The Rise of Skywalker, the End of the Saga, the Start of a New Ride

by Todd King, contributing writer

Rise of The Ride

Haven't you heard? The new attraction at Walt Disney World's Galaxy's Edge just opened! Rise of the Resistance is now accepting new rebel crew members from Batuu. You can read all about it in MousePlanet's update from earlier this month. As part of the opening of this monumental ride, MousePlanet hosted a live stream from within Black Spire Outpost with Alan Dalinka, Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, and… some other guy.

A replay from Wednesday, December 4, when I got to take part in MousePlanet's post-dedication live stream after the debut of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance with Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix and Alan Dalinka.

Our roving reporter, Alan Dalinka, also managed to interview Doug Chiang, Vice President & Executive Creative Director for Star Wars, who was there for the festivities. Chiang has been designing Star Wars stuff since Episode I and it is fascinating to hear his take on the Disney park.

On dedication day, December 4, 2019, for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, LucasFilm's Doug Chiang talks with our Alan Dalinka about how the ride fits in the Star Wars canon and more.

Some of the main cast of The Rise of Skywalker gathered on a patio overlooking the Millennum Falcon in Galaxy's Edge for an exclusive Star Wars live stream. They not only hyped the opening of Rise of the Resistance, but also discussed their camaraderie on the set of the film. Of course they didn't give away any spoilers, but gracefully managed to answer some common questions, like what's your favorite droid?

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker | Livestream Q and A. Star Wars Official YouTube Channel.

There are, by now, plenty of videos and hot takes on Rise of the Resistance—but perhaps you're like me and don't want to see too much of it before getting to experience it myself. If you are, then the official Disney Parks video below gives some nice teases of the ride without giving away too much.

Early word seems to indicate that the attraction is immersive, intense, and fun. One day I'll get there.

Volunteer Family of the Year Celebrates Dream Disney Vacation. Disney ParksOfficial YouTube Channel.


Logo for Episode IX. © Lucasfilm.

Tonight, Star Wars begins its end. For the third time. I feel like I've been here before. As a kid, it all came to an end with Return of the Jedi where the story of Luke Skywalker had its finale, where the trilogy was complete. Even as a kid, however, I knew it couldn't be absolutely complete because this was Episode VI and George Lucas had said in interviews that Episodes I, II, and III would eventually be made. So, it felt like we would come back to this galaxy someday.

We didn't know just how long it would take before Lucas returned to Star Wars, but when he did in 1999, a new trilogy was conceived and we finally got the backstory we had only dreamed of for so many years. Then around the release of Revenge of the Sith, Lucas said that this was truly the end. No more movies, maybe a TV series or two, but no Episodes VII, VIII, or IX—not by him, not by anybody.

It was a bittersweet time, but his saga was complete in spite of the fact that in other past interviews he had said his vision of the saga was nine movies. But the man himself was its author and finisher, and I resigned myself to this end. I would always love Star Wars and I had seen it start and had seen it end. I was fortunate in that regard. He closed the book and drew the final curtain.

We all know what happened next. Lucas sold it all to Disney, and Star Wars would continue in a big way. Not only would we actually get the final trilogy in the saga, we would get new shows, new books, and a new experience in a themed land in Disney parks. The nine-movie set would be complete but Star Wars would take on a new and longer life. I was thrilled to see the stories come to life and begin imagining what shape the park would eventually take. Today, however, marks the release of the last film in what is being called, the Skywalker Saga. Here I am again, now, at the end. Another end.

What's different about this ending? Mainly, that as a kid I always believed Star Wars would be nine movies; I'm witnessing the happening now even though there are moments it is hard to accept. When Episode III opened in 2005, I savored the moments. My brother and a friend drove many hours so we could all watch it in the same cinema in person. We could be there at the end as we had at the beginning—together. This was a shared experience, it always was. Now, the difference is that we will truly be reaching the end of this story—this long journey that began 42 years ago when we first met Luke Skywalker.

"The Force will be with you ... always." © Lucasfilm.

In the trailer for The Rise of Skywalker, those words are spoken both by Luke and Leia directed at Rey, in whom the thousands of generations of Jedi now live. She may now be the true last Jedi, but it is more than that. After the events of Episode VIII, I venture to say that she embodies something beyond the Jedi. I'm not sure what that means but Luke's words in the trailer have me pondering that Rey is the one who is poised both to learn from the failures of the Jedi of the past and to move forward to a greater knowledge of the Force. These may simply be lofty ideas, but I'm learning to trust my feelings a bit more after growing up through eight episodes so far, even when my intellect is probably lost.

Rey's leap of faith. © Lucasfilm.

Without Luke, Rey has learned to trust in the Force and believe in herself. She has her failures as well, like not being able to turn Kylo Ren to the good side, but she is now stronger for it. Her determination is fueled by justice. The Jedi we've seen in these movies are drawn to the will of the Force and her destiny must be tied in some way to the balance they're always fighting to reach.

Rey and Kylo Ren duel on the remains of the Death Star. © Lucasfilm.

Speaking of fighting, we know Rey and Kylo Ren will combat each other again. Previously, they battled together to defeat the guards of Supreme Leader Snoke, but it was a foolhardy attempt by both of them to have the other join them: Rey wanted Kylo Ren to turn and save the Resistance while he wanted her to turn in order to start a new rule over the galaxy without the First Order or the burgeoning rebels. Their common enemy was an old man, Snoke, who manipulated, but also underestimated them. They weren't going to be controlled by an outside force that didn't have their destiny in mind. Likewise, Rey tried to obtain guidance from Luke but his reluctance became a hindrance, in her mind, to her destiny. Now it is up to the outcome of their conflict to decide the fate of everyone.

Rey and Kylo Ren in the Emperor's old throne room. © Lucasfilm.

Somehow they end up in what looks like the Emperor's old throne room on the second Death Star. Echoes of the past must reverberate in the present since this was the place where the Emperor was killed and Darth Vader turned to the light side. I'm supposing there must be some unfinished business here.

Rey and Kylo Ren destroying something together. © Lucasfilm.

So many questions here, and none I want to even guess at now.

Rey and Leia, goodbye. © Lucasfilm.

It'ss unfortunate and sad that Carrie Fisher left our world too soon, but we may yet see Leia's final story before us. Yet another reason why this will be so bittersweet.

Rey awaits Kylo Ren. © Lucasfilm.

Throughout the saga, Jedi, and even Sith and seemingly all Force-users, seek each other out. Vader summoned Luke, Luke came to Vader, Obi-Wan followed Anakin, Rey went to Kylo Ren, and now, perhaps, Kylo Ren seeks out Rey. Also in these stories, what a person seeks is almost never what they find.

Rey faces a new enemy © Lucasfilm.

What form the Emperor takes is still a mystery. Is he resurrected? Is he a ghost? Is he just a memory? Whatever the case, his influence still haunts the events of the galaxy. Luke mentioned his power in The Last Jedi, it represents the failure of the past Jedi. As long as the dark side lives, so does the intentions of the evil Lord of the Sith.

C3PO: "Taking one last look ... " © Lucasfilm.

... "at my friends." © Lucasfilm.

Is no one safe?

BB-8 and D-0. © Lucasfilm.

BB-8 has a new friend, D-0, that looks like a traffic cone atop a spinning smoke detector. I love him.

Chewie and Lando fly again. © Lucasfilm.

Han and Lando always return to those they love, this includes the Falcon, always a symbol of perseverance and hope. Now with Lando back in the cockpit, we get the return of a born-leader as well as the coolest cat in the universe.

The Millennium Falcon joins the battle. © Lucasfilm.

Whoa boy! Fans have identified most all of the ships here and so it means the galaxy is looking a bit united.

Finn watches from afar. © Lucasfilm.

I can't wait to see what Finn will bring to the new journey. His impetuousness is inspiring—he just doesn't have time to even hestitate to do what's right.

Finn, C-3PO, and Poe on the search. © Lucasfilm.

They're looking for something and they're not scavengers.

Finn, Poe, and Chewie see their friend return. © Lucasfilm.

I think Rey returns to them in this scene after she's been running about the forest. If I'm right, somone owes me a Coke.

Friends of Threepio. © Lucasfilm.

C-3PO has had worse days and has had better days but something is different about this look into his electronic brain. I'm doubting this is an upgrade to his operating system.

Heroes together. © Lucasfilm.

Heroes gather in all kinds of places and it's no wonder they're all happy here on Smuggler's Run.

Kylo Ren approaches. © Lucasfilm.

He prepares his crossguard lightsaber, which has always been like an extension of himself.

Kylo Ren's decision. © Lucasfilm.

Not sure but it looks like Kylo/Ben is about to make some kind of decision, one of importance for himself or for somone else.

Poe, Chewie, and Finn charge the Stormtroopers. © Lucasfilm.

When I saw this glimpse of a scene from the trailer I thought of the Charge of the Light Brigade, hopefully this charge is more successful.

The Resistance reforms. © Lucasfilm.

More rebels have joined the cause.

Rose heads into action. © Lucasfilm.

Rose lives! But it seems she's been through even more already. She looks like a battle-hardened soldier, like her sister.

The final charge against evil. © Lucasfilm.

I really don't know what to think about this image except that it is truly wild.

Star Destroyer rises from the water. © Lucasfilm.

The title is Rise of Skywalker not Rise of the huge LEGO set! (No, it's actually pretty frightening to see this… and they're waterproof!)

The throne of evil. © Lucasfilm.

There have been several thrones throughout the saga: this one is perhaps Palpatine's new seat, there also was Queen Amidala's, Boss Nass had one, as did Jabba the Hutt at his palace, and even C-3PO on a throne the Ewoks made for him. Let's not forget Snoke's throne room While this isn't Game of Thrones, it seems there's always a false sense of power with the thrones of Star Wars. I think that one of the common threads of all the films is that power is folly. As Palpatine himself said in Revenge of the Sith that those with power fear to lose it--and that makes the power almost useless. Power had brought him to darkness, but power didn't turn Darth Vader back to the light. Luke chose not to kill his enemy, his father—instead, Luke made himself vulnerable by rejecting the intentions of the dark side. He relinquished power for all time—it's what everybody wanted him to wield again and use his power to wipe out evil. In Star Wars, and in life, it just doesn't work that way. Power can lead to corruption and fancy thrones while weakness, or what is perceived as weakness, changes hearts. Perhaps these ideas come full-circle in the final episode of the original Star Wars saga.

I don't know what will happen in the story of The Rise of Skywalker, and I'm done trying to guess anything. I've got my tickets but I'm not ready for the end. I've got my seats, but I'm not ready to let go. I've got my Star Wars, and that's what will be with me, always.