Star Wars: The Skywalker Legacy Review
If you’re anything like me, you may have walked out of the theater a little bit disappointed with The Rise of Skywalker. You may have felt like there were significant plot holes, or the execution wasn’t the best. For example, how exactly did The Emperor come back? Or, you may have absolutely loved the film! Either way, now that The Rise of Skywalker is out on digital and physical media, there is a must-watch documentary to dig into called, The Skywalker Legacy. I highly recommend this feature-length documentary to every Star Wars fan, whether you enjoyed Episode IX or not.
Despite my initial feelings about The Rise of Skywalker, I have found that multiple viewings, as well as the novelization and this documentary have enhanced my appreciation and love for The Rise of Skywalker. It is clear that J.J. Abrams, Chris Terrio, and the entire cast and crew poured their hearts and souls into the final chapter of the Skywalker Saga. Like the film, one of the strengths of this documentary is how it puts aspects of both the original trilogy and sequel trilogy on display.
Throughout The Skywalker Legacy, we are treated to clips from the making of the original trilogy. They showed current techniques used for Episode IX, and then flashed back to those same techniques being used in the original trilogy (miniatures, saber training, creature work, etc.). I was blown away by the intricacies of the Babu Frik animatronic, and delighted when they flashed back to the Yoda puppet from the original trilogy. They also flashed back and forth between Daisy Ridley’s saber training and Mark Hamill’s, when he was training for The Empire Strikes Back.
Another incredible aspect of this documentary was getting to see behind the curtain of the techniques they used for different sequences. For instance, the crew literally dug a trench under the desert in Jordan to control the Aki Aki children (puppets), and the sinking fields were a practical effect. It was also fascinating to see how they shot the duel between Rey and Kylo Ren on the ruins of the Death Star. However, maybe even more interesting was how they recreated the throne room. They used an incredibly detailed model of the second Death Star, as well as blueprints to digitally design a practical “destroyed” throne room set.
Perhaps the greatest aspect of the documentary, though, is seeing J.J. Abrams and the cast/crew at work. It seems like they had so much fun filming this movie. Specifically, It was great watching J.J. direct and Daisy Ridley act/react to things. I loved seeing her intensity when filming the confrontation with Kylo Ren on Pasaana, and seeing the tear streaming down her face when she said, “Rey Skywalker”. We don’t get to hear a lot from Adam Driver, but when we do it is clear that he is committed to doing his own stunts and is very protective over the role of Kylo Ren/Ben Solo.
It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t mention Carrie Fisher’s presence in this documentary. The decision was made early on to write and shoot scenes around the unused footage they had of her from The Force Awakens. It was very important to J.J. Abrams (and company) for Leia to play a central role in The Rise of Skywalker, and I love how they accomplished that. To me, it made so much sense for Leia to be trained in the Force by Luke, and using Billie Lourd to help film that scene was beautiful. Yoda told Luke that there was “another Skywalker” and to pass on what he has learned, and this scene was the fulfillment of that.
Other Fun facts from The Skywalker Legacy Documentary:
- There was a stack of Star Wars novels, including Star Wars: Aftermath, on Chris Terrio’s desk.
- Adam Driver was insistent on performing his own stunts in the film.
- A Ralph McQuarrie painting of C-3PO in the desert from A New Hope closely resembles the desert in Jordan where they filmed scenes for The Rise of Skywalker.
- The mythic concept of the Dyad is explained.
- J.J. Abrams states that the balance of the Force is not a permanent thing, so Rey had to bring balance again, just like Anakin did.
- On Kijimi, Babu Frik’s workshop contains the “Bad Robot” robot, and John Williams’ scene contains references to his work in various films including Hook, Jaws, and ET.
The Skywalker Legacy is a fantastic documentary that takes a deep dive into the filming of the final chapter of the Skywalker Saga. If you haven’t watched it yet, it is well worth it and may enhance your appreciation of The Rise of Skywalker. If you have seen the documentary, what did you think about it? We would love to see your comments below!
Josh is a proud father, husband, and freelance writer. Josh is a diehard Star Wars fan, but has an appreciation for all types of film and TV. He is that guy who constantly uses movie quotes in everyday conversations, even when no one else understands the reference. Josh also represents one half of the Star Wars podcast, From a Certain Point of View.