Star Wars Episode IX FAQ
What’s it called?
“The Rise of Skywalker.”
J.J. Abrams (2009’s “Star Trek,” 2015’s “The Force Awakens”) directs from a screenplay by Abrams and Chris Terrio (“Argo,” “Justice League”).
How does it start?
THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
THE DEAD SPEAK! THE GALAXY HAS HEARD A MYSTERIOUS BROADCAST.
What is the first line of dialogue?
“At last. Snoke trained you well.”
Is it any good?
It has its moments.
Will it be as big a failure as “The Last Jedi”?
“Last Jedi” was the top-grossing film of 2017 and garnered positive reviews from 96% of top critics polled by the Rotten Tomatoes website. I suspect it will outgross “Last Jedi” (just as “Return of the Jedi” outgrossed “Empire Strikes Back”) but it will garner a much lower RT critics score than “Last Jedi” (just as “Empire” did better with critics than “Return of the Jedi.”
Is it better than the 1999-2005 prequel trilogy?
Is it better than “The Force Awakens”?
Is it better than “The Last Jedi”?
Is it better than “Solo”?
Is it better than “The Empire Strikes Back”?
Is it better than “The Mandalorian”?
I’m saying yes.
Is it funny?
I laughed aloud a few times.
Is Rey related to Obi-Wan Kenobi?
Do we learn who Rey’s parents are?
Yes. They are precisely who Snoke said they were. From a certain point of view. Rey gets her biggest expository download on this matter at exactly the one-hour mark.
Is Rey the daughter of Leia’s cook? That was reportedly a component of the Episode IX draft Jack Thorne wrote just before Lucasfilm fired director Colin Trevorrow.
Did Ben Solo impregnate Leia’s cook? Is that why he was sent away to Luke’s Famous Jedi Camp?
I’m saying no.
Is Baby Yoda in this?
Not that I noticed. Though Regular Yoda’s voice might be heard very fleetingly.
Is Ben Kenobi in this?
Only his voice, quite fleetingly.
Is Anakin Skywalker and/or Darth Vader in this?
Only their voices, quite fleetingly.
How much screen time does Carrie Fisher get?
Three or four minutes?
How much screen time does Mark Hamill get?
Maybe less than Carrie Fisher?
How much screen time does Billy Dee Williams get?
More than Hamill and Fisher, but they don’t give him much to do. We do learn that Lando’s relationship with Luke Skywalker did not end on with the big Ewok party on Endor.
Is Lando still the lothario we remember?
Williams, 82, does no Steven Tyler-style grandpa leering, but he does send Leia his love.
Does the title refer to Luke Skywalker?
I’m saying no.
Who does Keri Russell play?
An angry old flame of Poe’s. Like a Mandalorian, she never takes off the helmet.
Do the Porgs defeat The First Order with giant logs, or do the Porgs simply blind First Order troops with birdshit?
The Porgs (which happily do pop into Episode IX) do none of this. (And The First Order has been rebranded The Final Order.)
Do we learn how Luke’s old lightsaber wound up in Maz’ basement?
We get no new info on the weapon’s chain of custody. But Maz is not just an image on a viewscreen this time around.
Is “The Rise of Skywalker” sad?
Does C3P0 turn evil?
Very briefly. But not really.
How much screen time do C3PO and R2D2 get?
C3PO spends a lot of time on the Falcon crew with core good guys Rey, Poe, Finn and Chewie. I think we more of him than BB8.
Does Palpatine live, or does he just appear via expository videotape?
Little is explained. His resurrection was “unnatural,” apparently.
I heard Palpatine appears in some kind of forgotten imperial base. True?
He’s on a “hidden world of the Sith.” We learn Luke once invested a fair amount of time in a failed attempt to find it.
Does Snoke come back the same way Darth Maul did?
Snoke does not return.
Do the red stormtroopers have Sith powers?
If they demonstrated any, I failed to notice.
Any references to Qui-Gon or Jar Jar or midichlorians or anything else from the prequel movies?
The voices of Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor are heard fleetingly. The word “midichlorian” goes unuttered.
Are the Knights of Ren at all interesting?
Not to me. Their long-anticipated appearance is kind of a big nothing.
How long do we have to wait for another of Rey’s Force Visions?
Maybe 10 minutes? Brace for old footage of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill.
Does Leia exhibit any new superpowers?
Yes! We see that Luke trained her in lightsaber combat!
Are there flashbacks?
Do we hear Darth Vader’s theme music at any point?
Anytime they cut to Lord Vader’s burnt-up helmet.
Does the movie revisit any of the planets we’ve seen in the prior eight Episodes?
Does Finn fall for Captain Phasma when she takes off her helmet?
Phasma is not resurrected this time around.
Does Laura Dern, Benecio Del Toro or Andy Serkis return?
There are a lot of jars in Palpatine’s lair.
The big news?
Carrie Fisher gets top billing, followed immediately by Mark Hamill and Adam Driver. Daisy Ridley is billed fourth.
What else is Disney not telling us?
“Lost” vet Dominic Monaghan has a kind of nothing role as one of one of General Leia’s aides. There’s some stuff I liked but am loathe to spoil.
The tiny droidsmith. The abused droid. The monkey welder. Greg Grunberg’s chat with Leia. C3PO’s programming. The heretofore undiscovered Jedi powers. The tug-of-war with the transport ship. Rey’s vision of the Sith Throne. Poe meeting the spy. Richard E. Grant as General Pryde. “The whole thing’s on fire!” “I want to see your brains in the snow.” “Thank goodness you’re here.” “Can she do that to us?” “Shut up, scum.” “We’ll see!”
What’s not so good?
“Rise of Skywalker” traffics in a predictability that “Last Jedi” managed to avoid. Rey can’t levitate out of quicksand? I found much of the action in the final act complex and confusing. This movie reminds me a lot of “Return of the Jedi”; there are even Ewoks for those who love Ewoks. It’s dispiriting that this allegedly final Skywalker movie is the best that big talents like J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio could engineer.
How does it end, spoiler boy?
Thursday night. Cinemas.