Since The Rise of Skywalker is the final film in the sequel trilogy of Star Wars, and the end of the Skywalker saga, it had to answer a lot of questions. While it achieved this for some and failed for others, did it leave fans with a balanced Force in the end? Co-writer Chris Terrio has an answer for that. MAJOR spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker ahead.
The Force hasn’t been balanced for a while
Going into The Rise of Skywalker, you have to remember where Star Wars has been since the last trilogy. “The balance of the Force always, as George [Lucas] has said, means that the Dark and the Light exist,” Terrio told IndieWire on Dec. 30. “There are corners everywhere in the galaxy where the Dark still exists, except that with the rise of Palpatine and the original trilogy, I think the way [Lucas] would describe it is that the Dark had become too powerful to the point where the Light had almost disappeared.”
Before the prequels and throughout the Clone Wars, you could argue that the Light Side had the upper hand. Sure, Palpatine was powerful as Darth Sidious, and he controlled the Republic Senate. But there was only him and he had no apprentice after the first 20 minutes of Revenge of the Sith. Plus, the Jedi were more powerful in numbers. But once Order 66 was executed, that changed. Since Revenge of the Sith, the Dark Side has been in the lead.
Even though Anakin brought balance back to the force in Return of the Jedi with his sacrifice, the First Order cropped back up and squashed a lot of the Resistance. And now we know Palpatine never left, so the balance really wasn’t fully righted by Anakin, to begin with. Going into the sequels, Palpatine and the Dark Side were getting stronger in an already unbalanced Force.
Defeating the First Order and Palpatine brings balance to the Force
So, to answer the question of “Is the Force balanced now?” yes, it is. “… In winning this victory against the First Order and the remnants of the Empire and the Sith loyalists, I think that the balance is restored, because the Dark had been growing much, much more powerful than the Light,” Terrio said. “By Rey striking this blow, it doesn’t mean that everything is happily ever after forever, but it means that at least for this moment in time, the Dark has been held off as the Light has pushed back.”
Mind you, the Sith are notoriously hard to kill. While it seems like Palpatine is gone for good, an old apprentice or two could be lurking in the shadows. And with a large amount of Sith spirits behind the Emperor in The Rise of Skywalker, it’s hard to imagine they’ll stay silent for long.
But there’s always a tug-of-war within the Force
Going off of that, if the Light does become too powerful again (which is bound to happen), it’ll be yet another fight for another day in the Star Wars universe. “I think [Lucas] would be the first to say that a fairy tale ending would be a naïve way to think about the galaxy forever,” Terrio told IndieWire. “I mean, we do have these moments of victory which have to be savored… but history tells us that there are no final victories.”
Terrio also said that at any point in the Star Wars timeline, the answer of who’s more powerful would be different. He said it all “depends on where you stop telling it.” Like Revenge of the Sith’s ending: the Empire is fully formed, all the Jedi (and Padmé) are dead, and Darth Vader has risen. Or if you went with an ending like Episode VI on Endor, everyone’s having a grand ‘ole time. It just depends.
Basically, Star Wars is as infinite as the galaxy it resides in. This is good for the franchise and will allow it live on a long time after this Skywalker saga, but bad for any fans of the Light Side.