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The Star Wars franchise has been around for decades, enthralling generations of moviegoers in the process. As such, George Lucas' colorful space opera has a very special place in cinephile's hearts, having been passed down over the years by parents, co-workers, and now even grandparents. It's a property with a rabid fanbase, and each new release has extremely high expectations.
The galaxy far, far away also means something special to the cast and crew who have worked on the Star Wars franchise. This includes Daisy Ridley, as her character Rey is the hero of the current trilogy. J.J. Abrams' The Rise of Skywalker will mark her final appearance as the mysterious young Jedi. Ridley recently recounted her last day on set, saying:
I just can’t remember it, I remember J.J. making a speech and I sort of remember a couple things he said, like I’m always on time, which I appreciate him saying. And then he went to pass me the mic and I was the last person to wrap. It was my final shot, and I’m just crying in the shot. It was incredibly dramatic.
Landing the role of Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens changed the life of Daisy Ridley's career, and elevated the actress to a household name. Working on the sequel trilogy has dominated her professional life over the past few years, so it was obviously emotional to wrap up that time in her life for good.
Daisy Ridley is expressly referencing a photo that went viral, with the starring cast of Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, and John Boyega hugging and crying as The Rise of Skywalker wrapped its primary photography. While reshoots might be happening, Ridley and her co-stars' jobs are mostly over at this point. After all, Episode IX is arriving in just a few months.
Poe, Rey, and Finn helped lead the sequel trilogy, taking most of the screen time in both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. And it seems the cast really gets along as well, as shown in the above image. It's a good thing, since they were stuck together through months and months of filming throughout the past few years.
Literally can’t remember what I said. Hugged a number of people and then got in the car and looked out the window like I was in a music video: tears rolling down my face, hand to the window, thinking about days gone past.
Clearly Daisy Ridley's time in the Star Wars franchise has meant quite a bit to the 27 year-old actress. But all things must come to an end, and it seems like The Rise of Skywalker will be her final bow in the long running franchise.
The Rise of Skywalker will complete the Skywalker Saga, and the nine film narrative of the main franchise. But there are a variety of other Star Wars movies being developed by Lucasfilm, so the door would be open for actors to return. But Daisy Ridley won't be one of them, as she's maintained that Episode IX will be her last appearance in the galaxy far, far away.
It should be fascinating to see just how J.J. Abrams wraps things up narratively with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. There's a ton of pressure associated with that upcoming blockbuster, and Abrams will have quite a few factors going into eventually sticking the landing. Episode IX must follow upon the subversive choices from Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi, complete the sequel trilogy, and end the long running Skywalker Saga forever. All eyes will be on that upcoming blockbuster, some of which may be trepidatious after TLJ and Solo.
From the footage and comments by the cast, it seems like Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will catch up with the group of heroes and villains after a time jump. This is a solid choice by J.J. Abrams, as The Last Jedi was set not long after the events of The Force Awakens. What's more, the trio of heroes were kept in their separate sub plots, with the group only uniting in the very final moments of the battle on Crait.
But the trailers show the group altogether, with the time jump no doubt allowing more personal bonds to form between members of The Resistance. After all, Poe only met Rey for the very first time at the end of The Last Jedi. Since The Rise of Skywalker is the last opportunity, we should hopefully see the interpersonal relationships between characters deepen in Episode IX.
The upcoming sequel will be the final chapter in the war against the evil First Order. Kylo Ren took on the mantle of Supreme Leader in The Last Jedi, allowing the full force of that army to be at the whim of his anger and rage. Meanwhile, The Resistance was given new hope with Rey, as Luke Skywalker perished on Ahch-To. These two forces should collide one more time, and smart money says Adam Driver's villainous Kylo Ren will be at the conflict.
Both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi focused on Ben Solo/Kylo Ren's humanity, and whether or not there was still light within him. He and Rey forged a personal relationship in the most recent sequel, and he also paused instead of killing his mother during the opening battle sequence. Will Leia and Rey finally be able to save his soul and bring him back to the side of good? Only time will tell.