This December, the Skywalker saga is set to finish what began in 1977. Half fan-service, half new ground, I can’t wait, frankly.
Hyperbole? Don’t know her, ’cause it is fair to say that Star Wars: Episode IX—The Rise of Skywalker has been a lifetime in the making.
The twenty-somethings who lined up around the block to see Star Wars in 1977 are now in their seventies; no longer uni students, but retirees, guided by The Force their whole adult lives.
Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope changed not just a generation, but cinema itself, when it crashed onto screens with a resounding “BAAAM!” opening up a galaxy (far, far away) of hitherto unseen special effects.
For younger folk, there is almost no comparison to the shock and awe Star Wars inspired, but it would be akin to the heart-stopping moment Trinity leaped into the air in The Matrix, miraculously held in place by bullet-time photography, or the groundbreaking use of motion capture in Avatar.
And yet, both those examples seem to be standing in the shadow of a that’s-not-a-moon.
Directed by J. J. Abrams, the king of taking someone else’s thread and seamlessly weaving it into his own stories [see: Star Trek (2009) and Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens (2015)], the latest trailer for The Rise of Skywalker promises a thrilling mix of old-meets-new.
Let’s start with the new.
We will once again join the fresh faces of the resistance, Poe Dameron, Finn, and Rose Tico (to name a few) as they turn their spark into the flame that burns down the First Order. Naturally, they are accompanied by rolly polly BB-8, and a new droid called D-O (super cute, looks like a hairdryer with wheels).
A number of shots in the trailer show great throngs of people and skies full of resistance ships, giving us the hope we lost at the end of The Last Jedi, when a distress call from Crait went unanswered.
Finally, the rebellion is afoot.
On the dark side, we have plenty of Reylo action (that’s a mashup of Rey and Kylo Ren) including a lightsaber duel in the middle of the ocean, and the dramatic demolition of a pedestal bearing Darth Vader’s mask.
(Theatrical release poster, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Of course, just like its leads, the Skywalker saga is ruled by its past. So, here come the old hits.
Firstly, the trailer opens with the thud of a Rebel Alliance helmet hitting the forest floor of a planet that looks suspiciously like Endor … can anyone say Ewoks? Yub-Nub!
It then leaps and bounds through the skeletons of classic Star Destroyers, all the way to the wreckage of the Death Star. And you bet your sweet Wookie there’s a Return of the Jedi-style Rey/Ren standoff in Emperor Palpatine’s throne room.
Speaking of Palpatine; the creepy call-backs don’t just stop at the set, a chillingly familiar voice and cloaked specter hint at the return of the Sith Lord himself.
If this is feeling a bit too “dum dum dum dumdidum dumdiduum” (you sang that, didn’t you?) Lighten up, ’cause it’s not all bad guys stepping out of the shadows. Chewbacca is back, as is Lando Calrissian (!), plus a Luke voiceover that has “Force Ghost” written all over it.
This film will be to Star Wars what Avengers: Endgame is to the MCU. A heart-pounding, tear-jerking, fan-serving, galactic-sized epic that will close out a near half-century of storytelling.
It is, as C-3PO says, “Taking one last look … at my friends.”
Ah, *Yoda voice* did you think, forgotten the most important part, had I, hmm?
Of course not. Who could forget the new hope herself? The woman who’s simple plea, “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi” set all the forces of this phenomenon in motion.
It was hard watching Episode VIII knowing that Carrie Fisher had passed away, but harder still thinking that she wouldn’t be part of the final chapter. However, this is Star Wars, and movie magic is what they do best.
Using archival footage, our Princess, our General Organa, will stand with the resistance to the very end.
She, and The Force, will be with us. Always.
Star Wars: Episode IX—The Rise of Skywalker is out December 20.