A scene from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.Lucasfilm
In case you didn't know, one of the most anticipated films of the year, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,comes out this Friday.
If you don't have the time to reacquaint yourself with all the battles that take place in a galaxy far, far away before December 20 rolls around, we have you covered, padawans. Phoenix New Times created a quick cheat sheet so you can maximize your enjoyment of the last film in the Skywalker saga.
We've arranged the list in three categories: Must Watch, Should Watch, and Ain't Nobody Got Time to Watch. Of course, the prerequisite is that you have watched Episodes I through VIII. We're not going to spoil anything that hasn't been revealed in a trailer, but if you want to go into Episode IX cold, do not scroll any further.
You better watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens before seeing The Rise of Skywalker.
Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Are you surprised? The Rise of Skywalker is co-written and directed by J.J. Abrams, so it adheres more closely to the story and style he established in The Force Awakens. That means anyone who ever appeared in Lost makes a cameo appearance, and Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver, is back wearing his helmet. But this time around, the fits of rage that were amusing in Episode VII carry dire consequences for our heroes Rey, Finn, and Poe.
If your memory on how the Sith overtook the Jedi Order is a little fuzzy, then you should revisit the last film George Lucas directed. Several events that take place in Episode III come into play in The Rise of Skywalker, so it's in your best interest to revisit the final chapter of the prequels to see how the dark side can seduce even the strongest Jedi.
Adam Driver plays noted psychopath Kylo Ren, the impulsive Dark Side protege who is volatile and conflicted in writer-director Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Courtesy of Lucasfilm
Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
If you're part of the tribe that believes The Last Jedi is a cinematic failure, the good news is that you don't need to see it again to enjoy The Rise of Skywalker. But what connects Kylo Ren and Rey is explored further in this new movie, so it couldn't hurt to sit through director Rian Johnson's entry in the series. Who knows? Maybe you'll discover it isn't as bad as you thought.
Ain't Nobody Got Time to Watch
We overheard at the screening that episode seven of the Disney+ series is in some way connected to The Rise of Skywalker. Let us know if that rumor is accurate in the comments.
Episode IV: A New Hope
Part of what made The Force Awakens fun were the Easter eggs planted by Abrams that hearkened back to the 1977 film. The Rise of Skywalker does more of the same here, plus Richard E. Grant, who plays General Pryde of the First Order, has stated he was inspired by Peter Cushing's performance as Admiral Tarkin.
It wouldn't hurt to watch The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, especially since Billy Dee Williams makes an appearance as Lando Calrissian (it's in the trailer, guys), but time is short when spoilers await you on Twitter.
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