'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' Writer On The Gifts Of 'The Last Jedi' And The End Of Rey's Story Arc

In grand Star Wars tradition, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is yet another film in the saga that's caused deep division within the ranks of fandom. If you close your eyes and listen hard, you can still hear the echoes of a million voices crying out to either attack or defend the movie over the Christmas break, with many saying the new film deliberately rejects many of the ideas put forth in Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

But co-writer Chris Terrio doesn't see it that way. In a new interview, he pinpoints a specific example involving a scene with Luke Skywalker and explains why it's "not the case" that the scene flies in the face of The Last Jedi. Read his quote below, as well as his thoughts on what happens to Rey at the end of the movie and that cool lightsaber moment during the film's climax. Spoilers ahead.

IndieWire has an extensive interview with Terrio that dives deep into several key points in the film, and while I encourage you to head over there and read the entire piece, I wanted to highlight a few especially interesting sections here.

On Not Rejecting The Last Jedi

J.J. Abrams recently told Vanity Fair that he and Terrio met with Rian Johnson at the start of their creative process, so there doesn't seem to be any bad blood between the filmmakers themselves. But IndieWire asked Terrio about his thoughts on how some audience members have interpreted The Rise of Skywalker to discount the ideas of The Last Jedi, and the writer seemed to dismiss the idea.

"It mostly came from the characters, because once you start thinking in a meta sense, it's very easy to go down a rabbit hole and lose all sense of the story you want to tell. So, for example, Luke stopping Rey from tossing a saber away. Yeah, that could be a meta way to read that and think of it as some kind of rejection of 'The Last Jedi,' but that's not the case. That moment for us was about Luke having learned something and Rey having grown, and he will not let Rey make the same mistake that he did. It was purely a character moment, because at the end of 'The Last Jedi,' of course, Luke's actions speak louder than words, and he decides to project himself and sacrifice himself to save the Resistance. Now, that is the Force ghost that Rey is meeting. And so, like any good parent, he'd say, 'Learn from my mistakes, and I won't let you throw away your inheritance, really,' because it is her inheritance, both Anakin's saber, which is Luke's saber, and Leia's saber, are her inheritance."

In The Last Jedi, Luke specifically learns from Yoda that it's OK to burn down the accoutrements of the past to make way for new things, so I guess that's where the disconnect comes into play for me here. (Admittedly, I've only seen The Rise of Skywalker one time, so I'd need to go back and listen closer to Luke's dialogue in that scene before this becomes a hill I'm willing to die on.) I think Terrio's case might be a bit stronger if Rey didn't ultimately bury her "inheritance" in the sands of Tatooine, but we'll get to that in a second.

Gifts From Rian Johnson

One of The Rise of Skywalker's coolest and most crowd-pleasing moments comes near the end of the film, when a redeemed Ben Solo is encircled by the Knights of Ren and Rey uses their special connection to pass him a lightsaber from out of nowhere. Terrio acknowledges that moment owes a debt to Rian Johnson and The Last Jedi:

"That was another gift from Rian! In 'The Last Jedi,' [their Force connection] in the rain, the rain has crossed from one place to another. We thought, we're going to try to really push that to the point where these two heirs to the empire, that they're bonded by the force, but they're not going to be bonded on the Dark Side, which is what Kylo Ren thinks at the beginning of the film — that they're going to be bonded on the Light. That is the thing that Palpatine never really could've anticipated, that they would come together on the Light and that the galaxy would not be afraid and would follow Rey into the heart of darkness. But that saber pass, that was the thing that we were dying to do, because first of all, to see Ben Solo holding a Skywalker saber was a really important thing for us, but second, to say that this connection that the two of them have is going to be the thing that saves the galaxy was super-important."

Does Rey Live on Tatooine Now?

And finally, I've seen some speculation online about whether or not we're meant to wonder if Rey is going to remain on Tatooine after burying Luke and Leia's lightsabers at the homestead where Luke grew up. The real answer is a Schrödinger's cat situation in which Rey is simultaneously in a state of traveling the galaxy or living at the Lars family home until Disney/Lucasfilm decides to definitively continue her story somehow, but the way Terrio tells it, it was not the writers' intention to imply that she's simply going to live out her days on Tatooine.

"I don't think we think of it as she's going to live there. We thought of it as just paying her respects and sort of undoing the original sin at the end of the third movie, which is the separation of the twins. I mean, of course, they had to be separated to keep them safe, and the trilogy wouldn't exist, the six movies wouldn't exist if they hadn't been separated! But that felt to us like it was almost like a wrong that need to be righted. We very deliberately in the script described the wrapping of the sabers, as 'like you were wrapping infants.' That's the thing that you see at the of the third movie, where the two infants are wrapped, and one is sent to Tatooine to be a farmer, and one is sent to Alderaan to be a princess. Leia's home doesn't exist anymore, so we thought, 'Well, Luke could take Leia to his home where he grew up, and where we first saw Star Wars.'

On a meta level, it was our pilgrimage there to pay respects to George and to all the Original Trilogy had meant to us. But for Rey, it was also a pilgrimage, because she obviously had heard the story of the Skywalkers from Leia, if not from Luke. Her eyes light up in Episode 7 when she hears the name Luke Skywalker, and so we thought it was a fitting end, that now she, having become part of the Skywalker legacy, would lay the sabers to rest and lay them to rest together."

The big question, of course, is: will Disney let those lightsabers stay buried, or will they be dug up in a future story? For a glimpse into one possible future, check out what it might look like if the studio decided to merge Star Wars with one of its other big franchise properties.