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

Decoding the trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker — The title, the laugh, and Lando

By Brian Silliman
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Daisy Ridley as Rey)

This will be a day long remembered — not only do we have the title for Episode IX in the Star Wars saga, we have our first teaser as well. Both were released to huge fanfare at Star Wars Celebration today and are both cause for chills, tears, and more than a couple of gasps.

The title itself, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, is very interesting and not at all expected. That name has never appeared in a Star Wars title before, nor has the word "rise." When put together with the teaser, the experience truly does look like the "Skywalker saga" is indeed ending — we will have more Star Wars films, of course, but the tale of this extended family will be over (whether there's a newly revealed descendant of that family remains to be seen). Putting the name itself front and center really blasts that home.

Speaking of newly revealed descendants, one could theorize that the title brings back the old chestnut of Rey (Daisy Ridley) herself being a stealth Skywalker. I can't really see J.J. Abrams going so far as to retcon what we learned in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, that Rey's biological parents were "nobodies." That said, Rey could very well take the Skywalker name anyway, or have it given to her either by the ghost of Luke (Mark Hamill) or General Leia (Carrie Fisher). A big theme of this new trilogy (and the whole saga, really) is that of found families, the ones that you create and find instead of being bound to by blood. Rey (or someone else) doesn't necessarily need that famous Skywalker blood to be a Skywalker. 

As for the teaser, we'll let it speak for itself before we get in there and pick it apart:

We begin in very familiar territory: Rey is heeding the words of Luke Skywalker, and she's breathing. We're on a desert planet, though we don't know which one. In voiceover, we hear Luke telling Rey that the old generation has given her all the lessons they can — the galaxy and its huge tangle of issues are hers to deal with now.

That's when Rey ignites the classic Skywalker saber (rebuilt, apparently), and somersaults over a TIE Fighter that is speeding straight across the desert at her. It looks a lot like the TIE Silencer of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), but we don't get to see who is flying it. The pilot's gloves look familiar, though.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker


As the John Williams score starts to soar (Leia's theme, predominantly), we see an A-Wing flying into what looks like it could be the new base of the Resistance. We know that the film takes place at least a little while after the last one, so there would be plenty of time for this location to be found and the base constructed. Going off the fact that we last saw the Resistance located solely on the deck of the Millennium Falcon, a base is certainly called for.

The planet itself could be brand new. If it already exists in the Star Wars galaxy, it could be Dagobah? That would be a pretty perfect place for the Resistance to be rebuilt.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Kylo Ren helmet)


Maybe Kylo Ren was tired of having his head exposed. Maybe he missed his old look. Maybe, he's being influenced by someone else... which we'll get to in a bit. Any way you want to look at it, Kylo's rebuilding his helmet and possibly regressing a little. We see him killing some people (that's SO Kylo) in a few shots, but none with him actually wearing this thing. We supposed a rebuilt helmet is better than none at all?

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Finn and Poe)


Not only are Finn (John Boyega) and Poe (Oscar Issac) together on what looks like the same desert planet that we saw Rey on, but we get a good look at Finn and Poe's new outfits. Poe is absolutely rocking the force out of that scarf, and Finn is carrying Rey's staff! Why, exactly? I don't know, but it furthers the bond between Finn and Rey, so I'm happy about it.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (BB-8 and D-O)


We get a nice shot of BB-8 and his newly introduced droid friend, D-O. If people thought BB-8 was adorable, then this is cuteness overload. D-O is tiny, chirpy, and looks like he's almost entirely done with practical effects. Though there's plenty of BB, D-O, and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) in the teaser, R2-D2 is not featured at all. He was on stage at Celebration, though, so we know he's still around somewhere.

Billy Dee Williams in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker


The scoundrel soars once more! Things come full circle (again) as Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) is back in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, the ship he lost in Ron Howard's Solo: A Star Wars Story. Chewie (Joonas Suotamo) seems to be pumping his fist over something, and Lando is smiling like he hasn't had this much fun in ages.

Another interesting note: Lando's costume looks like it's right out of Donald Glover's Young Lando wardrobe from the aforementioned Solo.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (The medal)


Come on now. As Luke Skywalker might say, "that was a cheap move." I don't know who is holding this classic medal from the end of the very first film (looks like Leia?) and I don't know why they are holding it — all I know is that I immediately started crying when I saw it.

Once again, this movie is looking like it will wrap up everything that began in 1977, and no medal (or bucket of tears) will be left out.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Leia hugs Rey)


Though Carrie Fisher has sadly passed into the force, we knew that General Leia Organa would still appear in the film thanks to the use of unused footage from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Just seeing her here only adds to the emotion, but it also blends seamlessly with everything else, and doesn't look out of place at all. Our General is ready for one last ride, and we can't wait.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (The Next Generation)


Abrams mentioned in the panel preceding the trailer that the entire group was together for this adventure, and this shot backs up his point. We've got our next generation trio, Chewie, and three out of four droids. Rise Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) is missing, as is Naomi Ackie's new character of Jannah. We're also missing our legacy characters, but still, it's great to see this particular group together after most of them spent an entire film separated.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Rey looking at wreckage)


Rey looks out at what appears to be some wreckage from a Death Star, and it is then that we hear Luke's great line from the previous movie. That's when the teaser cuts to black, and we hear something else.

The cackle of Emperor Sheev Palpatine.

The teaser finally cuts to the long-awaited title, but it was the laugh that had my jaw on the floor. On the Celebration live stream, this was immediately followed by Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine) appearing on the stage, and ordering those in charge to play the teaser again. They obeyed him, of course. Snoke who?

Is Palpatine actually back? It would make sense. He might not be back in the flesh, and Sith aren't able to manifest as force ghosts, but there could still be a way. If everything is coming full circle (especially in terms of the Skywalkers), then Palpatine was the one who started everything in the first place. Thanks to the recent run of comics, we know for certain that good ol' Sheev did in fact create Anakin using midichlorians — the man who was sometimes known as Darth Sidious having a presence here would definitely "rhyme," which is something that George Lucas (and Abrams) have always said that these films should do. Until we find out, Snoke em' if you got em' I guess... having McDiarmid back would be a truly incredible thing. 

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker comes out this December. Feel free to place a rather large wager with the Hutts that we will be there.