By Mel Perez
Star Wars, later dubbed Star Wars: A New Hope, was released in the summer of 1977 to great fanfare. It was something fresh, something that people had been craving without knowing it. It reinvigorated the imagination of a generation and the generations to follow. Now that story will end 42 years later.
At the D23 convention this weekend, a special look at The Rise of Skywalker, the last story in the Skywalker saga, was revealed to excited audiences. It begins with the iconic scene of Luke Skywalker watching the duel sunset on Tatooine. The scene has come to represent Star Wars and it’s fitting that it’s showcased here at the end of the saga. We move onto shots of characters we’ve come to love from A New Hope. Obi-Wan revealing himself. Leia looking fierce with her blaster. Han, smooth and sneaky in the cantina. Sadly most of them are no longer with us. Then it’s onto to scenes from The Empire Strikes Back – Han and Leia kissing before he’s frozen in carbonite and Luke learning the truth of what really happened to his father. These scenes are building the legacy of the Skywalker saga – taking us back in time so we can better understand where we’re going.
As we move onto scenes from Return of the Jedi, in an emotional bit of editing Luke’s narration from The Rise of Skywalker trailer rises above the score as the shot lingers on a young Luke. “We’ve passed on all we know.” The knowledge gained from the Jedi and the Sith in the prequels, the fall of the Republic and the rise of Vader and the Emperor. Luke tells them that this is their fight now as scenes The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi focus on the connections between characters. No one is in this alone and it is these connections that will make or break them. It ends on the scene of Rey first becoming one with the force. We have watched Rey grow in these past two movies, how much further will she go in this one?
This first look isn’t only a gaze back at everything we’ve experienced so far. We treated to new scenes from The Rise of Skywalker. Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewbacca and C-3PO gaze on an open desert market. It’s not clear how much a role Leia will have in this movie but every sighting of her is a joy. Leia and Rey both appear in forest scenes. Is it possible Leia is training her? The Last Jedi revealed how strong she is with the force. The Rebels aren’t out of the fight yet but they are hopelessly outclassed by the sheer power of the First Order. Finn and new and mysterious character Jannah sit together in a cockpit. I wasn’t prepared by how much the sight of two Black characters together in a Star Wars film would move me. What is the significance of C-3PO’s red eyes?
Palpatine picks up the narration towards the end of the trailer. “Your journey,” he says as a determined Kylo Ren walks across a desert landscape before flashing to a scene of Rey and Kylo fighting with sea waves crashing around them. The clash between these two is inevitable but is the movie hinting that it won’t end as we suspect? The screen fades to black as Palpatine concludes with “Nears its end.” The scene comes back to the shocking sight of Rey in a dark hood holding a double red lightsaber. A hooded cloak that is reminiscent of one worn by Padmé, another tie to the Skywalker family. Is this a vision or will The Rise of Skywalker end with Rey turning towards the darkside? What will this mean for the fate of Kylo Ren and the Resistance? And will the Rise of the Skywalker end up being the rise of the darkside?
This sizzle reels gives us a nostalgic look at what has come before while teasing us with what is to come. There are more questions than answers and I suspect we will all spend the next few months speculating over every bit of this and the news to come. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker releases December 20, 2019.
WRITTEN BY MEL PEREZ, Co-host and writer for the Nerds of Prey podcast. Mel fell in love with the world of Star Wars and it’s intriguing characters as a young child and hasn’t looked back since. She eagerly devours the movies, books and comics. Luke and Leia have always been her favorite characters but she’s developed a soft spot for Finn since the new movies have been released. Her dream job would be following in the footsteps of Jocasta Nu and becoming the Chief Librarian of the Jedi Archives.