To say that expectations were high for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker would be a bit of an understatement, as fans knew the sequel was tasked not only with concluding the sequel trilogy of films, but also the entire Skywalker Saga, which had kicked off back in 1977. The adventure had to connect that dots across more than 40 years of storytelling and mythology, yet also keeps its focus on the conflicts between Rey and Kylo Ren, as well as the Resistance and the First Order. Adding even more pressure to the situation was that the most recent two films in the franchise, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story, had earned passionate and conflicting reactions from both devout and casual Star Wars fans alike.
Yet another wildcard in the mix was that the film was originally slated to be directed by Jurassic World's Colin Trevorrow, only for him to part ways with the project in 2017, with Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams ultimately returning to conclude the trilogy he kicked off. In this regard, fans were left to speculate about how much freedom Abrams had to tell his story vs. themes Trevorrow was developing that resonated with Lucasfilm, which brought another element of excitement to the endeavor.
Between the return of Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, repurposed footage of Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa, and the unexpected return of Harrison Ford as Han Solo, a number of the film's most effective shots had to do little more than turn the camera on beloved characters. Luckily, Abrams still managed to top his work on The Force Awakens by depicting massive battles and compelling confrontations to send the Skywalker Saga out on a high note.
From powerful showdowns to immense armadas, scroll down to see our picks for the 15 best shots from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker!