The Rise of Skywalker PosterMillions of voices cried out in joy (minus New York Jets’ fans) as the much longed for halftime of Monday Night Football brought forth the final trailer for the final film in the Skywalker Saga.  Anticipation for the trailer had risen immensely with a short teaser (advertising the trailer’s release) earlier in the day revealing mysterious space mountains of ice and a momentary shot of the Millennium Falcon dropping into the vanguard of a massive Resistance fleet composed of virtually every make and model of ship, including a VCX-100, aka, quite possibly Hera Syndulla’s Ghost.  As much as the internet went gaga over it all, then the trailer dropped.

 

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Connections and destiny. Finn and Rey, Rey and Kylo Ren, the Resistance and its allies, C-3PO and his friends, and the Emperor and Rey; YES, that was a record scratch you subconsciously heard in your head with that last pairing, but we’ll get to it shortly. Let’s go over the trailer broadly, because hours will be spent analyzing the images, the voices, that J.J. Abrams has thrown at us as our last major clues as to what to expect in December just two short months from now.

We open with Rey training in the same woods we saw her in with Leia in the D23 footage from a couple months ago, running and jumping like a Jedi in the prequel trilogy; it cuts to her leaping inside what appears to be the Death Star ruins, a throwback to how we first met our Jakku scavenger in The Force Awakens. “It’s a feeling, an instinct, the Force brought us together…” Finn’s voice narrates these scenes before cutting to our favorite ex-stormtrooper gazing at something in the distance. It’s the first of a number of voice overs, soon followed by Poe likely addressing the Resistance in a motivational speech, “We’re not alone, good people will fight if we lead them!” (Crowd shot of a mission planning moment in a Resistance base) and later Rey with some inner reflection on how no one truly knows who she is (answered by Kylo Ren’s own voice over “I do.”  It’s at this point we see Kylo approach Rey on the likely Death Star ruins in the valley of large ocean swells.

 

For much of the rest of the trailer, Kylo and Rey are almost exclusively seen together, destroying some black humanoid figure in a white lab like room built with the Imperial aesthetic, in the ruins of the Death Star’s throne room, or battling each other in a lightsaber duel. At the minimum, it seems the pair work together for some purpose, but there’s nothing that indicates a thaw in the feelings between the two that were ice cold by the end of The Last Jedi. But cold is the temperature of anyone’s blood when they hear the ghostly voice of Emperor Palpatine, “Long have I waited and now your coming together is your undoing,” spoken over our heroes fighting together and Rey and Kylo fighting alone; as well what appears to be a star destroyer rising up from under a layer of ice.

 

What’s fascinating about the trailer, for as much as it’s full  of dialogue, only one scene actually involves dialogue that isn’t a narration. We see the newly introduced miniature droid builder Babu Frik toying around with the back of C-3PO’s head. In front of the golden protocol droid are our heroes and Poe asks him,”What are you doing there, Threepio?” Golden Rod’s response? “Taking one last look, sir, at my friends.” Threepio may not have a heart, but he sure knows how to target ours.

 

The last set of narrations belong, perhaps fittingly to our Skywalkers. “Confronting fear,” we hear Luke say presumably to Rey, just after an anguishing shot of Leia hugging her,”is the destiny of a Jedi. Your destiny…,” he trails off to incredible shots of our heroes fighting on a speeder, a cavalry of riders racing across the surface of a star destroyer (or base) and well, other amazing imagery. Skywalker’s voice then returns, following a momentary shot of Rey standing below what’s definitely implied to be the Emperor seated on a throne (we get Ian McDiarmid’s patented cackle), “the Force will be with you…” “Always,” the last word being Leia’s.

To be forthright, I have completely failed to adequately describe the experience of seeing the trailer, but thankfully, you’ve likely already watched it. One of best aspects of the trailer appears to be a strong push to recall the friendship that Rey and Finn enjoyed, a bond that was built and nurtured through The Force Awakens, but delegated to a background motivation for Finn in the sequel (ironically because of Abrams own storytelling decisions). Given the fair criticism of #wheresFinn, he’s heavily featured in the trailer, more so than any other hero other than Rey. Behind him is Poe, and while absent for all the grouped heroes shots, we do at least get one glance at Rose, not forgotten.

It promises an adventure across multiple worlds, granted at some point, Rey is separated from her friends and ends up in an uneasy alliance with her dark side nemesis; Kylo Ren. Against what, exactly, other than the Emperor’s machinations, remains to be seen. Of our new character Jannah, whom we’ve only seen in a promotional still riding beside Finn on an alien steed, we only glimpse her at the head of the charging cavalry from a distance. Her identity and role remain obscured in the dust thrown up by the intergalactic equines.

 

The Rise of Skywalker’s trailer has at least gifted us all with weeks worth of discussion and enjoyment as we feverishly try to decipher the clues provided that hint at the end of the Skywalker story, but hopefully, not our heroes, Rey, Finn, Poe, and Rose.

 

The Rise of Skywalker opens on December 19, 2019.

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