars is a franchise in which basically anything can happen. Characters can be cloned, return as Force ghosts to communicate with the living, and now even be resurrected with the Force.
Therefore, it isn’t that surprising that Rise of Skywalker features an appearance from Han Solo, given that he would be the only major character to not return for this final movie and help close the franchise out.
The expectation in no way means that Han’s appearance makes sense, though. He shows up to briefly talk Kylo Ren into redemption and claims that he’s just a memory. However, Kylo seems to physically see Han, so it’s obviously not just film language designed to signal that Kylo is thinking about what his father would say.
So, is Han a ghost? He’s not blue like Force ghosts usually are, and it’s not clear why he would have the ability to return as a ghost despite not disappearing into the Force in the first place. It mostly just looks like Harrison Ford delivered some lines in front of a green screen.
As a side-note, it’s actually a pretty crushing idea that Han can’t return as a Force ghost, as it would mean that everybody he loves, including his wife, son and best friend, are all existing in an afterlife that he can’t access.
2. If Force-sensitive people vanish when they die, why did Rey stick around long enough to be resurrected?
Speaking of Force ghosts, there is one specific sign that Jedi characters (and, we guess, redeemed Sith characters) have passed on and are living as a part of the Force.
After dying, Force-sensitive bodies completely disappear from view, leaving behind a pile of their robes and any belongings they were carrying with them.
The question is, why does this happen to some characters immediately, while other characters have bodies that stick around for a while longer? For example: Luke disappears immediately, while Leia’s body sticks around until Kylo Ren is redeemed.
It could have something to do with when the Jedi in question feel they are at peace, but that doesn’t explain why Rey’s body sticks around for long enough to be resurrected, given that she died fighting for what she loves.
This ‘at peace’ also has serious consequences – what about Jedi that die in an incredibly unjust way, or with unfinished business? Are they never allowed to pass into the Force?
1. What about the prophecy?
Creator of Star Wars George Lucas famously said that “Star Wars is like poetry, it rhymes”. What he meant by that is that the franchise has a kind of symmetry, where everything is laid out perfectly in the end.
This was certainly true of the original trilogy, and as goofy and maligned as the prequel series is now considered to be, it doesn’t actually break any of the important plot points that were already established.
The same just cannot be said for the sequel trilogy, and the reason is simple: the prophecy, which says that a powerful chosen one would bring balance to the Force, is now undone.
Most Star Wars experts agree that the powerful chosen one actually was Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, and that he returned balance to the Force by becoming redeemed and destroying Palpatine.
However, if Palpatine never died, then was balance never restored. Does that mean the prophecy was just wrong? Or that Kylo Ren and Rey somehow restored balance themselves?
This second theory seems kind of convincing until you realise that as a Force dyad they would probably only bring balance by existing together, and now one of them is dead. Whoops.