Here's who lives, who dies, and who Force ghosts in 'Rise of Skywalker'
Here's a spoiler-filled breakdown of how 'Star Wars: Episode IX' ends.
The Skywalker Saga has finally come to a close. 42 years after Luke Skywalker left the Lars homestead, the galaxy may finally find peace and balance in the Force. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has a huge cast in this sprawling epic, from brand new characters to returning icons from the original trilogy. So who lives to see another day? Who dies? And who appears as a Force ghost to haunt in a good way?
Big spoilers follow for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, so turn back now unless you want a recap of everyone who lives, dies, or becomes or appears as a Force ghost.
Who lives at the end The Rise of Skywalker?
This being Star Wars, obviously the good guys win and there’s a big celebration at the end so a lot of characters can go on to live happily ever after. Here’s a quick rundown of the major characters, old and new, who make it through The Rise of Skywalker.
- Poe Dameron
- Lando Calrissian
- Zorii Bliss
- Babu Frik
- Rose Tico
- Random Ewoks
Who dies at the end of The Rise of Skywalker?
Perhaps the film’s first casualty, Boolio transmits an encoded message from a First Order spy to the crew aboard the Millennium Falcon in one of the movie’s earliest scenes. Later, Kylo Ren dumps his severed head on the table during a meeting with all his generals with the announcement that there’s a spy in their midst.
C-3PO essentially dies midway through the movie when Rey, Finn, and Poe met up with droidsmith Babu Frik to give him a factory reset that allowed the droid to properly translate the Sith language on Ochi’s dagger. Yes, R2-D2 later restores a portion of his memory from a backup storage, but Threepio himself comments on how unreliable Artoo’s storage is.
General Armitage Hux
True to the rumors and leaks, General Hux is a turncoat and spy for the Resistance all to undermine Kylo Ren. After he helps the good guys escape Kylo’s Star Destroyer, Allegiant General Pryde realizes it and promptly shoots him in the chest.
Towards the end of the second act, while Rey and Kylo Ren are fighting on the wreckage of the second Death Star, Leia uses a Force power similar to the one Luke Skywalker used at the end of The Last Jedi. She projects her voice across the galaxy to whisper Kylo Ren’s real name, firmly setting him on a path towards redemption, but doing so consumes the rest of her life force.
When Kylo Ren hears Leia whisper “Ben…” he is stunned long enough for Rey to stab him through the gut with her lightsaber. Rey does heal him with her Force-based healing powers, but for all intents and purposes, this is the death of Kylo Ren. For the rest of Rise of Skywalker, he’s become…
Kylo Ren and Ben Solo are obviously the same person, but true to his grandfather’s legacy, his Dark and Light side personas feel like different people. We’ll treat them as such here.
After Rey heals him and steals his ship, Ben Solo casts aside the Kylo Ren identity and throws his crossguard lightsaber into the ocean. He then follows Rey to Exogol and joins her for the final confrontation against Palpatine.
Ben somehow survives when Palps Force-pushes him into a pit, and he climbs out to find Rey dead or dying in his arms. He then uses the rest of his own life force to heal her, and the two share a Romeo & Juliet-style kiss before he dies for real. Talk about a Kylo Rendemption!
Temmin ‘Snap’ Wexley
Many people die in the final space battle in The Rise of Skywalker, and one of the most memorable is when Snap Wexley gets shot down. R.I.P. Snap.
Allegiant General Pryde
The storms on Exogol prevent the Sith fleet from safely leaving the atmosphere, so they initially have to use a communications tower. When the Resistance attacks that tower, the bad guys reroute their signal to Allegiant General Pryde’s Star Destroyer. Then, Finn and Jannah launch a “ground” invasion on the hull of the ship, using a turret to target the command deck, which kills Pryde in a massive explosion.
Emperor Sheev Palpatine
Palpatine survived all these years through unnatural (an unexplained) means, but he finally meets his end in Rise of Skywalker. First, he replenishes his strength by draining power from Rey and Ben’s “dyad” bond. Only by summoning the power of generations of Jedi that came before can Rey deflect his Force lightning back at him using two lightsabers. Doing so electrocutes Palpatine and obliterates his body. He’s definitely dead this time, right?
Who becomes or appears as a Force ghost in The Rise of Skywalker?
Several leaks indicated that Han Solo would appear in The Rise of Skywalker, but it wouldn’t make any sense for him to be a Force ghost because he’s not even Force sensitive. When Harrison Ford appears as Han, the film splits the difference by having Ben identify him as “a memory.” Han offers Ben guidance and steers him back towards the Light in a way that makes you wonder if it was just Leia appearing as a Han Force projection.
In the movie’s most cringeworthy Last Jedi retcon, Luke appears to Rey on Ahch-To to catch his lightsaber after she throws it into a fire. He then scolds her about trying to destroy the weapon. (Recall that when still alive, Luke tossed the same lightsaber off a cliff.) He also gives Leia’s old lightsaber to Rey, uses the Force to lift his old X-Wing out of the water, and offers her words of encouragement. I guess Force ghosts can do that now…
Jedi from ages past
Rey’s strength is bolstered in the final battle by many long-dead Jedi from the past who offer words of encouragement to her through the Force. These aren’t Force ghosts per se — an ability that’s supposed to be more exclusive than The Rise of Skywalker implies — but many Jedi are featured here. Instead of a post-credits scene, the credits lists out all of the voice actors and characters that appear during this sequence. Here’s what it means.
In the film’s final scene, Rey appears on Tatooine at the Lars homestead, and when a local resident asks who she is, she sees the Force ghosts of Luke and Leia in the distance smiling. “Rey … Skywalker,” she says.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now in theaters.