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84 Lingering Questions After ‘The Rise of Skywalker’

The latest installment of ‘Star Wars’ has us wondering about a few dozen things. Like: On which date do you tell a prospective partner that you’re a Palpatine?

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Spoiler warning

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is kind of convoluted, possibly because it’s the culmination of a trilogy tag-teamed by two writer/directors who didn’t get their stories straight, plus a third writer/director who was fired during pre-production. Although much of the movie repeated plot points from Return of the Jedi, some stuff was new, and much remains unexplained. Thus, after seeing the final film in the Skywalker saga two times in theaters, I still have some questions. Eighty-four of them, to be precise. Here they are.

1. The opening crawl says the galaxy has heard a mysterious broadcast by Palpatine, but we can only hear it in Fortnite?

2. Seriously, you’re going to bring EMPEROR PALPATINE back via two sentences in the opening crawl?

3. How did a banana slug-looking alien named Klaud become part of the crew of the Millennium Falcon?

4. More importantly, how did an alien with no arms become a mechanic? How does he hold a hydrospanner?

5. Why can’t Chewie keep flying the Falcon himself? Let the Wookiee win.

6. What happened to the porgs on board when Chewie was flying the Falcon on Crait? Did he drop them off on Ahch-To, or did they turn into Resistance snacks?

7. What’s the point of lightspeed skipping if the TIE fighters on your tail can follow you through hyperspace? Can any First Order ship do this now?

8. If lightspeed skipping is almost suicidal, why do the TIE fighters follow through hyperspace?

9. If you randomly lightspeed skipped, wouldn’t you usually end up in deep space?

10. How reckless must Poe be if he’s willing to lightspeed skip repeatedly? Even Han Solo, who flew into an asteroid field and said “Never tell me the odds!” wouldn’t jump to lightspeed without “precise calculations.” Then again, in The Force Awakens, Han did enter hyperspace while inside a hangar, and then he manually dropped out of hyperspace between the shield and the surface of Starkiller Base. Hyperspace safety standards have gotten really lax since the last war.

11. Shouldn’t there be an intermediate Order between the First Order and the Final Order? Seems like we’re skipping a step. Actually, this might be the First Order’s fault: Palpatine created the New Order, so the First Order really should have been the Second Order. Although if Palpatine was controlling Snoke the whole time, he could have had the name changed. I’m just saying, let’s be clear about which Order we’re on.

12. So the First Order needs to suck up a sun to blow up a planet, but the Final Order can do it with one gun on a normal-sized capital ship? Kudos to the Sith Eternal on their weapon design.

13. That said, if they can build ships capable of blowing up planets, couldn’t they also make those ships capable of flying off of Exegol on their own?

14. Instead of blowing up the bridge on the Sith command ship, couldn’t the Resistance have taken control of the bridge and used the ship to blow up Exegol and the rest of the fleet?

15. How did BB-8 get back to the Resistance base after staying on the Steadfast with Finn and Jannah? Did the Falcon pick him up too?

16. Speaking of the Sith Eternal, what do they get out of serving Darth Sidious? Other than the free tickets to the Sith resurrection ceremony.

17. What does one do for fun on Exegol when there isn’t a Sith resurrection ceremony? Do the Sith Eternal like the climate?

18. Is this the most planets ever seen in a Star Wars movie? There are at least eight: Mustafar (where Kylo acquires the Wayfinder); Exegol; Ajan Kloss, site of the Resistance base; Pasaana; Kijimi; Ahch-To; Kef Bir (the ocean moon of Endor); and Tatooine. That’s not counting the glimpses of Bespin, the forest moon of Endor, and Jakku, or the planets that the Falcon lightspeed skips through. That’s probably too many planets for one movie, especially when some of them aren’t named or explained. There’s so much happening here.

19. Leia and Rey remind everyone to never underestimate a droid, but no one asks Ochi’s droid if it has any info on Exegol until after the trip to reset C-3PO? It was owned by a Sith loyalist who was serving Palpatine!

20. How do Leia and Poe live with the survivor’s guilt after entire planets get blown up because they used to live there?

21. Are the Knights of Ren mad that their backstory was saved for a comic book?

22. Does their smoke-belching transport ship meet the First Order’s emissions standards?

23. Are treadspeeders really necessary in a galaxy with speeders and speeder bikes?

24. Why program a protocol droid to understand a language it’s forbidden to translate?

25. So, Palpatine fucks?

26. If so, who’s his baby mama? What happened to her? Did they get together before or after he came out as a Sith lord?

27. Maybe he cloned a son? Or created one, the way he may have created Anakin Skywalker?

28. Either way, what was life like for little Sheev Jr.? Did anyone know Palpatine had a son? Was he Force-sensitive, or was his low midi-chlorian count a disappointment to his dad? How many times did Sheev ask his son to strike him down?

29. On which date do you tell a prospective partner that you’re a Palpatine?

30. If Palpatine wanted to find out where Rey was, shouldn’t he have ordered Ochi to bring her parents back to Exegol for Force interrogation?

31. If Ochi found Rey’s parents on Jakku, couldn’t he have looked harder for an abandoned girl there?

32. Alternatively, couldn’t he have hired bounty hunters and given them tracking fobs? That usually does the trick.

33. Why did Ochi have a dagger inscribed with precise directions to the Sith wayfinder? If Sidious wanted the wayfinder, couldn’t he have just told Ochi where to go?

34. Why does the dagger exist at all? (I mean, aside from the fact that J.J. Abrams needed a reason for Rey and Kylo to duel on the Death Star ruins.) Palpatine must have used the wayfinder to locate Exegol before the Death Star was destroyed, so why would he need it again?

35. Also, someone must have gone to Kef Bir, looked out at the Death Star ruins, and drawn what they looked like so that the dagger could mark the exact spot where the wayfinder was. Why not just retrieve the wayfinder on that trip instead of mapping the location? Wouldn’t a lot of scavengers have explored the Death Star ruins in the interim? What if Rey wasn’t standing in the right spot for the ruins to match the dagger? What if the ruins shifted?

36. How does Kylo find Rey at the Death Star ruins without the dagger? And why was the wayfinder in his second ship after his first ship (which was carrying it, presumably) exploded?

37. How did Leia turn Kylo back to the light side just by saying “Ben”? That went way better than Han’s attempt to save their son.

38. Isn’t the First Order Captain’s Medallion a terrible breach in security waiting to happen? What was wrong with clearance and security codes?

39. Did Poe watch Independence Day before he delivered his pre–Battle of Exegol speech?

40. Was J.J. going through an Indiana Jones phase when he made The Rise of Skywalker? The dagger, the relics, the quicksand, the subterranean serpent, Poe saying “Bones. I don’t like bones” as if he was Indy seeing a snake—this was one Indy-ass Star Wars movie.

41. Right after Palpatine gets his nice new body (and stylish red robe), he immediately starts shooting off Force lightning again? Doesn’t he remember what the stuff does to your skin?

42. Once Rey starts deflecting the Force lightning back into his face, shouldn’t he stop shooting it at her?

43. Babu Frik, BB-8, D-O, porgs, Ewoks—is Rise of Skywalker the smol-est Star Wars movie?

44. Speaking of smol creatures, does Baby Yoda have anything to do with Palpatine’s return?

45. Is Jannah Lando’s daughter? Or is he just being nice when he offers to help her find out where she’s from? Or—and I’m sorry to suggest this, but look, it’s Lando—is he hitting on her? (By the way, why was Lando on Pasaana in the first place? Did he decide to retire there after visiting with Luke?)

46. How do the Ewoks get their interplanetary news?

47. About the Chewie fake-out: There were two transports on Pasaana, but if Chewie had already taken off in the first transport, wouldn’t Rey, Finn, and Poe have seen, heard, or sensed that ship leave? And if Chewie was on the second transport and hadn’t taken off yet, wouldn’t Rey have sensed that he was still nearby? On Kijimi, she sensed him on Kylo’s ship when she was still on the surface. Wouldn’t she have felt something if he had died on Pasaana?

48. If Chewie had died on Pasaana, would that have made the movie better? Yes, it would have been sad, but Rey killing Chewie could have been another connection between her and Kylo (who killed Han). And it would have made it much more plausible that she might turn to the dark side out of guilt and grief (or to save her surviving friends).

49. Then again, would that have been worth losing the sight of an inconsolable Chewie reacting to Leia’s death, which may have been the most emotionally affecting scene in the movie? Chewie was the avatar who gave voice to fans’ sadness about the real-life loss of Carrie Fisher and the fictional sacrifices of Leia, Luke, and Han. I wouldn’t want to lose that.

50. Does Rose regret having a crush on a guy who seemingly isn’t into her and keeps trying to sacrifice himself for the cause? Does Kelly Marie Tran regret having so little to do in this movie?

51. How would Finn feel if he knew Rey kissed Ben? Kylo slaughters innocents on Jakku, murders Han Solo, condones the destruction of Kijimi, tries to kill Rey repeatedly, and gets a smooch just for deciding to be a good guy again and healing her for once? Why isn’t there a single consistent, coherent love triangle or romantic relationship that runs throughout this trilogy?

52. If Abrams wasn’t going to canonize the Finn-Poe romance the world wanted, couldn’t he have left it open to interpretation? Did he have to invent a new character just to establish that Poe really likes ladies and dash the shippers’ hopes?

53. Did he think the two-second kiss between gay characters in the background of the celebration scene would be a satisfying substitute?

54. Why don’t Rey and Ben die when Palpatine absorbs their life essence?

55. Why does Palpatine think throwing Ben down a deep pit will kill him? That never works in Star Wars, as Palpatine would know.

56. If Ben’s body hadn’t disappeared, could Rey and Ben have kept trading life forces and dying and reviving each other indefinitely?

57. How pissed would Darth Plagueis be to find out that Jedi replicated his signature skill?

58. What’s the deal with dyads, anyway? Rey’s sleight-of-hand lightsaber pass to Ben was a cool callback to the throne room scene in The Last Jedi, but the trilogy doesn’t shed a lot of light on how this unique connection came to be. Like lightspeed travel and the capabilities of Force ghosts, this is one of those things that the new trilogy left very vague.

59. What did Finn want to tell Rey, and why did the movie keep telling us he wanted to say something and never give him time to say it?

60. Is Finn Force-sensitive? What the heck happened to his character arc after The Force Awakens?

61. If feelings sometimes come from the Force, is every character who ever says “I have a bad feeling about this” slightly Force-sensitive?

62. Dominic Monaghan, really? Where has “Beaumont” been this whole time?

63. So wait, why was the Holdo maneuver one in a million? I get that Holdo’s ship had special shields, but it still seems like if hyperspace ramming worked once, it should be a bigger thing in Star Wars.

64. Was Palpatine planning to do something with those spare Snoke clones?

65. If Palpatine had extra Snokes lying around, why was the first Snoke we saw so scarred and hobbled? Couldn’t Palpy have swapped in a fresh Snoke?

66. Zorii Bliss survived the destruction of Kijimi, but what about Oma Tres, the eyepatch-wearing bartender played by John Williams in his feature film debut?

67. If Luke submerged his X-wing but didn’t destroy it, did he ever truly intend to stay on Ahch-To? If you’re serious about staying somewhere, you’d better burn the ships.

68. Do the Rebels and the Resistance have any rules against nepotism? Like Lando and Han before him, Finn got promoted to General really fast. Imagine how the majors, captains, and colonels who’ve served for years must feel when the pals of the leaders get promoted past them.

69. Along those lines, how was Hux ever running the show over Allegiant General Pryde, the best new character in The Rise of Skywalker? Pryde is more competent, committed, and stable, and he was serving the Empire before Hux was born, which would earn him the respect of other ex-Imperials in the First Order ranks. (The Resistance is full of former leaders of the Rebellion, but the First Order’s top brass hasn’t seemed to be equally Empire-heavy, which is especially strange considering the Emperor was pulling Snoke’s strings all along.) But Hux is the son of one of the First Order’s early leaders, General Brendol Hux (who was an ex-Imperial), which put him on the fast track to the top.

70. Did Palpatine saying, “Long have I waited for my grandchild to come home” give anyone else flashbacks to being guilted by their (grand)parents? “Rey, you never call, you never visit, at least let me know you’re alive.”

71. Leia died holding Chewie’s medal (which may have been the one she originally gave to Han). Did she just decide on her deathbed that he deserved some recognition? Is the medal for recent service, or is it a makeup medal for the one he didn’t get after the Battle of Yavin? Couldn’t she have given him a medal after the Battle of Crait? Or at any point in the past 30-plus years?

72. If the Emperor wanted Rey to kill him because it would transfer the Sith order’s power into her, why didn’t that happen when, well, Rey killed him? Presumably because she killed him as a Jedi, and not out of anger? But if she had killed him just to stop the battle and save her friends, as he urged her to, wouldn’t that have been for non-anger-related reasons, too?

73. Why didn’t Leia tell Rey she was a Palpatine? Was she worried Rey wasn’t ready to hear that?

74. If Luke was looking for Exegol (how did Rey know that?), did he suspect that Palpy was chilling there? If so, couldn’t he have given the Resistance a heads-up that the Sith might rise again?

75. What should we make of Rey’s vision in the cave on Ahch-To now that we know her parents weren’t actually nobodies? Did the long line of Reys represent the thousand generations of Jedi?

76. Was Palpatine a clone, or was that his original zombie body? (And if it was a clone, why was it in such bad shape?) Why should we believe that he’s dead this time?

77. How did Maz find Luke’s lightsaber? In The Force Awakens, she said it was a story for another time, but we’ve run out of time in the trilogy.

78. Leia got zero response to her distress call on Crait, but Lando convinces countless allies to ride to the Resistance’s rescue at an almost unreachable Sith stronghold, against a reborn Palpatine and a massive Sith fleet? How did he get them to go? He really is an old smoothie.

79. When a thousand generations of Jedi (or Sith) live inside you, are they just constantly talking? Does that get distracting?

80. How much did it cost to convince Denis Lawson (Wedge Antilles) to come back just to say, “Nice flying, Lando”?

81. How happy was Hayden Christensen to get the call to record lines for this movie? Now he has an acting credit for 2019!

82. If Rey considers herself a Skywalker, does kissing Ben count as kissing her cousin? Not that a Skywalker-on-Skywalker lip-lock would be anything new.

83. Why didn’t Ben (or Anakin) get to appear as a Force ghost in the last scene?

84. Will Rey ever kiss anyone again, given that the first guy she kissed (as far as we know) immediately died? Rough start to a romantic career.

I need a mental break before the next Star Wars movie. Good thing it’s at least two years away.