J.J. Abrams Thankful for Kelly Marie Tran
Rose Tico was not seen in the trailer, but Kelly Marie Tran is in Episode IX. The actress sat on the panel and a new image of Rose talking with Rey was shown on the screen. While that was happening, Abrams took the opportunity to say how thankful he was that Rian Johnson cast Tran in The Last Jedi, which was a huge, public display of support for her. Tran was incessantly harassed online following The Last Jedi's premiere, and it got to the point where she had to leave social media. Lucasfilm seemed to make it a point to champion Tran and her contributions to the films, which is nice to see considering all that happened. How Rose factors into the larger story remains to be seen.
Naomi Ackie's Character Jannah
Every Star Wars film introduces new characters to the canon, and Rise of Skywalker is no different. Among the many fresh faces is relative newcomer Naomi Ackie, who plays someone called Jannah. Not much was revealed outside of that, but it was confirmed she will cross paths with the main trio, perhaps going along on the adventure with them. At first glance, Jannah would appear to be aligned with the Resistance's cause, but betrayals are known to happen in Star Wars, so Jannah's true nature is one of the many questions remaining about Episode IX.
BB-8's New Droid Friend Dio
Droids have always been a vital part of the Star Wars franchise. R2-D2 and C-3PO established that legacy back in 1977, with the likes of BB-8, K-2SO, and L3-37 following in their footsteps during the Disney era. Before the book closes on the Skywalker saga, Abrams and company gave the story one last cute robotic companion. His name is Dio (also known as D-0), and a working prop was brought on the Celebration stage to show off. Much like BB-8 once upon a time and then the porgs, Dio looks like he's taken the mantle of the "adorable cute thing" that'll sell merchandise like hotcakes. It's only a matter of time before Sphero welcomes Dio to their app-enabled droid family.
The New Alien Klaud
Star Wars is famous for its intricate creature designs, which populate the galaxy with a wide variety of interesting aliens that are instantly recognizable in the pop culture zeitgeist. It's why just about every film has its own version of "the cantina scene," allowing the creature shop to go wild and let their imaginations run free. For Rise of Skywalker, there's a new alien character, and it sounds like he has a decent role. He's called Klaud, and Abrams described him as a friend of the Resistance that Chewbacca brings in. It's unknown who plays Klaud, but he's already left an impression on viewers. The juxtaposition of him next to a Wookiee could be very amusing.
Moviegoers waited a very long time to learn some official details about Rise of Skywalker, and the first tastes were quite tantalizing. Obviously, this is just the beginning of what should be an eight-month long marketing campaign, slowly building up hype and anticipation until the film's premiere this December. After being in the dark for a while, it's nice to know at least a few things about the movie.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019