As acclaimed as The Force Awakens was, it was criticized for copying pretty much everything from the original Star Wars movie. It just replaced the names: the Rebel Alliance became the Resistance, the Empire became the First Order, the Death Star became Starkiller Base, Tatooine became Jakku etc. And then The Last Jedi, despite having a more outlandish and original feel, still emulated the darker tone and basic story structure of The Empire Strikes Back.
So, since this is the rehash trilogy, it stands to reason that we’ll find a lot of hints at The Rise of Skywalker’s storyline in Return of the Jedi. Here are 10 Plot Points In Return Of The Jedi That Hint At What’ll Happen In The Rise Of Skywalker.
10 An epic lightsaber duel between the hero and the villain
The climactic moments of Return of the Jedi gave us one of the most incredible lightsaber duels of all time – even by today’s standards when we have CGI to give us duels like Anakin and Obi-Wan’s battle on Mustafar – when Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader had an epic showdown.
The emotions ran high as the trilogy ended with two intimately close people having an emotionally charged duel. Anakin and Obi-Wan’s duel was the prequel trilogy’s version of that. The Rise of Skywalker will likely have the sequel trilogy’s version of it with Rey and Kylo Ren having an epic lightsaber battle.
9 Palpatine is the puppet-master
In Return of the Jedi, Emperor Palpatine was revealed to be the puppet-master who was pulling Darth Vader’s strings, making him do his bidding. As soon as Vader realized this, he returned to the Light Side and killed Palpatine (or so we thought).
Since Palpatine is confirmed to be appearing in The Rise of Skywalker and Ian McDiarmid is reprising the role, maybe he’ll again be revealed as the puppet-master behind the villain’s evil reign. Yet again, the villain will realize this, and yet again, the villain will throw him down a reactor shaft. And yet again, 40 years later, we’ll have another Star Wars trilogy that repeats the cycle.
8 The villain’s redemption
The seeds of Kylo Ren’s redemption were planted all throughout The Last Jedi and it seemed like he might even join the good guys at the end of that movie, but then he turned his back on his Light Side tendencies once again and remained the villain. At the end of Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader’s redemption came out of the blue.
He saw his mentor, Emperor Palpatine, torturing his son and it turned him back into a hero. There could be a tragic event like that at the end of The Rise of Skywalker that turns Kylo good. Of course, J.J. Abrams could be going with a much darker ending and leave the villain unredeemed at the end.
7 A third act set on Endor
The third act of Return of the Jedi saw the characters head to the forest moon of Endor for a final showdown with the Empire. They ended up teaming up with a tribe of Ewoks to take down all the Stormtroopers that were posted on the moon and take out the signal tower while Lando was up in space, destroying Death Star II.
The recently released trailer for The Rise of Skywalker seemed to show us some of Endor’s landscapes, so the third act of the new movie could also be set on Endor. If it’s not Endor, then it’s another moon or planet filled with trees and shrubbery and woodland.
6 Death Star II is central to the story
The key to Emperor Palpatine’s return in The Rise of Skywalker seems to involve the wreckage of Death Star II. Death Star II was central to the plot of Return of the Jedi – that was actually how it ended up becoming wreckage in the first place – and now, it looks like it’ll be central to the plot of The Rise of Skywalker, too.
It won’t be involved in the story in the same way, of course, but if the movie’s climax takes place there and Palpatine is involved, then parallels are bound to be drawn with Return of the Jedi.
5 The fall of the totalitarian regime
It’s pretty much a given that the First Order will crumble at the end of The Rise of Skywalker. It seems unlikely that Disney will allow the bad guys to win at the end, especially since they’ve promised this is the end of the story and there will be no chance for the Resistance to fight back in a future sequel.
This is it. This is the definitive end. They’re not going to end the Skywalker saga with all the Skywalkers dead and a totalitarian government that they failed to stop in charge of the galaxy.
4 The hero gets a new lightsaber
At the end of The Empire Strikes Back, Luke loses his lightsaber when Vader cuts his hand off and sends him down an air shaft to be spat out into the Millennium Falcon, and by the beginning of Return of the Jedi, he has a new one.
At the end of The Last Jedi, the same sort of thing happened to Rey as her lightsaber was destroyed during the battle in Snoke’s throne room. And in The Rise of Skywalker trailer, she magically has a new lightsaber. So, like Luke, she will be getting a new lightsaber, either between movies or at the beginning of this new sequel.
3 The wise old character passes away
In Return of the Jedi, when Luke returned to Dagobah to see his wise old mentor, Yoda, he tells him he’s 900 years old and then sadly passes away. We see him later as a Force ghost – a.k.a. “more powerful than you could possibly imagine” – and Luke smiles at him.
The sequel trilogy’s answer to Yoda, the elderly alien character who guides the hero with their wisdom, is Lupita Nyong’o’s character Maz Kanata. After she was introduced to babble some exposition in The Force Awakens and was then needlessly shoehorned into The Last Jedi, we’ll probably get a sad death scene in The Rise of Skywalker to complete her entirely unnecessary character arc.
2 A party at the end
Return of the Jedi ended with the characters having a party with the Ewoks on Endor to celebrate their victory. In the special edition, George Lucas also added in parties across the galaxy on every planet that was under the Empire’s rule and had now been freed by its fall.
Let’s assume that the Resistance will win in the end and the First Order will fall, because that’s pretty much guaranteed by the rules of family-friendly storytelling. After the victory, the Resistance will probably have a big party to celebrate. It might even be on Endor, since we saw what looked like Endor in the trailer.
1 A definitive ending to the Skywalker saga
This one is less of a hint and more of an actual promise by J.J. Abrams. The most important plot point in Return of the Jedi is that fact that it conclusively ends the Skywalker saga in a satisfactory way. It is for this reason that the whole sequel trilogy was unnecessary in the first place. But now that there is a sequel trilogy and we’re at the end of it, the producers are promising a definitive end to the Skywalker saga.
We already got that: Luke became a Jedi, defeated the Empire with his sister Leia, and their father Anakin achieved redemption. This story already had one perfect ending – let’s see how Abrams fares trying to give it another one.