The wait is over. We finally have our first information about the final installment of the Star Wars saga. Episode IX has a trailer and a title – The Rise of Skywalker. What can we expect when The Rise of Skywalker comes out this December?
Breaking Down The Trailer
The trailer for The Rise of Skywalker has been anticipated pretty much from the instant fans left theaters after The Last Jedi. Within the first three hours of the trailer being released at Star Wars Celebration, it has been viewed on YouTube more than 50 thousand times. Twitter is going wild. People are really excited about this.
So what does the trailer show us? We had a lot of questions going in. How was the saga going to finish? After more than forty years of following the exploits of the Skywalkers, the end was drawing near. But how would it end? Now we have some ideas, though a lot is left to mystery.
We’ve Passed On All We Know
The trailer opens, as all the sequel trilogy trailers have, with someone breathing heavily. It’s Rey, in a desert. But she isn’t panicked or frightened, as the previous two trailers indicated. Instead, Rey is wonderfully grounded, preparing for something. Luke’s voiceover says “a thousand generations live on in you.” What is she facing?
A First Order fighter screams across the desert at Rey. She activates her lightsaber and runs in the opposite direction, only to at the last minute turn, leap, and fly over the fighter with her saber ready to destroy it. It’s a stand out moment that proved that Rey had come far from the insecure girl she was in The Force Awakens and has taken to heart what she learned from Luke in The Last Jedi. It may also prove the key to understanding the title.
The Saga Comes To An End
The rest of the trailer is mostly quick shots of action. We see a mysterious location and a ship flying over it. Kylo Ren’s body checks someone on a red planet with his lightsaber. In the next shot, someone repairs Kylo’s helmet, which, of course, he smashed into a fit of anger in The Last Jedi. Finn and Poe are on a rocky planet. BB-8 has a new friend. The Millennium Falcon flies through hyperspace with a surprise pilot, Lando Calrissian. There’s a battle on a desert planet that may be the same as where we see Rey in the opening. Poe and Finn are escaping on what looks like a sail barge with C-3PO. Leia holds Han’s medal from Yavin IV and hugs Rey.
Luke’s voiceover continues with “we will always be with you,” before the trailer comes to its big twist: Rey, Finn, and Poe are on a planet looking out over the sea. On the other side of the sea is wreckage from the Death Star. The voiceover says Luke’s iconic line from The Last Jedi: “no one’s ever really gone.” The screen fades to black before we hear it – sinister laughter from the last person we expected: Emperor Palpatine.
What Does It Mean?
The trailer for The Rise of Skywalker seems determined to raise more questions than ever before. We already had plenty of questions after the end of The Last Jedi. What was going to happen to the Resistance now that they have been almost destroyed? Where does Kylo Ren stand now that he has declared himself the new Supreme Leader? Who will that little boy from Canto Bight become? Will StormPilot ever become canon? How will the final film incorporate Leia now that Carrie Fisher has gone to the stars?
The Rise of Skywalker may or may not give us answers to these. The trailer dangles information in front of us. Kylo Ren seems to be going full Kylo if he is taking back his helmet and attacking people. But who was he attacking? If Palpatine is back, where does that leave Kylo? Will he join the Resistance to stop this bigger threat? Leia is back, but we don’t know to what extent she’ll show up. We know there was a scramble at Disney to figure out how to rework the story since the final film was supposed to be Leia’s time to shine. We may not get as much Leia as they originally planned, but they won’t leave us hanging.
The Rise Of Skywalker
The biggest question, of course, is what does the title mean? The Rise of Skywalker is a curious choice for the final film, especially when this has been touted as the end of the Skywalker Saga. The entirety of Star Wars, aside from the anthology films, has so far been wrapped up in this one family. The prequel trilogy focused on Anakin Skywalker and the original trilogy Luke Skywalker. This led a lot of people to assume that Rey, whose parentage was left vague and mysterious, would be revealed as a Skywalker.
However, Rian Johnson went in a different direction in The Last Jedi. Rey is the child of some random drunks who abandoned her on Jakku. She has no glorious lineage. She is proof that anyone can be important, not just the Skywalkers. But if this is the case – and assuming J. J. Abrams doesn’t retcon this – who is rising? The Rise of Skywalker opens up more questions. Is it the rise of Kylo Ren, who is descended from the Skywalkers through his mother Leia? Did Luke have children?
My favorite theory I have seen so far is that “Skywalker” becomes a title, rather than a name. Rey sees the end of the Jedi order when Luke dies and decides to start fresh. She finds a group of Force users who are not Jedi, but something new. They call themselves “Skywalkers.” Given that magnificent opening shot when Rey leaps – or walks? – into the sky over the fighter, it seems like as good an idea as any. I love the homage to the original spirit of Star Wars, and it gives me hope for the future.
See The Rise Of Skywalker This December
I am going to be on the edge of my seat for the next eight months. Naturally, there will be countless theories and speculations, more trailers, interviews galore… but we won’t know anything for sure until The Rise of Skywalker premieres this Christmas. Until then, we are left to our own devices.
The trailer for The Rise of Skywalker is magnificent. I literally and unabashedly cried the first two times I watched it. There is so much good in the trailer, which makes me think The Rise of Skywalker is going to be the perfect ending to this saga. Lando is back in the Falcon. Finn and Poe are together (if not actually together). Leia is back. As someone who loved Carrie Fisher wholeheartedly, I sobbed when she hugged Rey, as Luke says:
“we will always be with you.”
Carrie would love that message. Star Wars is my everything. It was my first fandom; when I was a kid my brother and I would watch the VHS tapes of the original trilogy over and over, often rewinding them when we finished just to start them over again. My first crush was Luke Skywalker. I own an ungodly amount of expanded universe novels.