Because we’re not sadistic enough to make you read the entire article before getting to this, here’s the teaser for Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker!
The 60-minute panel is both overwhelming and cathartic. From new actors to the vindication of the recent diversity, the panel is an out-of-this-world experience for Star Wars fans no matter which part of it they were on.
And while watching and hearing the likes of J. J. Abrams, Daisy Ridley, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, and Kelly Marie Tran chat with moderator Stephen Colbert was awesome, it’s really the first look at Episode IX that we all wanted.
Against my immediate geek instincts, I choose not to analyse the teaser very much. But as I hear Rey’s ragged breathing my conviction falters… and then I hear Luke Skywalker’s voice and it’s obvious for what it is: a trap. An inescapable one for the fans.
Unlike their sister Disney franchise, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars needs no fake footage–what is real is already cryptic. Search your feelings, you will know it to be true.
Having Mark Hamill return to narrate the trailer is certainly no casual decision. With Luke having become one with the Force, expectations are to see him return as a Force Ghost. Much like his masters Yoda and Obi-Wan before him. And if the narration doesn’t already do the job, the open display of Rey wielding the repaired lightsaber of Luke forces the viewer to ponder the importance he will continue to carry in this movie.
After all, for there to be an end to the Skywalker saga, as Abrams has come to identify it, there had to still be a Skywalker (assuming Kylo and Leia don’t count).
The tease hits a new height as we see a TIE, very similar to Kylo’s Silencer from The Last Jedi, racing towards Rey… and she leaps over it, ignited lightsaber in hand. Out of context, it looks almost like a showdown, but it feels more like Rey continuing her training–finishing what she started with Luke.
Fading out to the now familiar “This Christmas” title card, the next cut is a jolting reminder from the beginning of this trilogy. Perhaps there are still some answers to be given to fans who want more from Rey’s lineage.
And Kylo, it seems, is now further gone than we last saw him, killing alongside Stormtroopers and repairing the helmet he wore in honour of his grandfather’s legacy as a galactic tyrant. The potential of his redemption seemed eradicated following his clash against Luke’s Force Projection on Crait.
With the promise of this being the end of Skywalker Saga, and Kylo being the last known descendant of that line, it seems all too likely that his journey may be ending soon too.
But the past, it seems, is not dead thanks to the return of Lando Calrissian! Once again in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, the first time since 1983’s Return of the Jedi, the character’s history with the galaxy’s finest hunk of junk has only deepened with Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Be it with Rey or Chewie, it’ll be an iconic, fan-satisfying moment to see the scoundrel pilot his ship again.
Following The Last Jedi, it felt almost as if Episode IX would have no room to echo Episode VI. But a quick, action-driven glimpse of the new heroes on yet another desert planet (could it be Jakku? Or finally a return to Tatooine?), riding on a skiff, makes it clear that Abrams will be certain to find his way to homaging Return of the Jedi.
But, with this being the end of a journey, the culmination of a trilogy of trilogies, it will not suffice to just echo the final entries.
A reminder of the heroism that started it all (not counting Rogue One) the medals awarded to Luke, Han, and Chewie following the Battle of Yavin stands as a symbol for what the Resistance continues to fight.
With the confirmation that there will be a delay between Episode IX and the next trilogy, perhaps we may finally see a different take on the galaxy eventually.
Because the trailer hasn’t already emotional enough, we’re given a gut punch reminder that Leia, and Carrie Fisher, will always be with us. And if you’re still yearning for emotional pain, here’s the tribute to Carrie Fisher from Celebration 2017.
Thankfully, amidst all the tears, we’re met with the incredible sight of what could be the remains of a Death Star, a harsh reminder that the past was indeed not dead… and that no one is really gone.
Cue evil laughter.
And from the shadows cast from the big screen emerges Ian McDiarmid, onto the Celebration stage, menacingly commanding “Roll it again!” And with his appearance confirmed for Episode IX, now revealed to be The Rise of Skywalker, McDiarmid joins a short and esteemed list of actors consisting of Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Frank Oz, who have appeared across all three trilogies.
The hypnosis of the trailer is short lived as the questions emerge: how was Skywalker to rise? With the death of Luke, and the inevitable passing of Leia, Kylo would be the last Skywalker.
If the title was indicative of his rise, would it be as a Ren or a replacement for his uncle? Much like how the Ren have come to replace the Sith, could a new Skywalker Order replace the Jedi?
Or perhaps it may be the rise of the Emperor, as the progenitor of Anakin and his descendants. Though that would be a tad odd given that “Skywalker” is Shmi’s (Anakin’s mother) name and shouldn’t refer to Palpatine.
This brings back my earlier thoughts that perhaps Rey, like Anakin, may have been a child of the Force. But instead of Palpatine, Rey may have been created by Luke in his desperation to find a counter to the darkness begotten by Darth Vader.
Of course, I’ve also wondered if Rey may be the child of Qi’ra (and Darth Maul), so what the hell do I know?
Head over to Part 1 for some thoughts on the Episode IX Panel at Star Wars Celebration!