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Nightmare Fuel / The Rise of Skywalker

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"The ritual begins. She will strike me down and pledge herself as a Sith. She will draw her weapon. She will come to me. She will take her revenge, and with a stroke of her saber, the Sith are reborn. The Jedi are dead!"
Darth Sidious to his Sith Eternal followers

As the Grand Finale of the Skywalker Saga, having good ol' Palpatine replacing Snoke, there is no doubt The Rise of Skywalker has a grand dose of Nightmare Fuel with him back at the helm.

This page contains unmarked spoilers. You Have Been Warned!

  • Palpatine's Sith temple/base at Exegol easily earns its place among the darkest and most unsettling Star Wars settings to date. To say nothing of the experiments that have been performed there. The Sith's twisting of life at its finest, summed up by that word-for-word Call-Back to what Palpatine said in Revenge of the Sith:
    Palpatine: The Dark Side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.
    • First of all, the lightning on Exegol sounds VERY unnatural. Like some kind of high-pitched screech.
    • As Kylo Ren explores Palpatine's base, he comes across a shocking sight: Tanks full of copies of Snoke in various states of formation floating in sickly greenish-brown liquid. There's something extremely disturbing about seeing that powerful and expressive villain from the last two movies be revealed to simply be one of numerous copies. And while this seems to close the book on Snoke's origins, it actually ends up raising more questions than it answers. Was Snoke a clone of a previous Force user, some kind of homunculus created by Sith alchemy, or something else?
  • Palpatine looks more nightmarish and hideous than ever before, even surpassing Snoke in this regard. Not helped by often being shown in the dark and having at least the flesh of his hands rotting (best seen when he siphons the life-force of Rey and Ben Solo, which makes his hands regenerate). The Ominous Latin Chanting of the numerous hooded servants of his cult adds to it.
  • In the Final Battle, after Palpatine has been restored by the energy of Rey and Ben's bond, what's the first thing he does? He callously throws Ben into a deep ravine out of spite against the Skywalker family for causing his previous death, then he conjures up the single largest blast of Force lightning in the history of the entire franchise! He was highhandedly electrocuting the entire galaxy fleet from thousands of feet below them, and didn't break a sweat while cackling maniacally! "All the Sith," indeed. Even worse for the fact that the only one who can stop him, Rey, is lying unconscious before him.
    • For perspective, please note per Word of God: the galaxy fleet numbered more than 16,000 ships... and the Emperor took them all out.
  • Each ship in Palpatine's secret fleet of Xyston-class Star Destroyers is equipped with a miniature version of the Death Star's laser, capable of eliminating a planet on its own. Previous planet-killing weapons went for size; this time, Palpatine decided to go for quantity. He most likely has more than enough Star Destroyers to wipe out every planet in the galaxy if need be.
    • The destruction of Kijimi by one of these Star Destroyers. It doesn't just blow up in a cartoonish explosion like Alderaan did. You actually see the laser tear into the planet and chunks of it break off before it all goes up. This all took twelve seconds to achieve by the way. Let that sink in. The Death Star and Starkiller Base were more powerful, but at least the populations of the planets they destroyed would have been incinerated in a nanosecond, instead of having to watch as their planet was gradually ripped apart around them.
    • Let's all remember the Eclipse-class Super Star Destroyers from Legends. We only ever saw two of them, and their smaller reactor output compared to the Death Star explicitly meant they couldn't completely annihilate a planet, but they could Class 6 it by popping the crust like an egg and melting the planet with its own liquid mantle, subjecting its inhabitants to a slow, inevitable death. In the Xyston-class, not only has Palpatine mass-produced the Eclipse in this continuity, they now have the full power of their predecessor, all in a much more mobile and easily defended package.
  • Related to the fleet, the top First Order officers are discussing the logistic problem of manning such an enormous fleet. This leads to them nonchalantly stating they'll need to round up more children for indoctrination.
    • On Kijimi, Zorii mentions that after the First Order arrived, they took all of the planet's children.
    • Just as bad, in conjunction with this, is how the film seems to make a point of having the audience hear the cries of anonymous Stormtroopers as they get gunned down or dispatched in running battles with the heroes. In a wide range of gender-varied voices, no less. Odds are, all these Red Shirts were once people's abducted children, now dying or suffering life-altering injuries in service to the First Order that stole them from their original homes.
  • The Reveal of Rey's true lineage, to her horror; she is not a Skywalker, a Solo, or a Kenobi. She's not even a nobody. She's worse than a nobody; she's the granddaughter of the Emperor himself. She... is a Palpatine.
  • When she grabs the Wayfinder, Rey finds herself facing a Force vision of herself in Sith robes and wielding a red double-bladed lightsaber. As they duel, Sith Rey never offers more than a serene smile as she says "Don't be afraid of who you are."
    • The smile fades when she briefly takes on a hideous fanged grin like some savage animal that terrifies the real she knows this is what she could become. Heck, Sith Rey as a whole is one of the most unsettling Dark Side visions seen in the franchise so far. Aside from her sharp teeth and calm yet sinister behavior, she also moves quite unnaturally and hisses furiously like an enraged rattlesnake about to attack its victim.
  • The healing of Ben's saber wound—a deep hole, healing in reverse complete with the regrowth of muscles, tissue, the works, is a little squicky.
  • The entire final confrontation has a sizable portion of Nightmare Fuel because it takes place in a massive arena with the stands filled with thousands of Sith cultists, all hissing and chanting in the language of the Sith. And considering Palpatine is essentially Star Wars's equivalent of Satan himself, this is for all intents and purposes a battle against evil itself in its purest form.
  • A lesser example: In the bar on Kijimi, the cast briefly pass by Rothgar Deng, a bizarre Cyborg-like bounty hunter with a completely armored body and a transparent visor showing a weird, flabby, and pale face, simultaneously infantile and geriatric at the same time. His appearance, while somewhat off-putting, could be excused away by the possibility that he might be some species of alien. But then the Visual Dictionary gives a bunch of clues to his backstory that hint that he is none other than Dengar, one of the most famous bounty hunters in the franchise who has apparently taken several extreme modifications in an attempt to live forever. But what the hell could turn someone who looks like this into this? Even Vader and Palpatine look more human than him! His presumable death at the hands of the Sith Fleet almost seems like a Mercy Kill at this point.
  • The Vexis snake that the group encounters on the underground caverns of Pasaana. While it ultimately turns out to be an injured animal lashing out of pain which Rey heals and then peacefully slithers away after being cured, it is nonetheless a pretty frightening creature that looks like some kind of monstrous hybrid between a boa, a giant worm, and a Dunkleosteus. Its introduction, in which we see its huge gaping maws Emerging from the Shadows behind C-3PO, wouldn't feel out of place in an Alien movie.
  • After shutting him down, when accessing C-3PO's memory directly to get access to the forbidden information, he lurches to life like with red eyes, before uttering the translation from Sith text, as if he was possessed... The sight is downright scary.