As anticipated, Disney has released the first teaser trailer for Star Wars: Episode IX. Titled The Rise of Skywalker, the teaser shows Daisy Ridley’s Rey, Oscar Issac’s Poe Dameron and John Boyega’s Finn returning alongside a slew of other familiar characters, with some neat surprises toward the end. Go on, have a watch and then read on to see what those surprises were.
Billy-Dee Williams is back as Lando Calrissian, fittingly piloting his buddy Han Solo’s Millenium Falcon (although to be fair, it originally belonged to Lando). Chewbacca, C-3PO and BB8 return, with BB8 having a new buddy of his own. We also get a cameo from the late Carrie Fischer as General Leia Organa. Director J. J. Abrams had previously said that Leia would reprise her role using footage shot originally for The Force Awakens. It’s a bit touching to see Ridley shed a tear upon hugging Leia as it kind of echoes the real-world sentiment fans would be having upon watching the trailer.
The biggest reveals come toward the end though. We see almost the entire principal cast of Episode IX staring at what looks like the crashed Death Star. This is intriguing in that it evokes an abandoned plot point for The Force Awakens whose concept art can be found online. What follows is even intriguing; we hear Emperor Palpatine’s laugh by Ian McDiarmid. As of now I can’t tell if this is a reused laughter or new footage, the latter prospect meaning Palpatine is returning for the movie as the big baddie many hoped he would be in Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi. It’s going to be super interesting to see Palpatine square-off with our heroes capping off the Skywalker saga.
Speaking of which, the teaser is guided by Luke’s voice-over as he (most likely) returns as a force-ghost. The dialogue though (“we” have passed all our knowledge to you) suggests that other force-ghosts could be making an appearance as well (looking at you Obi-Wan Kenobi). From the looks of it, all these force-ghosts pass on their learnings to Rey feeding her with the knowledge of a thousand generations, which she’s going to need to defeat someone like Palpatine. This could simultaneously close the old saga and kick off a new one.
It’s also interesting to see how close the movie looks to the original trilogy, despite the upgrade in visuals. The hyperspeed effect in particular looks like it was taken straight from a 70s movie (in a good way of course). 2019 is packed with movies as it is but it looks like the best is saved for the last (second-best probably; I’m a bit biased toward Avengers: Endgame). Fingers crossed, December can’t come soon enough.
Directed by J. J. Abrams, Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker releases in theaters on December 20, 2019.