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Huge Spoilers: The Money Shot of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and more!

A Thorny Game of Thrones!

In this article and video, I discuss spoilers from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. If you are avoiding spoilers, this article and video are not for you. Make sure you do not openly discuss the spoilers on social media. Do not share the image on social media. Be cool!

Empire Empirical – I’ve seen some Sith

I am ready talk a bit more about what I know about the final confrontation in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and what my sources have described as “the money shot” of the film. Having seen the shot, I can’t say I disagree with them. Some of this has been discussed in a previous piece about Palpatine’s clothes. Obviously, a depiction is never as rad as the real thing, so make sure that is taken into account before becoming too judgmental about the moment described. I do not believe this moment will be seen before the film is released in trailers or anywhere else pre-release.
This shot requires a lot of exposition and spoilers from The Rise of Skywalker. 

The Video:

A McQuarrie La-Z-Boy Game of Thrones

The climax of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker culminates with Rey confronting the Emperor on his stone thorny throne. The high backed chair of the throne is essentially the throne Ralph McQuarrie designed for Return of the Jedi. However, the throne is surrounded by four giant stone thorns on each side of throne with two smaller “thorns” near the Emperor’s arm rests. The seat is four or five steps high. It appears to have tiny red lights on a few of the throne’s “thorns.”
The new throne’s chair back is pretty similar to this old McQuarrie piece for Return of the Jedi.

Darth Sidious dresses for the job he wants, not the job he has.

Darth Sidious, former Emperor of the Galactic Empire sits upon this throne after Ben Solo has died. But before Ben’s death, Darth Sidious has channeled the Force through Rey and Ben and rejuvenated himself to his former Revenge of the Sith youth, looking as he did when he declared himself Emperor after eradicating the Jedi Order several decades before in Revenge of the Sith. 
The rejuvenated Darth Sidious appears in The Rise of Skywalker wearing a red/burgundy robe with a black hooded tunic over the robes. His waist is tied with a black belt with a silver buckle on it with a red light, offset to the righthand side. It is my personal opinion that this may be Palpatine’s best costume in The Skywalker Saga. The black tunic is like Darth Vader’s or Luke Skywalker’s Return of the Jedi costume but the “skirt” flows down to his feet.
Darth Sidious’ new clothes are similar to his Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 5 outfit.

Ben Solo’s fate?

The final confrontation of the Skywalker Saga takes place on the dead world of Exogol. Darth Sidious has thrown Ben Solo into the abyss. I have heard Ben falls into the mist, much like Han Solo’s death in The Force Awakens and it visually rhymes. I believe this happens after Rey and Ben are drained by Darth Sidious. In the end, Rey weakened and seemingly alone for the final confrontation.
Han Solo’s fall in The Force Awakens.

If Ben is resurrected, sources are not aware of it. That said, how many characters have fallen to their deaths in Star Wars and stayed gone? Hell, even Harrison Ford returns in this movie after his death in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Darth Maul survived with little on screen explanation. Luke Skywalker fell on Bespin, it wasn’t pleasant but he was okay. Palpatine got tossed into a pit by Darth Vader and he apparently turns up in this film as an old shriveled up version of Sidious in a bed.

I theorize that when Rey is rejuvenated to face Palpatine, Ben Solo may be the power from the “other side” that helps Rey in the end. But as of now that is conjecture on my part.

The Money Shot’s Setup

The rejuvenated Sith Lord, Darth Sidious, projects Sith lightning into the heavens above from his fingertips believing Rey to be incapacitated. Rey, however, is revitalized by the Jedi who lived before her for the final confrontation with Palpatine. She slowly begins to rise as Palpatine zaps the Resistance fleet with his torrent of lightning.
Above the dead planet, the Resistance fleet and the First Order’s Sith fleet are about to clash.  The blasts of lightning from Darth Sidious’ fingertips into the sky above acts as supernatural EMP that causes the Resistance fleet to essentially short out and float dead in the “waters” of space, making it vulnerable to the Sith fleet. It appears in that moment that all is lost.
Darth Sidious is ready to retake his place as Galactic Emperor when Rey interrupts the Sith’s victory and stands before her grandfather.
The restored Rey catches Darth Sidious’ attention and he is forced to stop his stream of Sith lightning. The Resistance fleet recovers, powers back on, and the fight against Sith fleet above Exogol ensues. Rey buys the fleet just enough time for the Millennium Falcon to show up with reinforcements for the final epic space battle.
Just as Darth Sidious lowers his hands and stops attacking the fleet above. The Sith Lord looks to Rey and angrily blasts his lightning towards his granddaughter. Rey ignites Leia and Anakin Skywalker’s lightsabers and deflects her grandfather’s attack.

The Money Shot – Please do not share on social media.

Here is our artistic depiction, from my personal notes of a shot from the film showing the McQuarrie throne, Darth Sidious’ new robes, and Rey defending herself from the attack with the Skywalker’s sabers:

 

The picture above is accurate to what I have seen from The Rise of Skywalker and Rey’s final encounter with evil in her trilogy.

Doctor “Sidious” Who?

After doing an extensive deep dive with sources on this film, I have to conclude that Palpatine does not use a lightsaber in the film, and if he ever did, he does not wield it in this film anymore. So I do not expect Palpatine to use his lightsaber against Rey and Ben.

I also have to conclude that Matt Smith is not apart of the film, as we once thought. Matt Smith’s involvement is based in reality not just rumor, however, something must have changed. I theorize that Palpatine was going to be rejuvenated into his younger self with Matt Smith playing the part of a mid-thirties Palpatine. But I also theorize that it was decided to just bring in Ian McDiarmid and let him do the whole thing because he is Palaptine/Darth Sidious after all.

A little on Exogol and Sith Stormtroopers

I noticed that the shot of Kylo scraping his saber on the ground in the trailer is on Exogol as it looked exactly the same to me. The world is set against storms and all kinds of turbulence. So we have already had a small look at this planet in the D23 Special look, I think.

Sith Stormtroopers and Darth Sidious

Sources have said that the Sith Stormtroopers seem like they were abducted children placed into the First Order who became elite Stormtroopers. There’s apparently a lot of ambiguity in the film about how they come about and the subplot with Finn and Jannah’s quest to stop the First Order’s militarization of children makes it seem as if this is the case.

There could be something missing here, but it is looking more and more like the current version of the film just brings these new Stormtroopers out from The First Oder’s ranks without much explanation. This is much like how Darth Sidious surviving the Death Star II is presented in the film without much explanation, according to sources. If our sources have a complete understanding of the movie and there are no sequences being hidden until the last moment to persevere the secrecy of the film itself, we may be over thinking how much explanation we will get on screen for these things. We may have to wait until the novel is released for those answers.

Doctor Sidious Who?

After doing an extensive deep dive with sources on this film, I have to conclude that Palpatine does not use a lightsaber in the film, and if he ever did, he does not wield it in this film anymore. So I do not expect Palpatine to use his lightsaber against Rey and Ben at this point.

I also have to conclude that Matt Smith is not apart of the film, as we once thought. Matt Smith’s involvement is based on actual behind the scenes events, and something must have changed. I theorize that Palpatine was going to be rejuvenated into his younger self with Matt Smith playing the part of a mid-thirties Palpatine. But I also theorize that it was decided to just bring in Ian McDiarmid and let him do the whole thing because he is Darth Sidious after all. But that is speculation at this point.

Only in the end do you understand…

So there you have it. That’s what I’m told is the “money” shot of The Rise of Skywalker according to my sources. Palpatine raising his hands into the air shooting lighting and then turning that power against Rey. It needed a lot of context and a lot of work to pull it all together. I hope I did it justice for the spoiler junkies out there that need a healthy fix of Star Wars. I can’t explain to you how fucking cool it looks and how satisfied I was with what I saw. I will also never comment on what or how I saw what I did. Please, I beg of you, do not share this information openly on social media. 

TLDR Recap

  • The former Emperor has a red and black cloak.
  • The McQuarrie throne is finally used on screen but with stone thorns around it.
  • Old  Palpatine siphons life into his body through Rey and Ben Solo.
  • Palpatine becomes Palpatine unleashed and has more power than ever before.
  • Ben Solo appears to die by being thrown into a pit by Palpatine.
  • Palpatine the shocks the Resistance fleet, making it power down.
  • Rey is empowered by generations of the Jedi that came before her and she rises up to face Palpatine.
  • Palpatine’s attention turns towards Rey.
  • The money shot is Palpatine shoots lightning in the sky and then at Rey which she deflects with Leia and Anakin’s lightsabers.
  • The Resistance fleet recovers and the Falcon brings reinforcements to the battle.
  • We likely have seen Exogol in the D23 First Look.
  • Sith Stormtroopers appear to be elite First Order troops who were abducted as children.
  • Matt Smith does not seem to be in the film as Palpatine.
  • Darth Sidious does not appear to ever use a lightsaber in this film.

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Jason Ward (EIC)

Owner, Editor and content supervisor of MakingStarWars.net
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