Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why The Rise Of Skywalker's Final Shot Is Fueling A Big Rumor

Disney and Lucasfilm are being accused of some hardcore tomfoolery by the Twitterverse.

An in-depth analysis of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker's final shot by a user with the stupendous screen name "benjamin chewbacca organa skywalker solo" (whom we'll henceforth refer to as BCOSS in the interest of brevity) has sparked an interesting rumor with serious implications for the character of Kylo Ren/Ben Solo.

BCOSS makes a convincing case that the film's final shot wasn't so much shot at all, but was in fact constructed in post-production. This implies that the shot may have been subbed in late in production, and the evidence that this is so is pretty overwhelming. Please be advised, just in case it isn't clear, that spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker follow.

The shot in question shows Rey (Daisy Ridley) and BB-8 side-by-side, gazing out at one of those famous binary sunsets that accompany so many significant moments in the Star Wars universe. She's brought balance to the Force by defeating Emperor Palpatine, but her victory came at a heavy cost, as the recently redeemed Ben Solo (Adam Driver) had to save her life by transferring his own life force to her. They exchanged a loving smile, Rey called him "Ben," and then he became one with the Force — but, according to BCOSS's theory, this may not have been how it was originally supposed to go.

You see, Rey's pose in that final shot is the same as one which was included not in the final cut of Rise of Skywalker, but in its first trailer — the one that depicted Rey's encounter with a TIE fighter on the planet Pasaana. To be clear, it's not a similar pose; it's the exact same pose, only with certain elements (her armbands, for instance, and the positioning of her sash) digitally altered.

Another user by the telling name of "mourning ben solo" went ahead and proved this with a short video in which they extracted the image of Rey standing on Pasaana from the trailer, then superimposed it over the final shot of Rise of Skywalker. Yep, indeed, it's the exact same footage, which pretty much proves that all of the elements of that final shot — the surface of Tatooine, Rey, and BB-8 — were cobbled together in post.

Why would this be? Why recycle footage for that most significant of shots when Ridley was, you know, available and on set? It seems like there would be no good reason to do this — unless a different final shot had originally been planned.

Why would the final shot of Rise of Skywalker have been changed?

As you may have guessed, it's the opinion of BCOSS the original final shot of The Rise of Skywalker had to be scrapped, and a new one assembled from existing footage, because Ben Solo was originally standing there gazing out at the double sunset with Rey. According to the theory, the decision was made to kill off the character after filming had already wrapped — and there's actually more evidence of this in the scene in which Solo dies.

As BCOSS pointed out: "It's very clear that Ben was not meant to die... They don't have any footage of Rey actually mourning him properly, any footage of him actually falling to the ground, or even just a shot of Adam standing and smiling that could have [been] used to make him a [Force Ghost]. So..."

It's quite true that there is no explicit "ARGH! I'm going to die now!" scene for Solo (he just fades away, like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda did), and it's pretty easy to see how the character might have been essentially edited out of the film. It's also true that it's a little odd that Rey doesn't exactly acknowledge his sacrifice after the fact, and BCOSS has a point that we never see Solo's Force Ghost after he dies — which is a pretty solid tradition in Star Wars movies, from Anakin Skywalker appearing at the end of Return of the Jedi to Luke showing up in The Rise of Skywalker.

While BCOSS isn't the first to notice these oddities, he or she is (so far as we know) the first to put all of the pieces together to publicly offer up the opinion that Ben Solo's fate in The Rise of Skywalker amounted to an audible called at the last minute by the filmmakers. Considering the significant number of fans who wanted to see Solo and Rey live happily ever after (the "Reylo contingent," as we like to call them), it's doubtful that the filmmakers will ever confirm this, even if it's true. The Rise of Skywalker has proven divisive enough among the Star Wars fandom as it is, and it's tough to see writer/director J.J. Abrams, his co-writer Chris Terrio, or anyone else being eager to stir that pot any further.

Which is to say that unless and until somebody produces an unaltered final shot of Rey and Solo hand in hand, gazing out at the binary Tatooine sunset, this fan theory is likely to remain just that. Not to worry, though; we're sure that the back-and-forth over virtually every element of The Rise of Skywalker will die down sometime in the next decade or so.