The Rise of Skywalker aimed to bring a fitting end to the sequel trilogy of Star Wars and finish the Skywalker saga that started decades ago. While it’s divided fans since it premiered, it did finish up the storylines of the beloved characters involved in the sequels. And in Rey’s instance, she took on an identity that best fits her and her journey.
But there’s one thing that makes her last moments on screen rather interesting: where the story ends. Spoilers ahead for The Rise of Skywalker.
In the end, Rey buries Luke and Leia’s lightsabers on Tatooine
After Rey calls on the voices of Jedi from the past and defeats Palpatine, the Resistance wins. Everyone is cheering at their home base, and it’s ultimately a happy ending. But mixed in all of that is a bittersweet undertone now that this era of Star Wars is over. And to drive it home, the writers — J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio — had Rey bury Luke and Leia’s lightsabers in the sand on Tatooine.
Terrio told The Hollywood Reporter on Dec. 30 that it was a “pilgrimage” of sorts for Rey to “honor her two Skywalker masters.” He said,
Leia’s childhood home, Alderaan, no longer exists, but Luke’s childhood home, Tatooine, does. Rey brings the sabers there to honor the Skywalker twins by laying them to rest — together, finally — where it all began. The farthest planet from the bright center of the universe, but a beautiful and peaceful place to bury two sacred objects.Chris Terrio, The Hollywood Reporter
And when speaking with IndieWire on Dec. 30, Terrio also said that it was a fitting end for Rey, too. “Now she, having become part of the Skywalker legacy, would lay the sabers to rest and lay them to rest together,” he said. Those reasonings sound great, but burying them on Tatooine was an odd choice when you look at the story as a whole.
The Skywalkers history with Tatooine is not a pleasant one
Star Wars is ultimately about Skywalkers, hence this being the end of the Skywalker saga and its appropriate title: The Rise of Skywalker. It could easily refer to the family as a whole since they are essential to the balance of the Force. Anakin goes from slave to Jedi to Sith Lord to the savior of the balance; Luke rises to Jedi Master, falls, and then becomes a teacher again; and Ben Solo and Rey’s connection brings the balance back. So, in theory, it makes sense that Rey puts the family’s lightsabers to rest here.
However, Tatooine has not been kind to any of the Skywalkers. Anakin was a slave on this planet, which we see in Phantom Menace. Sure it was his home, but it’s also where he returned to find his mother kidnapped by Tusken Raiders. She dies in his arms there, and he goes on his first ever killing spree fueled by hate and revenge. Lovely! And don’t forget: Anakin hate sand. It might even be what introduced him to the banned emotion, who knows.
And yeah, Luke also grew up on Tatooine, but didn’t like it at all and jumped at the opportunity to leave. Leia has no familial or fond connection to the planet at all; she was a sexualized slave in Jabba the Hutt’s place there. Tatooine has caused nothing but bad memories for the Skywalkers, so it’s a weird choice for Rey to bury the lightsabers there. In theory, sure, it makes sense. But not when you think about history.
Don’t worry: Rey doesn’t stay on Tatooine
Regardless, Rey doesn’t live out her days as a hermit on yet another sandy, desert planet. Terrio told The Hollywood Reporter in the same interview, they thought this was a great way to close out Rey’s story, but she doesn’t end things there. “Rey’s arc over three films has to do with her finding the belonging she seeks with the new family she’s found inside the Resistance. The very last thing Rey would do after all that is to go and live alone in a desert.” So, in your headcanons, you can continue to imagine epic adventures with Rey, Finn, and Poe.
In the interview with IndieWire, Terrio also said that Tatooine was just a place to pay “her respects” and undid “the original sin at the end of the third movie, which is the separation of the twins.” No matter where Rey buries the sabers, the symbolism behind Luke and Leia coming together in death when fate pulled them apart at birth is kind of beautiful.