Examining “Ochi” from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Skeleton Key to Episode IX Spoilers?
For Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, one open question for me has been the character of Ochi. We don’t know a lot about Darth Sidious’s errand boy– hell, even the spelling of his name is a guess at this point. But we do know a few of the dastardly deeds Sidious has him do, which might explain why sources have told me he’s a “top secret” character in this film, one that ties together a lot of HUGE moments in the story.
Warning: If you haven’t read any spoilers from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, reading about Ochi will kind of unravel a lot of the film’s secrets for you.
The funny part about Ochi–though maybe an important thing to remember before we really dive into this– is I’m told if you blink twice, you’ll miss seeing him in the film. Both of his actual onscreen moments are apparently very short. We see him alive, and we see him dead, but both times we get nothing but a beat of Ochi before he’s gone. However, that does not mean he isn’t important to the plot of the film. In some ways, he acts like a MacGuffin–he drives the plot of the film, even though he’s not really a part of it..
Everything revolves around Ochi in terms of the film’s connective tissue–and all of it is horrible for the heroes.
A Face Only a Mother Could Love
What Ochi looks like has not really been discussed in much detail. I just assumed he was human for a long time. But according to recent information from sources, Ochi is a new type of alien to Star Wars lore (or such a deep cut my sources are not aware of his breed having been in a Star Wars sequence before). I believe he’s a regular sized, yellow skinned, reptilian humanoid with tiny black eyes. Before “Baby Yoda” becamean overnight sensation, sources also compared Ochi’s eyes to tiny versions of those black eyes. His skin is yellow with a texture that looks close to the neck texture of the Kaiju from Pacific Rim:
Ochi has a bumpy reptilian texture mixed with a sponge according to another source.
Ochi and the Calrissians
In The Rise of Skywalker, we learn that Lando Calrissian and Luke Skywalker went searching for Ochi prior to the movie’s events. The duo never found him though. While on that mission, The First Order abducted Lando’s daughter. There’s some ambiguity when it comes to this point, but it seems Lando believes his daughter knew he was on Pasaana, which is why Lando remains on that world, hoping his daughter finds him there. Finn is really shook up by this reveal because it is essentially his story too.
At this point it appears as if Jannah is a Calrissian and that daughter that was stolen. Only Jannah escaped The First Order’s indoctrination, never reuniting with her father after getting mixed up with some freedom fighters. Searching for Ochi cost the Calrissian family dearly, and while Jannah’s background connects with Finn’s, it is almost Rey’s story in reverse too. The father waits for the child to return, and he can’t leave in case she does.
Depending on the source, it seems as if either Lando and Luke went looking for Ochi himself, or they went looking specifically for Ochi’s dagger, in order to translate the text on the blade for Luke’s Jedi studies. Abrams and Kasdan did base The First Order on Nazis that fled to Argentina after World War II, so I would buy this idea of wrangling in war criminal Ochi as having at least been the story at some point, even if it isn’t the final choice made for the film. Either way though, the dagger does have important Sith writing on it with information about the outer reaches (the planet Exegol where Darth Sidious retreats to). And really, that’s what matters for this film because this dagger belonged to Ochi, and Ochi did a terrible thing with it.
Ochi The Killer
After our heroes meet Lando at the festival on Passana, Lando sends them in the direction of Ochi’s ship. Rey recognizes the ship as looking really familiar to her (because it is the ship that dropped her off on Jakku during the “Force Back” in The Force Awakens). However, the ground is unstable, and the heroes are soon sucked into the sand, ending up in the lair of a sand snake where Ochi’s remains are also entombed.
See-Threepio cannot read the forbidden Sith text on the dagger. (Threepio will later attempt to sacrifice himself so the message on Ochi’s dagger can be read on Kijimi.) Later, when Rey takes the dagger her “Force Back” powers are triggered and she sees her parents’ last moments alive. When Rey sees the dagger as it murders her mother and father, this is apparently when we realize Ochi is the killer.
Conjecture about Darth Sidious’ plan Ochi played a part in
There’s some pretty big implications here. The ship that dropped Rey off on Jakku was owned by the same being who possessed the weapon that killed her parents. Did Sidious have Ochi hunt down his son and daughter-in-law, and leave his granddaughter in the graveyard of the Empire on Jakku as some sort of symbolic gesture?
I think it’s possible Darth Sidious may have believed a horrible place would lead Rey to become horrible herself. He might have thought a child, left alone to rot in a junkyard, would be easier to control and eventually useful when he was ready to rejuvenate himself (i.e. when the dyad consisting of Rey and Ben matured so he could siphon their power to bring himself back to his former glory and take his heir as his apprentice). Maybe he thought Rey could rise from the ashes of the Empire, restore it, and defeat the last Jedi. Maybe from there Sidious sent Snoke out to corrupt Ben Solo–slowing the rise of the Jedi, and increasing his powers so when the time came, Sidious could use that conduit for pure dark side energy. After all in the film we do know Darth Sidious would prefer both Rey and Ben, the dyad, are dark side connected, so he can take even more power from the Force to revitalize himself.
But then, what happened to Ochi? Did the sandsnake get him? Did Sidious have Ochi killed after Ochi murdered Rey’s parents, hoping she might one day track him down so it would bring her to grandpa Sidious? Did Ochi die willingly as a devotee to the Sith and their grand plan? Or did he pull a Mando and regret his decision, just a little bit too late? Also, was the information about the dagger leaked to Luke Skywalker and Lando so The First Order could steal Jannah? Was Jannah’s abduction attempt part of a revenge plot by Sidious for Lando’s part in the destruction of the Empire which isn’t too dissimilar to his plot to steal the Skywalker heir from Solo, Organa, and Skywalker?
Unfortunately, we don’t know. But damn it, Ochi! What have you done?!
Ochi and Friends
Ochi is also, if a little tangentially, our way into a few other characters in this movie. Poe as we saw in the first full film clip from the movie has hacked some speeders. But with the Falcon back at the festival and The First Order having crashed the party, they decide fixing Ochi’s ship is their best plan for escaping the world. It therefore sounds like in the final cut of the film, D-O is revealed to have been Ochi’s droid left on that ship and BB-8 repairs him and he becomes a part of the team. (And of course, while Poe fixes Ochi’s ship, Rey has a feeling and that’s when she encounters Kylo Ren in the TIE Whisperer from the Celebration Chicago teaser.)
More importantly though …
The Palpatines and Ochi
Rey’s father, I am told, is the son of Darth Sidious. I have seen the actor who plays him, and he reminded me of Gendry from Game of Thrones, with maybe a dash of director Gareth Edwards’ looks. If the two of them shared a brother, it would be like the actor who plays Rey’s father. Unfortunately we were not able to connect the actor to any other films or TV shows though.That doesn’t mean he isn’t in anything else, we just couldn’t crack it ourselves.
The mother is a brunette, and no one we’ve seen before. There’s about all I’ve got. And before you ask, no it isn’t Zorii Bliss.
In the vision Rey sees of her parents’ death, Rey’s father and mother are in a tent of some kind, probably on Jakku from the look of it all. (Side note: Kylo did say they were buried in a pauper’s grave on Jakku.) Ochi then murders Rey’s parents with the Sith dagger–yes, the same dagger we saw Rey holding in Kylo’s quarters in the final trailer during the Force bond fight.
See you soon, Ochi!
So: Ochi is tied to Rey’s family being destroyed. Ochi is tied to Jannah and Lando’s family being destroyed. Ochi is tied to bringing Rey and Ben to Darth Sidious on Exegol via the dagger’s message. Everyone connected to Ochi suffers because Ochi is Sidious’ agent in the field after Return of the Jedi, and he appears to do a lot of leg work for the Sith Lord.
We don’t know how to spell his name. He only has a few moments of screen time but he’s linked to so much of the film’s backstory and events he is hard to overlook at this stage. With the limited view we have at the moment, Ochi reminds me of Sifo-Dyas from the prequel trilogy. He is an important part of the mystery of the film and will likely intrigue fans but seem rather unimportant to casual moviegoers. The mysteries Ochi brings to the final film of Skywalker Saga is going to make the novelization of the film a must read when it finally hits after the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Make sure you don’t blink during his two beats of screen time next month!