So, you can imagine my excitement this weekend when BuzzFeed attended the D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA, where we were treated to this INCREDIBLE "special look" at the upcoming finale to the Skywalker saga, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
The minute-long teaser begins with a solid 30 seconds of old, classic footage from the original trilogy and the prequels, as if to say, "Hey, look how far we've all come."
We're a mere four months away from the release of the film on Dec. 20 — and we'll HOPEFULLY get at least ONE more trailer before then — but, until then...what do y'all think? Did you notice anything else worth noting in the trailer?
Anyone playing a new character in a Star Wars movie is asking for intense judgment, especially when a new movie hasn’t been made in years. Considering the new trilogy was a dozen years removed from the prequels and even longer from the original trilogy, it’s a wonder anything could settle peacefully from the beginning.
At least the gauntlet has been thrown now in rebooting the entire Star Wars universe, making it easier for other actors to take on new roles. However, Daisy Ridley was a sitting duck for criticism, especially in playing a new female character who happens to be the new protagonist.
In a recent interview, Ridley admits to once having imposter syndrome at an ingrained level rather than anything said initially by fans. It was all bad enough where she’d have panic attacks while making The Force Awakens. These feelings were so intense, she almost quit on several occasions.
Can you imagine what might have happened had she decided to quit right in the middle of filming? Of course, she probably only found the real mental fortitude to go forward because she likely feared she’d be smeared for dropping out midway.
Leaving Instagram was perhaps the only way Ridley could make sure she wouldn’t have to deal with online trolls. If you become a part of the Star Wars universe, it’s arguably better to avoid reading fan opinions considering some treat the franchise like pop culture religion.
A preview released last week showed Snoke and Kylo visiting Dagobah (the swamp planet where Yoda trained Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back). However, now that the comic is finally out, we know exactly what happened to Ben Solo when he entered the “Cave of Evil” — and it’s even wilder than we expected.
In the “Cave of Evil,” Kylo/Ben confronts a vision of Luke Skywalker and fights his old Jedi master at Snoke’s direction. Then he comes face-to-face with his parents, Han Solo and Leia Organa. Again, Snoke pushes his student to kill, but Kylo refuses. Instead, he destroys the entire cave, ensuring that no future Sith or Jedi can use it to complete their own training.
What does this mean? Well, perhaps it’s proof that Kylo Ren isn’t a lost cause after all. He may have killed Han in The Force Awakens, but with Leia set to appear in The Rise of Skywalker, there’s a chance for Kylo to redeem himself. At the very least, we know that Kylo’s turn to the Dark side was never truly completed. So there’s still hope for Ben Solo.
We still don’t know much about Kylo’s arc in The Rise of Skywalker, but a large contingent of fans are hoping that the character will redeem himself. There’s even a hashtag for it: #Bendemption.
Rey’s potential turn to the Dark side, and the Resistance fighting to save the galaxy, romance isn’t exactly at the forefront of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Sure, Rey and Kylo (lovingly called “Reylo”) fans might be looking for some indication the pair has romantic feelings for one another, but none of the official footage we’ve seen so far suggests that it’ll happen. That still hasn’t stopped shippers from thinking about Reylo, or Finn and Rey, or Finn and Poe… the list goes on!
However, as fans clamor for canon confirmation of these pairings, J.J Abrams and the creatives at Lucasfilm don’t seem particularly interested in exploring the romantic possibilities presented by The Rise of Skywalker. There’s still a chance that could change, though. A new Episode IX leak from Making Star Wars editor Jason Ward claims there would be a kiss in the new film, but it’s definitely not between Rey and Kylo.
[Episode IX] will include at least one kiss. However, it isn’t between Kylo and Rey, which means we can probably rule out the idea that they’ll ever get together romantically. We’re fine with that, since whatever is going on between them always seemed more connected to the Force than a setup for a potential romance. After all, Kylo did try to manipulate Rey in an attempt to lure her to the Dark side. But we’re sure there’ll be plenty of fans out there who will be disappointed by that revelation, too.
On a more interesting note, though, Ward goes on to say that the kiss isn’t even between characters “anyone cares about.” That means none of the characters from the original trilogy are likely involved, and probably none of the four leads from the sequels. Perhaps it’s budding romance that was held off until Rise of Skywalker. It’s almost certainly not a kiss between C-3PO and another droid. It might be a couple of no-name Resistance pilots heading out for battle. Ultimately, however, if the kiss is between characters no one cares about, then what’s the point of including it?
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has a lot of weight on its shoulders. The film is not only the culmination of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, but it’s also the closing chapter for the entire Skywalker saga. That’s 40 years of film history that it needs to wrap up and tie together, and how it chooses to do that… well, we have a feeling no matter what director J.J. Abrams has in store, it’ll ruffle some feathers. But in a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, for the magazine’s November issue, he shed some light on the film and how seriously everyone at Lucasfilm is taking the whole “nine saga story” thing. Here’s his full quote:
“While there were many things that were planned for and discussed—George Lucas himself said when he created this he saw it as three, three-act plays—that doesn’t mean there isn’t discovery, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that come up that make you realize, ‘Oh, here’s an opportunity.’ It also doesn’t mean that there’s a list of payoffs that we have to do because of setups. But we also were very much aware this is the end of the trilogy and it needs to satisfy. We went into this thing knowing it has to be an ending. We’re not screwing around.” So far, the sequel trilogy has been loaded with references to the original trilogy films: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. But if they’re planning to fully reference all nine films, that means the prequels will get some love in The Rise of Skywalker, too. Those divisive films have seen a bit of a reappraisal in the last few years, and the inclusion of Emperor Palpatine—who we’ve heard in the Episode IX trailers and who appears in the official poster—seems to point at an even more encompassing finale. Palpatine was the main villain of both the original and prequel trilogies, and it appears he’s the overarching bad guy in the sequels, too. But aside from just integrating the Emperor back into the story, The Rise of Skywalker needs to do a good deal more if it wants to satisfy fans of the full saga.
With that in mind, here are a few ways the film can reference and call back to all of the episodic Star Wars films without, as Abrams implied, checking off some metaphorical list of “must haves.” Whether it’s musically or thematically, there are a lot of ways to make the ending impactful.