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SYFY WIRE Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker

Star Wars: Poe flies the Falcon in new look at Rise of Skywalker, Abrams talks Leia's journey

By Matthew Jackson
Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker cockpit

With a little more than a month to go until its much-anticipated release, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker still has a few secrets to reveal to fans as part of its massive promotional campaign. The final trailer has already dropped, but new tidbits of information about the film are dropping all the time, and today we learned a particularly exciting one: The best damn pilot in the galaxy is climbing behind the wheel of the Millennium Falcon.

Thanks to a new image released Monday by Entertainment Weekly, we now know that Rise of Skywalker will feature none other than Resistance ace Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) flying the legendary Falcon, whose past pilots including Lando Calrissian, Han Solo, and most recently Rey. The new image features Poe sitting in Han's old chair with Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) in his usual co-pilot seat and Finn (John Boyega) looking on from a vantage point that Luke Skywalker would be pretty familiar with. Check it out, courtesy of the EW Instagram. 

What's Poe so surprised by? Is he just thrilled that he's finally flying the Falcon, or did he just see something shocking? We don't know, but as Isaac explained, Poe's journey to the Falcon's cockpit seems to be part of a greater effort in Rise of Skywalker to get the new trinity of sequel characters — Rey, Finn, and Poe — together at last for an adventure as a team.

"This time around, you get to see the trio together," Isaac said. "You know, I think it really captured the spirit of the original trilogy, exploring the dynamic between these three characters that love each other so much. You feel like they've been together, but when you really look at it, you're like, 'Wow, they really haven't spent that much time together.' Poe gets out of the cockpit and into the group this time around, which is really exciting, because we really got a chance to explore who he is in a special way."

Though the unity of Finn, Poe, and Rey is clearly a key part of The Rise of Skywalker, perhaps an even more crucial element is director and co-writer J.J. Abrams' efforts to craft a satisfying conclusion to the story of General Leia Organa without actress Carrie Fisher around to help along the way. Fisher died in December of 2016, having completed work on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but Abrams was able to incorporate her into The Rise of Skywalker using previously unseen footage shot for The Force Awakens. Speaking to Total Film (via GamesRadar) about resolving Leia's story through a little bit of movie magic and luck, Abrams explained that the character's journey was still able to unfold as planned.

“There are scenes where she’s interacting with other characters in a way that is uncanny,” Abrams said. “Hopefully, if it works, it will be an invisible thing, and if you didn’t know, you would never know. But we got to tell the story with Leia that we would have told had Carrie lived. And that’s kind of incredible.”

Much like what Poe is looking at in that image, exactly how Leia's journey will conclude is still tucked inside the J.J. Abrams mystery box, but we don't have much longer to wait before all will be revealed. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20.