Lucasfilm has dropped the first trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and we’re going to explore it all in our breakdown. One of the most eagerly-anticipated films of the year, the pressure is on to bring the entire Star Wars Saga to a satisfying conclusion. The Last Jedi may have been a box office success, but it proved tremendously divisive among Star Wars fans. It’s up to writer-director J.J. Abrams to wrap things up and hopefully end the controversy.
Today, at Star Wars Celebration, Lucasfilm finally allowed viewers their first glimpse of the first trailer for The Rise of Skywalker. The studio’s actually been more secretive about The Rise of Skywalker than for any other Star Wars film since the franchise was relaunched in 2015; in fact, until Star Wars Celebration they hadn’t even confirmed the film’s title. Picking up a tip from Marvel Studios, they decided to leave the title announcement until the end of the trailer.
Related: What Trailers & Reveals To Expect At Star Wars Celebration 2019
Now the marketing campaign for Star Wars 9 is about to kick into gear. This, of course, is just the first teaser trailer, and it’s designed to raise a lot more questions than provide concrete answers. Further trailers and TV spots will be released as we get nearer to the official release date, hinting at solution to many of the film’s mysteries. But let’s take a look at what’s been revealed and implied by this initial teaser in our Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer breakdown (and don’t miss our teaser trailer breakdown for Regal).
- This Page: Rey In Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker
- Page 2: Rey Vs. Kylo Ren On The Desert Planet
- Page 3: Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker
- Page 4: The Resistance vs. the First Order
- Page 5: The Return of Palpatine
27. Rey On The Desert Planet
The first scenes from the Star Wars 9 trailer are all set on a mysterious desert planet. There’s a sense of symmetry to this; the original trilogy began and ended on Tatooine, now the sequel trilogy begins with Jakku and ends with another desert world. The planet is as yet unidentified, but this footage was all shot in Jordan over a three-week period. It could be that the Resistance have established a base here, far away from civilization, and no doubt Rey would be entirely comfortable with the harsh, arid environment.
26. “We” Have Passed On All We Know
The end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi saw Rey alone, with Luke Skywalker having sacrificed himself to allow the Resistance a chance to escape. Of course, in true Star Wars style, death isn’t necessarily the end of a Jedi’s story. The voice-over clearly establishes that Luke’s Force Ghost has been mentoring Rey. It’s unclear how much time passes between Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but it certainly looks as though it’s been enough for Rey to train as a Jedi. What’s more, the dialogue suggests that Luke isn’t the only Force Ghost who’s been mentoring her. Only a handful of Jedi have known the secret of preserving their consciousness after death; Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, Yoda, Anakin, and now Luke. It could be that any or all of these Jedi of old have been acting as Rey’s teachers.
According to Luke, “a thousand generations live in you now.” He believes that Rey knows everything the Jedi ever knew, all the way back to the founding of the Jedi Order. That’s a bold claim, but it’s worth remembering that Luke had traced the Jedi back to their first Temple at Ahch-To, where he’d learned the most ancient secrets of the Jedi. Between Luke and Yoda – who lived to 900 years old – that’s a lot of Force knowledge.
Related: Star Wars Rebels Explains What Force Ghosts Actually Are
25. The Remade Lightsaber
The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer focuses in on Rey’s lightsaber, which she has repaired after it was torn apart in The Last Jedi. Building a lightsaber is an important step in the journey of any Jedi. It’s typically seen as a sort of “graduation ceremony,” proving that you’ve learned everything you need to know about the Force and are ready to serve the Light as a Jedi Knight. It isn’t just a matter of engineering; it takes mastery of the Force to attune a Kyber Crystal to the lightsaber. The experience creates a transcendent bond between the Jedi and their weapon.
In repairing the lightsaber so well, Rey has claimed it as her own. She has become the embodiment of Anakin Skywalker’s legacy as a Jedi Knight; oddly enough, she’s achieved this in a way that even Luke never did, as he was never bonded with this lightsaber.
24. Is The Desert Tatooine, Jedha or Even Jakku?
It’s a big galaxy, but Star Wars has always tended to spin back to the same planets. That raises the interesting question of whether these shots featuring Rey are set on a brand new desert planet – or whether they’re somewhere we’ve seen before in the Star Wars Saga. The most obvious possibilities are Tatooine, Jedha, or perhaps even Jakku. Jedha is impossible; tie-in comics have revealed that Jedha was pretty much destroyed by the Death Star in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, with the crust broken and the moon ultimately tearing itself apart. Jakku would be more appropriate, meaning the sequels begin and end with Rey’s homeworld just as the original trilogy began with Luke’s; but that particular desert world is littered with junk from the final battle between the Empire and the New Republic decades earlier, and there’s no hint of said junk in the Star Wars 9 trailer. So, if this is a planet that’s been visited before, it can surely only be Tatooine.
23. Rey Still Has Han’s Gun
It’s easy to miss, but look closely as Rey; she still has Han Solo’s gun in a holster strapped to her belt. Han Solo may be gone, killed by his own son in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but his presence is still felt throughout this film. It’s also a nice reminder that Rey is a slightly different kind of Jedi; while she carries a lightsaber, she doesn’t have the traditional Jedi disdain for guns. One of the black-and-white photos shared with fans at Star Wars Celebration showed Rey using this weapon.
Page 2 of 5: Rey Vs. Kylo Ren & More Of Our Star Wars 9 Trailer Breakdown
22. Rey Versus Kylo Ren
Assuming the Resistance has indeed established a base on this as-yet-unidentified world in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, the First Order have come calling. Rey is on the run, pursued by Kylo Ren. It’s possible that Rey has gone off on her own in order to draw Kylo Ren away from the rest of the Resistance; that would be a neat mirror of Return of the Jedi, where Luke surrendered himself to Darth Vader so the Rebels had a chance to attack the shield generator on Endor.
21. The Phantom Menace Tagline
“Every generation has a legend,” the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer tells viewers. If this tagline seems familiar, it’s because it was last used in the late ’90s, when it was associated with Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. The tagline reminds audiences that Star Wars is a generational saga, with each trilogy passing the torch to another wave of stars. The prequels were about Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Padmé; the original trilogy was about Luke, Han, and Leia; and the sequel trilogy is about Rey, Finn, and Poe. And yet, for all they’re about three different generations of heroes, they’re all part of one overarching narrative.
Related: The Last Jedi Is A Reverse Phantom Menace
20. Kylo Ren’s New TIE Interceptor
The forces of the First Order have arrived on this mysterious desert world, presumably seeking the Resistance. Rey is alone, stranded in the desert, breathing heavily – and she is pursued. Kylo Ren himself has found her, and he’s flying a new version of his TIE Interceptor. It’s interesting to see Kylo Ren fly the TIE Interceptor so close to the ground, highlighting his pilot mastery. What’s more, notice that he doesn’t attempt to shoot Rey, instead trying to run her down; it could be that his weapons systems have been disabled. Alternatively, at this point in the film, Kylo could have fallen so far into the dark side that he simply wants the visceral thrill of such a brutal kill.
19. Rey’s Force Jump
The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer shows Rey hatch a desperate plan, one that involves precision timing and demonstrates her mastery of the Force. She actually allows Kylo Ren to try to run her down – and then does an incredible Force leap over the TIE Interceptor. In that one second, it shows just how strong Rey has grown in the Force, particularly given she’s running away from the TIE Interceptor when she does the jump and isn’t looking towards it.
Meanwhile, it’s interesting to note that Rey seems confident Kylo Ren won’t open fire. This suggests she either knows how angry he is, or is aware of the damage his TIE has sustained.
The Star Wars 9 trailer then moves to a shot of A-Wings flying across an unknown, rocky world. One of the amusing conceits of Star Wars is that the heroes and villains always tend to use the same vehicles; A-Wings were synonymous for the Rebels in the original trilogy, and now they’re associated with the Resistance.
17. Rock Communities
This location is a completely fresh one in the Star Wars galaxy, and looks pretty inhospitable. There are clear cities on different plateaus, and it’s safe to assume they have some sort of spaceports, given the A-Wings look to be heading to one of the cities.
Page 3 of 5: Kylo Ren On The Warpath & More Of Our Star Wars 9 Trailer Breakdown
16. Kylo Ren Fighting
The trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker moves to an action shot in which Kylo Ren leads a squad of Stormtroopers against what can be presumed to be members of the Resistance. It’s unclear where this location is, but the shot is characterized by a strange red light. Later scenes in the trailer confirm that Star Wars 9 will head to the site of the destruction of the Second Death Star, meaning the heroes go to the Forest Moon of Endor. If that’s the case, this could conceivably be Endor, ravaged by an environmental and ecological disaster due to impact of chunks of the Death Star.
15. Kylo Ren’s Mask Has Been Remade
Rey isn’t the only one to have been doing some repair work. The Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker trailer shows Kylo Ren’s mask being welded back together. The mask was intended to symbolize his representing the legacy of Darth Vader, and. Kylo smashed it to pieces in a fit of rage in The Last Jedi. There’s no context for this shot – Kylo doesn’t even wear the mask elsewhere in the trailer – so it’s difficult to say what this means for the story.
Related: Star Wars Explains How Vader Can Return in Episode 9
There’s an odd sense in which this shot feels like a commentary on the sequel trilogy itself. Rian Johnson wasn’t as invested in all the links and connections between the different trilogies; he tossed aside a lot of J.J. Abrams’ “Mystery Box” plots in a careless, almost off-handed manner, and that was really why the mask was broken in the first place. Abrams is carefully piecing back together some of the plot elements he was most invested in.
14. Who Is Fixing Kylo’s Mask?
The really interesting question, though, is just who is fixing Kylo Ren’s helmet. Those clearly aren’t Ben Solo’s hands, after all. While it’s tempting to assume Kylo Ren has asked one of his aides – maybe even a member of the Knights of Ren – to do this for him, that doesn’t quite seem in-character. If Kylo wants the mask repaired, he must regret destroying it, and if that’s the case it suggests his reverence for the old ways has somehow been restored. He’d surely want to do this himself.
13. Finn and Poe on the Desert Planet
The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer moves to a shot of Finn and Poe at the Resistance base on this mysterious desert world. It’s interesting to note how little time these two characters have on-screen in the trailer compared to Rey and Kylo Ren, who are clearly presented as the stars of this final film. Finn’s staff is reminiscent of the one Rey used on Jakku in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
12. BB-8 and D-0
The droids have always been an important part of Star Wars, and since the 2015 relaunch Lucasfilm has taken to introducing a new one in every film. In this case, BB-8 has a new friend; another droid created by Industrial Light and Magic called D-0 who made his debut at Star Wars Celebration. At this stage, there’s no way to know what D-0’s role will be in the film, but he’s sure to feature heavily in the merchandise given he was prominent on the stage at Star Wars Celebration’s Episode IX panel.
11. Lando Piloting the Falcon
Billy Dee Williams is returning to Star Wars as an older Lando Calrissian – and it seems he’s getting the chance to fly the Millennium Falcon once again. The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer shows a shot of Lando piloting the Falcon. It takes on a new depth of meaning after Solo: A Star Wars Story, which revealed that the consciousness of Lando’s old droid L3-37 was uploaded into the Falcon after her body was destroyed. There was a strong bond between Lando and L3, and it’s fitting to see them reunited in a sense.
Page 4 of 5: The Resistance vs. the First Order & More Of Our Star Wars 9 Trailer Breakdown
11. Moisture Vaporators
Before getting to this action scene in question, it’s worth pointing out the moisture vaporators on the desert planet (which had been glimpsed in the background of J.J. Abrams’ set photo). There’s an amusing sense of symmetry to this, given back in 1977 Luke Skywalker was introduced as part of a family of farmers on Tatooine, with his Uncle Owen so very concerned about the moisture vaporators.
10. The Skiff Battle
The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer then enters an action beat in which the Resistance flee from the First Order. There’s a distinct contrast between the technology level of the First Order and the Resistance; the Resistance’s skiffs seem ramshackle, barely kept together, while the First Order Stormtroopers are in the usual speeders. Poe, Finn, and Threepio are all on one skiff, and they’re taking heavy fire.
Related: Star Wars 9: The Big Lesson JJ Abrams Must Learn From The Force Awakens
9. Jetpack Stormtroopers
As well as the speeders chasing the Resistance forces, there’s also what appears to be jetpack-wearing Stormtroopers leaping out of sand explosions. This would mark a new form of First Order soldier, a more adept one that’s harder to escape than their canon-fodder counterparts. It also hearkens to the likes of Boba Fett and Mandalorians.
8. A Crashing A-Wing… And An Old Republic Ship?
The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer moves on to show a crashing A-Wing. As with many shots in the trailer, there’s absolutely no context provided for this, so it’s difficult to understand the part this plays in the story. Oddly, there’s a larger ship in the background, which actually appears to be an Old Republic Jedi Cruiser from the Clone Wars era.
7. Han Solo’s Rebellion Medal
The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer slows a little to show Leia Organa looking at Han Solo’s old Rebellion medal. It’s a powerful, emotional shot, given Leia herself presented this medal to Han after the Battle of Yavin. No doubt Leia is mourning the death of her husband, who was killed by Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It’s easy to forget that General Leia Organa has suffered great personal tragedies over the course of her life; she’s proved herself a hero because she has sacrificed so much for the sake of the Galaxy.
Page 5 of 5: The Return of Palpatine & The Finale Part Of Our Star Wars 9 Trailer Breakdown
6. Carrie Fisher As General Leia
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker isn’t just the end of the Skywalker Saga; it’s also an opportunity for fans to bid a heartfelt farewell to the late, great Carrie Fisher. Lucasfilm has used previously-unseen footage from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi to incorporate General Leia Organa into this story, and at the Star Wars Celebration Episode IX panel they stressed just how much of a presence Fisher has in the film. The trailer shows an emotional shot in which Rey gives Leia an embrace, tears streaking down her face. Whatever this may mean in the story, to viewers it’s a beautiful moment that acknowledges the Star Wars franchise’s debt to Carrie Fisher.
5. “We’ll Always Be With You”
As if the farewell to Leia wasn’t emotional enough, Mark Hamill’s voice-over adds a whole new layer of meaning to it all. “We’ll always be with you,” he intones. For the fans, this is an almost cathartic moment, as it represents Carrie Fisher’s continued presence in their lives. In the film itself, it likely stands for the fact that those Rey has lost are still with her, even after death, with Luke and the Force Ghosts guiding and teaching her.
4. The Star Wars 9 Team Together
The Star Wars 9 trailer builds to a head with a shot of the movie’s team united. Rey has gathered her closest friends around her. In shot are Poe and Finn, Chewie, Threepio, BB-8, D-0, and Chewie. Artoo is conspicuous by his absence; in fact, he doesn’t appear in the entire trailer. That’s rather odd, given the droid was on the Falcon at the end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. At first, this shot simply appears to show the team at yet another unknown location, but then the camera pans around to reveal just where they are – and it turns out to be a very familiar location.
Related: Why Star Wars 9 Needs To Include ANOTHER Death Star
3. The Death Star
In a surprising twist, the trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker heads to what appears to be Endor, with the heroes of the Resistance looking at the wreckage of the second Death Star. The Death Star was destroyed over the Forest Moon of Endor, but it looks as though large chunks remained intact, and were drawn in by the Moon’s gravitational pull. Notice that this seems to be very different to the forested world of the Original Trilogy. Fans have long speculated that the chunks of Death Star debris would have caused an ecological and environmental disaster for Endor, and that may well be the case. Hopefully, that doesn’t mean the Ewoks have been rendered extinct.
2. The Emperor Returns
“No one’s ever really gone,” Luke’s voice intones, clear guidance being offered to Rey by his Force Ghost. But those words take on an ominous tone in a sinister, evil laugh that will be immediately familiar to Star Wars viewers. It’s the trademark laugh of Palpatine, last of the Sith Lords, the greatest of all the dark side users. The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer dropped at the Star Wars Celebration Episode IX panel, and when the lights were turned back on, everyone in attendance was stunned to see that Ian McDiarmid himself had taken to the stage. His presence acted as confirmation; Palpatine is back.
It’s a smart move on Lucasfilm’s part, because the return of Palpatine means there’s a single narrative thread connecting the original trilogy, the prequels, and the sequels. Palpatine is restored to his rightful place as the great villain of the entire Star Wars Saga, and indeed the First Order potentially become his pawns in a bid to regain power across the galaxy. At this stage, there’s no way to say for sure how Palpatine has returned; dark siders can’t traditionally live on after death in Star Wars lore. The one exception, confirmed in the new canon, is through relics such as Sith masks. So the fact that Palpatine has been heard but not shown may indicate that he’s disembodied, possessing and influencing someone through a relic of some kind.
1. The Title Revealed – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
The Star Wars 9 trailer ends by confirming the much-awaited title – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. It’s a surprising one, given The Last Jedi killed off Luke Skywalker, and at this stage it’s unclear who (or what) it refers to. It probably doesn’t mean that Rey is a Skywalker – while Abrams seems to be course-correcting the Sequel Trilogy, it’s unlikely he’d go that far. But it could potentially refer to Kylo Ren, the last living descendant of Anakin Skywalker. Alternatively, given Palpatine’s return, it could conceivably mean that Anakin and Luke must fulfill the Skywalker destiny of defeating the Emperor once and for all – even though they’ve already died.
More: Star Wars 9: Everything You Need To Know