Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Star Wars Episode 9: The Rise Of Skywalker

A Reel Leadership Article

This weekend saw the ninth main entry in the original Star Wars movie series. Having spanned more than 40 years, The Rise Of Skywalker closed the book (supposedly) on the story of the Skywalkers.

We’ve seen the good (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return Of The Jedi, and The Force Awakens), the bad (The Phantom Menace, Attack Of The Clones, and Revenge Of The Sith), and the mediocre (The Last Jedi). Sprinkled between the main entries in the Star Wars saga were Solo and Rogue One. And now we have The Rise Of Skywalker.

Rey and Kylo Ren From Star Wars Episode 9

The Rise Of Skywalker is a fitting end to the Star Wars Skywalker saga. It ties up the previous 8 movies with a touching end and a great new start.

There will be haters of The Rise Of Skywalker. There were for the other movies. It’s certain for this one as well.

Go in with an open mind and you will enjoy the latest Star Wars film. You’ll get flickers of greatness from the original trilogy. You’ll also get the ending we all deserved.

But, as you know in these articles, you won’t only get that. You’ll be able to walk out of The Rise Of Skywalker with more leadership wisdom than you did before.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker

1. Bad leaders worry about their power:

Kylo Ren/Ben Solo (Adam Driver) had fallen to the dark side of the Force. He thirsted for power. When he learned Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) was not dead, he sought to destroy the former leader of the Galatic Empire.

Kylo Ren wanted power. Anyone who stood in his way or posed a risk to his power had to be exterminated. This included Emperor Palpatine.

Bad leaders don’t lead for the right reasons. Bad leaders lead so they can gain more power.

A desire for more power, more of anything (except Jesus, of course) is dangerous. It begins to consume you and you begin to worry about what other people have. You forget to have an abundance mindset.

Stop worrying about gaining more power or influence. What you need to worry about is what you can do. Figure that out and then do it.

2. Emperor Palpatine:

She is not who you think she is.

Palpatine had a mission for Kylo Ren. He wanted Kylo Ren to kill Rey (Daisy Ridley).

In their discussion, Palpatine tells Kylo Ren that Rey is not who he thinks she is.

Palpatine knew the truth. He knew who Rey was.

I want to turn this quote on you. Palpatine told Kylo Ren that Rey wasn’t who he thought she was. Likewise, you are not who you think you are.

Our minds will lie to us. They will tell us misinformation to make us doubt or, even, hate ourselves.

You are not who you think you are. You are someone that was created with a purpose, mission, and vision. Live this out and stop listening to the inner critic.

3. Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher):

Don’t tell me what things look like. Tell me what they are.

Rey gave Leia a report. In her report, she told Leia things looked a certain way. Rey didn’t tell Leia the way things were.

You have a choice as a leader. You can tell your team what things look like. Or, you can tell your team what things are.

These are two very different things.

What’s happening can look very different from what actually is. You have to be able to differentiate the two and clearly communicate this to your team.

4. Great leaders have a great team:

Rey wanted to seek out the hidden Sith homeworld by herself. She was ready to leave her friends and team behind.

Thankfully, she had a great team behind her. Her team: Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), Finn (John Boyega), C-3P0 (Anthony Daniels), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), and BB8.

These team members confronted Rey and told her she wouldn’t go alone. They would accompany her to Exegol.

Great leaders build up great teams. These teams aren’t there to get the work done. Yes, that’s part of their role but it isn’t the main part.

The great teams great leaders build are there for the leader. They are there to help keep the leader on track.

Rey’s team wouldn’t let her do something stupid. If you build a great team, they will help prevent you from doing stupid things too.

5. Surprise and delight:

Kylo Ren and Rey had a unique relationship. They could see each other through the Force and even interact with one another.

During a fight scene between the two, Kylo Ren was able to steal the necklace Rey had been given by a native of the planet she was on. Kylo discovered where Rey and the team were because of this.

He alerted the First Order troops on the planet. They began their assault on Rey and the others. This is when there was a bit of surprise and delight for me and others in the theater.

A mysteriously figure steps in and helps save them. This man? A face from the past – Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams).

What are you doing to surprise and delight those you lead and serve? Are you doing things to bring joy to your customers? Are you giving your team something to delight in?

Great leaders look for ways to positively surprise and delight those they lead and serve. Figure out ways for you to do this.

6. Always be learning:

Finn and Rey were fleeing from the Stormtroopers. Something new happened during the chase. They discovered the Stormtroopers had a new skill.

The Stormtroopers launched one of their partners into the air and it began to fly. This had never been seen before. It was a new skill of the Stormtroopers.

Great leaders aren’t like Stormtroopers… except in situations like this. Great leaders are always looking for ways to grow and improve. They are constant learners.

They discover new skills. Then they implement the skills.

Never stop learning. Always have an eye out for new skills to learn and apply.

7. Help others:

Rey had been on the search for a device that would help them locate Exegol. They sought out the ship of Ochi of Bestoon (Liam Cook). He had the device on his ship but he never made it to the planet.

Rey and crew found the ship. They also found a giant python-like creature. Finn and Poe wanted to shoot the creature. Rey saw another course of action.

The creature had been injured. Rey went to the creature and performed a Force Heal. This calmed the creature and they were able to pass freely.

Your first thought when you see someone perform poorly or act out may be to can the person. They don’t deserve to be in your organization if they can’t play nice or perform well.

What if you took a minute to consider what they’re going through? Could they be facing a problem you could help solve that would help them become the ideal team player?

Look for ways to help and heal others. This is more powerful than being a leader who hurts others.

8. Sometimes you have to retreat before you take action:

We’ve all seen the preview of The Rise Of Skywalker were Rey faces an Upsilon-class Command Shuttle. It was one of those jaw-dropping moments in the previews. It was even more impressive in the movie.

Rey sees the Command Shuttle flying towards her. She begins to run in the opposite direction (does she think she’ll be able to outrun the spaceship?!?). As the Command Shuttle gets closer, she turns around, takes a flying leap, and slices the wing of the ship.

She succeeded in taking the ship out.

Many leaders consider retreating or backing off of a plan as a failure. They stop seeing forward motion and it’s the end of the line. It’s not. Many times we will have to retreat before we take action.  Retreating or moving backward, can give leaders the margin they need to make a huge move.

Don’t be afraid of retreating. Retreating doesn’t mean defeat. It doesn’t even mean you’ve given up. Retreating may be giving you the room you need.

9. Everyone has a past:

The latest Star Wars trilogy deals a lot with people’s pasts. We were led to believe Rey came from nobodies. Finn was a former Stormtrooper. Poe was a spice runner.

They didn’t have the best pasts. They were scavengers and killers and outlaws. Who would want them?

Yet they turned themselves around. They formed a great team that took down the threat of the revived Emperor Palpatine.

Everyone has a past. Everyone has made mistakes. Even you.

Don’t hold people’s pasts against them. If they’re willing to change, be willing to give them a chance.

You can help people move forward from a bad past into a great future.

10. Poe Dameron:

I can’t walk out on this war.

Zorii Bliss (Keri Russell) and Poe had a former relationship. It went south. Yet, Zorii was willing to look past their broken relationship and rekindle it.

She asked Poe to leave the mission he was on to leave with her. Poe told her he couldn’t. The war he was fighting was too important.

You’re fighting a war too… You may not realize it but you’re fighting for a better future. A better future for you, for your team, and for your organization.

The war you’re fighting is important. Don’t walk out on the people you’re fighting for.

11. Bad leaders want you to go bad:

Kylo Ren constantly pursued Rey. He desired to see her break bad. He wanted Rey to turn to the Dark Side of the Force.

Bad leaders are a lot like Kylo Ren. They know they’re not doing right. Because of this, they desire to bring other leaders down with them.

They will tempt the good leaders they see. They will show them the power, prestige, and fortune that can be had if only they made bad choices.

Be careful of the bad leaders in your life. They will try to pull you down to their level.

12. Han Solo (Harrison Ford):

Your mother’s gone but what she stood for, what she fought for, that’s not gone.

While Kylo Ren was a bad dude, he has struggled between living in the dark or the light. In a previous Star Wars movie, Kylo Ren killed his father, Han Solo.

Han Solo, even in death, wouldn’t give up on his son. His ghost made an appearance to Kylo Ren in The Rise Of Skywalker. Han Solo appears to his son and tells him that Leia is dead but what she fought for isn’t.

This impacted Kylo Ren. This increased his doubt about the Dark Side.

I love what Han Solo said. He reminded his son that while Leia, a leader, was gone the things she fought for weren’t. What she did in her life continued forward.

What you do matters. The choices you make, the things you fight for… these things will not leave those you touch.

Lead well. Fight for the things that matter. Touch the lives of those you lead. You will leave a legacy for them.

13. You never feel ready:

Poe Dameron didn’t feel ready for his ragtag band of rebels to fight the First Order. They weren’t ready. But they were.

There was no choice. They were mounting a major attack. One that would decimate life as they knew it. It was now or never.

You will feel like Poe. You will feel you’re not ready.

The truth: You may not be ready. But you are.

You’re more ready than you know. You’ve had a lifetime of experience. You’ve had a lifetime of learning.

Put it to use.

14. Poe Dameron:

The First Order wins by making us think we’re alone. We’re not.

The First Order used fear and loneliness to win. They would use this to make those they fought to feel weaker and alone.

You may feel alone but you’re not. There are others willing to stand beside you. They want to help you succeed.

Be willing to call for help. Be willing to fight alongside others.

When you do, you’re not alone. You have a powerful team with you.

15. Face your darkness:

In a throwback to The Empire Strikes Back, Rey faces a dark version of herself. This is in reference to the time Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) enters a dark cave and faces off another person with a lightsaber. Luke believes this man to be Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones). When Luke cuts off the figure’s head, he sees his face under the mask.

Rey had to face a dark version of herself. She had to defeat the darkness within her.

Image of a Dark Rey from The Rise Of Skywalker

You will have to face the darkness within you. There’s darkness within all of us.

The darkness tells us to take the easy path. The path of least resistance. Or to do what our heart desires.

We have to be careful when leading. We have to make sure the dark side isn’t the side calling the shots.

16. Rey:

I am all the Jedi.

This was another great line from Rey in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker. Rey finally gets that she’s a part of the whole. The whole is her.

We are the sum of all the leaders we’ve been led by. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Every leader you’ve studied is a part of you. Every leader that has had influence over you is a part of you. And every leader that has hurt you is a part of you.

You’re made up of more than just you. You’re made up of everyone that has influenced you.

This is good. This is bad. And this is ugly.

17. You are more than your past:

The big reveal in The Rise Of Skywalker is that Rey didn’t come from a family of nobodies. Rey was the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine.

Rey could have let this impact her. She could have chosen to give in to her family heritage.

Rey didn’t choose to live out her grandfather’s legacy. She chose to live on the path of light. At the end of The Rise Of Skywalker, she rejected the Palpatine name and took on the last name of Skywalker.

Regardless of your family lineage, you don’t have to live in their shadow. You don’t have to continue the mistakes that were made.

You can choose to live a better life. There’s more to you than your family history. You can choose to move on from their bad choices and choose to live a life of righteousness.

Don’t let your family history define you. Choose your own path.

Question: If you’ve watched Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, what leadership lessons did you take away from the movie? If you haven’t seen the movie, what Reel Leadership lessons from Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker that I shared resonated with you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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