Watch the final episode of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker


Photo provided by: Angelina Jonkaitis

In this final installment of the Skywalker Saga, the past finally meets the present.

Julia Moon, Staff Reporter

As the final installment to the well anticipated trilogy, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Episode IX) finishes off the Skywalker Saga after 42 years of filming. Having viewed all of the eight preceding films of the series, I found that though The Rise of Skywalker may never live up to the other more iconic trilogy pieces such as A New Hope (1977) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980), I applaud filmmakers at Lucasfilm and Bad Robot Productions for completing this final movie nevertheless. 

One of the big features that this movie brought was the use of technology to create a digital Leia Organa, fit for a full and unique performance on the big screen. I was amazed when I heard that J.J. Abrams had reworked the script to the available audio and video outtakes of actress Carrie Fisher, who sadly passed away December of 2016. In comparison to other efforts and attempts to create a full computer-generated human figure, which often makes digital humans plastic or cartoon-like, this specific use of clever effects and scripting made it seem as if Fisher was truly present on set.

Although The Rise of Skywalker used multiple computer-generated visual effects (VFX), practical effects were still a large part of the film. The use of practical effects in The Rise of Skywalker added a sense of nostalgia, and in taking this practical approach, memories of past films come alive, which was a time when the use of puppets, animatronics, and mini models were commonly used to cover the inability to use digital VFX. In continuing to implement these practical effects in spite of the current innovations in digital VFX, I find it pleasing that the producers chose to stick to the Star Wars “tradition” of using practical, yet unexpected visual effects.

Having directed the 2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams took risks in putting together another Star Wars film for the franchise. This ninth installment had twisting character arcs for both protagonists Rey and Kylo Ren played by Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver, with scenes that were surprising and others that were, disappointingly, already expected. Though this film was not written as a homage to the original George Lucas trilogy, I think Abrams still unconsciously continued with similar plot developments to move characters toward the ultimate teary-eyed, heartbreaking and heartwarming ending. 

Overall, The Rise of Skywalker was an emotional and nostalgic movie to watch while at the theater. With an excellent original score and equally excellent cast performance, Episode IX can sit comfortably next to the eight previous Skywalker films, together at last. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was not the greatest of all finales, but it gave closure to one of the most popular film sagas in history.