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Star Wars: the Rise of Skywalker
2019/2020 American epic space-opera film directed by J. J. Abrams
Kylo initiates a Force bond with Rey to discover her location; he travels to Pasaana with his warrior subordinates, the Knights of Ren. With the help of Lando Calrissian, Rey and her friends find the clue--a dagger inscribed with Sith text, which programming forbids him from interpreting--and the remains of a Jedi hunter named Ochi and his ship. Sensing that Kylo is nearby, Rey goes to confront him. The First Order captures the Falcon, Chewbacca, and the dagger; attempting to save Chewbacca, Rey accidentally destroys a First Order transport with Force lightning. Believing Chewbacca to be dead, the group escapes on Ochi's ship.
The group travels to Kijimi, where a droidsmith extracts the Sith text from memory, revealing coordinates to a Wayfinder. Rey senses Chewbacca is alive, and the group mounts a rescue mission to Kylo's Star Destroyer. Rey recovers the dagger and has visions of Ochi killing her parents with it. Kylo informs her that she is Palpatine's granddaughter; the Sith Lord had ordered Ochi to recover Rey as a child, but her parents hid her on Jakku to protect her. General Hux saves Poe, Finn, and Chewbacca from execution, revealing himself as the spy. He permits the group to escape on the Falcon, but is discovered and killed by Allegiant General Pryde. The group flies the Falcon to the Wayfinder's coordinates on a moon in the Endor system.
Rey retrieves the Wayfinder from the remains of the second Death Star, but she is met by Kylo, who destroys the Wayfinder and duels her. In a dying act, Leia calls to Kylo through the Force, distracting him as Rey impales him. Sensing Leia's death, Rey heals Kylo and takes his ship to exile herself on Ahch-To. There, Luke's Force spirit encourages Rey to face Palpatine and gives her Leia's lightsaber. Rey leaves for Exegol in Luke's X-wing fighter, using the Wayfinder from Kylo's ship. Meanwhile, Kylo converses with a memory of his father, Han Solo; he throws away his lightsaber and reclaims his identity as Ben Solo. Sensing Leia's death and Ben's redemption, Palpatine sends one of his superlaser-equipped Star Destroyers to destroy Kijimi as a show of force.
The Resistance, led by Poe and Finn, prepare to attack Palpatine's armada. Rey transmits her coordinates to R2-D2, allowing the Resistance to follow her to Exegol. There, she confronts Palpatine; he demands that she kill him for his spirit to pass into her. Lando brings reinforcements from across the galaxy to join the battle. Ben overpowers the Knights of Ren and joins Rey, but Palpatine drains their power to rejuvenate himself. He incapacitates Ben and attacks the Resistance fleet with Force lightning. Weakened, Rey hears the voices of past Jedi, who lend her their strength. Palpatine attacks her with lightning, but Rey deflects it using Luke and Leia's lightsabers,[c] killing Palpatine before dying herself. Ben uses the Force to revive her at the cost of his own life; Rey kisses Ben before he dies. The Resistance defeats Palpatine's armada, while people across the galaxy rise up against the First Order. The Resistance returns to their base to celebrate.
After the celebration, Rey visits Luke's abandoned childhood home on Tatooine and buries his and Leia's lightsabers, having built her own. A passerby asks her name; as the spirits of Luke and Leia watch, she replies, "Rey Skywalker."
Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa, the Force-sensitive leading general of the Resistance, widow of Han Solo, mother to Ben Solo, Luke Skywalker's twin sister, and Anakin Skywalker's daughter. Fisher, who died in late 2016, appears through the use of repurposed unreleased footage from The Force Awakens. As a result of her death, Fisher was not present in most of the film's marketing materials or merchandise.[d][e]
In February 2016, Disney chief executive officer Bob Iger confirmed that pre-production on Episode IX had begun.Carrie Fisher died in December 2016. Her brother Todd later said, "She was going to be the big payoff in the final film. She was going to be the last Jedi, so to speak."
In late April 2017, Disney announced that the film would be released on May 24, 2019. A month later, filming was expected to begin in January 2018, but this was later pushed back to August. In August 2017, it was announced that Jack Thorne would rewrite the script. On September 5, 2017, Lucasfilm stated that Trevorrow had left the production following creative differences.The Hollywood Reporter reported that his working relationship with Kathleen Kennedy had become unmanageable after failing to deliver a satisfactory script, despite writing several drafts. Johnson was rumored as the top choice to replace Trevorrow as director, but stated "it was never in the plan for me to direct Episode IX."
The next day, it was announced that J. J. Abrams, the director of The Force Awakens, would return to direct the film, and that the film's release date would be moved to December 20, 2019. The story team met with George Lucas before writing the new script, which Abrams with Chris Terrio, while Trevorrow and Connolly retained story credits.[f] The story was rewritten to some extent before filming was completed. The film was produced by Abrams' company Bad Robot Productions, Kathleen Kennedy, and Michelle Rejwan.
Before filming, Episode IX was initially given the working titleBlack Diamond, which was then changed to TrIXie in 2018, most likely to insert the roman numeral "IX" within the working title. The title, The Rise of Skywalker, was announced at April 2019's Star Wars Celebration in Chicago.
Carrie Fisher, who played Leia Organa, died on December 27, 2016. Variety and Reuters reported that she had been planned for a key role in Episode IX. In January 2017, Lucasfilm stated that there were no plans to digitally generate Fisher's performance as they had for Rogue One (2016). The following April, Fisher's brother Todd revealed that Fisher's daughter, Billie Lourd, had granted Disney the rights to use recent footage of Fisher. However, a week later, Kathleen Kennedy stated that Fisher would not appear in the film. In July 2018, J. J. Abrams announced that unused footage of Fisher from The Force Awakens would be used to help complete the story.[g] In flashback scenes, digital de-aging was used for the appearance of Luke and Leia through the use of facial shots of both characters from the Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi respectively.
In July 2018, Keri Russell was in talks to play a part with some "action-heavy fight scenes", and it was confirmed that Billy Dee Williams would return as Lando Calrissian, onscreen for the first time since 1983's Return of the Jedi--marking one of the longest intervals between portrayals of a character by the same actor in American film history.[h] At the end of July, Russell was confirmed to have been cast, and there was an announcement of returning and additional new cast members. In late August, Deadline Hollywood announced that Dominic Monaghan and Matt Smith had been cast in unspecified roles, but Smith later denied his involvement.[i] Greg Grunberg reprises his role as Temmin "Snap" Wexley. Jimmy Vee stated on Twitter that he would be reprising the role of R2-D2, but in the final film the droid was credited to Hassan Taj and Lee Towersey.Brian Herring returns to puppeteer .
At Star Wars Celebration in April 2019, it was revealed via the film's teaser trailer that Ian McDiarmid would return to portray Palpatine. Since the event was held after principal photography wrapped, Abrams was thrilled that news of McDiarmid on the set never leaked. Kathleen Kennedy said they decided to reveal Palpatine's return ahead of the film's release because "many of the characters that are playing a significant role in the story, the fans know. They don't know how this story is going to unfold, but they know who they are. It's not like Baby Yoda," the surprise popular character from The Mandalorian.
Principal photography began on August 1, 2018, at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, England. Filming also took place in Wadi Rum, Jordan. Oscar Isaac stated that Abrams was allowing more improvized acting than in the previous two films. Due to the tight schedule, some editing took place on set. Principal photography wrapped on February 15, 2019. Footage from the film was shown at The Walt Disney Company's annual shareholders meeting on March 7, 2019. Two weeks of reshoots took place in London involving Hamill, Ridley and Isaac in July 2019. Another round of reshoots took place at Bad Robot Productions between late September and mid-October.
The visual effects were created by Industrial Light & Magic and supervised by Roger Guyett. The film finished post-production on November 25, 2019. After Boyega accidentally left a copy of the script in his hotel room, it was listed on eBay for around £65. A Disney employee identified the script as authentic and purchased it from the seller for an undisclosed sum.
On January 10, 2018, it was confirmed that John Williams would return to compose and conduct The Rise of Skywalker. The next month, Williams announced that it would be the last Star Wars film for which he would compose the score. In August 2019, it was revealed that Williams had written about 35 of an expected 135 minutes of music for the film, which according to Williams' brother Don, would incorporate all of the major themes of the Skywalker saga. Scoring began in July 2019 with Williams and William Ross conducting and orchestrating the sessions over the course of six months.Walt Disney Records released the soundtrack album digitally on December 18, 2019, with a physical release following on December 20.
Despite staying silent about many details of the film, Abrams expressed his hopes that fans and general audiences would be "satisfied". He headed a panel dedicated to the film on April 12, 2019, during Star Wars Celebration in Chicago, Illinois, where the film's title was revealed via the first trailer, and new images were shown. The trailer was viewed 111 million times in the first 24 hours of its release, which was 20 million more views than the teaser for The Last Jedi and more than double that of The Force Awakens.
A free level based on the film, was released for the videogame Star Wars Battlefront II (2017). In December 2019, the video game Fortnite Battle Royale released several cosmetics featuring character skins for Rey, Finn, a Sith Trooper, Kylo Ren, and Zorii Bliss along with a TIE Fighter glider, a Millennium Falcon glider (which was given to players for free from the Winterfest Event), four emotes, and two free banners. On December 14, Fortnite publisher Epic Games released a preview of the film on an in-game theater screen as a live event. At the end of the event, a message from Palpatine (the one mentioned in the film's opening crawl) was heard. To coincide with the release of the film, a trailer for the forthcoming video game, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga was released on the same day.
The film was originally planned to be released on May 24, 2019, in the United States before being pushed back to December 20, giving the original release date to Disney's live-action adaptation of Aladdin (2019). It had its world premiere in Los Angeles on December 16. Unlike most studio films, Disney reportedly did not hold test screenings for The Rise of Skywalker, instead only showing it to Abrams' friends and family, as well as a terminally ill fan.
A shot near the end of the film, featuring two female Resistance members kissing, was cut in Dubai and Singapore.
In the Philippines, it had a limited edition early release on December 20-22, 2019 before having a wide theatrical release on January 8, 2020.
Before the film's release, Disney issued a warning that the scenes with strobe-like flashing lights may trigger photosensitivemigraines and seizures during some of those scenes.
The official novelization of The Rise of Skywalker is by Rae Carson: hardcover and audiobook versions were released on March 19, 2020. The novel details Palpatine's return in more depth: he transferred his consciousness into a clone body following his death in Return of the Jedi, and his "son", Rey's father, was a failed clone of Palpatine. The junior novel and corresponding audiobook are by Michael Kogge and was released on April 21, 2020. Additionally, a five-issue Marvel Comics adaptation written by Jody Houser and illustrated by Will Sliney was originally planned to debut in mid-2020, but this was later cancelled, making the film the first in the franchise not to receive a comic adaptation.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker grossed $515.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $558.9 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $1.074 billion.Deadline Hollywood calculated the net profit of the film to be $300million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues.
Pre-sale tickets went on sale on October 21, 2019 and the film sold more tickets in their first hour of availability on Atom Tickets than the previous record-holder for ticket sales, Avengers: Endgame (2019). It became Atom Tickets' second-best first-day seller of all time behind Endgame, selling more than twice the number of tickets as The Last Jedi sold in that same timeframe, while Fandango reported it outsold all previous Star Wars films. Box office tracking had The Rise of Skywalker grossing around $205 million in its opening weekend, though some firms predicted a debut closer to $175 million. The film made $89.6 million on its first day, including $40 million from Thursday night previews, the sixth-highest opening day of all time. It went on to debut to $177.4 million, which was the third-highest opening ever for a December release and the 12th-best of all time, and it was also noted that Saturday (which saw a 47% drop from Friday's gross) was the busiest shopping day of the year, likely affecting ticket sales. However, Deadline Hollywood did write that "we can't ignore" the less than stellar audience exit scores, which could affect the film's legs moving forward. The film made $32 million on Christmas Day, the second-best total ever for the holiday after The Force Awakens $49.3 million in 2015. It went on to have a five-day total of $135.2 million, including $72.4 million for the weekend. In its third weekend the film made $34.5 million, remaining in first, before being dethroned in its fourth weekend by newcomer 1917 (2019).
Worldwide the film was projected to gross around $450 million in its opening weekend, including $250 million from 52 international territories. It made $59.1 million from its first day of international release in 46 countries. The biggest markets were the United Kingdom ($8.3 million), Germany ($7.2 million), France ($5.3 million), and Australia ($4.3 million). In China the film made $1.6 million (RMB11.6 million) through its first day. It went on to open to $198 million from overseas countries and $373.5 million worldwide, coming in below projections and 47% lower than The Last Jedis total. Its biggest opening totals remained the UK ($26.8 million), Germany ($21.8 million), France ($15.2 million), Japan ($14.6 million), Australia ($12.6 million), and China ($12.1 million).
Review aggregatorRotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 51% based on 495 reviews, with an average rating of 6.1/10. As of January 19, 2020, the film was the lowest-rated live-action film of the Star Wars series; the website's critics consensus reads: "The Rise of Skywalker suffers from a frustrating lack of imagination, but concludes this beloved saga with fan-focused devotion." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 53 out of 100, based on 61 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Richard Roeper, reviewing for the Chicago Sun-Times, gave the film three out of four stars, writing that it "rarely comes close to touching greatness, but it's a solid, visually dazzling and warmhearted victory [for] quality filmmaking."The A.V. Clubs A. A. Dowd gave the film a C+, stating that the film "is so freighted with obligation that it almost groans under the weight, flashing a weak smile as it vaguely approximates the appearance of a zippy good time."The Hollywood Reporters Todd McCarthy wrote, "A plot like this, featuring so many characters, locations and story dynamics, can by nature be confusing; so relentless is the pileup of incident that, at a certain point, one can be excused for checking out on the particulars ... in favor of just going along for the amusement park ride."Michael Phillips for Chicago Tribune wrote that the film "does the job. It wraps up the trio of trilogies begun in 1977 in a confident, soothingly predictable way, doing all that is cinematically possible to avoid [upsetting the] tradition-minded quadrants of the Star Wars fan base."Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "For about 75% of its running time, The Rise of Skywalker is a disappointment. Still, for all the movie's faults, it's likely that most people will consider The Rise of Skywalker and accept the trade: Sit through a so-so 110 minutes to get to a strong half hour."
Owen Gleiberman of Variety called the film "the most elegant, emotionally rounded, and gratifying Star Wars adventure since the glory days of Star Wars (1977) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980) ... but given the last eight films, the bar isn't that high." The BBC's Nicholas Barber wrote that "the film is well acted, [and] looks so good that there is bound to be a fabulous tie-in coffee-table book of concept art, and it has a positive message about never giving up hope. But the main feeling it instills in the viewer is a renewed respect for the imagination of Lucas. The Rise of Skywalker has been lovingly crafted by a host of talented people, and yet the best they can do is pay tribute to everything he did several decades ago."
Scott Mendelson for Forbes described the film as "possibly worse than any prior Star Wars 'episode'. It ends a legendary franchise with a thud while denying this new trilogy its artistic reason for existence." He said that "the 142-minute movie spends almost its entire running time retconning its predecessor and adding painfully conventional 'plot twists' and patronizing reversals in the name of mollifying the fans who merely want to be reminded of the first three movies."
Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the film "nakedly offers itself up in the spirit of a Last Jedi corrective, a return to storytelling basics, a nearly 2½-hour compendium of everything that made you fall in love with Star Wars in the first place. The more accurate way to describe it ... is as an epic failure of nerve. This Rise feels more like a retreat, a return to a zone of emotional and thematic safety from a filmmaker with a gift for packaging nostalgia as subversion." Writing for The New Yorker, Richard Brody states that the film's faults "are those of the franchise over all, distilled and magnified because the film's director, J. J. Abrams is mainly a distiller and a magnifier and brings virtually no originality to it. His earnest and righteously grandiose direction evokes, as few movies do, a craving for Michael Bay at the controls."
Whereas Asian actress Kelly Marie Tran had around ten minutes of screen-time in The Last Jedi, she appears for about a minute in The Rise of Skywalker. The reduced role was interpreted by some critics as a concession to fans who disliked her character; Tran had been a target of online harassment following the release of The Last Jedi. People involved on the previous film defended her, with some claiming some of the attackers were racist, and body shamers. Critics said she was "sidelined" into a minor character, and commented on how she was written out "without any explanation" and her minor role was considered by one critic to be "one of the film's biggest disappointments". In regards to the criticism towards her reduced screen-time, screenwriter Chris Terrio said it was due to the difficulty of including the deceased Carrie Fisher archive footage in scenes planned to feature both characters.
Poe Dameron's backstory as presented in the film (that he was formerly a type of drug smuggler called a "spice-runner") was also criticized by some as being racist towards Latinos, as Dameron is portrayed by Guatemalan-born actor Oscar Isaac.
According to CinemaScore, American audiences gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, the lowest among the live-action films. On PostTrak, audiences gave the film an average 4 out of 5 stars, with 70% saying they would definitely recommend it; parents and children under 12 years old (who made up 16% of opening night attendance) gave it a full five out of five stars. Men (who made up 67% of the audience) gave the film an overall positive score of 80% while women (33%) gave it an 84%. RelishMix, which tracks social media posts and online presence, "noticed a divided reaction to Skywalker online, though it leaned slightly positive".
Months prior to the film's trailer release, it was review bombed on Rotten Tomatoes to the point where the "Want to See" percentage went down as far as 5% within a day, with many of the reviews focusing on lingering negativity towards The Last Jedi. Similar bombing with Captain Marvel (2019) caused Rotten Tomatoes to completely remove the "Want to See" feature after temporarily changing it to a number.
^Unseen footage of Fisher from The Last Jedi was considered but not used.
^Trevorrow and Connolly's script, titled Duel of the Fates after the theme of the same name from The Phantom Menace (1999), included elements which were utilized to some extent in the final film, such as Kylo finding a Sith holocron in Darth Vader's castle on Mustafar, and the transference of Force energy.
^According to Todd Fisher, "There's a lot of minutes of footage. I don't mean just outtakes. This is unused, new content that could be woven into the storyline. ... It's going to look like it was meant to be. Like it was shot yesterday."
^Also tying this record is Denis Lawson as Wedge Antilles, though he only makes a cameo appearance in The Rise of Skywalker.
^In April 2019, Disney's British website also listed Smith as being in the film, but removed his and Monaghan's name the following month.
^ abCouch, Aaron (July 27, 2018). "Carrie Fisher to Appear in 'Star Wars: Episode IX'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on July 28, 2018. Retrieved 2018. We desperately loved Carrie Fisher," Abrams said in a statement. "Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie [Lourd], we have found a way to honor Carrie's legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.