After so many mixed reviews of ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ it’s time to discuss the reasons for its positive audience reception.

May the Fourth is also known as Star Wars day. It seems appropriate that 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' was released on Star Wars day.
On May 4th Disney+ released Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, the last film in the Skywalker series. commons.wikimedia.org

Now that Disney has released Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on Disney+, millions of people have access to the entire Star Wars saga. We’ve already discussed some issues with the Star Wars finale. The movie received the lowest critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes of any Star Wars. 

However, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker got an Audience Score of 86%, much higher than the 52% on the Tomatometer. So what did the movie offer that made it so popular with fans? 

The Return of C-3PO as a Main Character

For most of the prequel trilogy and the sequel trilogy, C-3PO didn’t get to share much of the spotlight. But this changed in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Star Wars began in 1977 with Star Wars: A New Hope. In the very first Star Wars C-3PO carries the story through the entire first act where he also has a majority of the dialogue. He continued to be a major player in the original trilogy as the primary provider of comic relief.

C-3PO finally returned to the main stage in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The character C-3PO delivered his classic brand of lovable cluelessness. He had an important role in the plot development and even a couple sentimental scenes that generated genuine emotion.

C-3PO has the first line of the first Star Wars, and the last line in the Star Wars prequels. C-3PO is the only character with a speaking role to appear in every Star Wars film
C-3PO was one of the first characters ever created for the Star Wars universe. Image by Andrew Milligan sumo flickr.com

General Hux was the Spy

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker begins with Poe, Fin and Chewie getting information, second-hand, that came from an unknown spy in the First Order. This information is how the Resistance learns about Palpatine’s plan for the “Final Order,” and begins their last-chance mission to secure freedom in the galaxy.

The First Order’s spy problem is a small part of the story, and the First Order kills Hux when they find out shortly after the audience does. It deserves mention because it’s a good twist. It caught the audience off guard, but it made sense. We saw his malcontent for Kylo Ren growing ever since Star Wars: The Last Jedi. His motivation and the timeline tracked logically. The rest of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was like one big Ex Machina to the whole Star Wars saga. In none of the previous films was there a hint of foreshadowing that Palpatine was still alive or that Rey was his Granddaughter.

Help finally came for the resistance in 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.'
Lando Calrissian shows up in the Milleniam Falcon and the entire free galaxy to the final battle in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Image by BagoGames flickr.com

“It’s not a navy, sir. It’s just people.”

When General Pryde panics because a tsunami of incoming spacecraft is there to fight them, he asks an unnamed First Order officer, “Where did they get all these fighter crafts? They have no navy.” The officer replies, “It’s not a navy, sir. It’s just people,” and it’s the best line of the movie.

When Poe Dameron’s character arc of becoming a leader came to fruition, his first and final act almost failed. Just as he was about to give up all hope, he finally got proof that he and the resistance were not alone. Fan-favorite character Lando Calrissian shows up with an inconceivable amount of ships. It’s a beautiful moment of unity against tyranny, and it has the most emotional impact of any moment in the movie.