So, the greatest space saga in film history is coming to an end. Over the weekend, LucasArts dropped the first teaser trailer for the final film in the long running Star Wars franchise. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is set one year following the events of the previous film, The Last Jedi. The Resistance (the new Rebel Alliance) continue to struggle against the First Order (born from the remnants of the Old Republic).
In the trailer, we see Rey who is continuing her Jedi training and has picked up a couple new moves. Long-time fans will notice right away the nostalgia to previous films. One scene shows the wreckage of the Death Star on the surface of an unknown planet. Not only do we see the current cast but we finally get to see Billy Dee Williams back as Lando Calissian. Carrie Fisher continues her role as Leia Organa two years following the actor’s death in December 2016. Unused footage from The Last Jedi will used to complete her story. Fisher’s brother Todd said in a December 2018 interview on Good Morning America commemorating the second year anniversary of Carrie’s passing, “There’s a lot of minutes of footage. I don’t mean just outtakes. This is unused, new content that could be woven into the storyline. […] It’s going to look like it was meant to be. Like it was shot yesterday.”
Fans will also recognize that familiar laugh at the end of trailer. That wicked cackle belongs to non other than Emperor Palpatine / Darth Sidious. At Star Wars Celebration in April 2019, it was revealed that Ian McDiarmid will return to portray Palpatine. McDiarmid reprised the role for the prequel trilogy when Palpatine was senator of Naboo. The character was last seen in Return of the Jedi where he was presumably killed by Darth Vader / Anakin Skywalker when the latter turned on the former to save Luke Skywalker. Since the announcement is very recent, it has yet to be revealed how Palpatine survived the destruction of the Death Star.
Okay, now let’s get to it. Already, jaded fans are voicing their opinions of Disney’s handling of their beloved franchise with the release of this trailer. The biggest gripe is, of course, the title. Given that the previous film was title “The Last Jedi”, many fans feel that “The Rise of Skywalker” makes little to no sense since Luke Skywalker has died and became one with the force. The title is most likely in reference to his legacy, which will be carried on through Rey. Billy Dee Williams’ long-awaited return to the franchise is met both with merriment and resentment. Where there fans who have wanted to see him in the role after such a long absence, other fans feel that his return will be short-lived in the same manner as Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. Hopefully, this is not the case, and Lando is the fifth original cast member to survive at the end, following Leia, C3-PO, R2-D2 and Chewbacca.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20, 2019.