Spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
At the end of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, we see Rey encounter the Force Ghosts of Luke and Leia, which inspires her to take the last name of “Skywalker.” It makes sense why she would see those ghosts since Luke and Leia played such strong roles in mentoring her and they were strong with the Force. But why not other figures like Anakin Skywalker or Ben Solo?
Speaking THR, co-writer Chris Terrio explains that they wanted to bring the twins home, but since Alderaan was destroyed, they chose to bring Leia to Luke’s home of Tatooine:
We absolutely discussed who would be there at the end. It’s not as though those Force ghosts will never appear to Rey now that she really is the first of the new Jedi. I think she has all of those Jedi behind her. J.J. was pretty clear about the idea that he didn’t want to take away from the moment of Leia finally appearing as a Force ghost and the twins finally being together. This might be in the novelization, but we talked a lot about how Leia lost her home. Alderaan is gone. So, she could never take Luke to see where she grew up as a princess, but Luke could’ve taken Leia to see where he grew up as a farmer. But, the twins never got to Tatooine together. So, the idea of seeing the twins together after the sabers are laid to rest felt like it was something that was very moving to me and J.J.
Let’s pause for a moment. It’s simply not true that “the twins never got to Tatooine together” since they’re both on Tatooine in Return of the Jedi to rescue Han. If he means they didn’t come to Tatooine together at birth, then yes, I suppose that’s true. But bringing them back to Tatooine still doesn’t make a lot of sense since we never see any affection Luke or Leia has for the planet. It’s a homecoming divorced from the characters’ desires.
Spiritually, it’s not a crazy idea that all the Jedi would be standing with them, but it might’ve been a bit of a visual shock to see all these new characters on Tatooine who weren’t part of the story of Leia, Luke and Rey. It’s a fair question from fans because it’s a question that we debated endlessly — about what the final shot of Force ghosts would be. We spent hours and hours talking about this and debating it, and we decided that the moment when the Jedi have to be there for Rey, when it dramatically counts, is when she hears their voices. So, 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. It’s her, Luke and Leia standing together because she’s got the two Skywalker sabers in her hands.
I agree with Terrio that if you need to bring Rey to Tatooine (you don’t) and you need to give her the last name Skywalker (you don’t), then just having Luke and Leia as Force Ghosts makes the most sense in the moment. For more on issues with the film’s ending, click here.