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Meet the Porgs, the new Ridiculously Cute Critters in the Star Wars universe. They're simply adorable. Likewise, the Vulptices (the Crystal Foxes from Crait). Bonus points for the latter showing to Rebels the alternative escape path.
Seems Chewie even adopts one of the them (sort of) eventually.
Luke is clearly moved as he reaches for Rey's lightsaber — the one he once used and the one that used to belong to his father. If you look closely, his hands are actually trembling... And then the moment is ruined when he chucks it over his shoulder and walks away.
Kylo Ren has the opportunity to shoot down the Resistance fleet... But in spite of the lines he's crossed, he doesn't take the shot to destroy the capital ship, because his mother is onboard. In spite of everything that Kylo Ren has done, Ben Solo is still in there!
Note that this battle occurs after (or rather because of) Snoke's admonishment of Kylo as his apprentice. Snoke angrily reprimanded Kylo for how killing his father hadn't helped him at all, and instead he was more unbalanced than ever. The fact that Kylo ultimately passed up a prime opportunity to destroy his mother, and with her the last of the Resistance leadership, shows that not only did he understand that Snoke was right, but that he knew that destroying one of the last connections to his past will bring him even more conflict, or nothing at all.
Rey tells Luke (both on the verge of tears) "Kylo failed you. I won't."
And later, when Poe offers to explain any questions he might have, the first thing Finn asks is about Rey's safety.
Poe: You must have a thousand questions. Finn: Where's Rey?
When the two friends, Rey and Finn, are reunited at the very end of the movie, Finn runs up to her in joy and the two share a big damn hug, both looking joyful. This is especially meaningful, as earlier on she was forced to admit the truth about her parents abandoning her for a selfish reason. She isn't anybody special in the grand scheme of things, but she still has friends who care about her.
Before she leaves to try to turn Kylo back to the Light, Rey tells Chewie that if he sees Finn before she does to tell him....something. Chewbacca roars in response and Rey smiles at him, saying, "That's perfect."
With a loud crash, the door to Luke's hovel is kicked in, and he turns around in full annoyance ready to yell at Rey... But it turns out to be Chewie knocking down the door for Rey. The sight of his beloved old friend is enough to knock down Luke's walls (figuratively this time) and finally be willing to at least hear Rey out.
And then Luke reuniting with R2 onboard the Falcon. Up until that point, we've only seen how Luke changed into a cynical Jedi Master who really just wants to be left alone. But after seeing his old friend, he greets his oldest partner and loyal droid buddy very warmly, and seems genuinely happy for the first time in the movie up to that point. Luke even very briefly sounds like his younger self.
R2 convincing Luke to help Rey and the Resistance, by showing him Leia's holographic SOS to Obi-Wan Kenobi from way back in A New Hope. And all Luke can do is try to snark back at him, basically admitting the droid is right.
Rey's delighted squeal when she thinks she's feeling the Force is just so damn adorable. Too bad it's just Luke screwing with her.
The gentle smile she displays when she actually does touch the Force and realizes how omnipresent it really is is also a thing of beauty.
Rose and Finn freeing the fathiers on Canto Bight. These animals in particular are so beautiful and majestic, it's a shame they're abused and used as racing animals. So it does justice that they get to run free, helping our heroes escape in the process.
When he and Rose are (seemingly) about to be captured, Finn remarks with resentful triumph it was Worth It to let the fathiers run loose in Canto Bight because it made the rich castenote Who live off profits they made selling weapons to the Empirehurt. But Rose takes the saddle off the fathier they were riding and lets it run free with its herd. She points out that this is what makes it Worth It: freeing the oppressed, not hurting the oppressors.
The fact that Holdo, despite maybe not giving the best first impression, and possibly having screwed up a bit by not telling Poe at the very least what her plan was, really did have the best intentions in mind and was acting exactly in accordance to Leia's own plans: when she later makes it clear to Leia that she intends to stay on the Raddus, the two women share a small moment. They both try to send each other off with the iconic "May The Force Be With You" at the exact same time and stop short; Leia then playfully remarks that she's said it one too many times now, allowing Holdo to send her off in full.
And on a meta level, Laura Dern seeing the original Star Wars at age 10 was a big part of what made her want to become an actress, and we're clearly seeing her own glee in getting to play this scene with Carrie Fisher.
Even if he later ruins it by selling them to the First Order, by the time they have infiltrated the Supremacy, DJ has started to look like a cool uncle figure to Finn, Rose and BB-8. He gives Rose her sister's pendant back after using it as a conductor to short-out a control panel, telling her he had no intention of holding onto it, and also chats about morals with Finn in what DJ clearly considers to be a bit of street-wise mentoring. Traitorous as he might be, his visibly uncomforable face after selling them implies he liked them for real.
DJ also seems to really like little BB-8, even calling him "Roundy". Some fans have even latched on to the idea of "DJ and BB-8 as pals and 'Partners in Crime'" in fandom and fan works.
A short but sweet moment is when Rey is under the Falcon while a huge rainstorm rakes the island. This woman, who has lived her entire life on a desert world, has a bright smile on her face as she leans out to catch rain in her hand, loving the feeling of it all.
Poe and BB-8 reuniting on Crait. Poe is so relieved and happy to see his buddy, he presses his head against the droid like it's the most precious thing in the world. He even rubs BB's tummy like a faithful dog.
Rose Tico saving Finn at the last moment as he was about to throw his speeder into the giant battering cannon of the First Order, pushing him away from the machine's beam with her own speeder. She's severely injured, but still has time to declare her love for him and kiss him before passing out.
Finn: Why did you do that?! Rose: I saved you, dummy.
When Finn protests he could have done the job, Rose's reply is an inspiring summation of what the entire Star Wars Saga is about at its warm-heart:
Rose: That's how we're gonna win. Not fighting what we hate, but by saving what we love.
For all his talk about ending the Jedi Order, Luke's faith in them seems to be restored by the end. When he goes to burn down the Jedi library, only for Yoda to do it for him, Luke immediately attempts to run inside and rescue the books. After Yoda gives him a pep talk about learning from failure, Luke becomes the hero once more, even defiantly telling Kylo that he will not be the last Jedi. Between Rey stealing the books and the reveal of a new Force sensitive boy at the end, it seems the Jedi might just return after all.
Yoda's final words to Luke: "We are what they grow beyond. That is the burden of all masters," is not just reassuring Luke that Rey won't repeat his mistakes: it's Yoda acknowledging that Luke has surpassed him, which is no doubt exactly what his student needed to hear.
The fact that the first being that connects to Luke after he reconnects to the Force is Yoda is rather poetic in itself. The last Grand Master visiting his last pupil, affirming to him that he was right - but he just went about it the wrong way. Then in true Master form, noting that what really makes a Master is the growth of their students beyond themselves.
Hell, just the way Yoda warmly greets his last pupil is heartwarming in and of itself. He still address Luke as "Young Skywalker" and says how he missed him.
Yoda: Young Skywalker. Missed you I have.
The fact that Yoda looks surprisingly like the original puppet, as opposed to how he looked in the prequels. It's a nice warm welcome to those who grew up with the originals.
A New Hope: We are introduced to Luke Skywalker, moisture farmer, restless young man, seemingly stuck on the planet Tatooine with little to no hope for the adventure he craves. We truly begin to see this when, after having bought two droids from Jawas, Luke goes out of the hovel he lives in with his aunt and uncle, and watches the twin sunset. In that moment, we see it: the yearning for adventure, the bravery, and the heart that will carry Luke's story into history. Over the next 30 years, in both our world and the world of Star Wars, Luke becomes a mythical figure, part-Buddha, part-Christ, part-Olympian. The stories of his exploits become legendary and the very name Skywalker becomes synonymous with the word hero. But he's not happy, nor is he a Messiah.
For every victory, there has been tragedy; for every life saved, there have been countless deaths. The heroic exploits and his near-mythological status has left Luke isolated from everyone in the universe, but such is the price of apotheosis. And then, fearing great catastrophe, Luke makes a grave mistake which costs him his followers, his academy, and his nephew. Disillusioned with the universe that he failed to make a better place, Luke instead turns to Ach-To, the ancient home of the very organisation which ruined Luke's life. He turns bitter and apathetic, seemingly waiting to die.
Then comes Rey, a young woman very much like Luke in her own way. And although he tries, Luke just can't sway her over with his cynicism. For every time Luke tries to convince her that the time of the Jedi has come to an end, Rey fires back with the kind of heartfelt logic that Luke himself used when turning Anakin Skywalker back to the light side of the Force. Yes, the Jedi were flawed, but they did a lot of good, too. Yes, Luke did make mistakes, but no one is beyond redemption. Finally, Rey herself goes to confront the enemy, and Luke goes to destroy the last of the knowledge of the Jedi, until Yoda seemingly does it for him and they talk as master and apprentice, one last time. Luke dives into the fray. There, on the field of battle, without hesitation, Luke admits his mistakes and provides enough distraction for his friends to escape. Kylo Ren, newly crowned Supreme Leader of the First Order, goes to strike his uncle down, but he can't because Luke isn't there - without a working space craft, he could never have left Ach-To.
Luke's entire final sequence is this. He tells his nephew that "if you strike me down, I'll always be with you," and gets to go out with a line reminiscent of both his mentor figure and brother-in-law.
"See you around, kid."
Luke and Leia finally meet again for the first time in years. Even though it's only for a few moments, they get to share one last embrace before going their separate ways. For a brief moment, they actually get to be siblings. And Luke leaves Leia the dice that Han used.
And to undercut the scene, what theme plays in the background? Why, "Luke and Leia" of course.
Which is also heartwarming on a meta level, as John Williams felt the piece is one of his best themes, and yet it only got a few, dialogue heavy minutes in Return of the Jedi. For him to revisit it, which he never thought he'd ever get the chance to do, is a heartwarming reminder that we are lucky to have Williams still around for these films.
Luke has cut himself off from the Force, hiding away. Finally, after moments of deep contemplation he reaches out again, feeling the Force. And the first thing he does is check on his sister. And it's what wakes Leia up from her coma.
Overlaps with a tearjerker, but C-3PO's emotional "Master Luke..." as Luke passes him by, and Luke smiling and winking at him before walking past. A sweet, final acknowledgement of an old friendship.
More subtly, it's notable that C-3PO, the galaxy's perpetual grand champion Moment Killer, doesn't make a sound as Luke arrives and is reunited with his sister. For once, even he can sense that now is not the right time to horn in on a conversation or complain about things.
And it's worth noting that Anakin Skywalker was the one who built C-3PO. It's as if Luke was saying goodbye to an adopted brother.
Luke's final moments are perfect. After an intense showdown with his former student, Luke spends his final moments staring at two suns, reminiscent of Tatooine's two suns, and how he looked at them in A New Hope, just before his entire body vanishes like Obi-Wan, and Yoda.
The two suns could also represent Luke and Rey: one rising as the other sets.
Remember the stable boy who helped Finn and Rose free the racing creatures? At the end, it turns out he is Force sensitive, and keeps a symbol of the rebellion with him that they gave him. He's last seen listening intently to one of the other kids recounting Luke's final stand and how he saved the resistance; closing out on him standing outside slowly holding a broom in a fashion not unlike a kid holding a toy sword while gazing into the starry night sky. This kid has a destiny of some kind.
In the dim light, the angle of reflection makes it look like it becomes a lightsaber.
Further: Unlike Luke in the Original Trilogy or Owen and Beru in the Prequel Trilogy, the boy sees neither a sunrise or a sunset, but only the night sky. Instead he sees a field of stars, each pinprick of light a spark of hope visible from across the galaxy.
After her trip to the cave where she thought she'd find answers but found nothing, she relates the story to Kylo. Her voice breaks when she finishes and she admits she feels so alone. The fact that he listened to her entire spiel is of itself unexpectedly sweet, but then he answers, in a soft tone, "You're not alone." She then looks back at him and says, just as softly, "Neither are you."
While in the elevator, Rey reveals her vision of Kylo's potential happy future, addressing him by his real name and speaking to him gently. Kylo addresses Rey by her name in a very sweet tone, in contrast to the previous film where she was simply "the girl" to him. Additionally, speaking to her about the future he saw for her, Kylo faintly smiles, the very first time he's expressing happiness onscreen rather than sadness or anger.
The first thing Kylo does after deciding he's going to become Supreme Leader of the First Order? Ask Rey to join him and rule by his side.
Whilst they're fighting the Praetorian guards, there's a brief moment when Kylo is fighting off three of them at once, but still takes the time to look around to where Rey is and sees her struggling against another guard; he seems genuinely concerned about her wellbeing, to the point of placing it before his own safety.
A small, off-screen one: even though shes clearly angry and disappointed by Kylos decision to stay with the First Order, Rey doesnt hurt or kill him. She wakes up before him, so she certainly had the opportunity and incentive. But all she does is collect the lightsaber pieces and leave, showing she still cares even if she wont join him.
Many fans have noted that Kylo Ren loses his lightsaber during the fight scene with the Praetorian guards, and doesn't pick it up at any point before he is knocked unconscious by the explosion of Rey's lightsaber. But, when Hux finds him, still unconscious, his saber is somehow back on his belt. This would suggest that Rey not only let Kylo live, but also retrieved his weapon for him in case he had to defend himself when he woke up. Or, it's just a continuity error, but that never happens in Star Wars.
The fact that the tipping point for Kylo to rebel against Snoke is in response to seeing Rey in pain and being ordered to kill her. It's the first time we really see him place another's well-being above his own, since it's likely any defiance would have led to a painful death. Maybe Rey really did bring out whatever good in him was left.
In regards to the Praetorian Guards themselves, there's a tiny little moment: Kylo manages to get one Guard on the floor, and almost kills him before a second Guard steps in front of the lightsaber to block the hit, using his bare gauntlets (since he'd already been disarmed). He gets killed almost immediately for his trouble, but it's enough to buy the fallen Guard some time to get back on his feet and retaliate, almost stabbing Kylo Ren in the throat. Even Faceless Goons can care about each other.
It's easy to miss, but throughout the film, Leia is still wearing the ring she had on at the end of The Force Awakens. It's never brought up, but she's clearly still thinking of Han despite everything else that's happening.
How fitting it is Lt. Connix is one of the three, the other two being Poe and Finn, to watch in amazement as Leia uses the Force to survive in the vacuum of space and gracefully glide herself back to the ship. To those who don't understand the significance, Connix is portrayed by Carrie Fisher's daughter Billie Lourd.
The scene in itself features a perfect blending of both "The Force Theme" and "Leia's Theme" in both a tender and triumphant fashion.
It's never pointed out, but take a look at how many women are among the resistance under General Organa. It's obvious that in-universe, Leia has been as much of an inspiration for girls as she has in real life.
Leia reassuring Rey aboard the Millennium Falcon that they have everything they need to overthrow the First Order, in a tone that gives her the aura of a loving surrogate mother. Even better, think about why Leia says what she says: Yes, the Resistance has fallen on hard times, to say nothing of the whole Republic. Yes, they lost a lot of their forces, including literally every starship in their possession, and a lot of personnel thanks to Poe and, indirectly, Finn and Rose. Yes, the legendary Luke Skywalker is gone. But, not everything is doom and gloom: the First Order isn't doing much better having lost a lot of their fleet thanks largely to Poe and Holdo and gone into disarray thanks to a damaged chain of command, the one to lead a new generation of Jedi is with the Resistance, and many across the galaxy are listening to their pleas, even if they declined to send backup right away, with children getting in touch with their Force abilities so that they can grow up to be powerful forces of nature against whatever breed of tyranny decides to stand in their way.
Rey's embarrassed smile when Poe goes out of his way to introduce himself to her in the ending. Her reaction makes it clear that she isn't used to feeling important and having people who respect and look up to her.
Artoo still has that old "Help me Obi-wan Kenobi" holo-message drifting about his memory banks. The message that started the chain of events that brought all his Rebellion-period friends together.
Even though it turns out to be a setup for a joke, Luke's response to Rey's assertion that she's from nowhere - "No one's from nowhere" - are words of both kindness and wisdom. Everyone has worth and value. A hero can come from anywhere. And it doesn't matter so much where you start your journey as it does where you finish it. There is nobody in the universe who knows that better than Luke Skywalker.
Even though their relationship can be strained at times, Luke clearly cares about Rey. He initially refuses to teach her not out of spite, but because he believes she deserves a better teacher than him due to his failure with Ben. When Luke sees Rey about to make the same mistake he did by abandoning her training to leap into what is most likely a trap to save her friends, Luke pleads with her not to. And when Rey ignores his advice, he becomes so despondent that he is willing to torch the entire legacy of the Jedi. The novelization makes Lukes feelings about Rey clearer: it opens with a dream sequence in which Luke expresses regret that he never had children. Taken together with a later scene in which Luke and Rey dance together, one cant help but wonder if Luke sees Rey as the daughter he never had.
Luke's final words to Leia is both this and a Tear Jerker. At this moment, Leia has given up hope that her son Ben will turn back to the light and that he is gone to the dark side. Luke reassures her otherwise. It's gives you such hope for Ben.
Leia: I've held out hope for so long but... I know my son is gone. Luke:''No one's ever really gone.'
Its not just about Ben. Right after Luke says this, he gives Leia Hans dice that he found in the Falcon. The message is clear: even though Han cant live on through the Force like Luke and potentially Leia, he lives on through the memories and the stories he left with those who loved him... Including us.
In a deleted scene, Tom Hardy cameos as a Stormtrooper who recognizes Finn during the group's infiltration of the First Order's main ship. After a brief Oh, Crap! from everyone, he then congratulates Finn on becoming an officer, happy to see someone he first trained with having risen so far. While largely played for laughs, it also serves as a reminder that these Stormtroopers aren't the faceless goons of the original trilogy and are capable of their own good qualities.
Look closely at the bombs on the bottom right just before Paige drops them on the Dreadnought: One of them has, in Aurebesh, a slogan which translates to English as "Han says hi." His death is remembered by the Resistance.
For Omaze, Star Wars fans were told that they were filming for a 40th anniversary tribute and were told to read lines from the movies. What they didn't know was that Mark Hamill was there to surprise them. Their reactions are both touching and hilarious. Similarly (and before the above, also for Omaze), John Boyegasurprising fans at the Star Wars Celebration.
A behind-the-scenes trailer has Carrie and Mark Hamill stood together offset (probably between scenes) and they are bopping along — in time with one another and the tune — to music. Thirty four years... And nothing has changed with them.
Speaking of which, it's nice to see two very funny, charismatic people actually get to be funny and charismatic for a change in this series.
A minor one for fans of the Prequel Trilogy who felt that The Force Awakens went out of its way to forget about everything George Lucas did since 1999. Luke refers to Emperor Palpatine not as The Emperor, but as Darth Sidious, his Sith Lord name from the Prequels. Kylo Ren also name drops the Sith, as Maz did in the previous film.
Apparently, at the movie's premiere, Carrie Fisher's dog Gary was taken to see the film by one of Fisher's assistants. According to her, every time Carrie appeared on screen, he perked his ears up.
At the premiere, Kelly Marie Tran was so overcome by emotion that she cried and was hugged by co-star Daisy Ridley, who had experienced the same feelings as a newcomer two years earlier when The Force Awakens premiered.
Kelly also ended up turning on the waterworks again the night of the premiere when she saw an Asian fan had showed up in cosplay as her character, Rose Tico.
Peter Mayhew, at the age of 73, can no longer play Chewie due to severe knee and back pain (the role has been taken by Joonas Suotamo). But he is still listed in the credits, as "Chewbacca Consultant". He is still part of the Star Wars crew.
Rian Johnson admitted that a big reason Phasma was brought back was because everyone wanted to hang out with Gwendoline Christie again.