Oh boy. I’m so, so conflicted about Rise of Skywalker, but the newest trailer honestly has me incredibly keen.
Now firstly, I want to explain the reason I’m so conflicted; The Last Jedi. That should speak for itself, but in case it doesn’t… I loved The Force Awakens, liked A LOT. And then The Last Jedi came along and completely threw all the story arcs out, forgot loose ends and open questions, disregarded everything that JJ Abrams worked to build, and just generally made a film that didn’t fit into the saga in any way. I know that JJ Abrams is back in control for episode 9, and I could not be more excited. No one is a better choice to tidy up Rian Johnson’s mess. Having said that, the reason I’m conflicted is that as much as I love JJ Abrams’ work on Star Wars, because of Rian Johnson he has a LOT of work cut out for him if he’s going to turn the saga back on track and finish strong. Don’t get me wrong, I think JJ Abrams has the skill, but he’s working against a massive mountain of obstacles.
Okay, now on to the new trailer! As always, I’m going to pull out a few key points that particularly excite me, and rant about them like a lunatic. Here we go…
Jedi Training/Force Vision
The first few shots seem to be Rey training in the forest, as Luke did with Yoda. Now, she probably won’t have a tiny green Yoda-type Jedi Master to instruct her, but Luke’s voice is a prominent one in this trailer, and it’s pretty well guaranteed his force ghost will be in the movie, so I’ll go out on a limb here and say this will have a sort of “Luke training on Dagobah” vibe, but mixed with “Luke speaking to Obi-Wan’s ghost”. In that very first shot, we also see Rey deflect a laser shot from what looks like a training remote like what Luke used on the Falcon in ANH. Funnily enough, we see that exact training remote pop up in The Force Awakens in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo. So it’s not unlikely Rey kept it and uses it under Luke’s instruction.
Even if she’s not training and she’s merely running from/to something, these shots are surprisingly intimate; it’s just her, alone in the jungle (and then the inside of the ship, reminiscent of her life on Jakku). I’m very keen to see what this is about. I’d also love to see the equivalent shots but for Kylo; in The Last Jedi (and one of the only elements I enjoyed), Kylo and Rey had a really interesting connection through the force. I’d like to see a parallel between them that sort of highlights the distance between them after the events of TLJ, while at the same time showing their similarities.
My other reaction to these shots is that they may be a force vision. Rey is now stranger to force visions; she’s had at least one in both movies so far, so it’s really not a stretch to think that some of the things we’ve seen in the trailers aren’t really happening and are just visions. The helmet at the very beginning, as well as the leap that starts in the jungle and ends inside a ship definitely support this (I’m not certain, but I’m quite sure that’s the helmet Rey wore in her lonely scavenger days on Jakku – unless she went back and sorted through her old belongings to find that helmet, why would she still have it?). It could just be a normal Resistance helmet, of course, but where’s the fun in that?
What’s interesting about these shots is that it sounds like Finn talking… about the force. Very strange. Although he’s the only non-force sensitive person to have ever used a lightsaber in the movies, it seems unlikely that he would really understand the force or be revealed as force sensitive at this point; so him talking about it like that seems odd. Especially given his very obvious lack of knowledge on the topic in TFA (“That’s not how the force works!”). His comment that “the force brought us together” makes sense, because even the rebels and the resistance said “may the force be with you”, but he’s talking as though he knows how it feels to use the force which shouldn’t be the case. Speaking of the resistance…
“We’re not alone. Good people will fight if we lead them.” Spoken by Poe Dameron, of course, and I love his character arc. I’m super keen to see him as a leader in the resistance, especially after his experiences in TLJ. He struggled a lot with authority, and trying to cool his jets on the whole “jump into a cockpit and shoot stuff” approach in favour of thinking strategically. I like to think the silver lining of The Last Jedi’s cloud is that the characters have all changed and we’ll be getting some interesting dynamics and perspectives in TROS. It’s very cool seeing Lando come back too, and again in what seems to be a leadership role. He’s a great leader, although a little shady, and it’ll be cool to see him interact with the new generation of Star Wars characters.
Another beautiful element of this trailer is seeing the Tantive; or at least the same model of Correllian transport, anyway. I love the classic ship designs shown all throughout this trailer, actually. Even the original Star Destroyers are back, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. I saw a B-Wing too, hopefully you guys caught it but if not watch the trailer again!
Rey V Kylo
I mentioned earlier that Finn talking about the force was strange. Now we hear Rey talking, and honestly her comment is just as strange. “People keep telling me they know me. No one does.” This is a surprisingly dark and ominous thing for our hero to say, especially given that one of the recurring themes is that Rey herself doesn’t know much about her past… Unless she does? Has she been keeping secrets this whole time? Her identity is clearly central to the plot, and TROS is the last chance for it to be revealed. I think we’re going to see a new side of Rey in this movie, and not just because we’ll finally know who she is. I think she knows a lot more about herself than the audience ever suspected. I titled this little section “Rey V Kylo”, but it’s not clear they’re really enemies at this point. We see them clashing a little, but mostly we see them simply facing each other. In TLJ, they faced off quite often, but through the force instead of in person.
Their relationship is complicated, especially after the ending of TLJ, but they may not be enemies the entire movie. Kylo, for all his talk of killing the past and creating something new, had embraced his role as Supreme Leader by the end of TLJ; but that may have simply been a tool to get his way. Maybe he’s biding time before convincing Rey to join him again? After all, he professed to know Rey’s history in TLJ, and he clearly knew her in TFA (“What girl?!” was his reaction to hearing a girl was involved – and he was instantly filled with rage and interest… not a normal reaction if the girl in question is a complete stranger.). His response to Rey’s statement in this trailer is “But I do,” so it will be very interesting to see Rey’s identity confirmed; especially if Kylo is bluffing and Rey knows more than we think.
FUCK. YES. “Long have I waited.” Oh boy, oh man, I cannot WAIT to see Palps come back! I love the Emperor, he’s genuinely such a great villain. I was beside myself in the first trailer when his laugh was heard at the end, and hearing him actually speaking in this one is incredible. That throne, the fact that things are STILL going according to his master plan… un-fucking-believable.
I’m so, so excited about this. It also opens even more possibilities up for Rey’s history and involvement. It has been made canon (I’m quite sure) that Palpatine created Anakin from the force with his master, Plagueis. So perhaps Rey is their second shot at a new chosen one. Or perhaps she was made (NOT a clone, but made in a lab) by the First Order in the hopes of reviving the Emperor’s spirit by giving it a healthy and powerful young host (which has been done in the Expanded Universe btw).
OR his appearance could just be as a force ghost as well, or force vision… He’s still out there, but definitely dead, and maybe he’s trying to convince Rey to be his new “apprentice”, until he gets her into a position where he can possess her body.
Now one thing that I’m thinking about here is the image of “Dark Rey” that showed up in the first trailer. I have a theory about this. It relies on my previous theory, that Rey was created as a powerful artificial force user in the hopes of reviving Emperor Palpatine. In the EU, creating a force sensitive being was incredibly difficult, and countless failed attempts were made. My theory is that the First Order attempted it many, many times, and had the only force sensitive person they could find train the beings they created. For the purposes of my theory, let’s say it would be far more efficient to use the same body but with minor genetic variations to try to activate the midichlorians that exist in all life. So you end up with a bunch of people who look exactly the same, but who mostly can’t use the force, or at least aren’t powerful enough for what the First Order have in mind.
Can you think of a group of mysterious people who have a force sensitive leader, who showed up in TFA and whose faces have never been shown?
That’s right, my theory is that the Knights of Ren are in fact the other copies of Rey, the unsuccessful versions. This would explain Kylo’s reaction to her mentioned earlier, plus the “Dark Rey” we’ve seen, plus how Kylo knows a lot of her past, and how she knows a lot of it too. It also explains how she wouldn’t know her parents, and how she might believe that Kylo does. It also brings Emperor Palpatine into the story in a really interesting way, and wraps up some other loose ends. My theory would go on to say that Luke, before he disappeared after his failure with Kylo, took the young force sensitive Rey (the only powerful being the First Order managed to create) and hid her on a desert planet so that Kylo and the First Order would never find her. Or possibly it was Han/Leia who took her and hid her, or some other character that is good at hiding things (Lando, or Maz?).
For a series called Star Wars, you kind of expect some pretty epic battles, set in space. This trailer is really promising a lot in that regard; we see tons and tons of resistance ships, and tons and tons of Star Destroyers and other Empire/First Order ships. This is going to be BIG.
There are a few really interesting and exciting shots in the last few moments of the trailer, and I’m going to go over them in this last segment because they don’t really fit anywhere else.
Firstly, I want to potentially embarrass myself and admit that I have no idea what the significance is of C3PO’s brief scene in the trailer. Is he sacrificing himself somehow? He’s certainly been in worse shape before than what we see here, and he’s perfectly cohesive. There’s no immediate danger, and his mind was wiped after the prequel trilogy, so his memory only goes so far back. They’re obviously going to be doing something with his brain, I just don’t understand what it would be. It’s also strange to me that he has his normal gold arm back. The weird little red arm thing in TLJ seems to just be yet another completely random and meaningless change that Rian Johnson threw in for change’s sake. I don’t see the emotional purpose of 3PO’s line here, but I’m sure it will become apparent.
There’s a very brief shot of Finn running and shouting “Rey!”. He looks scared, and I think this is a great way to build some tension… After the last few Star Wars movies, it has become clear that main characters can and do die, so it’ll be very interesting if Rey is in a real amount of danger. As the final film in the Skywalker Saga, I think there’s a palpable sense of scale and finality, and I think it will translate to a truly exciting suspense in scenes like this.
The shot of the resistance running along the outer hull of a Star Destroyer is honestly incredible to me. It’s such a vulnerable position, and facing so much danger, that I can’t wait to see these battles play out on the big screen. Every shot of battle in this trailer is awesome, and they all look like a whole new kind of war that Star Wars fans have never seen before. I really think JJ Abrams and the Star Wars team are going all out for this last movie, and that’s exactly what fans will be hoping for.
The Emperor V Rey
Now THIS shot excited me more than anything else I’ve seen. It may not literally be Rey about to fight the Emperor (in fact I very much doubt that an outright fight would actually happen), but the fact that they’re directly facing off at all is amazing. What I would imagine is that the Emperor plays Kylo and Rey off against each other, with the plan to take the winner as his apprentice (or host, if my earlier theory is correct). I would assume that Kylo’s earlier wish to kill the past, as well as Rey’s inner sense of good, will mean they join forces and destroy the Emperor for real this time. I also think the Knights of Ren (unmasked this time, all with Rey’s face) will converge on Kylo and Rey, and a massive fight will occur right in front of the Emperor. Sort of a thematic echo of the throne room fight in both ROTJ and TLJ, except this time Rey and Kylo will actually remain joined to the same side.
I’m really confused about this. I’ve heard some theories, but they’re all heavily steeped in the EU and I’m just not sure how deep it’s plausable to go in a movie that already has a lot of loose ends and messes to clean up. Either way, Kylo and Rey are clearly working together at least for a moment in the movie, and since there are shots of them both fighting and cooperating, it’s safe to say their complicated dynamic isn’t exactly smoothed out super easily.
The Throne Room
Now we have TWO thrones that the Emperor is using. This shot is gorgeous, and I cannot wait for this scene! Seeing the two new most powerful characters facing off in the same throne room where Luke and Vader faced off is just so exciting. This shot reminds me a lot of the shots in TFA. In my opinion, TFA is one of the most visually beautiful Star Wars movies; not just in visual design, but cinematography and composition as well. JJ Abrams has a natural talent for these kinds of shots, and I’m really looking forward to seeing another Star Wars movie with his incredible visual style.
There are a lot of other things going on in this trailer, but I’ve picked out all the parts I think are most exciting/important. I know I’ve gone a little deep here with theories and such, but beyond that I’m not willing to speculate too much on how things will go. Despite my theories, I’m actually really not going into it expecting anything specific. I just can’t wait to see how JJ Abrams ties it all together. If anyone can turn the mess that was The Last Jedi around, fix all the crap Rian Johnson left behind, and create a really great Star Wars movie out of it, JJ Abrams can.
No matter what happens, it’s the last movie in the Skywalker Saga, and I’m So Keen For It!