First, the hurried breaths of someone. We see it’s Rey, her body rigid with anticipation, and some anxiety too. But this isn’t the Rey we first met, the frightened scavenger just trying to make enough food to last another day. It’s not the Rey of the previous film either, the girl with powers she’s not quite sure about how to control yet. This Rey is focused. She remains steadfast, her gaze locked on something in the distance. Her breaths slow, she maintains her watchful glance. Luke’s voice floats over the pensive score with words of encouragement, ideas of hope. Rey grabs the lightsaber, the one known to Skywalkers Anakin, Luke, and desired by Kylo Ren as his birthright.
The angry roar of a tie fighter in the distance, which we see to be Kylo Ren’s ship, careening over the desert surface toward Rey. She activates the lightsaber, and swivels to an attack stance. Kylo presses his ship, increasing the speed and impending contact. These two, at odds but not without a lingering desire to pull the other toward their respective sides of this grand conflict.
Like a well-seasoned huntress, Rey takes off in a measured dash, running ahead of the speeding ship as it nears her, seemingly on a collision course. At the last possible moment, she flings herself over the ship in an arcing somersault as the thunderous score arrives.
We hear the theme of Princess Leia, the beautiful but sad melody that evokes so many emotions. The story of Princess Leia, but also of the dearly departed Carrie Fisher, and the pantheon she belongs to, the several decades of beloved stories and characters. Of hope in the face of all odds, of the belief in friendship, of cooperation, and that above everything, love can and will conquer all.
Kylo Ren, determined and ruthless as ever, hellbent to rule all no matter what the cost may be to others or himself. Finn and Poe, fast friends from an earlier escape, now steadfast members of the Resistance, willing to fight until the end to stop the First Order. Droids BB8 and D-0, along with Chewbacca and Lando once again at the helm of the Falcon, as welcome a sight as relatives at a family reunion.
And we see the reminder, that the saga is ending. At least this portion of it. A journey that began with a visionary filmmaker’s dream from the late seventies, through a story of intrigue, excitement, suspense, friendship, and love. The score builds with the intensity of a symphonic chorus, exalting the ideals that hope is never lost, the ones we’ve loved and lost are never truly gone, that to love others is perhaps the greatest aspiration anyone should ever hold, that no matter what you face, if you have friends you’ll make it through, somehow.