Return of the Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker start their bad guys in similar places. No one walking into Return of the Jedi ever thought that redemption was in the cards for Darth Vader. And – if you pretend you never saw the original trilogy – you would likely say the same thing about Kylo Ren while walking into The Rise of Skywalker.
Thematically, however, Return of the Jedi is very concerned about the idea of redemption. And that shows up not just in the main conflict of the story, but also in smaller ways for Luke, Han, and Lando. (Leia? Not so much. What does she have to redeem herself for, after the events of The Empire Strikes Back? Not much, as it turns out.)
Meanwhile, though The Rise of Skywalker does concern itself with the redemption of Kylo Ren after all, it’s a secondary theme when considered in light of what’s really going on thematically – a war of identity. I’ll explain my thinking on today’s episode… Punch it!