Baptism, Redemption, Sacrifice and Resurrection in “The Rise of Skywalker”

Star Wars spoilers ahead!

The Rise of Skywalker contains several Christian themes. Here are a few.

Baptism and Redemption

Water is one of the four signs of baptism (CCC 1238). “Immersion in water symbolizes not only death and purification, but also regeneration and renewal. Thus the two principal effects are purification from sins and new birth in the Holy Spirit” (CCC 1262). “Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte ‘a new creature,’ ….” (1265). “For the grace of Baptism to unfold, the parents’ help is important” (1255). 

During one scene, Rey and Kylo engage in a lightsaber duel atop the wreckage of Death Star II which has crashed into the rough seas of the ocean moon of Kef Bir. The combatants are soaked with water as fifty foot waves pound the metal remains of the ruined space station. At one point in the fight, Kylo is distracted when his mother, Leia, calls out to him using the Force. Rey, who was about to be killed by Kylo, takes the opportunity to stab him through the gut with his own lightsaber, the same weapon he used to murder his father, Han Solo, in The Force Awakens

Rey doesn’t let Kylo die though. She Force heals Kylo’s mortal wound and leaves him there to find Emperor Palpatine on the planet Exegol. After Rey departs, Kylo sees a Force vision of his father. The Force vision appears to have been created by Leia. Kylo talks to Han in the vision. Han forgives his son and tells him that he loves him the only way the space pirate knows how to: “Dad…” “I know.” Kylo dies and Ben Solo is reborn to the light side of the Force. Kylo’s death and Ben’s rebirth are brought about mainly through his parents, Leia and Han.

Sacrifice and Resurrection

“‘Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it’” (Mt 16:24-25). “‘I am the resurrection and the life'” (Jn 11:25). The key to living a Christian life is sacrificing oneself in the imitation of Christ who died and rose from the dead. Sacrifice and rebirth are key elements in the journey of all heroes, both historical and fictional.

In The Rise of Skywalker, Leia exerts herself when she uses the Force to communicate with her son, Kylo Ren, during his battle with Rey on Kef Bir. Though it is only implied in the film, Leia gave all that was left of herself to create the Force vision of Han Solo when the lightsaber duel between Kylo and Rey had ended. The Force vision of Han, which resulted in Leia’s death in this world, was essential to Ben Solo’s redemption. Leia sacrificed her life to redeem her son, dying a hero’s death, though she lives on, reborn in the Force.

After Ben is redeemed, he follows Rey to Exegol to help her defeat Palpatine. There he fights the Knights of Ren and barely survives being thrown into a pit by the Emperor, but when he crawls out of the pit, he finds Rey dead. Ben realizes that she has given her life to defeat her grandfather in order to save her friends and the galaxy. In a final act of heroism, Ben Solo uses the Force to give all of his remaining life force, literally all of himself, to Rey, raising her back to life. Having nothing left of himself to give, Ben dies and becomes one with the Force, joining the ranks of all of the heroes who came before him.

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