Star Wars Celebration Chicago is in full swing and the headlines are beginning to fly out. Probably the biggest one so far has (unsurprisingly) come from the Episode IX panel, where a teaser trailer was released that also gave the title of the movie.
As a good teaser should, this trailer doesn’t give much away and if anything probably leaves us with more questions than we had before!
The opening sequence of Rey v a TIE (I would assume piloted by Kylo) in a desert (Jakku? Tatooine? Another planet?) doesn’t at first glance show much but actually has a number of treats. I love the look of Rey’s new outfit, which looks like a great cross between her previous outfits and a set of Jedi robes, complete with a hood. It really makes me feel like she is now going to be a more confident master, rather than someone finding their feet in using the Force. She appears to be wearing the blaster Han gave her in The Force Awakens and also has her lightsaber, which has been repaired. I must admit that I was a bit disappointed to see that she isn’t using a double-bladed lightsaber given her experience using a staff, but it is great to see her continuing the legacy by using this weapon.
I love the voice-over from Luke and his comment that “We’ve passed on all we know” makes me hope that we will get a scene with not just Luke as a Force ghost, but also potentially a selection of Yoda, Obi-Wan and Anakin. The ending of the sequence, where Rey is running from and then leaping over the TIE looked great and I’m looking forward to seeing what is actually happening in this scene.
Moving into the rest of the teaser, which becomes a montage of shots, I love that A-wings are seen making an appearance in this teaser rather than X-wings and I wonder if they are going to be more heavily featured in this movie than we have seen before. The shot of Kylo taking down a opponent in the middle of a battle was probably my favourite shot of the trailer. He looks great (and dangerous) and I love that we are going to see a villain fighting alongside their troops in a battle, something we have never really seen in the other movies, where the dark side Force-user would often only be seen fighting on their own. The next shot of Kylo’s helmet being fixed has me a little nervous as I hope that there is a legitimate reason for this – rather than a decision to just go back to using a cool helmet – after his character growth in The Last Jedi from being a wannabe-Vader to being a villain in his own right.
It was great seeing Lando back in the movies – piloting the Falcon, no less! I don’t think I’d realised just how much I’d missed seeing Billy Dee Williams in these movies until that moment and I love how his outfit is reminiscent of what was worn by Donald Glover in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Seeing the medal from A New Hope (I assume it is Han’s, which if so will be a great way of keeping him in the movie, like the dice in The Last Jedi) was a wonderful connection to the Original Trilogy and seeing Carrie Fisher again was wonderful. I’m really interested to see how JJ Abrams and the team have managed to utilise unused footage to include Leia in the film despite Carrie’s passing.
The last shot of footage shows Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewie, Threepio, BB-8 and new droid D-0 all together looking out over the sea of a planet (my initial thought was Ahch-To, however I do not think this is the case), where a huge fragment of one of the previous Death Stars can be found. I love Poe and Finn’s new outfits, with Poe especially giving a real Nathan Drake/Rick O’Connell vibe. I notice that neither Rose, Artoo or Kaydel Ko Connix appear to be with the group either at this point or during the skiff chase (against what appears to be stormtroopers with jetpacks – let’s get that new skin on Battlefront II please! – makes me think that they will be remaining with the bulk of the Resistance – I would imagine with Leia – to give that point of view of the war, while the main 3 heroes, Chewie and the droids go off on their mission, similar to how the majority of the heroes went to the moon of Endor, but Lando remained with the Rebel Fleet in Return of the Jedi.
I loved the throwback of Luke saying “No-one’s ever really gone” which sets up arguably the biggest moment of the trailer and the big reveal, as while looking at a black screen we hear a laugh that is unmistakably Palpatine’s. At this point my mind is split on this. Part of me thinks that the reveal of Palpatine in the movie itself, like we had with Maul in Solo: As Star Wars Story and Yoda in The Last Jedi, would have been better, but as someone who is also currently trying to figure out how they will reintroduce Palpatine and also deal with him (or so I would imagine as this is the end of the saga) in the time frame while also dealing with everything else, it may have been a good idea to tease his return now so that we can focus on the story rather than be too shocked at the reveal to take in what is happening.
And then finally, we get the title card, with the reveal of the title: The Rise of Skywalker. If I’m totally honest, I’m a little underwhelmed by the title at the moment. While it is great to see “Skywalker” in the title, the fact that the only living characters with Skywalker lineage we know of right now – this makes me almost certain Rey will not be revealed as a Skywalker as otherwise this title would be one hell of a spoiler – are Leia (who will likely have a limited role) and Kylo, it appears to be suggesting that we may be getting a redemption for Ben Solo despite everything that he has done, whereas I would rather have seen him stay evil. The only other thing I can think this hints at is every ship’s navigation system failing and the galaxy having to rely on Force-users to navigate through hyperspace – readers of Thrawn: Alliances will know what I’m on about!
Visually, I think the entire trailer looks amazing and I love the use of colour. The look of the Original Trilogy was great for it’s time and still holds up well now. The Prequel Trilogy’s use of newer CGI technology allowed them to create more stunning appearances but was unfortunately overused in my opinion, but the Sequel Trilogy and standalone movies have done a wonderful job of combining CGI and practical effects for the most authentic Star Wars movie experience. I also really like the way that the teaser does not really give anything away and hope that this continues with any further trailers – I would happily see nothing more of Palpatine until the movie itself and have the majority of shots in any remaining trailers come from early in the movie – so that we are really left guessing what is going to happen until we see the film itself.
When I first watched the trailer and began writing this, I was not overly enthused, but watching it back umpteen times and breaking it down has now got me super excited!
Bring on December!
Thanks for reading and May the Force be with you…