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Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Writer Explains The Thinking Behind Force Ghosts Scene

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker co-writer Chris Terrio dishes on some behind-the-scenes decision making that went into some...controversial choices.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

I can’t believe it. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker somehow killed the franchise. Personally, I didn’t hate it, I guess, but boy was I let down. I also think the ending, while certainly symbolic and rhymes like poetry, is also super dumb and dissatisfying. This movie felt like eight films crammed into one hastily-reshot mess. And now it seems like half the writing team behind the pic didn’t understand the series at all and misused a potentially great and powerful element.

Chris Terrio, who co-wrote the movie with J.J. Abrams, spoke at length (and I mean length, baby) to The Hollywood Reporter about the bungled finale of Star Wars and how all the fan complaints are wrong, and how the two writers had ideas of what they wanted to bring to the film.

First off, he talked about “bringing the twins home” at the end, saying:

“We absolutely discussed who would be there at the end. It’s not as though those Force ghosts will never appear to Rey now that she really is the first of the new Jedi. I think she has all of those Jedi behind her. J.J. was pretty clear about the idea that he didn’t want to take away from the moment of Leia finally appearing as a Force ghost and the twins finally being together. This might be in the novelization, but we talked a lot about how Leia lost her home. Alderaan is gone. So, she could never take Luke to see where she grew up as a princess, but Luke could’ve taken Leia to see where he grew up as a farmer. But, the twins never got to Tatooine together. So, the idea of seeing the twins together after the sabers are laid to rest felt like it was something that was very moving to me and J.J.”

I certainly have some things to say about what he just discussed, but we’ll get to that in a moment. He continued on further, defending the idea of forgoing all other possible force ghosts appearing in that penultimate shot:

Spiritually, it’s not a crazy idea that all the Jedi would be standing with them, but it might’ve been a bit of a visual shock to see all these new characters on Tatooine who weren’t part of the story of Leia, Luke and Rey. It’s a fair question from fans because it’s a question that we debated endlessly — about what the final shot of Force ghosts would be. We spent hours and hours talking about this and debating it, and we decided that the moment when the Jedi have to be there for Rey, when it dramatically counts, is when she hears their voices. So, seeing them all at the end would be a lovely grace note, but we thought that Rey seeing her two masters, two Skywalkers, was stronger. Rey was in the unique position of having been trained by two Skywalkers, which is what’s going on in the moment where she destroys the Emperor. It’s her, Luke and Leia standing together because she’s got the two Skywalker sabers in her hands.

To start off: I feel bad for Chris Terrio. He seems like a good, dramatic writer who works better in smaller confines. Making these big tentpole pictures, like his DC work, arguably make his career look much worse. It also seems like he was brought onto this project late in the game and kinda had to rush out a script that somehow made sense out of eight previous films and tied enough loose ends up to make a cohesive and satisfying conclusion to a decades-long series.

But, after seeing these answers, and some others from the guy on additional subjects like Rose’s diminished role, it seems like Terrio doesn’t understand the project he was brought aboard to write. Luke and Leia were together on Tatooine in Return of the Jedi, when they collaborated to save Han Solo. So, that point means nothing. Also, the kids were born on Polis Massa then sent to their respective planets and Luke wanted nothing but to escape the desert planet he was essentially marooned on. Not sure why they’re putting such significance on “home” planets when neither of our two deceased heroes seemed to care much about the idea.

Then, to his point about the only important ghosts being of Luke and Leia, I disagree fully. If the ghosts presented themselves audibly during Rey’s confrontation with Palpy, why not show up visually as a real significant passing of the torch? Yoda, Obi-Wan, Anakin and Ben should have all been there. They were all involved in the Skywalker saga to great degrees. Hell, everybody should have been there, from Qui-Gon to Ki Adi-Mundi to Yaddle to Dexter Jettster! It’s THE END OF NINE MOVIES.

Oh, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. I think it was doomed from the start, personally. Disney took something magical and just squeezed the life out of it. Hollow, cheap fan-service is all we get now. Thanks, House of Mouse. I’m ready for a break, even if that’s not the plan. Whatever.

About the author

Josh Heath