In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, our favorite galaxy dwellers, from Jedi-in-training Rey to conflicted villain Kylo Ren, faced dramatic challenges and made some mistakes big and small. As the Dec. 20 release of the ninth and final film in the Skywalker saga, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, approaches at light speed, let EW provide you with a quick refresher of where we left all the characters at the end of that 2017 film.
Hoping Jedi legend Luke Skywalker (a never-better Mark Hamill) would help her channel her burgeoning Force powers and find her rightful place in the world, Rey (Daisy Ridley) locates him on the remote planet of Ahch-To and is stunned to discover he became a cranky hermit in self-imposed exile. When Luke initially refuses to train her, Rey wounds up turning to her enemy Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) when a mysterious Force bond opens between the two. Initially disgusted by him for the murder of his father, Rey soon discovers much remained of the former Ben Solo and eventually learns how Luke’s tragic mistake helped turn him to the Dark Side. After touching hands through their bond, Rey has a powerful vision of Ben’s future and mistakenly believes she could help turn the conflicted man back to the light. Instead, after leaving Luke to see Kylo, she inadvertently helps him kill Snoke (Andy Serkis) and become Supreme Leader himself. Though Kylo wants her to join and rule alongside him, Rey will not and as they fight again, they split the Skywalker lightsaber in two. She escapes back to the Resistance and saves its remaining members by clearing their escape route through her growing skill with the Force. Though Snoke is now dead, the Force connects her and Kylo again as she escapes with the Resistance on the Millennium Falcon. Taking one last look at him, Rey understands that he has made his choice and now she is going to make hers and closes the Falcon’s door on him.
Though Kylo Ren hoped the murder of his father, Han Solo (Harrison Ford), would extinguish the conflict he felt within him, all it did was split him further apart. After Snoke scoffs that he’s just a child wearing a mask, Kylo smashes that mask in fury and launches an attack on the fleeing Resistance forces. When he senses his mother, Leia (Carrie Fisher), close by, he contemplates firing on her before relenting (unfortunately, one of his henchmen took him by surprise and got her instead). As he licks his wounds, a Force bond with Rey opens up. At first, he thinks it can tell him where Rey and Luke are located but eventually he just puzzles over why the Force has joined them at all. Every time he and Rey connect, sometimes sans his shirt, they learn more about one another and find a familiar loneliness at the heart of the other. He reveals to her that he destroyed the Jedi Temple after his Uncle Luke, the sainted legend of the galaxy, had tried to murder him in his sleep. That information shocks her and eventually after a fight with Luke, leads her to Kylo’s side aboard Snoke’s ship. She thinks she’s coming to save him, but he has other plans. After choosing her life over his master’s, he wants her to rule the galaxy with him. She refuses, eventually fleeing with the broken Skywalker lightsaber, while leaving him unconscious on the floor of Snoke’s burning throne room. After declaring himself Supreme Leader to a dismayed General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson), Kylo chases the remainder of the Resistance down to the planet Crait. Once he sees his Uncle Luke emerge on the salt flats, he lets his sense of vengeance cloud his vision. He fights Luke not realizing that he is just a Force projection and that his uncle is sacrificing himself to save what is left of the Resistance. Though he swears to Luke he will destroy Rey, when he sees her again during their final Force connection, he looks like a boy who lost his favorite loth-cat. He finds his father’s dice in the now abandoned base but they disappear in his fingers — showing that he might have become Supreme Leader of the galaxy, but he has lost everything in the process.
General Leia Organa
After fleeing the Resistance base in D’Qar after its location is discovered, Leia demotes Poe Dameron (Osacr Isaac) when he disobeys orders and winds up losing the entire bombing squad in an unauthorized maneuver against the First Order. While Poe, who Leia treats like a surrogate son, causes all sorts of problems, her actual son Kylo spares her life when he Force connects with her during an attack on the Resistance. Unfortunately, the reprieve didn’t last long and another First Order pilot shoots out the bridge of her ship and sends her hurtling into the darkness of space. Her latent Force powers flare, bringing her back to life and into the safety of the ship. While she spends part of the film in a coma, her brother Luke finally reaches out to her through the Force. She wakes up in time to thwart Poe’s mutiny against Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) but not before his plan with Finn (John Boyega) and Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) leads to the destruction of hundreds of Resistance lives as they escape to Crait. Reaching an abandoned rebellion base there, Leia sends out a personal call for help across the galaxy. When none of her allies respond, she fears the battle she has fought her entire life is finally at its end. But a figure emerges from the shadows to bring her hope once again- her brother Luke finally returns. The Skywalker siblings reunite for one last time as Luke passes her Han’s dice and tells her no one is ever really gone before leaving to face her lost son. Luke’s sacrifice saves her and allows the last of the Resistance to escape the First Order’s clutches. As they fly away on the Millennium Falcon, she tells a doubtful Rey that they have all they needed to rebuild.
After Rey finds him on Ahch-To, the long-exiled Luke has no desire to train another generation of Jedi after his spectacular failure with his nephew Kylo. Even learning of the death of his best friend Han and the dire need of his sister Leia cannot convince him until his old droid R2-D2 intercedes, reminding him how he once heeded Leia’s call for help long ago. He agrees to train Rey though he is frightened of her raw power and her instinct to reach for the Dark Side. Out of shame, he does not tell her the whole truth of what happened between him and his nephew but eventually his new apprentice learns that information from his old one and is horrified. After discovering Rey touching hands with Kylo across the galaxy, he and Rey fight over the young man’s fate with Luke cautioning Rey that she is getting in over her head. After she leaves, Luke goes to destroy the Jedi texts not aware Rey has already absconded with them. Before he can set them on fire, Master Yoda appears as a Force ghost and calls Force lightning down to destroy the texts himself. Backlit by fire, Yoda counsels Luke that while he did fail Ben Solo, they must not lose Rey. His pep talk works because when Leia loses all hope, Luke appears via Force projection from Ahch-To and finally faces his nephew Kylo. Though Kylo is in no mood to hear it, Luke apologizes for his failure and proclaims that he will not be the last Jedi because there is a new one in Rey. Kylo, who doesn’t realize his uncle is not really there until too late, tries to kill Luke only to fail in his rage. Back on Ahch-To, an exhausted Luke imagines the dual sunset of his Tatooine youth for the last time before dying peacefully and fading back into the Cosmic Force.
Poe, oh, Poe. Where to start with the mess he made? Disobeying a direct order from Leia, Poe leads an attack on a First Order Dreadnaught that triggers the destruction of the Resistance’s entire bombing squadron. He’s quickly demoted for his insubordination but once Leia is injured in a First Order attack, he gets his nose out of joint when Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo takes over for Leia and won’t tell him what her plans are. Once the Resistance discovers that the First Order is tracking their ships, Poe takes it upon himself to authorize Finn, Rose, and BB-8 on a secret mission to Canto Bight to find a codebreaking friend of Maz Kanata’s. When Poe finds out that Holdo ordered the evacuation of the Raddus, he stages a mutiny that’s only foiled when Leia wakes from her coma and stuns him. Finn and Rose’s mission goes spectacularly awry when their contact reveals the Resistance’s escape plans to the First Order. As the Resistance ships evacuate to Crait, the First Order blows them up out of the sky until Holdo flies the Raddus into the First Order ships at light speed, splintering them apart and allowing the remainder of the Resistance reach the base. Despite his mistakes, Leia doesn’t give up on Poe’s leadership abilities. Showing he learned his lesson, he leads the Resistance’s defense on Crait but pulls back when it looks hopeless. While Luke Skywalker distracts Kylo Ren, Poe tries to find another way to escape and with Rey’s much needed assistance, helps lead the remaining crew to safety aboard the Millennium Falcon. He finally meets Rey face to face and hopefully spends the next few months taking Leia’s leadership lessons to heart.
After recovering from the injuries Kylo Ren inflicted at the end of The Force Awakens, former stormtrooper Finn wasn’t quite sure that the Resistance was for him until he met Rose Tico, who has just lost her sister and stops him from fleeing to find Rey. Finn and Rose realize they can disable the tracker on the First Order ship and go to Poe with the idea, who okays the secret mission without telling Holdo. On Canto Bight, Finn and Rose don’t find the exact man they were looking for but come across a codebreaker named DJ (Benicio Del Toro) when they get arrested. After escaping Canto Bight with BB-8 and DJ’s help, they sneak aboard the Supremacy to disable the tracker but the mission fails when DJ betrays them to the First Order. While battling Captain Phasma, his former commander, Finn realizes that he truly belongs among the Rebels. With BB-8’s help they escaped to Crait, where Finn almost sacrifices his life to take out a First Order cannon before Rose crashes her speeder into his to stop him. He reunites with Rey as they escape and is last seen taking care of an injured Rose aboard the Falcon.
Sister to dead Resistance hero Paige Tico, Rose continues to fight in her honor. Trying to live up to her memory of heroism, she’s shocked when she discovers Finn, who she admired as another hero, trying to go AWOL. After capturing Finn, Rose, who is a mechanic, helps come up with a plan to disable the tracking device on the First Order’s ship and doesn’t rat Finn out when they tell Poe about how they met. On their mission to Canto Bight, she tells Finn how places like this exploits the weak and vulnerable. Before they flee the planet with DJ and BB-8 , Rose helps free the enslaved fathiers and gives hope to young children suffering under oppression amidst the glittering casinos. She doesn’t trust the slippery DJ but hands over the matching necklace she had with her sister when he insists on a deposit for his work. After boarding the Supremacy, DJ gives her the necklace back but betrays them to the First Order for a large payment. After Finn kills Captain Phasma and the ship is disabled from Holdo’s attack, Rose and Finn escape with BB-8’s help and reunite with the Resistance on Crait. She prevents Finn from going on a suicide run against a First Order cannon, telling him they will only win if they save what they love before kissing him and passing out from her injuries. Finn hauls her back into the base where she receives medical attention on the Falcon with the rest of the escaping Resistance.
It’s one humiliation after another for General Hux as Poe Dameron plays a prank that eventually leads to the destruction of a very large and very expensive Dreadnaught. Snoke takes his displeasure out on him by slamming him against the floor until he learns that Hux is able to track the Resistance through light speed. That starts a chase between the low-fueled but faster moving Resistance and the mightier but slower moving First Order. Once he finds out the Resistance is evacuating their main ship, he fires on the evacuees, decimating their ranks, before Vice Admiral Holdo retaliates by ramming into the First Order ships. After Holdo’s attack, Hux finds Supreme Leader Snoke sliced in half in the burning throne room and tries to murder an unconscious Kylo who, unluckily for him, wakes up right before he can. To say Hux is not pleased when Kylo declares himself Supreme Leader is putting it lightly but some Force choking on Kylo’s part gets him to acquiesce quickly enough. He accompanies Kylo down to Crait with the rest of the First Order forces, trying to both toady up to the new boss and point out when he’s going overboard. For that, he gets humiliated one last time as he’s slammed against the wall before Kylo goes out to meet Luke Skywalker.
Without his companion Han Solo, Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) accepted Rey as his new co-pilot on the Millennium Falcon and accompanied her to find Luke Skywalker, who realized upon seeing him that his old friend was dead. As Rey and Luke debated her training, Chewie hung out and tried to eat a porg before one of the sad-eyed creatures made him think the better of it. He let Rey ship herself to Kylo in a box, which was ill-advised at best, but picked her up sometime later and fought beside her in the Battle of Crait, rescuing the last of the Resistance in the process.
While Leia was in a coma, C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) accidentally took part in Poe’s mutiny against Holdo and ended the film by getting a wink from his long-missing master, Luke Skywalker.
R2-D2 accompanied Rey to Ahch-To where he guilt-tripped Luke very effectively by showing him the original hologram of his sister, Leia, asking Obi-Wan Kenobi for help. Seeing the moment that started his hero’s journey again led Luke to relent and start training Rey.
Fighting the newly arrived porgs for the title of most adorable, BB-8 accompanied Finn and Rose to Canto Bight and saved them not once, but twice. He also got a nice belly rub from Poe Dameron upon their reunion on Crait.