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

The biggest revelations from today's Star Wars: Episode IX panel

By Christian Long
Star Wars Finn and poe

For a franchise that's as closely-guarded as Star Wars, there were a considerable amount of revelations from the Episode IX panel that kicked off the annual Star Wars Celebration in Chicago this year. 

Prior to premiering the jaw-dropping trailer, the film's cast, along with director J.J. Abrams, weighed in about their individual characters and how their stories relate to the larger narrative. Here are some of the more interesting things we can expect from The Rise of Skywalker when it hits theaters over the holidays. 

  • Lando's back, baby

Han Solo may be gone, but his old gambling buddy and all-around scoundrel Lando Calrissian is still hanging around the galaxy. It was first reported last summer that Billy Dee Williams would be reprising the role, and at the panel today he told the crowd that "Lando never left me." From the looks of it, he'll be sporting some threads similar to what Donald Glover wore in Solo. And he'll be back in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, which is icing on the cake. 

  • BB8's got a friend

The spherical orange and white droid became a fan favorite since it first popped up on screen in the initial teaser for The Force Awakens back in 2014. Now, it's got a friend, D-0, which sort of resembles a desk lamp on a unicycle with a rubber ducky vibe. That won't stop us from loving it, though. 

  • The introduction of Jannah

The Rise of Skywalker will be bringing aboard some new characters, too, namely Naomi Acki's Jannah. While the actress wasn't revealing with any details, she didn't outright deny that she was Lando Calrissian's daughter, which has been a rumor floating around for a while now. 

  • All new costumes

John Boyega mentioned on stage that he never felt like Finn's character was expressed with what he was wearing, which up until now has been Poe's old jacket and the non-armored part of a Stormtrooper uniform. That'll change with The Rise of Skywalker, which has Finn, Poe, and Rey all sporting new duds. 

  • Klade and creature design

When talking about creature design, Abrams mentioned his preference for practical effects and sets whenever possible. This led to the introduction of another new creature, Klade, who sort of resembles one of the aliens from Explorers. Abrams called him "a friend to the resistance," and mentioned how Chewbacca ends up bringing him into the fold. 

  • The return of Palpatine

The sparse narration in The Rise of Skywalker's trailer spoke about how the legacy passed down between generations, and how no one's ever really gone. That last line was followed by the faint sound of Emporer Palpatine's distinctly evil laugh. 

The character's presence, which has been rumored since 2013, was confirmed when actor Ian McDiarmid appeared on stage after the trailer, commanding in his most sinister voice "roll it again." 

  • Stormpilot strikes back

Okay, so this wasn't in the trailer, but both John Boyega and Oscar Isaac talked up the bromance/romance between their two characters while they were on stage, giving some hope to all the Stormpilot shippers out there. 

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be soaring into theaters on December 20th.