Secrets will be revealed, conflicts resolved and the Emperor will return, when STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER opens at the end of this year! The new STAR WARS movie is also the last one, or at least the last chapter in the Skywalker story that began in 1977, with the release of A NEW HOPE.
Of course, the tale of Luke Skywalker seemingly came to a conclusion in THE LAST JEDI, in 2017. But the RISE OF SKYWALKER story can still answer huge questions about characters like Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Osar Isaac), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), and even Leia, played by the late Carrie Fisher. Will we learn something new about Rey's parents? And what about the image of an evil Dark Side Rey seen in the latest footage?
Let's dive into what we know about the new STAR WARS movie, and see how many THE RISE OF SKYWALKER questions we can answer, based on what we already know.
The first teaser trailer for THE RISE OF SKYWALKER arrived this past April, at the Star Wars Celebration convention in Chicago. It is short but sweet, with just enough new details to have us feverishly piecing together the possible story.
We expected the first full RISE OF SKYWALKER trailer to arrive during Disney's D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA, in late August. Instead, Lucasfilm and Disney released a brief sizzle reel, with barely a dozen new shots from the movie. In the end, however, it's a terrific new tease of the movie, with a few arresting images that raise far more questions than they answer. Watch the sizzle reel above!
It's been almost two years since the release of STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI — which doesn't seem that long to wait, given how significant the gaps were between films like RETURN OF THE JEDI and THE PHANTOM MENACE. STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER opens in theaters on December 20, 2019, which means barely more than a two-year wait since we last saw Rey, Finn, Poe, and Luke (Mark Hamill).
This is a very good question. There are several schools of thought, from the idea that Luke's apparent death in THE LAST JEDI isn't quite the end for him, to the idea that Rey's parentage could still be revealed as having ties to the Skywalker line. Then there's the idea that the Skywalker name could come to stand in for the Jedi line itself, especially if Force powers are manifesting in young people across the galaxy, as suggested at the end of the last movie.
The biggest surprise of the D23 Sizzle Reel is in the last few shots, which seemingly show our heroine, Rey, having fallen to the dark side of the Force. She wears black Sith robes, and holds a red-bladed lightsaber, which traditionally indicates a dark side disposition. That saber, too, is a strange folding dual-blade weapon, which reminds us of Darth Maul's epic blade, from STAR WARS - EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE.
Well, we don’t know for certain that Emperor Palpatine, who was thrown into a deep shaft on the second Death Star at the end of RETURN OF THE JEDI, is actually alive. But that is absolutely his laugh heard in the teaser trailer. His face also seems to float above Rey and Kylo Ren as they duel on the poster seen above, suggesting that his influence has something to do with their conflict.
Furthermore, actor Ian McDiarmid, who played the character in both RETURN OF THE JEDI and the Prequels, took the stage at Star Wars Celebration back in April, suggesting that his character is still with us — somehow.
In the image above, from the teaser trailer, that sure does look like ruins of the Death Star. And that place, in turn, could have something to do with the Emperor’s return — we’d bet our lightsaber on it. (Then again, this could be the first Death Star, from A NEW HOPE, in which case we’d like our lightsaber back, please.)
The location is clearly key spot for the RISE OF SKYWALKER story. The D23 Sizzle Reel features shots of Rey and Kylo fighting atop some of that sea-bound wreckage, for instance. Several years ago, story ideas for THE FORCE AWAKENS involved Rey diving into submerged ruins in search of a powerful object; that idea could have been put back to work in this movie.
Beyond that, we don’t know a lot about the RISE OF SKYWALKER story. We know that Rey and Kylo will likely have one last face-off, and there’s a chance we’ll learn more about Rey’s background — and certainly about her connection to the Force.
Sure, the Emperor seems to be back, but on the upside, we’ll also see Carrie Fisher one last time. Fisher died before the release of THE LAST JEDI, but THE RISE OF SKYWALKER director J.J. Abrams had footage of her left over from when he shot THE FORCE AWAKENS. Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, gave her blessing for the production to use that footage so that Leia might be seen on screen one last time.
Some STAR WARS veterans have signed on to this movie, too. Mark Hamill will likely be seen, and Billy Dee Williams reprises the role of Lando Calrissian, originally introduced in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Anthony Daniels will be inside C-3PO’s suit one more time, too.
There are some new cast members, too. Naomi Ackie plays the mysterious Jannah, about whom little is known. Keri Russell and Richard E. Grant also have parts in the film, but they have been kept fairly secret so far. And, of course, the primary cast from the last two movies is back as well: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac return, as do Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo and Billie Lourd.
All images courtesy of Lucasfilm and Disney.