On Monday night it finally happened, we were gifted the final The Rise of Skywalker trailer, 2 months before the film’s arrival and on Carrie Fisher’s birthday. A blessed day indeed! Go ahead, have another look, and then join me below as we break down just what we just saw.
The trailer starts us of with Rey, running through the woods, tossing away a helmet. She reflects a shot from what looks to me like the Marksman-H training remote that Luke trained with in A New Hope. Rey is running, jumping, leaping, crossing mountain ranges. In one shot it looks to me like she’s back in the ruined ships we found her in on Jakku in The Force Awakens. I think we’re getting a training montage! A year has passed since The Last Jedi and in that time I think Rey has taken her role as the the last Jedi and, perhaps, the new hope of the Rebellion, very seriously. (I’m all for a training montage and hopefully now all those complaining about Rey’s abilities will stop!) Now, this also makes me reconsider what we saw in the teaser. Is she, again, training, perhaps? Are we sure it’s Kylo/Ben who is flying that ship we saw there? Or could it be either Finn or Poe, with the shot of the gloves being a misdirect?
As Rey trains, we hear a voice over from Finn:
‘It’s an instinct, feeling, the Force brought us together.’
Now, with how the sentence above looks, I’m pretty certain this is dialogue cut together from different scenes. Or perhaps cut together from different moments in a single scene. This line has fueled quite a few hopes for fans that Finn will turn out to be Force-sensitive after all. Although I’d love that, I’m not too sure. Rather, I think this is a perfect line to encapsulate how our Sequel trio came to be. They were thrown together by circumstance, yet that circumstance will seem destined in hindsight. With the Emperor’s re-entrance into the game and with this being the last film of the trilogy and Saga, it is no big surprise there will be a sense that this has all been a long game, that it was meant to be this way. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a Force-sensitive Finn though!
On another note, I think this sense of destiny and instinct is an important one for Finn and his development as a character. For much of The Force Awakens he was running away, even if that involved turning back to save Rey. In The Last Jedi we see him committing to a cause, while also discovering that ‘saving what we love’ is the way to do so. Now, in The Rise of Skywalker, I hope that Finn will be able to take that sense of belonging and destiny to truly find his place and the role he was looking for. From what we see of Finn in the trailer, he seems to be taking a very active position, and even a leadership one.
From Finn’s development, we move on to Poe and a shot of a crowded hangar, where it looks like Lando is regaling people with tales. The Last Jedi ended on a bit of a sad note, as it seemed that the Rebellion was all out of allies and support. However, Broom Boy showed us that Luke’s actions had already inspired a new generation and clearly this shot shows the pay-off from that. Poe’s line is also very indicative of his development:
‘We’re not alone, good people will fight if we lead them.’
In The Last Jedi Poe was confronted with different styles of leadership, with prioritizing survival and the sacrifices that leaders make. Leia clearly passed on the mantle of leadership to him on Kraitt, so it’s now up to him to inspire and lead. This line seems like a pep talk, but I’m also curious about the distinction of ‘good people’. Do they mean ‘good’ as in morally good? I assume so, but the line also indicates that without example and without leadership these ‘good people’ will not fight on their own. Something I have always adored about Star Wars is its attention to the “little” people, those who aren’t normally considered, whether it’s the Gungans or the Ewoks. They were able to play their own part and didn’t necessarily require outside leadership for that. I’m interested to see how this will play out in the movie.
Also, ROSE! Finally, there she is! I think she’s in the same hangar as shown in the shot above, looking smudged but fabulous. She also looks concerned or upset, so I wonder what kind of situation she is dealing with. We also get a lovely shot of Poe, Finn and Chewbacca that looks like the cover for their first single.
From there we cut to a ship, slowly rising out of stormy seas. This is later on revealed to be the remnants of a Death Star, which is pretty amazing. Rey once again has her ‘I’m both worried and determined’ look, as she steadies herself. In the voice-over we hear her say the following:
‘People keep telling me they know me. No one does.’
I’m fascinated by this line. She sounds so convinced and determined in the second sentence, as if she is creating a barrier between herself and those ‘people’. As I mentioned above, I think Rey is training because she knows what expectations rest on her shoulders. But I wouldn’t be surprised if she chafes again those expectations as well and if the dig from Kylo/Ben in The Last Jedi (‘You’re no one, nothing.’) still echoes in her mind. Also, this is very clearly a throwback to that scene as well as the ‘Skype call by the fire’ in The Last Jedi, as Ben replies by:
‘But I do.’
I thought I could hear a thousand Reylos cry out! Ben approaches from the other side of the rising ship, beautifully sprayed by water. Going by Twitter, I wasn’t the only one who saw immediate parallels to 2005’s Pride and Prejudice film when Matthew Macfadyen casually strolled through a misty field towards Elizabeth. There is something in the approach that is, of course, menacing. But the way he moves his lightsaber makes it look to me like he is lowering it, moving the blade away from Rey’s direction. Also, the fighting between the two we see later on in the duel doesn’t feel as aggressive or forceful as it has been in the past. Now, that could be, of course, because they’re on a Death Star slowly rising from the sea, of course. But it doesn’t feel like their hearts are in it. Later on we see Finn running across this very same Death Star shouting, according to the closed captions, ‘Rey!’. So clearly they’re not the only ones on this ship and somehow there must be some reason for Finn to fear for her.
From there we move on to what looks to me like an ice version of Cloud City, which is, I belive Kijimi. More than anything, I want this to be Lando’s new place, I can absolutely see him hanging out in Thieves’ Quarter. It looks absolutely stunning, yet it has tie-fighters approaching it so I wonder just how long it will remain this beautiful for.
Emperor Palpatine now begins his threatening monologue:
‘Long have I waited, and now your coming together is your undoing.’
I mentioned to Alarcos earlier today that I’m still not too sure about this return of Palpatine. However, he seems to have a theory which I hope he expands upon in a post soon. No matter my feelings on his return, however, it is great to her Ian McDiarmid’s voice again! This line casts him as the spider in the middle of a web, having planned and patiently waited, for it all to come to fruition now. It also echoes back to what Finn was saying earlier in the trailer. They have all been brought together, perhaps by the Force, perhaps by circumstance, and so far this has been a good thing. Yet will their friendships now become their undoing? I fervently hope not, but I can’t help but be intrigued by what it will mean.
As we hear Palpatine say the above, we get a shot of a rather stunning throne as well as what is, at least to me, the first of two Game of Thrones-like shot of the trailer. We haven’t had a lot of thrones in Star Wars. Padme had hers, but it was very understated. Snoke had one as well, but again, it wasn’t anything to fax home about. This throne, however, is twisted, evil-looking. It looks like an upside down spider to me.
Now we move on to a shot that truly encapsulates ‘Give me all the ships!’ We see the Millenium Falcon swoop into view in front of a real armada of space ships, in all forms and sizes. The true standout here, for most fans, wasn’t the Falcon however, but the brief glimpse we think we saw of Ghost, Hera’s ship from Rebels. I would adore it if we got a call back to Rebels in the films! This shot also reinforces what Poe said earlier in the trailer. With them in the lead, others will follow. From here we go to the inside of the Falcon, showing us the Sequel Trio + Chewbacca, all together in a shot for what feels like the first time. I have my doubts that they are the ones flying the Falcon in the previous shot of the Rebellion Armada, though. I think that what who we see later on, Lando, having a good old time, is behind the wheel.
Speaking of good old times, the trailer cuts to new fan-favourte , name?, working away at C-3PO’s head, with a rather concerned Rey in the background. When Poe asks what he is doing, 3PO comes back with the line that broke hearts:
‘Taking one last look, sir, at my friends.’
Now, in the teaser we’d gotten a shot of 3PO with red eyes, which sparked all kinds of theories. Is 3PO turning evil? Was something hidden away inside of him by either Anakin or, perhaps, the Emperor. Or is it simply his time to go? C-3PO has been a mainstay of the Saga, appearing in all of the films. He is iconic, even if occasionally annoying. And so, this moment really hit home for many friends. The fact that straight after the music swells really doesn’t help. Also, the eagle-eyed among you will have noticed a Prequel-era Battle Droid in the background here. How did that end up there? Will we get any more Prequel easter eggs?
We now get a collection of shots as the narration further below by Luke begins. Poe and Finn running through a First Order corridor, shooting away at Storm Troopers. Leia and Rey’s hug, which has been shown, I think, consistently, in every single promotion for this film. It’s clearly being set up as a major emotional moment for fans and I have no doubt it will resonate strongly. Again, Poe and Finn, our beloved Stormpilot, return to the screen. It’s an extension of the shot we got in the teaser, where they’re racing some kind of ship through what I assume is Pasaana with C-3PO, clearly in some kind of battle. This is also where the shot of Lando pops up.
Luke’s narration is as follows:
‘Confronting fear is the destiny of the Jedi. Your destiny. ‘
I have exactly no doubt he’ll pop up as a Force Ghost at some point in The Rise of Skywalker. This is the third mention in the narration about destiny. It is easy to assume he speaks this line to Rey, but I wonder if it could also be directed at Kylo/Ben. Out of the two, I’d say Kylo/Ben is the one who has to confront his own fear the most and it would play nicely into whatever redemption arc they may be setting up for him. Because I do think that’s what they’re setting up. I’ll go into it in a little more detail below.
From there, we move into the first title card:
‘THE SAGA WILL END‘
Sure, play with my heart that way. I think for many of us, it is hard to accept that this will truly be the end of the Skywalker Saga. It has been a part of our lives for decades and many of us have grown up with it. Although there are many exciting Star Wars projects on the horizon, the Skywalker Saga is its starting point and its core. It will be hard to say goodbye and they’re playing right into it. The end of the Saga will be a cultural event and I think emotions will run high. There will be both a lot of love as well as anger about The Rise of Skywalker, purely because it is the last film.
As we see the title card, we also see a shot of Finn and my favourite new character,Jannah, riding space horses (!) across what is either a First Orde rhangar or a ship. If they’re truly in space I wonder how they’re breathing, but I’m all for a good cavalry ride.
‘THE STORY LIVES FOREVER‘
Interesting phrasing there, not quite sure I like it, but the message is clear. The Saga is ending but the story itself is timeless and will live on regardless. This is our second beautiful shot of Rey and Kylo/Ben together, as well as the second Game of Thrones-feeling shot. In a destroyed room that has distinct ‘throne room’ vibes, Rey and Kylo/Ben are facing each other. I think this takes place aboard the rising Death Star ruin, so this could be the Emperor’s original throne room from The Return of the Jedi. I think it’s interesting that Rey has her lightsaber lit, whereas Ben/Kylo doesn’t. From here we move to a scene of Rey and Kylo/Ben, now in full mask and cape, destroying what I and many believe to be his Darth Vader shrine. Does this happen accidentally while they fight? I don’t think so. I think they’re destroying it together, perhaps Rey helping Kylo/Ben confronting his fears. They’re also in a starkly white room, which feels very Cloud City to me, for some reason. I think this is somewhere inside a First Order base or ship, which begs the question why Rey is there. Will she once again seek out Kylo/Ben?
We get a lovely shot of Poe and Finn staring at something. I love how frequently they’re paired together, because it’s clear from the other films that there is some great chemistry between them. We move on to another shot of the ride of the cavalry and yes, they are riding over this ship while it’s in space. I love everything about this, it’s beautiful. The ship is also a Star Destroyer, so I once again find myself asking, how did they end up there? Where did the horses come from? I’m utterly thrilled, however, that we’re getting another space battle!
We now focus on Kylo/Ben. I’ve been referring to him as such because while at the end of The Last Jedi he seemed to have relapsed into his role as Kylo Ren, a lot of the shots in this trailer show him in a softer light. I think that there is a redemption arc at play for him in The Rise of Skywalker. I sincerely pray it won’t be at the cost of Rey’s own arc, but I do wonder if it will involve him either dying or continuing on the Skywalker legacy. He looks soft in this shot, which I believe takes place in the “throne room” of the shot earlier. There is a soft glimmer on his face, about which I’ve seen one lovely theory, namely that he is looking at C-3PO, become Emperor. Love it. Don’t think so, but love it. However, Kylo/Ben is moving towards something with some urgency and we cut to….
Rey, looking incredibly small, in front of the throne, I think, we saw earlier. It really drives home just how imposing and menacing this throne is. We hear Palpatine’s evil laugh and we see a billowing, dark cloak and hood sat on the throne. Now, we’re clearly meant to think that it is indeed the Emperor say on the throne, as in him in the flesh. I doubt he’s there in the flesh, but someone is there. The same lightning is in the background as in the previous shot of Kylo/Ben, so they’re clearly in that space together. Whether he is heading towards Rey, or whether he is the first to head towards the throne, we don’t yet know. But it is clear from this trailer that a major portion of the film’s plot will be happening aboard this rising Death Star.
For the final scene we get another heart-breaker. Over a shot of Rey, lit up by her blue lightsaber, we hear Luke first, and then Leia.
‘The Force will be with you.’
I am so here for Force Ghost Leia as well! Rey looks sad to me in this shot, as if she’s either seeing something she can’t quite believe or having to prepare herself for something she doesn’t want to do. It doesn’t bode well, but it’s beautiful to hear Carrie Fisher again.
So, that was our trailer! There are a lot of details we’ll be digging into in more detail later. Some of the things we didn’t see in this trailer are General Pryde and Zory Bliss, the latter of whom is actually featured on the official poster below. And no Anakin Skywalker, which was the main and only disappointment to me. He simple has to make an appearance in The Rise of Skywalker, no? I mean, his name is literally right there! If this is where it ends, how can we do so without revisiting what started it all?
What was it that stood out to you most in this trailer? Do you also thing Kylo/Ben is heading towards a redemption? Share your thoughts below and let us know what you’d like us to elaborate on!