The first teaser for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker back in April 2019 showed the moment where Rey slices a wing off Kylo Ren’s TIE Interceptor. It seemed like a great omen, too: this was well-directed, very atmospheric and we got to see Rey performing a genuinely impressive Jedi feat. Sadly, the film itself failed to live up to its potential, but now you can rewatch the moment as seen in the movie in this newly released HD clip.
The actual scene remains pretty cool, as unlike many other moments in The Rise of Skywalker, you actually know what’s going on. Still, it’s now a bit tainted by knowing that everything that happens around it simply doesn’t hang together. Just after it comes the ill-conceived Chewbacca death fake-out and before it comes a scene where Rey force-heals some kind of giant snake-monster. And all this takes place within the framework of a fetch quest for some nonsensical space MacGuffin.
Watching it again knowing the full context of what comes before and after also reveals that it doesn’t make much sense. As commentators point out, Kylo Ren doesn’t actually want to kill Rey, so why did he fly his ship directly at her? Did he predict that she’d behave this way and destroy his customized TIE? And, quite frankly, the central pod that Ren’s in bounces and spins at a crazy speed across the desert and then explodes. How did he even survive that?
Then again, if we’re talking Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker characters mysteriously surviving being in the middle of giant explosions, I guess this is a minor example. But what’s most frustrating about watching this now is knowing that Lucasfilm had all the elements they needed to make a great finale to the Sequel Trilogy. It’s just sad that they were so spooked by the negative reception to The Last Jedi that they course-corrected so hard that they ruined the movie.