Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Screenwriter Chris Terrio has directly addressed the omission of other Force ghosts at the end of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The ending of the Skywalker saga has proven to be a divisive one for fans and critics alike; going into the final film, Disney/Lucasfilm was very aware of their burden of resolving over 40 years of storytelling. That burden might have crippled their desire to find an ending equatable to Star Wars: Return of the Jedi’s satisfying resolution.

After redeeming Darth Vader and defeating the Empire, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi ends with Luke Skywalker celebrating on Endor. During the celebration, he looks over and sees the Force ghosts of Obi-Wan, Anakin (Darth Vader), and Yoda—the Jedi who have influenced him. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ends similarly but different: after defeating her grandfather, Emperor Palpatine, and being revived by a redeemed Ben Solo (Kylo Ren), Rey goes to the Lars homestead on Tatooine to bury Luke and Leia’s lightsabers. Before deeming herself an adoptive Skywalker, Rey looks off into the desert to see the Force ghosts of Luke and Leia smiling at her—the Jedi who have influenced her.

Given that Rey’s climactic battle with the Emperor concludes with her becoming the embodiment of all the Jedi who came before, a lot of fans have wondered why more Force ghosts didn’t appear upon the film’s conclusion. Paying tribute to some (if not all) of the voices she heard on Exegol would make sense considering the story is the self-proclaimed end of a saga. The Force ghost of Anakin, for example, would have been a nice nod to the prequels. In an interview with THR, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker writer Chris Terrio discussed how he and director J.J. Abrams “debated endlessly” about how only Luke and Leia would appear as Force ghosts:

Legacy Jedi aside, the most surprising Force ghost omission is that of Ben Solo, who arguably had more to do with Rey’s story and training than anyone. As we learn in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the two young force users’ connection represents a dyad in the Force—something very uncommon. The Emperor explains this hasn’t occurred for millennia. Not only would it have made sense for this bond to exist after Ben’s death, but his appearance as a Force ghost next to Luke and Leia would have perfectly mirrored the appearance of Anakin’s at the end of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

“Seeing them all at the end would be a lovely grace note, but we thought that Rey seeing her two masters, two Skywalkers, was stronger. Rey was in the unique position of having been trained by two Skywalkers, which is what’s going on in the moment where she destroys the Emperor.” Said Terrio, “It’s her, Luke and Leia standing together because she’s got the two Skywalker sabers in her hands.”

The sequel trilogy’s revolving door of writers and directors could be to blame for what feels like an inconsistent narrative. Director J.J. Abrams was tasked with reviving the franchise before it was taken over by Rian Johnson and then given back to Abrams for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. While the decision to only include the Force ghosts of Luke and Leia may be consistent with the symbolic presence of their lightsabers (one of which is also Anakin’s), it doesn’t necessarily land with the trilogy’s character arcs. An argument can be made that Ben and Rey’s conjoined story is one of the major reasons she felt connected to the Skywalker ancestry (not to mention the fact that she is only alive because of him).

More: Star Wars: Where Is [SPOILER]’s Force Ghost In Rise of Skywalker?

Source: THR