Feature Article

Star Wars 9: The Rise Of Skywalker Ending Explained

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters now.

At long last, the Skywalker Saga has reached its conclusion--for now, at least. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters and fans are getting the opportunity to see how director JJ Abrams wrapped up a long-running story that was first started by George Lucas 42 years ago. In GameSpot's review of The Rise of Skywalker, Michael Rougeau wrote of the movie, "It should never be so clear to audiences that something in the filmmaking process has gone so terribly wrong--that the people who made the first film in a trilogy apparently didn't bother to sketch out a plan for the second and third, and that the movies' directors had visions for the series' future that were so fundamentally at odds."

But how does it end? With so much at stake--and so many characters to wrap up--The Rise of Skywalker had a lot of ground to cover. Warning: The following contains major spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. If you haven't seen the movie and don't want any twists, turns, or surprises spoiled for you, do the smart thing and look away now. This is not the story you're looking for.

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Now Playing: Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker - Official Final Trailer

If you want to know how each major character in the film ended their individual stories in The Rise of Skywalker, we have you covered. As for the ending of the film itself, there's quite a bit to unpack. The broad strokes are that the First Order and the Sith were ultimately defeated by Rey, who was revealed to be the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine.

In a final showdown in the Sith temple on the planet Exegol, Rey used both Luke's lightsaber (his first, which originally belonged to Anakin), as well as Leia's--because it was revealed she also trained to be a Jedi--to deflect Palpatine's Force lightning, shooting it right back at him. In destroying him, though, she sacrificed her own life energy and died.

That didn't last for long, naturally. After shedding his Kylo Ren moniker and the dark side of the Force, Ben Solo came to her aid and used their connection through the Force--which this movie decided is called a "Force dyad"--to give his life energy to her. She woke up long enough to kiss him, before he keeled over and died.

Thus ended the battle of the Jedi and the Sith until the next time a movie about Jedi fighting Sith is released. The Rise of Skywalker didn't end there, though. Following the death of Palpatine and the destruction of the Sith temple, Poe Dameron commanded the resistance and its allies in eliminating the armada of star destroyers the Emperor had created, bringing an end to the First Order once and for all.

After the Battle of Exegol, the resistance celebrated in their forest camp, as everyone realized they'd somehow actually won the war. This is the last time we see most of the franchise's major characters. It's Rey alone who figures into the final scene of the film.

Some time after the battle and celebration, she found herself at the moisture farm Luke Skywalker grew up at on Tatooine. There, in the sand, she buried the lightsabers of Luke and Leia--her mentors--putting their spirits to rest. She also revealed a lightsaber of her own, powered by a yellow Kyber crystal. It's clear that Rey is not giving up on the way of the Jedi.

At that point, a woman passed by, asking who she was. Rey offered a simple response as the final two words of the Skywalker Saga. "Rey Skywalker," she told the stranger.

With that moment, Skywalker has officially risen. While Rey's bloodline may have a strong connection to the dark side of the Force, she chooses to align herself with those who taught her about the Force in the first place--the Skywalker twins.

Now that you've been able to watch Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, don't forget to check out our massive compilation of Easter eggs from the film, as well as a look at the latest episode of The Mandalorian--the live-action Star Wars TV show on Disney+.

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Chris E. Hayner

Chris E. Hayner is an entertainment editor at GameSpot. Prior to his work at GameSpot, he contributed to a number of outlets including The Hollywood Report, IGN, Mashable, CBS Interactive, Tribune Media, and Nerdist. Beyond writing about TV, movies, and theme parks, Chris co-hosts and produces GameSpot's wrestling podcast Wrestle Buddies with Mat Elfring. Chris loves all movies, but especially Jaws and Paddington 2.

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