Star Wars Episode IX / 9: The Rise of Skywalker is the closing arc of the last of this Star Wars trilogy. It’s coming two years after Star Wars: Episode VIII / 8: The Last Jedi was released back in 2017. And a shocking four years since Star Wars Episode VII / 7: The Force Awakens was released in 2015. It’s been a long game JJ.
This week we got our first look at Star Wars Episode IX‘s world premiere at the Star Wars Celebration Panel. Here it is, followed by everything that we’ve learned.
A Year Or Two Has Passed
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens and Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, continued seamlessly from one movie to the other. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that Episode IX will reportedly jump ahead in the timeline a bit for its story.
John Boyega, who portrays former First Order stormtrooper Finn indicates that Episode IX will pick up “roughly one year” after the events of the last movie. Judging from Rey’s advanced skills with a lightsaber, as showcased by the opening minute of the teaser, it may be a year or two.
Time jumps have been a natural part of the story structure of the Star Wars movies. It’s only The Last Jedi movie that has directly followed its predecessor, picking up right where the last movie left off. Giving us a time jump this time around should allow us to see some growth in the characters. Rey more skilled, Kylo Ren probably more angry or pantsless, Finn and Poe more fashionable.
What Does The Title Mean
The Rise of Skywalker might be the most controversial of all Star Wars titles. Mainly because Luke died in The Last Jedi and there’s no clear heir to his name. Unless Abrams is planning to walk back Rian Johnson‘s version of Rey’s origin story, it’s unlikely that the Sequel Trilogy’s protagonist will be revealed to actually be related to Luke.
So what could the title mean? One theory is that the title refers to Kylo Ren, formerly Ben Solo, who, as the son of Leia, has Skywalker blood. But by the end of The Last Jedi, it seems that Kylo is too far gone for a redemption story. Not even Luke thinks he can be saved.
If it’s not Rey and it’s not Kylo, the title could be teasing a whole new Skywalker, one that hasn’t been revealed yet. That seems like too big of a plotline to introduce in the final chapter of a trilogy, though.
You’ll Still Get To See Carrie Fisher
Hold in those tears! Episode IX will be featuring Carrie Fisher and even though it’s not a surprise it’s still amazing to see her live on in these movies. Carrie passed away in 2016 before the release of The Last Jedi and JJ has just been using all the unused footage that was shot for The Force Awakens in the last two movies. Fans will also be happy to note that none of Leia’s scenes will be the product of CGI.
“We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” Abrams said. “Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.”JJ Abrams
It’s great to see Fisher and Leia get a proper sendoff in this movie, especially since the original plan was for Episode IX to have a big focus on the leader of the Resistance. The idea was for The Force Awakens to focus on Han Solo. The Last Jedi about Luke and The Rise of Skywalker would have been Leia. It’s unlikely Leia will have a big presence in the movie, but at least the movie will be able to celebrate her legacy one last time.
The Return Of The Emperor
Yes, Yes, Yes! I think we all recognised that cackling laughter. It could have only belonged to the one and only Emperor Palpatine. And there was Ian McDiarmid at the end of the panel to confirm. He’s returned to portray the Sith Lord once again. Snoke who?
For those of you that were too young to remember, Emperor Palpatine was the big bad of the Star Wars universe. Vader was basically his bitch. He made his debut back in 1983 in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. And once again in the prequel trilogy as Senator Sheev Palpatine.
What’s ole Palps been doing since then? I guess he managed to survive that pit he was thrown in on the Death Star. It does sound plausible if that pit didn’t later explode out in the vacuum of space. Maybe he’s a force ghost or a vision? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
The Death Star
There’s a moment in the teaser where our main crew are looking at a starship ruin. Those telltale curves and trench look awfully familiar could be a fallen Death Star?
But is it the one from A New Hope or Return of the Jedi. This gives us a couple of clues to its location. If it’s the New Hope Death Star Rey is on Yavin 4. According to the comics, this was Poe Dameron’s onetime home and the location of a Force tree given to his parents by Luke
If it’s Death Star No. 2 they’re on Endor, where it was destroyed in Return of the Jedi. If it’s from Return of the Jedi it might actually explain Palpatine being there. Just kinda Voldemorting in the husk.
Luke Is A Force-Ghost
Mark Hamill’s voiceover in this trailer sounds an awful lot like Force-ghost Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. That places Rey, once again, in Luke’s position. Also, note that his last line — “No one’s ever really gone” — is the same thing he said to Leia before his death in The Last Jedi. (Sniffle.)
Kylo’s Helmet Is Back
Poor, poor Kylo Ben, no longer the baddest man in the whole damn galaxy. In Star Wars: The Last Jedi he went through a sort of destructive identity crisis, followed by a number of temper tantrums. One involving the destruction of his beloved helmet. A tribute to his grandfather Darth Vader. In the teaser we see that helmet repaired and reformed, with a vivid red material highlighting those cracks. What could this mean for Kylo Ren? I guess we’ll find out this Episode whether he’ll stay in the light of good or he’s lost to the darkness forever more. No updates on whether we’ll be getting another shirtless shot of Adam Driver.
There’s A New Robot, D-0
Modelled after Pixar’s Desk Lamp mascot, D-0 will be wheeling around with buddy droid BB-8 in Episode IX.
Co-Pilot Lando Reporting In
Billy Dee Williams returns to the role of Lando Calrissian for Episode IX. Not only has Han’s best frenemy returned to the franchise, but he’s also back in the pilot seat of the Millennium Falcon, making the jump into hyperspeed with Chewie by his side. Plus, he’s wearing Donald Glover’s outfit from Solo, so we know he’s kept his cape collection in immaculate condition for all these years.
What’s Missing From The Teaser
We’re still got a couple of months before the opening date and Lucasfilm still has a few reveals up its Jedi-robe sleeve. The teaser didn’t show new character Jannah (Naomi Ackie), whose image was revealed at Celebration; Keri Russell’s unknown character; many of the new aliens teased during the Episode IX panel; the current incarnations of Luke and Darth Sidious; or Kylo’s posse, the Knights of Ren. Apparently Doctor 11 Matt Smith has scored an unnamed role in Star Wars as well.
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker flies into theatres December 20th 2019.