Praise be unto Yoda! The first trailer for the ninth Star Wars movie hath arrived by way of the Star Wars Celebration in Chicago, and we finally have an official title: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
J.J. Abrams returns as director for the final installment in the Skywalker saga, which will close out the modern trilogy he kicked off in 2015 with The Force Awakens. He co-wrote IX's screenplay with Chris Terrio (Argo, Justice League).
John Boyega (Finn), Daisy Ridley (Rey), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Lupita Nyong'o (Maz Kanata), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico), and Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca) are also returning for the sequel.
In true J.J. Abrams fashion, the teaser doesn't reveal too much, but what it does reveal is chill-inducing. Luke Skywalker's voice looms over Rey as she performers a new feat of Jedi agility against a First Order fighter, Lando Calrissian zips around in the Millennium Falcon again, Kylo Ren puts his helmet back together (because Snoke is no longer around to tell him it's stupid), Poe leads the Resistance through a speeder chase on a desert planet, and of course we see the return of General Leia Organa for what will be her final appearance.
And then, the real kicker. As Luke intones that "no one's ever really gone," the trailer reminds us that statement works both ways. Rey and company look out over what would seem to be the wreckage of the last Death Star, and then we hear that all-too familiar laugh, and we're reminded...
If Yoda could come back and affect the physical realm as a Force ghost...why can't Emperor Palpatine?
Naomi Ackie, Keri Russell (The Americans), Matt Smith (Doctor Who), and Richard E. Grant (The Nutcracker and the Four Realms) will also be joining the cast as all-new characters, although their names haven't been disclosed just yet. Moreover, Billy Dee Williams is set to reprise his iconic role as Lando Calrissian for the first time since 1983's Return of the Jedi, and Abrams is including the late Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa via unused footage from The Force Awakens.
By the end of the last movie, you may recall that the Resistance barely got away from the First Order after a standoff on the mineral planet, Crait. Their numbers were seriously depleted, but the return of Luke after so many years sparked hope throughout the galaxy. Rey saw good in Kylo Ren, but the villain decided to murder Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) and take control of the First Order himself.
Star Wars: Episode IX opens in theaters on Dec. 20. What did you think of the first trailer? Let us know in the comments below!