Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has brought the Star Wars saga to a close - and killed off many characters along the way. After two relatively safe installments in the forms of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, Disney chose to go big for the final movie of the sequel trilogy. And, with higher stakes, come more casualties.

Some deaths we thought would happen, but others left us completely taken aback. We now rank the deaths in order of shock factor, starting with a demise we saw coming right from the very beginning…


One of the reasons why some Star Wars fans were unhappy with the decision to bring Palpatine back was because, Disney being Disney, we knew how the saga was going to end.

Nobody expected the Sith Lord to reign supreme over Rey, particularly given how he’d already been defeated at the end of Return of the Jedi. So, while we were happy to see Ian McDiarmid back as the big arch villain, it’s just a shame that he was destined to die before we’d even caught a glimpse of him. The bad guys were never going to defeat the good guys and, as a result, that took away much of the mystique surrounding his return.

General Hux

In The Force Awakens, General Hux was a formidable character. He was one who was more than happy to stand up to Kylo Ren, despite the power the villain possesses. Yet in The Last Jedi he regressed substantially, becoming more of a comedic figure.

And that was when it became obvious that Hux wouldn’t really be able to make it out alive. He simply didn’t have the strength required to succeed in such a difficult organization. We thought Kylo would be the one to do the deed, but it’s Allegiant General Pryde instead, with the First Order chief shooting him after learning of his decision to help the Resistance.


Let’s face it. If you pass information to the Resistance, while the First Order is literally breathing down on you, what chance do you have of making it out alive?

None, as it turns out. We didn’t think we’d see the character of Boolio again, expecting the First Order to kill him off-screen. Yet we were surprised when Kylo Ren stormed into a meeting, placing the Resistance supporter’s severed head on his table. So while his death wasn’t totally shocking, elements of it were.

Knights of Ren

We’d been expecting big things from the Knights of Ren, with the cool-looking characters failing to appear in The Last Jedi after being introduced to fans during The Force Awakens. However, in truth, they were a bit of a letdown. They don’t speak a single word during The Rise of Skywalker and, at the very end, are ruthlessly cut down by Kylo Ren.

Again, we’re partly surprised. We kind of expected them to die because there was no chance Disney were ever going to let the bad guys win. But we were shocked that it was via Kylo’s hand, with the Supreme Leader previously choosing to side with his troops, rather than against them.

Leia Organa

We genuinely didn’t think The Rise of Skywalker would find a way to kill off Leia. After all, she’d made it out of The Last Jedi alive, and we knew that Carrie Fisher was originally going to have a huge role in the final installment of the sequel trilogy.

So we were shocked when Leia chose to give up the last of her lifeforce in order to get through to Kylo Ren. It’s a poignant and emotional scene and, thankfully, a meaningful one. Leia’s last act helps her son realize that the way of the dark side isn’t right, with Kylo then becoming Ben Solo again immediately afterward.

Allegiant General Pryde

When it was revealed that General Pryde would be introduced in the blockbuster, we couldn’t help but feel that he’d make it out alive. With Disney planning to continue Star Wars further down the line, an actor of Richard E. Grant’s pedigree would have been good to have on board.

Except that doesn’t happen, with Pryde sensationally killed off in the same movie he’s introduced. He was a fascinating character, full of malice and loyalty to Palpatine, but he dies in a blaze of glory, as the Resistance shoot down the Final Order fleet from the skies.

Snap Wexley

This was one we really didn’t see coming at all. Partly because Snap Wexley isn’t a big character to invest in (sorry Greg Grunberg, but it’s true) and because we feared one of the core characters such as Rey, Finn, or Poe Dameron would bite the dust instead.

Yet Snap is a casualty of the battle above Exogal with his ship blasted out of the sky while a horrified Poe looks on. We didn’t shed a tear, but we were still surprised that, out of all the characters who could have died, Grunberg’s character was the chosen one.

Ben Solo and Rey

We’re doing this as a joint final one because they’re so intrinsically linked, it makes perfect sense.

Firstly, Rey. There was utter silence in the movie theatre as it looked like she’d died using all of her strength to keep Palpatine from triumphing and subjecting the galaxy to a dictatorship once again. The sight of her body, with her eyes wide open, is genuinely distressing. And we were just as shocked when Ben Solo then healed her back to life.

But the most surprising thing of the whole movie was what happens next. Ben, in redeeming Rey, effectively transfers his life into hers, and he dies rather abruptly. This was something totally unexpected and contributed to audience members literally gasping in shock.

We’d still have rather they kept Ben alive, but we can’t have everything. And, who knows, if Palpatine can survive, why not the last of the Skywalkers too?