Audiences are currently flocking to the theater to see Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and find out exactly how it brings the sequel trilogy - and the "Skywalker Saga" - to a close. While bringing decades of cinematic storytelling to a close is certainly no easy feat, the film includes some pretty interesting homages and callbacks to the franchise's previous installments. Amidst epic space battles and shocking reveals, The Rise of Skywalker also called back to an infamous piece of Star Wars lore -- the tragedy of Darth Plagues the Wise. Yes, the Revenge of the Sith monologue-turned-Internet meme plays a subtle and unexpected role in the events of The Rise of Skywalker. Major spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker below! Only look if you want to know!
The film follows the dual journeys of Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Ben Solo/Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who quickly realize their unique ties to Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). This ultimately culminates in Rey finding Palpatine, who reveals that he wants her to kill him, so that the entire Sith legacy can be reborn in her. Rey refuses, but soon agrees to go along with the ordeal -- just as she can sense that Ben is nearby.
Through a series of events, Rey and Ben face off against Palpatine directly, and he uses this as an opportunity to drain them both of their life force. Ben is then seemingly thrown to his death (like Palpatine was in Return of the Jedi), leaving Rey to fight him alone. Harnessing the power of the Jedi, Rey is able to overpower and defeat Palpatine but is seemingly killed in the process. Ben then reemerges and rushes to Rey's side, and uses his Force powers to bring her back to life.
For those who remember the full Darth Plagueis legend (and not just the line that is frequently used in memes), this action has an interesting significance to it. As Palpatine tells Anakin in Revenge of the Sith, Plagueis had the ability to create life, and "could even keep the ones he cared about from dying". When Anakin remarked at this power, Palpatine claimed that the dark side "is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural" (a line he repeats to Kylo early on in The Rise of Skywalker).
While it's up for debate whether Ben used his light or dark side abilities to save Rey, it's hard to deny that he weirdly mirrored part of the Darth Plagueis legend. Given how memorable the Darth Plagueis scene is to prequel trilogy fans, it provides a unique little reference to that era of Star Wars lore.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters now.
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