Disney finally dropped the hotly anticipated final trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, during the Patriots vs. Jets game on Monday Night Football. It’s the third installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy produced, co-written, and directed by J.J. Abrams, following The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017). Disney’s timing is extra special, because today was also the late Carrie Fisher’s birthday, and this film was her final role. (Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, plays Lieutenant Connix, a resistance officer, in the new trilogy.)
Disney has been holding their cards pretty close to their chest when it comes to details about The Rise of Skywalker, but we do know it is set one year after the events of The Last Jedi. The few surviving remnants of the Resistance will be facing the First Order once again, and the “ancient conflict between the Jedi and the Sith” will reach its climax.
We got our first teaser back in April, at the annual Star Wars Celebration event. It gave us a few Millennium Falcon flights and some desert-speeder combat, plus a brief glimpse of Princess Leia, thanks to footage shot in 2016 before Carrie Fisher’s untimely death. It closed with the new trilogy main cast members staring at the wreckage of a Death Star, followed by the sound of Emperor Palpatine’s evil laughter (even though he’s supposed to be dead). We also learned that BB-8 has a new robotic buddy—a one-wheeled junk-heap character named Dio.
A second teaser screened at Disney’s D23 Expo in August opened with a montage of scenes from the original trilogy, then more recent Star Wars films, set to a haunting variation on John Williams’ score. Then came roughly 30 seconds of new footage, beginning with Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewie, and C-3PO on a desert planet. Rey follows in Luke’s footsteps with a bit of Jedi training on Endor, and then locks light sabers with Kylo Ren on a stormy seaside. There’s a brief shot of C-3PO with glowing red eyes, sparking speculation as to whether there might be a bit of reprogramming in store for our favorite protocol droid. And fans are still puzzling over the final shot, which seems to show Rey in Sith regalia.
And now we have the final trailer. It opens with a shot of Rey’s Jedi training, with a voiceover talking about the Force: “It’s an instinct. A feeling.” A shot of her jumping across a jungle ravine cuts to her executing the same move on a mission. We see the few remaining members of the Resistance coming together, and what sounds like Finn’s voice declaring, “We’re not alone. Good people will fight if we lead them.” There are several shots of space battles, including a glimpse of one ship that just might be the Ghost—a customized VCX-100 light freighter featured in both Star Wars Rebels and Rogue One. And yes, it does look like C-3PO is going to be reprogrammed, albeit deliberately by his own allies.
The unusual connection between Rey and Kylo Ren also plays a big role in the trailer. Daisy Ridley has already hinted that “Reylo” will be a big part of the film’s narrative arc. “People talk about toxic relationships and whatever it is,” she said. “It’s no joke and I think it’s dealt with really well because it’s not skimmed over.”
In the trailer, we hear Rey confess that people think they know her, but nobody really does. “But I do,” we hear Kylo Ren say, as he looms into view, light saber at the ready. The footage plays up their complicated relationship: one minute they”re crossing light sabers in battle, the next they’re teaming up to destroy a common enemy. There are hints that this is all part of Palpatine’s master plan: “Long have I waited. And now your coming together is your undoing.” Or maybe Destiny has something entirely different in store for these two.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20, 2019.
Listing image by YouTube/Star Wars/Disney