What to Remember About Star Wars Before You See The Rise of Skywalker

These are the droids you’re looking for. Folks, the day has come—Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is upon us. It was 42-years ago when George Lucas started this whole thing with 1977’s Star Wars IV – A New Hope, and now we’re about to see the final chapter in the Skywalker Saga. There have been 8 films worth of lightsaber battles, Sith Lords, Rebel scum, droids, Hutts, Hans and battles on Hoth. If you’re not an absolute diehard fan but plan on seeing J.J. Abrams saga-capping 9th film, you might be wondering what you need to remember about all the Star Wars action up to this point. We’ve got you covered.

Here then is a brief reminder of some of the big plot points you’ll want to know before you head out to see Rey battle Kylo Ren.

Rey’s Parents 

Courtesy Lucasfilm/Walt Disney Studios.
Rey (Daisy Ridley) in STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER. Courtesy Lucasfilm/Walt Disney Studios.

Rey (Daisy Ridley) is the new trilogy’s Luke—everything revolves around her. And the one thing about Rey that has been driving her, both her ambition to do good and driving her a little nuts, is what the heck happened to her parents and who in the world they were to begin with. Then Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) told her they were nobodies, a couple of drunks who sold her for boozing money and who are now dead in a pauper’s grave on Jakku. Is that true? We’ll find out in The Rise of Skywalker.

The Return of Emperor Palpatine

Courtesy Lucasfilm/Walt Disney Studios
Daisy Ridley is Rey in STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER. Courtesy Lucasfilm/Walt Disney Studios

Palpatine was the prime mover in the first six films in the Skywalker Saga, driving Annakin Skywalker to become Darth Vader in the prequels and driving Darth Vader to do his bidding and lording over the entire Empire in the original trilogy. Then Darth turned on him and threw him down a shaft in the Death Star II in The Return of the Jedi and we figured that was the end of him. We were wrong. Now he’s back (somehow) in The Rise of Skywalker. How, or in what form, is going to be one of the big reveals of the film.

Supreme Leader Kylo Ren

Courtesy Lucasfilm/Walt Disney Studios
Adam Driver is Kylo Ren in STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER. Courtesy Lucasfilm/Walt Disney Studios

While Kylo Ren is still obsessed with Darth Vader, he has risen through the ranks of the First Order and dispatched Supreme Leader Snoke in Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi—alongside Rey, no less. This was shocking because up until then, Ren seemed to be the budding Darth Vader to Snoke’s Palpatine-like Supreme Leader. That betrayal ended up making Ren the leader of the First Order, and the man now in charge of hunting down the last of the Resistance.

Luke Skywalker’s Spectral Presence

Star Wars: The Last Jedi..Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Photo: John Wilson. ©2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Photo: John Wilson. ©2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Luke was a fairly grouchy Jedi master throughout The Last Jedi, claiming to want to be left alone and for Rey to let the Jedi order die. But when push came to shove and the Resistance, Rey and his sister Leia included were on the verge of annihilation, Luke came to his senses. From his distant refuge on Ahch-To, Luke used up all his power to Force project himself to Crait and face his former protegé, Kylo Ren. Their epic lightsaber battle gave the Resistance just enough time to escape. It also cost Luke his life—at the end of The Last Jedi, we saw him become one with the Force, as his mentors Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi had done before him. What role he plays in The Rise of Skywalker is unclear, but you can be sure he’ll be involved somehow.

Saying Goodbye to Leia

Courtesy Lucasfilm/Walt Disney Studios
General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) in STAR WARS: EPISDOE IX. Courtesy Lucasfilm/Walt Disney Studios

The great Carrie Fisher passed away long before filming on The Rise of Skywalker began, yet her Leia Organa still has a major role to play in the upcoming film. Abrams and his team utilized unused footage of Fisher from The Force Awakens to help give her crucial character the sendoff she deserves. Initially, The Rise of Skywalker was going to be more focused on Leia (as The Force Awakens was on Han and The Last Jedi was on Luke). While the plans had to be changed, Leia’s presence in The Rise of Skywalker is still a vastly important one, and seeing how her character’s arc is completed is one of the most intriguing questions going into the film.

You’re more or less ready for the film now. If you’ve got a hankering for more Star Wars, well, we’ve got a lot. Check out these three new behind-the-scene images. If you don’t mind potential spoilers, check out this new clip featuring Kylo Ren and a certain legendary character of yore. Behold some epic lightsaber action. These 8 new photos include the mysterious Knights of Ren. Check out Rey rocking the double-edged lightsaber, glimpse these four new photos (including the flying Stormtrooper), watch this clip of Leia holding a lightsaber (and more), or this clip of flying Stormtroopers, read about Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and writer/director J.J. Abrams meeting with George Lucas, watch the Knights of Ren and a Sith Trooper in action, behold the new character posters, read this helpful Star Wars timeline, watch the latest TV spot, read our breakdown of the final trailer, watch the final trailer itself, read our break down of a bunch of new images, and a have look at Rey and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver)’s complicated relationship.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20, 2019.

Featured image: Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), Poe (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega), Rey (Daisy Ridley) and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) in STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER. Courtesy Lucasfilm/Walt Disney Studios.


Bryan Abrams

Bryan Abrams is the Editor-in-chief of The Credits. He's run the site since its launch in 2012. He lives in New York.