Star Wars Celebration is about over, but the speculations have just begun. One of the biggest things at the celebration this year was the drop of the Episode IX teaser trailer along with a title announcement – The Rise of Skywalker. We have broken down the trailer as well as scoured the panel interviews for clues. This is what we know so far…
Stephen Colbert hosted the first main panel of Star Wars Celebration 2019. It started out with director J.J Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy. Despite talking for awhile they said surprisingly little. After which Anthony Daniels and some droids appeared. Soon after came Billy Dee Williams. Last was pretty much the entire new cast of Star Wars.
Shocking exactly no one, Director J.J Abrams had little to say about the plot of the story but he did provide us with a little information that is interesting and largely confirmed by the trailer. The first thing is that the story is about the entire new cast going on an adventure together. Despite the core theme of friendship and bonds that run throughout the soon to be 9 main movies, this is kind of rare. Outside of A New Hope, most of the time our heroes are scattered across the galaxy. The fun of seeing these characters together aside, this can allow the story to advance the plot rather quickly – which it will need to do if its going to cap the whole Skywalker Saga. It has been confirmed that there is a time jump between this entry and the last. We don’t know exactly how long, but 3 years is roughly the average jump in a Star Wars movie. Episode 9 will explore the world and challenges that these characters have inherited from previous generations. This fits in nicely with Lucas’s original idea of the saga being about fathers and sons. Which is not surprising given that it has been reported elsewhere that George Lucas has had some input of this installment. How much is anyone’s guess. Abrams stated that part of this journey is to fight “…a greater evil” but remained quiet on what that entails exactly. The director talked about how this movie has to function and the challenge that created. The Rise of Skywalker has to finish off the new trilogy, cap off the entire saga, and still be good as an standalone movie. That is a tall order, it will be interesting to see how well he does at all three.
The Droids New and Old
C-3po has returned for the final installment of the main Star Wars saga. It is believed that R2-D2 is back as well, despite a lack of footage. This is to be expected as the two of them are essentially the narrators of the story. Influenced by the fools in Akira Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress, these droids are a vital part of the connective tissue of the Skywalker Saga. BB-8 has also been confirmed. Again, no surprise there. The little orange
scene stealer is one of the most popular and recognizable characters of the new generation. We were introduced to a new droid D-0, who has a very
Pixar/Disney quality to his design.
Who is Jannah
One new character we are getting is Jannah played by Namoi Ackie. Rumor is she may be Lando’s daughter, but the actress was rather coy about that. We caught a first glimpse of her as well.
“Lando never Left me.”
One of the capital crimes lodged against the new trilogy is how it’s handled certain classic characters. Leia not hugging Chewie after the death of Han, Luke’s self imposed exile, etc have all sparked fan boy ire to varying degrees. But, a fairly unanimous cry amongst fans has been “Where is Lando?” Its has been confirmed for some time now that Billy Dee Williams is reprising his role as Lando. But, seeing him on stage was emotional for a lot of us. Seeing him in costume, in the cockpit of the Falcon, was just on another level though. The outfit is a nice touch, it is very similar to was Donald Glover wore in Solo. This yellow and black combo has been a go to in the comics as well. It is also worth noting that it is the inverse of what he wore at Cloud City (Blue with a yellow liner in the cape, here is it yellow with a blue lined cape.) When asked if it was hard to step back into character Williams said “Lando never left me.” A statement like that makes the lack of Lando in other films feel like more of a missed opportunity. The 82 year old actor also had a great take on Lando’s betrayal in Empire. It was less of a betrayal and more of a role of the dice which worked – as Williams put it “Did anybody die?” Spoken like a true scoundrel.
Luke’s Voice Over
It is still a mystery how Luke is going to fit into this entry but the smart money is on him being a force ghost. We don’t see Luke at all here but we do hear him. “We’ve passed on all we know. A thousand generations live in you now. But this is your fight.” These words echo much of what Abrams said during the panel about this movie being about what the next generation has inherited.
Another Desert Planet?
Desert planets are prominent in Star Wars – on purpose. They represent the desolate parts of our world. The heroes in Star Wars often come from the little out of the way places, small towns and barren wastelands. The message that a hero can be anyone from anywhere is one of the more endearing staples of the franchise. Also Lucas crafted Star Wars as a classic myth told in a new way. So, it has the circular or lyrical nature of an epic poem. It’s Poetry – it Rhymes. Could this be a new planet, Jakku, Tatooine. Any one of those could be it, but the smart money right now is on Tatooine.
Light Saber Rebuilt
In Rey’s hand we can see Anakin’s old lightsaber with some modifications. The saga’s equivalent of Excalibur has been made whole once more. Shattered at the end of The Last Jedi, Rey has not only put it back together but modified it. The building of a lightsaber is typically one of the last steps before becoming a Jedi Knight. We can also see she is still carrying the blaster Han gave her. We haven’t seen a powerful force user choose to use a blaster since The Empire Strikes Back. Its telling of Rey’s character but also a nice bit of symbolism that she is carrying bits of the old heroes with her.
A New Tie Fighter
This TIE Fighter seems to be a sleek upgrade of the TIE – Interceptor. The orangish-red trim is a nice touch. This color scheme of the First Order seems to be a bit more prevalent this time around. More interesting that the TIE fighter here is who the pilot seems to be.
Rey and Kylo facing off?
While we don’t see who the pilot is we see their hands, and its not typical stormtrooper gloves. The gloved hands and the actions of the tie fighter pilot make this seem to be not just Rey facing a TIE Fighter, but against Kylo Ren. Which, lets face it, is an awesome way to start a showdown that’s been brewing for two movies. He tries to ram her with a TIE Fighter, she leaps over it (and I’d wager then slicing a wing or something causing him to crash and get out to fight.) This is given more credence with this publicity still of Kylo in the cockpit of a TIE Fighter.
Kylo’s mask rebuilt
As was leaked earlier in the year Kylo Ren’s Mask has returned. The question is who will be wearing it and why? There has been some speculation that Kylo Ren will not be wearing it. Ren smashed it in The Last Jedi as part of his new philosophy that you have to let the past die in order to become what you are meant to be. Him dawning it again would indeed be undoing some of The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson’s biggest contributions to the character. It would be odd for Ren to go back to wearing the mask. Perhaps someone else is hoping to take the reins of the Knights of Ren. This is given some creedence in the trailer as the person mending it did not seem to be Ren. And when we do see him in battle he is not wearing it.
Speaking of the new Dark Lord – We get a glimpse of Kylo Ren battling in a burning forest. He cross checks somebody while holding his lightsaber (the lightsaber does not actually hit the individual contrary to some comments.) The person in question is humanoid (not necessarily human tho) and carrying a primitive melee weapon akin to the Ewoks or perhaps slightly more advanced like some sort of vibroblade. Seeing as we may be headed back to Endor (more on that later) this could be on Endor and these might inhabitants other than Ewoks.
One last Adventure with Royalty
We know that Leia is coming back despite the tragic loss of actress Carrie Fisher. We know that some of these scenes are unused footage from the Force Awakens. What we don’t know is what that means in terms of story. From the trailer we see that there is an emotional scene with her and Rey. We also see her holding the medal she gave Han at end of A New Hope. Will we finally see our heroes mourn the death of their friend Han Solo? That seems likely. It could also belong to Luke. But what else is Leia going to do? This is one of the biggest hurdles Abrams and Kennedy has to jump in order to give fans a satisfying ending.
Lando at the Helm
One of the most emotional shots for long time fans of the saga was seeing Lando at the controls of the Falcon. Lando loved the Falcon almost as much as Han did. Knowing the on board computer is also his old friend (and lover?) L3-37, makes this reunion especially endearing. Him and Chewie blasting into hyperspace is bittersweet as this is the last time we will have with these characters (at least for awhile.) But, seeing Chewie raise a fist in triumph as they do so is a lot of fun. The galaxies greatest Wookie has been sidelined a bit these past two movies, hopefully he gets to do something meaningful here.
Gaming giant EA may have turned to the dark side long ago but there is a lot to love in the Star Wars Battlefront games. Once you get past the initial grind that is. One of those great things is the jumptroopers. Rebel or Imperial soldiers with jet packs. They are essential gear on some maps/modes and they make sense in cannon given the Mandalorians. In the trailer we see what looks to be First Order troopers with jet packs.
Skiff Throw Back
We catch a glimpse of a chase/fire fight involving Finn, Poe, C-3pO, and the Jump Troopers. The scene is brimming with energy. Keeping with Abram’s throwbacks to the original trilogy, the hovercraft they are on is very similar to the skiffs from Jabba’s Palace in Return of The Jedi. This is what leads me to believe we are returning to Tatooine. The skiff designs seem like they are from that planet. On top of that there are poles can be scene that are similar to the one on the Lars family moisture farm.
The Millennium Falcon is not the only classic ship to return. We have multiple shots of what appears to be an A-Wing. It is hard to tell if this is a classic A-Wing or if it is a newer model.
A new City/Planet.
Nothing is known about this city or planet as of yet. The approach of the ship, the camera work and design is akin to the Gungan city on Naboo is The Phantom Menace.
Capital Class ships
In the shot with the A-Wing going down we see the outline of some capital class ship. The top image has a shadowy outline of what looks to be a Star Destroyer bridge. As the shot pans down it continues to look like a Star Destroyer, however, it is also reminiscent of the Venerator class Star Destroyers from clones was. You can make out what seems to be more red trim like the CW era ships but also similar to what I believe to be Kylo’s TIE Fighter.
Finn and Rey’s Staff
We catch a glimpse of Finn holding Rey’s staff. This makes sense as Rey doesn’t really need now that she wields a lightsaber. Also Finn, according to the novel Before The Awakening and what we saw in both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, Finn is an adept fighter with melee weapons like a staff or vibroblade. Or maybe he’s just holding it for her.
The ruins of the Empire have been a constant visage in this final Trilogy of the Skywalker saga. But none have been as magnificent or as stirring as the remnants of the Death Star (II?) resting in dark stormy waters. There has been some debate about which planet this is and which Death Star. While this could be the first Death Star somewhere around Yavin IV, it doesn’t really make sense. The explosion of the first Death Star was more destructive and they were a fair distance from Yavin IV when it happened. While this shot of the Death Star doesn’t instantly pull the forest moon of Endor to mind it is highly likely this is where it is. It is worth noting that the planet of Endor is a gas giant so it can’t be that.
Early drafts of The Force Awakens played with the idea of searching the ruins of the Death Star. Which, thankfully, never seems to have left JJ Abrams. This on top of everything we’ve learned so far begs the most intriguing question – what are the doing there, what could be inside, what does this all mean!?
Which brings us to one of the greatest trailer reveals of all time, Palpatine’s iconic laughter. Right after Luke says that no one is ever really gone (echoing Yoda’s teachings) we hear that chilling evil cackle. The trailer, Ian McDiarmid appearance at the end of the panel, and twitter all confirm that Darth Sidious Himself- Emperor Sheeve Palpatine will return in some fashion. Given that he is the main villain of 6 of the 9 movies, this is not only fitting but welcome. There are plenty of theories about this given the breadth of EU lore – is it a Clone? Did Palpatine survive thanks to the teachings of Darth Plagueis the Wise? Maybe it’s a hologram recording in the Death Star? Does Kylo find Sidious’s Holocron? We know Sith don’t become force ghosts, but they can haunt places, is Sidious haunting the Death Star ruins? So many possibilities and most of them are pretty exciting.
Lots of theories have been bouncing around this. A favorite of ours so far is that Rey will call the new order of light force users Skywalkers. This would be a lovely acknowledgment of the importance this story and this franchise has had both in the Star Wars universe and our own. Also, going back to Lucas’s idea of poetry it fits the pattern of Revenge, Return, and now Rise.