Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker is barely a few weeks old and has already become a lightning rod of controversy and debate. Currently, the film holds a 53% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Much like its predecessor, Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, the final installment of the “Skywalker Saga” seems to have splintered an already divided fandom. Regardless of where your opinions fall on The Rise of Skywalker, the film exhibits core themes that have long been associated with the franchise from its very inception in 1977. Those themes are hope and destiny.
Elements of Hope
The trailers and marketing painted a very dark and desperate picture for the final film of the franchise. While it certainly has dark elements, it is perhaps one of the more hopeful and uplifting Star Wars stories in the saga. Early in the film, we get a smaller, yet more determined Resistance led by the main heroes of the film. Even when their predicament gets dire, they persevere. The main characters each also face their own individual trials throughout the film. They ultimately learn that that if they stick together, they always have a chance.
Destinies in Motion
The theme of destiny has always played an important role in the Star Wars Saga. Characters end up in places you never thought they would. Luke Skywalker for example, starts out as a farm boy on a backwater planet and becomes the savior of the galaxy. His father Anakin Skywalker starts out as a hero of the Republic and becomes the saga’s ultimate villain. In The Rise of Skywalker, Rey and Kylo Ren have similar brushes with destiny. In a sense, both characters become exactly what they were meant to be, and in some cases, not what we expected. Ultimately Rey and Kylo prove that regardless of the path you seem to be on, its never definitive.
While the forces of destiny (pun intended) seem to have complete control over characters in the Star Wars Saga, it is always left in the end, to a choice. The characters make choices in order to take the next step, or become what they were meant to be. All of those lessons and themes ring true in the film. Regardless if it lives up to your expectations or not, one thing can be said for certain: The Rise of Skywalker at its core, is a quintessential Star Wars film.
The Rise of Skywalker is available on disc and digital now!