rey and leia should have gotten a scene where they bond over how they're both descended from some of the most evil war criminals the galaxy has ever seen and leia helps rey come to terms with her grandparentage; because leia really should've processed that her dad blew up her homeworld at some point and that's a legitimately interesting story
or leia reveals that she hasn't actually come to terms with that at all, she still holds a massive grudge for entirely understandable reasons, and one of the reasons she was estranged from luke is because luke forgave the man who killed everyone she ever knew and loved
and she still teaches rey to be better than her and surpass her, not as a force user, but as an emotionally mature and competent human being
the idea that all our heroes from the OT grew up to still have serious personal problems that they never really resolve - Han never settles down and is a really shitty dad, Luke can't deal with failure and decided self-isolation was preferable to fixing his mistakes, Leia (in this fanon) cannot reconcile the fact that she's just related to a metric fuckton of Evil People (including her son) who've done horrific injustice to her...
it's really compelling and there's a lot a competent author (not me, but also not the RoS team) could do with it! what if the message of the ST was actually "kill your idols, recognize they are flawed and let them be human, then learn from them and move beyond them"?
kylo is either redeemed or falls into irredeemable darkness (i prefer the latter but ok) by either renouncing or clinging to vader's legacy of evil
rey completes her TLJ journey by refusing to be the inheritor of either the Jedi Order's teachings or her familial legacy, choosing her found family of Poe/Finn/Chewie/etc over the Skywalkers or the Palpatines - friendship > power!
Finn already has a really strong arc in this vein - he's literally casting off the First Order and everything he was raised to believe was right and strong and good and finding a new path in the galaxy! let him find friendship and love (with Poe) after learning to care about people/causes/himself!
rey and kylo should have had a moment in a final battle where she tells him that Darth Vader repented at the end and kylo just goes absolutely berserk at the idea that his evil idol could possibly have realized he was wrong
bonus points for this mirroring the "i am your father" scene
"Luke never told you what happened to his father"
"he told me enough. he was the greatest sith of all time!"
"and in the end he regretted every second of it. he would have found you repulsive."
my shitty dialogue aside, kylos response to that would be super interesting! does he think rey's lying and push forwards in rage? does he hesitate, because there's still a spark of good in him that wants to believe he can be redeemed? does he accept it, but call vader's final moments weakness, and choose to become even more evil?
with this kind of treatment, the Rise of Skywalker title becomes about something entirely different. Rather than Rey taking on the name Skywalker and continuing Luke's legacy (which she actively rejected in TLJ!!), it's about Anakin's rise instead - the fact that, in the end, he rose instead of falling further into darkness. kylo rejects the rise of skywalker, while rey embraces it - rey realizes that no matter how dark your family, your history has been (this is assuming she's still a palpatine instead of her parentage truly being no one), you can still choose light. she follows the rise of skywalker, choosing to let her actions - not her history - define her.
this all only works because canonically you *can* be absolved of all the evil you've done by atoning for it. it'd be a very, very different story if Vader was never forgiven for his crimes.
and there's a really, really good argument for vader never being forgiven. but i'm working with the OT here, so ultimately Leia has to be *wrong* if she refuses to rehabilitate her father's legacy, because Luke is right for doing so and Kylo is wrong for refusing to do so as well.
Leia shows a different side of redemption. namely, that you don't *need* to be redeemed if you don't do evil things in the first place! she's been fighting for good her whole life! but still, she's conflicted, because the Star Wars universe runs on powerful bloodlines, so she feels she has to atone for her parentage, and nothing she can do can bring back Alderaan (or anyone else Vader murdered). Leia feels like she needs to redeem and forgive someone because it is her duty, because her brother did it, because otherwise there is an indelible stain on her character. and she shouldn't have to, because she's done so much good, and biological family should only mean as much as you want it to
that's what rey learns from her. leia can't let her parentage go, but knows she has to, so she does the next best thing: tells rey how to proceed after rey finds out she's a palpatine.
so i didn't really like rey being a palpatine but i guess i'm running with it now, because i like this theme of legacies. in fact, it might make for a stronger story overall, because if the solution to "lol your dad was evil" is "just don't have an evil dad lmao" it's... really kinda fucked? it makes bloodlines even more important; you can't fix anything no matter how much good you do, you have that indelible stain that no acts of kindness or heroism or love can compensate for. which is fair! evil can't be erased! but likewise, evil should not be able to erase good. we should not give it that power.
so this whole thing makes kylo the ultimate villain (good imo), but keeps palpatine in there and he needs to be dealt with somehow.
so we can actually reconcile this with the existing script! kinda. palps and rey still have some sort of battle, all the jedi versus all the sith power, whatever - and then, palpatine reveals that (by killing him) rey will get all his power but also turn turbo-evil.
kylo hears this, and continues his streak of ganking someone stronger than him to take their power. he killed Snoke to get all the resources of the First Order at his sole beck and call. now he kills palpatine (at like the 2/3rds mark of the movie) to become the ultimate sith, finally surpassing not only Vader, but Vader's master as well. palpatine is powerless over him; the only reason he would've taken over Rey here would be that she's his descendant (in this script), but all that power still needs somewhere to go. namely, Kylo.
so you get a really cool shot of kylo sinking his blade into palpatine's chest, and force lightning crackling down his futzy lightsaber into his arm and body. you see kylo age, but become stronger and crueller than ever in the process. and his lightsaber changes to reflect this - it solidifies into three strong, clean, bright red beams. he's a true sith now. maybe the last one ever.
how does rey get out of this one? good question. i don't want her to use force ghost jedi army, because part of her journey is casting off the jedi past as well as the sith one.
we could just have the totally unearned triumph of non-force users. namely, she calls in an orbital strike and it just renders kylo to ash. not going with that one, but it's really, really tempting.
i've got some ideas.
so kylo just murders his way through a lot of everyone to show he means business and he's turbo mega evil now. maybe we let him kill force ghosts or something because of super evil sith powers. and they keep showing up to help rey out of the goodness of their jedi hearts and he keeps beating them the fuck up, single-handedly. it's not even a challenge. we see him channel the power of sith we've never even seen to do absolutely bonkers things with the force. really build him up.
so rey realizes that the jedi can't help her. the jedi have never been able to destroy the sith; it's a self-reinforcing cycle. darkness rises, and light to meet it. she already destroyed the jedi scrolls. now she personally tells the jedi that she is not one of them. she breaks her (luke's) lightsaber, and rejects the skywalker legacy.
and i'm just trying to build up a power of friendship ending that isn't cheesy, where finn and poe and rose and chewie and rey - our found family - win together.
...maybe the orbital strike thing does work. some sort of battle is happening over exegol - probably not the same one in the movie, for lots of reasons, but the new republic ends up winning due to a: rey distracting the amalgamated kylo-form of all the sith and stopping him from blowing up the fleet (maybe show palps doing something similar?), finn leading first order defectors against their former generals, poe being the best pilot, rose coordinating the whole battle after leia dies (she's not the ranking officer, just the only one who's got the presence of mind to tell people to do things after the shocking death of their respected, loved general in the middle of the highest-stakes battle since Endor), chewie and lando taking the falcon into battle
and eventually they take control of one of the star destroyers with a superlaser on it (fuck you, that's still cool, the Eclipse was rad), execute Hux for war crimes, and point the superlaser down at the planet at rey's request.
as it fires, the falcon touches down. kylo screams at rey. how dare she run away. how dare she refuse her legacy as the last jedi. how dare she not become some sort of prophesized ancient hero of destiny; that's just the way the galaxy works, it always has, it always will. he charges the falcon as rey runs up the ramp. kylo's lightsaber sputters one last time - he's losing control of the galactic powers he just a moment ago held. chewie punches the hyperdrive. the superlaser hits. kylo is immolated. we see the explosion of the exegol base; everyone's faces. do they cheer their victory? do they mourn their losses?
the falcon punches out of hyperspace. lando and chewie and rey all shout in unison into the comms. everyone breathes a sigh of relief, and cheers.
the battle is won not by overwhelming military force, or by a destined hero choosing light over dark, but by rey choosing to trust her friends and her friends trusting her in return.
finn and his defectors take Hux's star destroyer not just by killing all the stormtroopers and being Big Damn Heroes but by inciting rebellion there as well. we get some scenes of Hux getting angrier and angrier as he realizes fewer and fewer people on the ship are responding to his commands, and eventually he has to threaten the bridge crew at blasterpoint to defend him. he doesn't get heroic last words, he doesnt deserve to be a heroic spy. he's a tinpot emperor wannabe who gets unceremoniously shot and dumped out an airlock by cheering defectors.
oh! for maximum cheesiness: when rey's boarding the falcon, and kylo is at his most desperate (not to survive - just to kill rey), he demands vader's aid, as the most powerful of the sith, his grandfather, who has helped him and spoken to him for so long.
and anakin skywalker's ghost tells him "i am not your grandfather" and leaves him to die.
oh! the knights of ren. need to be a thing at some point here. so, kylo in the beginning is the new supreme leader of the first order, but hands over daily operations to hux because he can't be arsed to give speeches or handle logistics of taking over the galaxy. then he goes off to get the gang back together, in the name of evil and murder. but he can't find any of them! he follows the trail they've left - of murder and destruction on a scale he can barely fathom (and is impressed by, because he's a motherfucker), right back to palpatine. they were never his knights, not really. they're just looking for power. and in accordance with that, they've sworn loyalty to the most powerful sith in the galaxy: palpatine.
this pisses kylo the fuck off, because how dare they disobey him, they're his people and therefore must be unquestioningly loyal to him. this can't stand. people are nothing but tools to him now. if they are not useful to him, directly, they need to die.
these trails of devastation are also what the main cast is following. fuck the knife/translation/map plotline. the knights get to be important because they got built up earlier. they're hitting planet after planet, sowing terror and devastation, absolutely destroying the republic's ability to withstand the oncoming storm. so it's a race between kylo and the protags to figure out what's going on, with inbetween steps of bonding and self-discovery. maybe at some point the knights hit a library that seems like a really weird target - but they're interrupted by kylo's forces and beat a hasty retreat. when rey and co. catch up to the scene, she realizes what they were hiding. this library holds genealogical records from imperial archives; previously for blackmail and evil eugenics stuff. specifically, what'd they want to erase? that palpatine had kids. this is how rey learns she's a palpatine.
why'd they want to erase it? palpatine cannot tolerate failure. his kids were nobody. they refused his legacy. they refused his power. they did the right thing. he can't let this stand. they can't be allowed to corrupt his legacy by being decent people, so he decides to unperson them totally.
@velexiraptor so sad they had to rework the story after carries death... It could have been so good
@velexiraptor RoS literally is like, "They ordered us to attack civilians and we all refused to and defected" oh that's interesting and that story goes NOWHERE.
Star Wars RoS spoilers
@cambrian_era @velexiraptor Right?! I was hoping, when all the "friends of the rebellion" showed up at the end, there would have been at least one very obviously Imperial looking ship, or TIE fighters, or *something* to show that there were actually several First Order crews who rebelled. Like, give me a rebel star destroyer as a little Easter egg if you're not going to make it an actual plot point!
Star Wars RoS spoilers
@ink_slinger @velexiraptor Yeah. Actually that whole sequence bugs me because like, that's a DIFFERENT FLEET than the one they've been fighting! If the Final Order is made of Sith cultists you could see why they wouldn't.
It's SORT OF shown that they inspired the rest of the galaxy to rise up, but yeah, maybe like show other stormtroopers taking over other ships??
@velexiraptor Kylo falling supports the theme strongly if you use him as a mouthpiece for the idea that heritage is destiny. He refuses to find his own path and embraces his "birthright" as the heir of Vader, and he gets his shit wrecked for it.
@robotcarsley i love the idea that kylo is redeemable but refuses to be redeemed, and becomes the real bbeg because of it - specifically because he refuses the path that Vader took, of redemption in the end. he holds this incomplete vision of Vader as his idol, and by refusing to let go of it, he proceeds down a far darker (and ultimately tragic) path
@velexiraptor god help me what a better finale this would have been
pretty sure you should be getting millions of dollars for this instead of some damn director. jj is a good director, but who the heck gave him keys to the script???
@velexiraptor Lexi this story is infiinitely more interesting than what we got how did you manage it in like 20 minutes
@velexiraptor given how the last trilogy goes, the orbital strike thing sounds perfectly reasonable and fitting
maybe throw in a voiceover of han talking about trusting his blaster
@velexiraptor i am all for a perfectly cheesy, as long as sincere, power of friendship ending
it can also incorporate the teamwork required on part of a large cast of non-force-people to pull off the orbital strike
@velexiraptor I want this movie now.
@velexiraptor I’m totally favoriting this to read later.
this is so good. absolutely going with this for my head canon
@velexiraptor I really hoped the ultimate arc for Rey (and Kylo) was going to be some sort of "actually, the universe, and the Force, is full and grey and let's smash this false binary of the light and dark sides of the force." TLJ seemed to be hinting at this, but RoS was happy to just sort of repeat Return of the Jedi.
@velexiraptor i first read "OT" as "old testament"
@velexiraptor this last point here is why I was so bummed rather than entertained by Rise of Skywalker. Because TLJ really seemed like it WAS gonna go there, even surface level. Moreover exploring that "killing your idols" means internally accepting the past, and acknowledging its warts on some level rather than the denial & destructive LITERAL "kill the past" that the raging Kylo Ren word for word endorsed.
Then they just
@Swiff it's really something cuz kylo *refuses* to kill the past! he only wants to kill the past that's inconvenient to him. he kills his dad, he tries to kill his mom, he tries to kill luke, but he clings to an imagined gloriously evil past because it justifies all his worst impulses and lets him do anything he wants to anyone he wants.
he is, in short, a textbook fascist and deserves to get absolutely dumped on because of it.
@velexiraptor and the instant that evil past becomes a source of ridicule (Snoke outright making fun of his Vader fanboyism, his being called a pawn to his face, etc) he wants to kill that too. He should've raged right into his grave, a tragic but not *redeemed* figure.
@velexiraptor sadly it can only happen in novels or comics :/ rip carrie
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