Originally written by Kara Hedash for Screen Rant
Warning: Major SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker's ending finally explains what the movie's title really means. Not only was The Rise of Skywalker set to close out the sequel trilogy that began with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but it was also serving as the final chapter in the Skywalker saga. And that meant bringing all of the stories together. So naming the movie after the Skywalker family that has remained the focus of Star Wars was the best way to indicate this was the end.
When Star Wars was first released in 1977, a subtitle wasn't attached to the film. A New Hope wasn't added until 1981 after George Lucas debuted the sequel to his space opera. Over a decade after The Empire Strikes Back and Return of Jedi were released, Star Wars was added as a subtitle. The subtitle format was a little difficult to keep track of since the prequel trilogy started to use "Episode" in their title with 1999's Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. The sequel trilogy decided to drop the "Episode" and just used Star Wars with the corresponding subtitle.
Prior to the release of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, the subtitles were straightforward and direct. The title was self-explanatory in the film's focus or main conflict. The sequel trilogy, however, took more of an ambiguous approach. The Force Awakens was direct, but the meaning behind The Last Jedi subtitle was up for much discussion before and after the installment's release. The same situation is occurring with The Rise of Skywalker, but the title could be interpreted in a number of ways.
Rey Becoming All The Jedi Is The Rise of Skywalker
In The Rise of Skywalker's ending, Rey travels to Exegol and confronts Emperor Palpatine, her grandfather. She rejects his intentions for rebuilding the Sith and instead tries to fight him with the help of Ben Solo. They fail and Rey is left weakened as Palpatine uses his Force lightning to attack the Resistance's fleet. Rey then calls out and hears the voices of past Jedi who encourage her that she has the power to defeat Palpatine. The various Jedi lend her their strength and she then uses the Skywalker lightsabers who once belonged to Luke and Leia to kill Palpatine. Luke and Leia are two of the most iconic Force users in the franchise and it was significant that their lightsabers were used to kill the Emperor to close out the saga.
Other Rise of Skywalker Meanings
Some viewers may not have depicted Skywalker in the title as a direct character, but instead, a way of life in the galaxy. Luke was a hero in the original trilogy, as was his sister. Leia was the one who went on to serve as a general in the Resistance during the turmoil with the First Order. Her efforts gave the galaxy hope that one day the First Order would be eliminated. When the Resistance needed help during the climactic battle, ships from all over the galaxy answered the call, rising in the time of need. This would have never occurred if the Skywalker family didn't have such a monumental influence.
A different direct meaning of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker could have been Ben rising from the pit that Palpatine threw him into to save Rey. She dies from exhaustion after using all of the strength she has left, so Ben crawls out of the ravine and uses his powers to revive her. At this moment, Ben is the last living Skywalker and he sacrifices himself to save Rey knowing that her survival is more integral to the fate of the galaxy. Due to his sacrifice, as well as the mentorship by Luke and Leia, Rey adopts the surname of Skywalker as she reclaims her own identity which can serve as yet another explanation into the title.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now playing at Regal.