io9's Rise of Skywalker Roundtable: Trying Not to Murder Each Other Over Star Wars

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s crew is ready for action.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s crew is ready for action.
Photo: Disney

Deep breath.

Out of the io9 staff, Charles Pulliam-Moore, James Whitbrook, Cheryl Eddy, Germain Lussier, and I have now witnessed the end to the Skywalker Saga—Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Some of you have now as well and we all have a lot of feelings. Who would have guessed? Before we dive in, our review is here and our spoiler zone is here, though we will obviously be discussing things openly in this post as well so consider it, and the comments, the Danger Zone.

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As always, please be respectful of your fellow commenters and bless you if you make it through this whole thing...


Illustration for article titled io9s iRise of Skywalker/i Roundtable: Trying Not to Murder Each Other Overi Star Wars/i
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Germain Lussier: It’s finally here. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now in theaters and, as expected, we all have a lot of thoughts. This is going to be full-on spoilers so if you haven’t seen the movie, beware. But, just to get a sense of where everyone stands, what did you think of the movie overall? I wrote the review so you can read my non-spoiler thoughts there, but let’s read the room a bit.

Jill Pantozzi: I didn’t like it.

Cheryl Eddy: I agree with your review in that it tried to do too much, and not all of what it did (and it was, again, A LOT) succeeded, and there was an overload of fan service. But I enjoyed it anyway. I was exhausted at the end, but I enjoyed it.

Charles Pulliam-Moore: The movie was extremely Fine™ to the point of repeatedly feeling like a banal, cowardly, and far from compelling return to a formula we’ve all become more than overused to seeing within this franchise. Who needs anything new when you can do the old stuff all over again? Which, to be fair, is extremely J.J. Abrams.

Germain: OK, good, and since everyone has spoken we can move on. Oh, James. Thoughts?

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Jill: Wow, rude.

Charles: lmao

James Whitbrook: First of all: I hate each and every one of you. Except Cheryl, because she’s good and right.

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Cheryl Eddy: Haha.

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James: Second of all: Hello. I’m James Whitbrook, The Last Jedi is the greatest Star Wars movie of all time, Return of the Jedi is my favorite original trilogy film, and, what is somehow apparently my now most controversial Star Wars take: The Rise of Skywalker is OK. I don’t dislike it. It would rank probably very in the middle of my Skywalker saga rankings. But it’s a very all right mess!

Germain: This is good, we seem to have a lot of opinions here. Should make for a lively discussion.

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Charles: I know we’re going to get into specifics within this conversation but James, I’m curious. I respect your opinions generally speaking, and I’m legit interested to hear—BIG picture-wise—what it is you liked about this movie, which was bad.

Germain: We’ll get there. But yeah sure, James?

James: I’M BEING SILENCED...Oh, OK. Well honestly, I think that is the thing—big picture-wise, thematically, emotionally, is what works the most for me in this movie. It hit messages that I would want out of a Star Wars movie like this, of hope, of not being beholden to your lineage, of the good in ordinary people uniting in a common goal. It just got there in a completely excessive and often incredibly silly fashion. Like, in dumb ways, more often than not. But also: That’s kind of Star Wars? It’s a big dumb thing, with a big dumb heart. For me, that heart was in the right place.

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Charles: “NOT BEING BEHOLDEN,” he says. Apparently, we didn’t see the same film.

Germain: My first thought when I got out of this movie was, where’s The Last Jedi in this? And I was mixed on so much of it, positive and negative, but that movie ends with this message of hope. The spark that lights the fire, as it were. And yet, everything seems very similar. There are no normal people using the Force. The Resistance hasn’t added all these new legions. In fact, we’re told Leia’s message on Crait DIDN’T work even months later, and it’s not until Lando and Chewbacca circumnavigate the galaxy in five minutes that apparently everyone is ready to join in.

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So, in a broad sense, how do you all feel this film is as both a sequel to The Last Jedi and a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy? The idea of Broom Boy and Luke’s sacrifice is, for me, almost totally missing...unless you count that Finn maaaaybe can use the Force now.

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Cheryl: I didn’t really think of it as a conclusion to the trilogy — to me it was clearly trying (again, a bit too hard at times) to be the conclusion to the entire Skywalker saga. There were Ewoks in this thing!

Charles: As a sequel, this felt very much like a middle of the franchise film, rather than something that was meant to close out the latest trilogy—which is to say that it moves characters around in ways that at times feel interesting. But by the end of the movie, you’re not left with a sense that anything of particular import has occurred from the perspective of, like, people who would one day be able to look back on the history of this universe and detail everything that happened in the build-up to the present. We’ve still got a Skywalker being the most important person in the galaxy flanked by someone with whom they’ve had awkward romantic chemistry, another person who’s basically a Han stand-in, and everyone has been coded as being aggressively straight. It’s all rather “blah.”

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Jill: I really did feel there was a lack of cohesion from The Last Jedi to this film. It felt like almost starting over. And this film could have been two films, easily.

Charles: Right but even that would have been fine if, like, the movie had actually felt...how to put it. Like, epic.

Jill: I agree, Charles, I never got that usual feeling I’d have in my gut while watching a Star Wars film.

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James: I genuinely don’t know how you can say that Luke’s sacrifice is not felt in this movie but then also complain that Chewie and Lando—the Galaxy’s Greatest Smoothie—managed to recruit a flotilla of civilians to come racing from the core worlds (at, yes a lightspeed velocity that I believe is officially designated “warp asspull”) to what should be for them a horrifyingly nightmarish suicide mission. Luke’s sacrifice is to become the myth he feared he could never live up to, to be the legend that instills people beyond the Rebellion’s successors with a hope to fight against evil. Pryde’s goons tell him that it’s not a navy. It’s just...people. Flying into certain death for what else than hope?

Germain: But James, was that because of Luke? Or because of the Final Order and Palpatine? And why are they just joining in now at the last second? It all felt tacked on and forced.

Jill: Yes, to me it clearly read as they were coming because of this new, bigger threat, not at all Luke.

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Charles: Nothing about this feels particularly daring or innovative, or as if it’s trying to do anything that makes it clear that—similar as things end up being—that this grand legend has really become anything but a slightly reworked version of what we’d already seen.

Daisy Ridley as Rey.
Daisy Ridley as Rey.
Image: Disney
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Charles: Hope as a concept within these films is great and fun, but again the issue is the idea that the good guys realizing they need to step up isn’t really anything that Star Wars hasn’t done time and time again. And while that as an idea isn’t a bad thing, here it just feels like “and then the good guys came in and the day was saved,” which, narratively speaking, feels hackneyed.

Of course they came. Give me something more to chew on.

James: Do you do that in what is ostensibly meant to be the final word on three wildly different trilogies strung together on a thread and a hope (sorry not sorry), though? Do I wish this film was as radical as The Last Jedi was? God, yes. There is a version of reality out there where this third film in a trilogy doesn’t just run into the wild excess of playing to fanservice. I am all for more variety in the world of Star Wars storytelling. I desperately, desperately hope (again, sorry not sorry) that with this trilogy—which yes, has felt very much like riffing on familiar themes—out of the way that these alternate tales and different perspectives we’re going to get starting in spinoff movies provide that. But I’m at peace with this very specific aspect of Star Wars, this saga, playing with the same concepts. I’ll definitely be less at peace with it if this isn’t more of a last indulgence and more of just what’s to come, though.

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Like Cheryl said, Rise’s biggest weakness is its clear fear that it has to “end”—even though it doesn’t really, in so far as the galaxy still exists in a similar state it ended in in Return of the Jedi—eight movies that came before it. So it’s just...everything, at once. Ewoks! Weird mystical Sith bullshit! Parentage reveals! Prequels flashbacks! Ian McDiarmid tempting you with an epileptic fit in the dead of night! Ahsoka! Lightsabers! Spaceships! Questionable romance! Redemption! Even though thematically, it worked for me, it’s very bogged down by this fear, not just of another backlash, but trying to be all Star Wars to all Star Wars fans. It’s an old Expanded Universe novel brought to absurd, often incredibly dumb, life.

Charles: How does Ahsoka factor into this?

Germain: But I think it’s actually Star Wars just to Star Wars fans...who don’t like The Last Jedi. And Ahsoka’s voice is in the final scene, Charles.

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Charles: Oh. Cute. So she’s definitely dead dead.

Germain: I...didn’t even think of that.

Charles: Great.

Cheryl: I think TROS felt especially overstuffed due to inevitable comparisons to The Mandalorian, which is such a simple, straightforward story and has been dominating the Star Wars conversation in the lead-up to the movie.

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Germain: Forget about the Luke/Broom Boy idea, for me, not being really in there—the film actively and passively takes shots at things people didn’t like in The Last Jedi.

Cheryl: The reveal about Rey’s parents, for sure.

Germain: Luke Skywalker, jokingly but still, says that’s not how a Jedi handles their weapon as she throws it. Rose Tico is sidelined. Snoke is given a higher purpose, Kylo Ren has his mask again. And yes, Cheryl, Rey’s parents, most of all.

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Jill: I am legit furious they felt they needed to connect Rey to someone.

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James: This comes back to what I was saying earlier about getting to similar thematic points but just doing so in an incredibly dumb way. Rey essentially going, “Oh, this is who I’m meant to be? Nah, I’m what I want to be.” is a great idea. Getting through it via the medium of, “Hello, you now have to wonder when exactly a man named Sheev bumped uglies” is bonkerishly indulgent excess.

Charles: Oh but see, now that feels like too forgiving a reading of the movie, James.

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Germain: AND THIS MOVIE KILLED AHSOKA!!!!

Charles: It’s not just that Rey chooses who she wants to be, she chooses explicitly to become a spiritual Skywalker, which is to say that she decides to weave herself into the legacy of another family rife with tragedy and sadness and an inordinate amount of access to the Force. That completely clashes with The Last Jedi’s suggestion that it’s extremely OK to be a nobody who can still end up being a crucial element of this grand story about the balance between good and evil. How boring! It’s almost like...hmm. If a Trump decided to become a Rockefeller.

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Germain: It’s the only family she’s ever known, though. One of the few things I do forgive in this movie is that ending.

James: I’d much rather her choose to be a Skywalker than I ever would her be told she is a Skywalker. Which is why the Palpatine stuff is an indulgence not thought through—and, as Germain’s hysterics less-than-eloquently acknowledged, putting the fanservice of Ahsoka’s voice in Rey’s climactic battle with Grandaddy Sheev without thinking that it essentially confirms she’s dead—and is fanwank for the sake of it.

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Cheryl: The title of the movie pretty much telegraphs what that last scene is going to be...

Jill: I think we could take a step back here and actually discuss what led to this Rey thing, and that was the people at Disney deciding the Emperor needed to come back…for reasons?? When they had a perfectly good villain in Kylo Ren. The Emperor returning wasn’t telegraphed in either previous film.

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Germain: Especially since it never came up before then. Or in this film, Jill. I still can’t believe his return is glossed over in the opening crawl. “The dead speak!”

Jill: TL;DR, he’s back.

Charles: Right, like. Rey easily still could have been a Palpatine without bringing him explicitly back into the fold of things, and her uncertainty as to whether or not Kylo was leading her on about her parentage (assuming he’d tell her to try to freak her out) would have been INTERESTING.

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Taunt Rey with the possibility that she could be the heir to one of the most evil factions the galaxy has ever seen, but she can’t be sure whether or not it’s just a Sith mind trick on Kylo’s part, and you’ve got something good to muddle over for the course of the film. But instead, The Rise of Skywalker’s just like, “Oh, yeah no, you’re exactly that girl they said you were.”

Jill: It’s too much to dig into in one film.

Germain: Charles, you saying that makes all the sense in the world to me. If she’s going to be a Palpatine, why do we need to SEE Palpatine? Because he was the bad guy in the first six movies? He still is. The remnants of his Empire are what created the First Order. He’s still the bad guy without being there. Instead, by bringing him back, you’re doing a disservice to six movies that are predicated on the idea that the Force can’t bring people back from the dead.

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Now, that scene at the opera in Revenge of the Sith was, I guess, true. I’m curious what James thinks about all that stuff: Palpy back from the dead, Force powers, etc.

Charles: Right, and if this movie is meant to be, partially, about self-determination and actualization, having Palpatine there almost makes it impossible for Rey’s self-reflection to have, like, a degree of ACTUAL complicated reflection. She knows for a fact she’s a Palpatine, Kylo says it, Palps says it, and she’s just like, “Aw, shit, I guess they’re right.” Sure, she ultimately overcomes it, but from a storytelling perspective, there are much more delicate and fascinating ways to approach this kind of reveal, and The Rise of Skywalker wasn’t at all interested in exploring them. “I wanna possess my granddaughter.” OK, Boomer.

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Germain: It feels like they just needed her to be someone and the fans thought Skywalker or Kenobi was too easy.

Charles: Fuck it. Make her a Windu. “Figure this one out, nerds.”

Germain: Lol

James: So, I don’t know if any of you have read this site called io9—I know, you’re all busy—but, I wouldn’t exactly say that they’ve not been dropping hints within this metanarrative that it’s a possibility. But, once again, that exposes another problem with the film: It’s predicated on a level of fanservice, that, like the old EU before it, wants you to be so much very into this entire bullshit that you’re aware of all these zillions of thing that have built up across comics and books and games and TV shows.

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Which isn’t a good thing, but I guess, because I am on that level of bullshit, that I was less concerned with the mechanics of Palpatine back. I’m definitely in agreement with Charles that there would’ve been a delicate way to handle making Rey a Palpatine that absolutely did not need him as a physically returned presence in the film. But this film is absolutely not a delicate endeavor at all, for better or worse.

Miss me?
Miss me?
Image: Disney
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Charles: YOU ARE HIDING A CHILD

Germain: Wrong chat, Charles...I think?

Charles: 1) No. 2) Listen to more rap.

Germain: Are the Jonas Brothers rap?

Jill: I’m dying.

Germain: I’m glad we can all agree on all these points. Before we move on to another, real quick...Palpatine’s son. What the fuck.

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Charles: wrjbgpwbpwrbHw

Cheryl: I was too busy freaking out over Jodie Comer as Rey’s mom.

Charles: Fair!

James: As for the Force power stuff? Honestly, seems hypocritical of you all supposed The Last Jedi fans to say that this movie is a complete refutation of that movie, and then immediately shriek in objection that “oh no, this movie’s got weird new force powers we’ve not seen before!” It’s like poetry, it rhymes. Anyway, that’s actually one of the things I unequivocally like about Rise: the Force is weird! It can heal people! It can transfer objects! It can create enough lightning to fry two whole fleets of spaceships! It’s maybe the most mystical and fantastical the Star Wars movies have actually gotten, despite being, well, sci-fantasy films.

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Germain: I’m OK with Force healing, James. I’m less okay with Ben Solo giving his life for Rey and Palpatine defying death when Anakin Skywalker gave up everything to try and bring Padmé back to life but never could.

Jill: Yeah, I don’t care about the Force powers here honestly.

Germain: We’re literally speechless about the fact that Palpatine fucks? Do we not want the Disney+ show about that childhood?

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Jill: But Germain’s point is a good one. And something maybe those texts could have mentioned to the audience at some point?

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Charles: The Force healing is fine. The Force handing things off to one another across space stuff is fine. If anything, I would have loved to see more “new” Force weirdness because, at this point, Rey, Kylo, that sweeping boy from The Last Jedi, and Finn (oddly) are the only Force-sensitives in the galaxy—and it would make a certain kind of sense that with the Force not being exactly widely distributed among people, the folks most in tune with it at present would be able to do a bunch of wild, cool things that you’d only see in these kinds of circumstances. Especially because of the way the movie gestures at Rey and Kylo being the new avatars of the Force’s respective sides.

Germain: “That’s not how the Force works” though, Charles. It’s everywhere. It’s not like, surrounding more people than others. To your point though, if there’s always balance and Rey is the only one left at the end, what happens next?

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Jill: DUN DUN DUUUUUUN!

If you all don’t mind... I’d like to talk about Carrie Fucking Fisher and how amazing she is.

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We all loved Leia, at least.
We all loved Leia, at least.
Image: Disney

Germain: She gets her own fucking lightsaber and I love it.

Jill: I cannot believe how much Leia was able to do in this film.

Charles: And yes! Leia in the midst of her Jedi training? Say what you will about the de-aging, but in this specific instance I think it’s a fucking gift. And I loved—LOVED that their lightsabers ended up being the same color, silly a point as it is.

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Cheryl: I felt like you could tell they were working around stuff they’d already shot, but I still bought it all.

Germain: I didn’t think young Leia looked great but to see her finally training and stuff, honestly, why didn’t we see that before? It was glorious.

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Charles: Totally, and given the circumstances, it was great. Also, I love that Leia ends up finishing Rey’s training which, if anything, makes her taking on the Skywalker name that much more impactful, because I never really got the sense that Rey...liked Luke?

Germain: And I know, as a General, that wasn’t what she was doing anymore— but damned if we hadn’t gotten to explore that a bit.

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James: MY GOD, FINALLY SOMETHING WE CAN ALL AGREE ON. Because this is what destroyed me the most about the film and left me a complete and total hysterical wreck as I left the cinema: The one thing this movie manages to perfectly balance among fan service (although it pushes it), theme, and performance is in giving Carrie Fisher the best goddamn farewell they could.

Jill: I could not have imagined anything better for her.

Charles: When the visor comes up and you see her face in the forest? Oof. That shit’s good.

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Germain: And are we in agreement that, in the end, it’s her dying moment that ultimately makes Kylo turn? It’s not clear, but I think that’s what it is, and for a mother to do that for her son, and the galaxy, is as powerful as what Luke did, potentially.

Jill: Her reaching out across the galaxy to him in that moment, absolutely.

Charles: So. Her death bothered me a lot here, to be honest. That fact that it’s the result of both Kylo and Rey fucking around and being messy felt like such a disservice given how Luke died. Her dead body is just...there? For a sizable amount of the movie until Ben bites it? I understand the “why” of it, but it didn’t read as powerful or moving to me.

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James: I don’t want to see Leia’s training. They gave me the most important part: Her doing it, and then going, “This is not my path to take, and I am happy to pass it on to someone new to learn from.” That is The Last Jedi right there. Luke gives into his fear that he cannot make up for the failures of the past. Leia? Leia already knows that there is a generation that will grow beyond her. Whether it’s Rey as a Jedi and as a Skywalker, whether it’s Poe as her successor within the Resistance.

The timespan of this movie is not something I’ve figured out, but it didn’t feel like it was meant to be her lying in state for too long? I assumed she passes on into the Force the same night her funeral was held, and that final section of the movie takes place over a day. But yes, I’m in total agreement that it’s Leia using the last of what she has that pushes Ben back to the light. He’s this kid who’s always felt abandoned, always in a shadow of these legacies, but realizing that she’s gone—that she would choose to go reaching out to him one last time—is what makes him buckle.

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Germain: And are we all satisfied with Ben’s turn? I don’t know if I love how it happens but I love him once it happens. Hashtag—Bendemption

Charles: Red Undead Bendemption.

James: Which is why you then get what is a rare moment of this film drawing itself more directly back to The Force Awakens—I think the one-two punch of Leia’s sacrifice with the inverted mirror of Han’s appearance is, quite frankly, the closest thing to genius in this movie.

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Charles: But why isn’t Han a Force ghost?

Germain: And actually, that just clicked for me. Without Palpatine, Kylo can’t become Ben. You can’t have two heroes going at it. So, for that reason, I guess maybe that’s okay.

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Charles: It’s just Harrison Ford chillin out, not glowing blue, and telling his kid to stop being a fucking Nazi shit.

Germain: Han doesn’t use the force, but can still come back as a dream, Charles, I wasn’t gonna bring that up. It hurts too much.

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Charles: Which, ironically, is the one thing that makes me feel like it’s in conversation with Knives Out.

Cheryl: To me it just felt like a natural continuation of “this is the LAST ONE, we gotta get EVERYBODY in here,” so of course Han Solo is gonna wander in.

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Jill: I did not want Ben to turn, I wanted him to stay the villain, but I agree with Germain in that I liked how he started to act after the turn. That said, Rey kissing him is absolute trash and J.J. should feel bad about it.

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Germain: Like that scene would have been great as a Blu-ray extra. A reshoot of the Force Awakens scene which plays out almost exactly the same, on purpose obviously, but, man, it feels very, very shoved in. Hashtag, Reylo after Hashtag Bendemption.

Charles: Yes, I’m aware of Han not being a Force user, but my understanding has always been that regardless of whether or not someone used it explicitly, the role they play within this story—THIS story specifically about families deeply connected to the Force through emotional and genetic bonds—it would have made all the sense in the world (and been a surprising turn) to see Han, who never believed in the Force, relating to his son from beyond the grave with that “You and your mother were right” energy.

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James: Coming back as a Force Ghost requires a great deal of mastery of the Force. But very specifically, yes—he’s in Ben’s head, he’s not a ghost, he’s Ben’s conscience. Replaying out their final scene together, line for line, beat for beat, that goddamn hand, but that this time it works, it was just so heartbreaking to me. I came into this movie not really sure if I wanted Ben redeemed—and that if he was, it would need to be an incredibly hard-earned redemption. I am still not sure quite yet if it was—as with Jill, I do think the kiss just does not land in a way that would even satisfy people who wanted Reylo as the endgame—but they handled it a lot more strongly than I would’ve anticipated it being.

Charles: Like this need to cleave to hard and fast rules about space magic in the finale of the trilogy that’s meant to reinvigorate the franchise for a new generation does not make sense to me.

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Jill: All Rey should have done was hold his face and said, “I always believed in you.” No kiss.

Charles: CORRECT. “Welcome back, Ben.”

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren.
Adam Driver as Kylo Ren.
Image: Disney
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James: That would’ve honestly felt more Reylo-y to me than what we got!

Charles: As opposed...to them literally exchanging spit?

James: Once again: Good idea, executed hamfistedly in an attempt to appeal to anyone and everyone.

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Jill: Once again, the kissing was a bad idea. Cough.

Charles: Before we wrap up, though—everyone who isn’t a Force person needs some addressing. Because nobody got anything great, in my opinion.

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Germain: Not sure why Ben’s ghost wasn’t there, btw.

Charles: Cause the movie’s bad.

Germain: Even if it didn’t “fit with the rules” it kind of would have made sense?

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Charles: I honestly thought in the final moment that Rey was going to be surrounded by a bunch of Force ghosts who all helped her defeat Palpatine in the same way that Goku came back to help Gohan defeat Cell. But not in the least.

James: Just you wait for the Rise of Skywalker special edition where he and all those Jedi voices get added so Rey’s just looking at this sea of blue people.

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Jill: Speaking of endings, I think a good place for us to wrap up would be to talk about how we each feel about this being the end of this long-ass journey.

Cheryl: Whether or not it all worked, it felt like a finale to me. I’m absolutely ready to move on from Skywalkers now. And I’m OK with that.

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Germain: I’m still not OK with it. I’m okay with the Skywalker Saga ending but I’m not really OK with this ending. It feels like we went in a circle. And yes, that’s life and Star Wars is all about history repeating itself, but I kind of wanted these movies to be something more. To challenge our notion of what could come next as we reach this three-plus-year hiatus. Instead, we’re left with one Jedi remaining again, a Skywalker again, standing solemnly as her friends, the good guys, defeated the bad guys, again. We ask, what’s next? Well, we know what’s next, probably, because it just happed in these three movies.

I’m sure that opinion will shift in the coming months and years as I watch this film again and again. Just over the course of this conversation, it’s switched a bit. But, J.J. Abrams, Star Wars, I wanted more.

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Charles: For the saga to come back to this particular note isn’t horrible in and of itself, but after the drastic pivots into new, bold territory that The Last Jedi made, this all felt more like course correction rather than the culmination of a purposeful, thought-out arc for all of its characters. That doesn’t inherently make the movie bad (though it is), but rather makes it feel too chickenshit to actually take this story anywhere fascinating and new.

Jill: I would say it didn’t work as an end for me, but I’m OK with that. I think it was a huge challenge overall and for me, it just didn’t land. I am content to live with my own headcanon about how this story wrapped and not yell at creators or threaten people online over their own opinions like some weirdo!

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Germain: Well that, yes, for sure too.

James: Nice of you to throw that in after Charles and Germain have just spent thousands of words reaming me, Jill.

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Germain: Just cause I didn’t like it I’m not gonna stop loving Star Wars. I still love Star Wars.

Charles: Star Wars is extremely cute, what with its babies and space magic. But good storytelling? Whew. No.

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Cheryl: I know what it means to not like a Star Wars movie...I remember being at the press screening for The Phantom Menace and realizing “Oh, fuck” pretty early on. I did not have the same experience here. Sure, some of it made me go “Whaaaat are you doing?” but I left the theater feeling mostly happy.

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James: But that’s the paradoxical thing to me—as messy as it was this feels like a good natural conclusion point to leave these people and this conflict specifically well alone. And yet there are so many things here that they leave open for what feels like the sake of potential tie-ins and TV shows and hell, even other movies. But despite that? The story of the Skywalkers is done for me, and I am at peace with that. Rey, Finn, Poe, Rose, Jannah, Lando, Klaud (shoutout to Klaud) can go off and do whatever they want, it’s over. Their story isn’t necessarily over, but I am fine not seeing any of it for a very long time.

Charles: Lmao Klaud

James: But whatever comes next? It absolutely has to push Star Wars to places beyond anything in these films ever did. New voices, new perspectives, new eras, new people on screen and behind the screens. Star Wars has had its indulgence. It’s had it a little too much, I think it’s very fair to say. That’s mostly why I’m fine with Rise’s inordinate excesses: If this was a small child desperately shoving as much dessert into their mouth as fast they could because it’s the last time they get to do that, then sure. Whatever comes next, be it shows or new films specifically, I want to leave this lineage to its nostalgic excess and see something really, truly new. I still, at the end of it all, have hope. And maybe that’s the thing that matters most.

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Charles: Finally, he says something sensible.

Jill: LOL

James: Just as Rise brought it all back one last time, to echo myself at the beginning of this roundtable: I hate you all. Except for Cheryl. May the force be with her, always.

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io9 will have a lot more to say in the coming weeks about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. If this conversation was any indication, you can be sure of it.

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Deputy Editor, io9. Loves cats.

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DISCUSSION

James Whitbrook

Full disclosure for any legal authorities reading this roundtable (ya nerds): I love all of my colleagues and I’m very sure my desire to kill them all will eventually dissipate with time.