It's finally here. The final entry of Star Wars as we know it is ready for its first look, opening up Star Wars Celebration in Chicago with the Star Wars: Episode IX panel on Friday. Lucasfilm brought out the big names and a trailer as the Episode IX moniker took a backseat to give way to The Rise of Skywalker.
SYFY WIRE watched as Warwick Davis rushed around the stage and the first female Stormtrooper brought some young fans on stage for a pep talk, all before Stephen Colbert himself burst onto the scene. He followed a trailer that documented behind-the-scenes interviews and footage from all the Star Wars films. Then came a talk with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and director J.J. Abrams. The latter pair spoke at the film's Star Wars Celebration panel about "the end of a three-act structure."
Abrams explained that they're still editing and finishing post-production VFX on the film — though they did everything they could to keep the film in-camera — then gave a touching speech on Carrie Fisher and the performance that she will still be giving in the final film.
Also, don't expect the main heroes to stay apart for long. "This is an adventure that the group goes on together," Abrams said of the main trio's plot, explaining that some time has passed between the end of The Last Jedi. The main next-gen cast — including newcomer Naomi Ackie — piled out onto the stage, with everyone from Oscar Isaac to Kelly Marie Tran present. Ackie revealed a first look at her character, Jannah (who may or may not be Lando's daughter), before moving onto John Boyega.
Finn is going full-fledged Resistance this time around, according to the actor, who admits that Finn is in a "love pentagon" with every other starring member of the cast. And as for Captain Phasma? "She dead." Isaac showed off a few photos of Poe from set as well as teasing his "love for Finn."
Daisy Ridley teased that she may have read some of the books taken from Luke's tree library, referencing back to the time gap between films. And the teases didn't end there. "The lightsaber Rey inherited from Luke lives," Ridley said. Ridley relegated a question about new Force powers to Abrams — which sort of confirms some new powers from the lead Jedi. Tran, who received a standing ovation, then explained that her character comes out of her coma. Even BB-8 got a piece of news, as his friend, D-0 — a one-wheeled droid — was introduced.
As for the side players, C-3PO's Anthony Daniels showed up and there were plenty of new creature designs — like one particular worm-like alien named Klade that Chewie brought into the Resistance — but they were all usurped by Billy Dee Williams, Lando himself. This was followed by a first look at Williams reprising his role, to which the actor said, "Lando never left" him. You don't get rid of that kind of cool.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker closes out the Skywalker saga on Dec. 20.
You can find all of our Star Wars Celebration coverage here.