The Rise of Skywalker puts the sequel trilogy to rest. J.J. Abrams is back for the first time since 2015's The Force Awakens to put an end to the Skywalker Saga. Rian Johnson took over the second installment and took chances that divided Star Wars fans, which brings us back to Abrams, who also made some of his own controversial choices in an effort to end the sequel trilogy, though they are much different from Johnson's. How does the latest movie come to an end and what does it mean? There are SPOILERS for The Rise of Skywalker below, so read ahead at your own risk.
As everybody figured, Rey ends up defeating Emperor Palpatine with some help from Ben Solo, who is no longer Kylo Ren by the end of The Rise of Skywalker. Solo ends up sacrificing his life to save Rey, which then brings the once-thought fan fiction of "Reylo" into official Star Wars canon. Regardless of your feelings on that subject, that is not the end of the movie, it's just setting Rey up for one final mission.
As for Rey's final mission in The Rise of Skywalker, we find her back to where it all began. Rey is on Tatooine with BB-8 and arrives at a sand igloo that may or may not have belonged to Luke Skywalker during A New Hope. She gleefully sleds down a mini sand dune and then pulls out Luke and Leia's Lightsabers, which she proceeds to bury in the sand for some new Jedi to discover in the future? It's not clear why she's burying them, actually. We might have to ask J.J. Abrams about that one and a whole lot of other things. We also get to see that Rey has built her own lightsaber. This one has a yellow blade, a color not carried by any of the main Jedi thus far. Some believe the yellow color represents balance in the force.
After burying the Lightsabers, Rey turns to the side and sees the Force Ghosts of Luke and Leia smiling at her, looking like they came from an airbrushed mural on the side of a van from the 1970s. It's at this point that an older woman rides up on a camel-looking desert creature and wonders what Rey is looking at while asking her what her name is. After pondering the question for a moment, our heroine boldly declares her name to be Rey Skywalker. It's at this point that she ditches her ties to Emperor Palpatine forever, which she learned about.
Rey is technically a Palpatine now, according to The Rise of Skywalker, but she trades the name in for Skywalker. Leia and Luke, turning in what amounts to nothing more than a Star Wars cameo, apparently knew the whole time about her parentage, but chose to see the good in her in an effort to harvest it for use against the Dark Side. Rey could have taken the Palpatine name and rebranded it, so to speak. She could have forged a new path, leaving the Skywalker legacy on its own, but maybe it was Ben Solo's sacrifice that helped influence her decision since he's technically a Skywalker too. Speaking of which, where is his Force Ghost at the end? Rey is on her own again, just like she started, which just might be the way she likes it. Instead of letting the past die, she is embracing it. The Star Wars franchise can basically go anywhere from this point on.