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Star Wars Actors React To The Rise Of Skywalker

Contains mild spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has only just flown into theaters, but already there's been much to say on the latest trip to the galaxy far, far away.

Stars attended a special screening of The Rise of Skywalker in early December before seeing it a second time at its world premiere just a few days ahead of its Thursday night launch on December 19. While the reviews for The Rise of Skywalker have been decidedly mixed, the cast of the film has heaped praise on the final result of their trilogy-ender.

Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac got emotional in many different ways

Speaking to ET Canada, Daisy Ridley, who has played the rising Jedi Rey since 2015's The Force Awakens, shared that it's unpleasant to read unfavorable reviews, but a comment in one review stuck with her: The Rise of Skywalker is a movie for the fans. "The reason we collectively have made nine [Star Wars films] is because people have loved this for 42 years," she said. "That has to have been the driving force. A lot of people are hopefully going to see it and a lot of people are hopefully going to love it."

Ridley watched The Rise of Skywalker for the first time with the rest of the cast early in December, and admitted that she was so overwhelmed she held her sister's hand throughout the entire thing. At one point, Ridley tried to leave the theater to compose herself, preferring not to start crying in front of people. She also shared that her other seat-mate was pumped throughout the entire screening. Who might that have been? None other than John Boyega, the actor behind ex-stormtrooper-turned-Resistance-fighter Finn. According to Ridley, Boyega did plenty of whooping and cheering (and even a little sideline commentary) for the duration of the film.

Oscar Isaac, who plays the expert X-wing pilot and member of the Resistance fleet Poe Dameron, said that the first time he watched the full theatrical cut of The Rise of Skywalker, he "snot-cried," and was hoping to shed only "manly tears" during the premiere. Isaac was also left with a lump in his throat over the realization that with The Rise of Skywalker, the Star Wars sequel trilogy is complete, and that he'd be saying goodbye to actors he's spent so many years working with.

Richard E. Grant and Joonas Suotamo could hardly contain their excitement about The Rise of Skywalker

The first online reaction to The Rise of Skywalker from one of its cast members came from Richard E. Grant, who plays General Pryde in the film. He took to Twitter after the cast first watched the theatrical cut on December 4, posting an emotional video about the completed project. With tears in his eyes, Grant said in the video, "Nothing prepares you for this. I cheered, I shouted, I fist-pumped the air, I cried. I stood and cheered. It's absolutely everything that you hoped it was going to be. I'm so proud to be in it, and I can't wait for you to see it."

Joonas Suotamo, who plays Chewbacca in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, also took to his Twitter account to react to The Rise of Skywalker, thanking director J.J. Abrams for allowing the cast an early screening of the film (as well as tolerating his emotional reaction to it). He also heaped praise on his fellow cast mates and the crew behind the film: "Saw The Rise of Skywalker last night with the cast. It was everything I'd hoped for and more!" 

On December 19, the first day The Rise of Skywalker screened for the public, Suotamo doubled down on his emotional reaction by tweeting, "Last night I watched #TheRiseOfSkywalker with this group of friends. #StarWars is best experienced together, so let's try something fun. Take a selfie before you see the movie & reply or tag me. Let's enjoy opening weekend as one big family. But remember, no spoilers!"

Playing it (mostly) cool when it comes to Rise of Skywalker reactions

Other stars have been quieter about their reactions to The Rise of Skywalker, perhaps in an attempt to avoid letting any spoilers slip before every Star Wars fan around the world has had an opportunity to see the movie.

Aside from sharing that he held hands with Naomi Ackie, who plays former Stormtrooper and Resistance ally Jannah in the film, during parts of the Rise of Skywalker screening, Boyega opted to close the lid on further opinions to let the fans absorb the film for themselves first. Ackie said the vibe in the theater during her Rise of Skywalker showing was that of a celebration, with plenty of cheering going on, particularly for the new characters. Still, it took Ackie a while to process the film for herself. 

"When I finished watching it, I had to... I didn't feel anything the first time I watched it and I had to sleep on it. I just had to absorb it and figure out how I felt slowly," she told Digital Spy. "The second time I watched it it was like a ride — I loved it even more than the first time. So the third time, who knows what will happen? I've seen myself in the movie twice and it still hasn't sunken in. It feels like I'm watching a completely different person."

Anthony Daniels, who has been in each and every one of the nine Skywalker saga installments, is potentially saying goodbye to his character with the new movie. He's played the beloved droid C-3PO for 42 years, since the very first Star Wars movie from 1977, but recently admitted he would probably be retiring from the character after The Rise of Skywalker. It's a particularly emotional time for Daniels, who admitted he needed a drink in his hand when watching the film. But, like Boyega and Ackie, Daniels offered no hard-and-fast opinion on the flick for fans to pick apart.

What Adam Driver loves about The Rise of Skywalker

For Adam Driver, who portrays the villain of the sequel trilogy Kylo Ren, there's a certain ambiguity in The Rise of Skywalker that he really enjoys. With it being the final film not only of the current trilogy but also of the whole nine-film Skywalker saga, there's plenty of expectations hanging over the movie. While this final chapter doesn't directly answer all the burning questions fans may have, Driver feels that The Rise of Skywalker leaves audiences with a chance to fill in the blanks for themselves.

"It's for an audience to project their own meaning towards. And luckily we had a script that honors ambiguity," the actor told Cinema Blend. "They, I should say — Chris [Terrio] and J.J. [Abrams] — wrote something that is not always spelled out in the dialogue, which I love. It's not characters saying exactly what they're feeling. it's a testament to, or keeps in the tradition of the original movies. They're filled with so much ambiguity and moments that I guess literally don't make sense, but there's an emotional truth about them that makes an audience project meaning."

Unlike what his character Kylo Ren is prone to do, Driver kept his emotions at bay when discussing the final installment of his Star Wars career. And that's probably a wise choice, as it leaves fans guessing his character's personal trajectory and ultimate fate.

The Mandalorian star Jake Cannavale couldn't have hated The Rise of Skywalker more

Sadly, one Star Wars actor wound up detesting The Rise of Skywalker, though they're a part of the property on the television side of things rather than within the film franchise. The star in question is Jake Cannavale, who portrayed Toro Calican on the fifth episode of the Disney+ series The Mandalorian. Cannavale took to Instagram after seeing The Rise of Skywalker to tear it to shreds — slamming the film for everything from its title to the fan service to the "overall laziness" of it and of the Star Wars sequel trilogy as a whole. 

"I'm in the Star Wars universe now!!! So surely I can't speak ill of Episode IX right???... WRONG," Cannavale began. "Rise of Skywalker was hands down the worst Star Wars movie. An absolute f****** failure. Went to see it last night and I woke up still mad. Like ... it rendered the entire new trilogy completely useless. There were more plot holes than there was plot. The amount of 'by the ways' was absolutely infuriating. Rise of Skywalker (btw dumba** title) was worse than Phantom Menace AND Last Jedi combined. Fight me."

When asked by a fan via Instagram's question-and-answer tool if he would be "as mad" if he was actually a part of the Star Wars movies, Cannavale said that he would "be more mad," but did note that he "can't speak on behalf of the cast." He explained, "To some actors this is just a job and maybe they're just happy to be working. To which I say more power to them. Also, maybe they f****** loved the new Star Wars! In which case that's f******* dope that they got to work on something they truly got to enjoy."

But for Cannavale, a self-proclaimed Star Wars fan since childhood, he was disappointed by The Rise of Skywalker (as well as its two predecessors, The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker). 

"I felt pretty let down by the overall laziness of this new trilogy, and also a bit angry at the entitlement of it for pretty much seizing control of the franchise as a whole by basically [saying], 'Nah we don't like the ending that everybody's been cool with for decades, let's change it!'" wrote Cannavale. "I personally would feel pretty depressed if I was in the new Star Wars movie."

The only way Cannavale would be excited about being in The Rise of Skywalker? If he "was a dude wearing an alien puppet or whatever," in which case he'd be "f****** stoked." Point taken, Jake.

Richard E. Grant was "wiped out" by The Rise of Skywalker's ending

General Pryde actor Richard E. Grant was genuinely moved by The Rise of Skywalker — particularly its ending. He shared at the Rise of Skywalker global press conference prior to the film's official theatrical release that he's loved the Star Wars franchise for decades, felt that the film was the perfect combination of a variety of different story genres, and couldn't stop himself from getting swept up by how things concluded.

"Having seen the first one as a theater student when I was 20 years old, before any of the younger cast were even born, it's an extraordinary emotional thing to see the passing of time that goes through all these movies," Grant said (via D23.com). "This extraordinary summation of the whole story that delivers an emotional wallop at the end that I was totally unprepared for. I was wiped out and I barely slept so thank you for having me."

He added, "It felt really like a compilation of everything I've read: the Bible, Greek mythology, The Wizard of Oz, all rolled into one."

Joonas Suotamo went back for more Rise of Skywalker goodness

Star Wars actors, they're just like us. 

Joonas Suotamo, the 6′11″ Finnish actor and former pro basketball player who portrays Chewbacca throughout the Star Wars sequel trilogy, shared on Twitter that he had seen The Rise of Skywalker three times by Saturday, December 21, and was curious if any fans had beaten his view count. 

While he didn't spill any spoilers or reveal any specific emotions about the movie at that time, Suotamo later tweeted the one word that sums up The Rise of Skywalker in his mind: ""EPIC' is the perfect way to describe this movie!"

Kevin Smith, The Rise of Skywalker cameo actor, gushes over the film

Fans might be surprised to hear it, but Clerks and Jay and Silent Bob star Kevin Smith, who's an avid comic book and movie nerd as well, Kevin Smith is indeed in The Rise of Skywalker. He has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo as a Kijimi local around the middle of the film, which he absolutely gushed about on social media. 

A few days ahead of The Rise of Skywalker's global debut on December 20, Smith took to Twitter to share a special moment he had at the film's premiere in Los Angeles. He also noted that he would see the film all over again immediately after the screening, and that he was blown away by the film. 

"At the @starwars premiere, I saw @Jon_Favreau and he gave me a #Mandalorian coin. If I could spend it to see #TheRiseOfSkywalker again right now I would!" tweeted Smith. "EPIC ending to the Saga, in which J.J. gives us a satisfying and gratifying finale! (And they finally do right by Chewie!)" 

Later, Smith shared to Facebook a photo of himself alongside The Rise of Skywalker co-writer and director J.J. Abrams, adding a lengthy caption to the snap in which he praised the movie on high and shared how his celebrity cameo really came to be.

"Congrats to @jjabramsofficial on the #1 opening and for closing out the @starwars saga – and thank you for letting me be in the series of flicks that I fell in love with 42 years ago! Back when I had my heart attack, J.J. sent me an email that said 'Live through this and I'll put you in Episode 9!' When they went into production last year on #theriseofskywalker, I wrote J.J. and asked 'So... I'm alive. That offer still good?' He confirmed and I flew out to England to visit @pinewoodstudios for a few days, during which time I giddily watched J.J. do his thing until I was called into action!" Smith wrote. "J.J. had me voice a Stormtrooper in #theforceawakens and then put me in Rise – two things a young Emo Kev never could've imagined happening while he fanned the flames of his fandom in the 70's and 80's!"

Smith concluded, "Thank you, my friend in the Force, for even making the offer in the first place, let alone following through on it! You gave me a rare sensation I haven't had since I was an action figure collecting kid in 1983 when you let me come over to your house to play #starwars with you!"

Mark Hamill looks back on the decades that led to The Rise of Skywalker

Mark Hamill, who first had fans falling in love with Star Wars back in the '70s when he stepped onto the screen as wide-eyed hero Luke Skywalker, took to Instagram to thank George Lucas for creating the galaxy far, far away in the first place — and for changing his life in the process.

"As #TheRiseOfSykwalker arrives in theaters, let's not forget that it all started in the imagination of just 1 man: GEORGE LUCAS. He alone created that galaxy far, far away that has inspired generations. Then, he let me be a part of it & changed my life forever," wrote Hamill, adding the hashtag #ALifetimeOfLuke to the end of his post.

In true Hamill fashion, the actor also reminded fans that spoilers are just plain uncool, using the hashtag #MayTheShushBeWithYou in a separate post as a way to dissuade any potential spoiler-spillers.

Hopefully those who have seen The Rise of Skywalker by now love it as much as the cast does. Fans can form their own opinions on the flick whenever they can get their butts in a theater seat, as The Rise of Skywalker is finally in theaters now.