WARNING: Spoilers are unmarked on Tear Jerker pages.
- Rey hugging Leia as Luke whispers, "We'll always be with you. No one's ever really gone."
- Seeing Lando fly the Millennium Falcon again with Chewie with a Grin of Audacity. Tears of Joy because it is Lando once again taking his ship. Heartbreaking because the last time we saw him and Chewie fly together, Han was alive (albeit encased in carbonite).
- Rey cloaked in black and wielding a red double-bladed lightsaber had fans worrying that she might fall to The Dark Side, just like Anakin Skywalker.
- Look at the faces of the main cast during the "one last look at my friends" scene from the final trailer. Rey and Finn are clearly on the verge of tears, but doing their best to stay strong for Threepio's benefit as the loyal droid approaches an uncertain fate. Artoo seems to be in full Heroic BSoD mode, screaming at his best friend in the galaxy not to go through with whatever he's about to do, and Poe sounds as nervous as we've ever heard him when he says "What're you doing there, Threepio?" Remember, this is POE we're talking about here.
- When Threepio says "I want to take one last look at my friends" it almost feels like Anthony Daniels saying goodbye to the fans because for all we knew at the time, this was the last time we were going to see the droid. The fact these words come from Daniels in particular, knowing he's the one cast member to have been with the franchise for its entire history only makes them that much harder to take. Fortunately of course, Threepio gets his memory back so it's likely we'll be seeing him (and Daniels) again.
- In a case of manipulative editing, Rey's assertion that "no one" really knows her note . Even after becoming Fire-Forged Friends with Finn, Chewie, BB-8, Poe, and even legends like Luke, Leia, and Han over the course of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, our poor heroine is still chronically lonely, insecure, and unsure of herself.
- Hell, even the Tagline ("The saga will end, the story lives forever") makes it clear that The Rise of Skywalker is the Grand Finale of the Skywalker saga, the last chapter of Anakin's legacy.
- It's mentioned multiple times that the First Order has increased conscription of Child Soldiers into its military. As if turning adults into Slave Mooks for their evil empire wasn't vile enough, they are openly going after kids as well. Prior to the Battle of Jakku, those who would become the First Order were secretly abducting and conditioning children whose fates were unknown to the wider galaxy; it's how Finn become a Stormtrooper. The actual tearjerker is that before their invasion, the First Order had to at least be secretive and stick to worlds where a child disappearing wouldn't be noticed. Now they're free to do it openly to any world they want because there's no one to stop them.
- Basically every single Stormtrooper whom the heroes gun down in their running battles crying out as they get shot or otherwise dispatched (and in highly gender-varied voices, no less). It gets around the Faceless Goons trope, and goes a long way towards averting or even inverting What Measure Is a Mook?.
- When D-0 is first reactivated, Rey tries to reach out and touch him, but D-0 immediately wheels back and goes "N-N-No, thank you", implying the poor little thing faced mistreatment before.
- Rey's first flirtation with the Dark Side almost gets Chewbacca killed. Her Stunned Silence as she sees his prison transport blow up is horrifying, as is her shrill scream of disbelief immediately afterwards. Thankfully, he was on a different transport and therefore unharmed, but killing such a beloved friend thanks to a spur-of-the-moment incident is heartbreaking to think about.
- A bit of a blink-and-you'll-miss-it, but it is heavily implied that Ochi killed Rey's parents with the Sith dagger. She is handling their murder weapon.
- Hux may have been an Ax-Crazy officer that has more blood on his hands in terms of sheer destruction than most other antagonists in the franchise, and he may have only been working an Enemy Mine with the Resistance because he hated Kylo just that much, but how abruptly he gets offed by Pryde really brings his Butt-Monkey status to full circle; from a bastard child with an abusive childhood to forging his reputation and power with his own two hands, to losing everything and every ounce of dignity before getting executed without warning. As an aside note.
- C-3PO's memory has to be sacrificed in order for him to translate the message on the Sith dagger, and he takes one last look at his friends before his memory is wiped. Fortunately, R2-D2 uploads a backup memory into him to bring him back later on.
Poe: What are you doing there, 3PO?
- Before his memory became erased, we get this exchange from the iconic gold droid.
C-3PO: Taking one last look, sir. (beat) At my friends.
- Just before R2 restores C3PO's memory; 3P0 introduces himself to R2 and R2 rolls backwards, as though staggering back at the sight of his oldest friend unable to recognize him.
- Rey and Kylo's duel on the wrecked Death Star ends with her taking advantage of his distraction to fatally wound him. As Kylo collapses, she seems to sense Leia's death and come back to herself, looking horrified and guilty before using the Force to heal him. Despite them being on opposite sides, Ben Solo is still someone she cares about deeply, and her horror at almost killing him makes you realize how close she came to the Dark Side.
- Kylo/Ben after Rey stabs him. He must be in horrible physical and emotional agony, having experienced the death of his mother both through the Force and through the link she created with him (plus the lightsaber wound). But his face is calm, sad, and resigned. He may believe he deserves this pain and for Rey to let him die, or to be reunited with his parents.
- Leia dies in a similar manner to Luke, by straining herself using the Force to communicate with Kylo/Ben across the galaxy.
- When Chewbacca finds out Leia died, he drops to his knees and howls in grief, swatting away anyone who attempts to comfort him. He has lost three very close friends in a short amount of time, and he was unable to intervene or comfort them before their passing. With Leia's death, he's the only one of the organic (Threepio and Artoo are Droids thus man-made and artificial) main heroes that began the saga (Han, Luke, Leia, and Chewie) to make it out of the Sequel Trilogy alive. Lando also survived, thankfully.
- Commander D'Acy has tears in her eyes as she tells the group of Leia's death.
- R2-D2 is by Leia's bedside as she dies. So, not only did he witness Luke and Leia's birth, but he saw both mother and daughter die. The little droid even hangs his "head" in sorrow after her passing.
- Kylo/Ben seeing a vision of Han after Leia's death. Rey pointed out earlier in the film that he is still tormented over murdering his father, and it's clear on his face when he is talking to this vision. This is especially apparent when, after addressing his father as "Han Solo" for so long, Ben finally says "Dad" and then breaks down in tears. There are direct callbacks to Han's death in The Force Awakens— revisiting the "Your son is dead" exchange, the repeat of "I know what I have to do, but I don't know if I have the strength to do it," and Han touching his son's face which is no longer scarred. This time, Kylo/Ben throws his lightsaber away rather than activating it, choosing to be Ben Solo again. Cue the happy tears.
- Poe confessing his insecurities about leading the Resistance to the deceased Leia. It really shows how much the death of his mother figure has rattled him.
- To get to Rey and Palpatine, Ben has to go through the Knights of Ren, who are perfectly willing to beat the crap out of him and kill him. They were his allies, perhaps even his friends, and they immediately turned on him.
- Of course, Ben then has to kill them all, to keep them from killing him. His friends, who followed him away from Luke's temple and had stood by him through his rise to power.
- Palpatine tosses Ben over the ravine without a second thought, never to be seen again. Ben manages to make his death really count for something by saving Rey, but he is ultimately disposable to Palpatine, and Palpatine throws him away as soon as he has what he wants.
- Even his valuable lineage isn't enough to make him worthwhile, nor is the fact that Palpatine apparently spent decades infiltrating his mind and turning him to the Dark. Kylo Ren was a project—an important one, which took years of planning, strategy, and massive Force power—but Ben Solo? Useless, expendable. Taking up the blue saber redeemed him, but it cost him his life.
- Among the many voices of the deceased Jedi that Rey hears is Ahsoka Tano, implying that she has died too.
- Rey dies upon making her grandfather Palpatine kill himself with his Force lightning using two lightsabers. Ben takes her inert body in his arms and mourns her, then figures out he can use the Force to revive her... at the cost of his own life.
- Before leaving for the final battle, two pilots are seen embracing each other. Afterwards, one is seen weeping on another person's shoulder, heavily implying that the other was killed during the battle.
- Temmin "Snap" Wexley's death at the Battle of Exegol is this, especially for those who've read the Aftermath trilogy and grown to know him and his family. Snap's death happens just before The Cavalry shows up, including with Snap's stepfather Wedge Antilles. While Wedge survives the battle, he arrives just after his stepson's death. Though she is not in the film, readers know Snap's mother Norra has outlived her son, in addition to previously losing her husband (his father) to the Empire.
- The loss of the Tantive IV certainly counts. Literally the first ship ever to appear in Star Wars, it's fate was left unknown following it's capture by the Empire and it was brought back for this film............... only for it to be disabled and destroyed by Palpatine's Force lightning. What's worse is that it was Bail Organa's ship before it became Leia's, which means one of the last remaining pieces of Alderaan is gone.
- Seeing the Lars' homestead once again for the final time in the Skywalker Saga is pretty sad considering it's completely abandoned since Owen and Beru's death and Luke abandoning it afterwards.
- For some, the fact that Palpatine while being defeated once again, still got to destroy the Skywalker family and destroy the Jedi Order and New Republic, and deprive his hated granddaughter of her connection with Ben Solo. Palpatine's legacy will certainly leave a mark on the galaxy having extinguished the bloodline of the Skywalkers and destroyed several planets with both his First and Final Orders and overall making the ending of the Skywalker saga very bittersweet with Palpatine having won and brought most of his enemies with him in a sense.
- The end credits roll for the one final time on a Skywalker saga film as Finale plays over the credits. Beginning with the iconic Force theme, it goes through Rey's Theme, the Imperial March, Rise of Skywalker, and Anthem of Evil before ending with one last reprise of the main Star Wars theme - Luke's theme. One last bow from John Williams, and from the Skywalker Saga itself. When the opening version of the Star Wars theme is played in the credits, you know this is the final film in the story of Skywalker.