The Rise of Skywalker is a controversial film, to say the least. Disney failed to deliver a coherent story and managed to compromise a franchise that was considered unsinkable. While all three movies in the modern franchise made huge money in the box office, the damage was done by the lack of planning and changing directors who did not share the same creative vision ultimately resulted in a poor experience for fans and casual moviegoers alike.
The plot of the last film did not make much sense and resembled a convoluted mess with random people visiting random places to obtain random McGuffins to achieve seemingly random goals. The plot was all over the place. The names of locations were flashing constantly. The number of references to the old trilogy was unbearable. However, despite its massive flaws, the movie was a competently made visual entertainment with lots of eye-candy and cool CGI.
The problem with the film was the fact that The Last Jedi exists. One of the most controversial movies in the Star Wars universe, it was an entry that divided fans. Some loved it for brave ideas and decisiveness in switching the tone and themes of the universe. Other people did not like weird twists and alterations of their beloved characters. Many old school fans did not appreciate the way Luke Skywalker and Leia were treated in the Last Jedi.
At the same time, some artistic choices and writing made no sense to both casual moviegoers and fans of the universe. The “Holdo Maneuver” and “Salt” were two memes that caused a lot of commotion in the fandom. There are YouTube channels such as Mauler and Thor Skywalker that became famous due to criticizing the Last Jedi.
The Rise of Skywalker decided to right the wrongs of the previous film by retconning a lot of the stuff that was introduced in the Last Jedi. Here are some examples:
- Rose is gone and does not have any significant role in the Rise of Skywalker.
- The helmet broken into pieces was wielded back together for Kylo Ren.
- Luke Skywalker suddenly changed his mind about the Jedi and saved the lightsaber instead of throwing it away.
- The “Holdo Maneuver” was tossed aside as a one in a million trick that cannot work.
- Rey is not nobody, she is a Palpatine…
Yes, here we must take a short pause and talk about Rei. While she is a Mary Sue character, it is not something that we should criticize. In the end, it doesn’t matter whether she is an all-powerful deity who happened to be trapped in the body of a girl from a desert planet. Moviegoers liked her. This is the only thing that actually matters.
On the other hand, there are many issues with her character arc. The realization that she may not be a big player in the galactic game of chess is what made her journey intriguing in The Last Jedi. Finally, we have a hero that is not connected to the Jedi stuff and the Skywalker family. The force is running in other people too! Great!
When The Rise of Skywalker was released and people watched it, many were confused. So, she is not anybody, she is actually a Palpatine, a granddaughter of the almighty villain of the whole saga. Cool. That was something unexpected. Although, many theorists out there pointed out that this is the most logical way to push the plot towards.
Now, the biggest question for many fans was whether it was planned all along or it was something made up in the last possible moment when the director realized that there is no plot anymore since the big baddy established in The Force Awakens is gone thanks to Ryan Johnson’s creative input. If we believe Abrams and co, the plan was always for Rey to not be related to Skywalker or Kenobi families. However, hints to her possible relation to the Palpatine family are nowhere to be found either. The short interview from Pablo Hidalgo, one of the executives at Lucas Films, reveals that the creators never wanted her to be related to Skywalkers.
Well, it is a good and very general statement. Some people are trying to convince the fans that the return of Palpatine was something planned during the writing of the script for The Force Awakens. Well, the very presence of Snoke was evident that it was not true. We can safely assume that the plan was to make Snoke the final boss of the trilogy and make Rey somehow related to one of the Jedi. There are many other potential relatives with powerful Jedi abilities that could be ancestors of Rey.
The Last Jedi disrupted the initial concept and forced J.J. Abrams to think about ways to finish the saga without an arch-nemesis for our heroes to fight against. The return of Palpatine was, sadly, a necessity and not a conscious artistic choice made years before the trilogy was delivered to the theaters. Another important piece of “evidence” that it was never planned is the famous “mystery box” concept explained by J.J. Abrams.
He is known for setting up something cool and mysterious without any idea of how to explain it in the end. The sheer number of loose plot threads in his movies is awe-inspiring. One of the most famous examples is LOST. The TV show about people who find themselves on the mysterious island full of mystic stuff and supernatural things failed to deliver a satisfying ending and also did not explain half of the things that were teased before.
What can we believe? The idea that Rey was never supposed to be a Skywalker is quite believable. Her whole journey was supposed to be a journey to uncovering her true identity and her place in the universe. Also, it would have been really weird if she was somehow related to either Luke or Leia without them knowing about her.
At the same time, it is hard to believe that J.J. Abrams of all people was sitting in his room five years ago and thought: “Rey will be a Palpatine and the director of the third movie will make this plot twist hit really hard!” It is fair to think that Palpatine was never part of the plan for the new trilogy. At the end of the original trilogy, he died and was deatomized. No! We don’t believe that Rey was always supposed to be a Palpatine!