New Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker footage shown at D23 shows Rey (Daisy Ridley) leaving Finn (John Boyega) behind, and the return of Darth Vader's mask. Anticipation is growing for the final chapter of the Skywalker Saga, with fans of the galaxy far, far away eager to learn new details. That has been as difficult as ever before, though, with secretive director J.J. Abrams keeping much of the movie under wraps.
What we do know about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker largely comes from the film's panel at Star Wars Celebration earlier this year. That is where the cast and Abrams appeared to discuss the movie and debuted the first Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer. The footage proved just how little we knew about the film, as it ended with confirmation that The Emperor (Ian McDiarmid) is returning. One of the other major takeaways from the panel, though, was Abrams talking about Rey, Finn, and Poe (Oscar Isaac) going on an adventure together.
As part of the opening ceremony for D23, Disney showed a sizzle reel of various projects, both old and upcoming. Screen Rant was present for the panel and witnessed the footage, which included some new scenes from Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker. New shots of the main trio and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) were featured, with a new line of dialogue from Rey teasing her splitting up from the team. When talking to Finn, she says, "It's too dangerous. I have to go alone." But, the footage also included a quick shot of Darth Vader's mask.
Vader's mask played an important role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but then was completely absent from Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Since it was a thread that Abrams established, it isn't too surprising to see him bringing it back for Star Wars 9. When it was previously on screen, it was in the possession of Kylo Ren, who used it to try to speak with his grandfather and avoid the draw of the light side. In killing Snoke and taking place as Supreme Leader of the First Order, Kylo cemented his place on the dark side of the Force.
Now that the mask is back in some form in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the biggest question it leaves us with is why. Even after killing Han Solo and taking over the First Order, could Kylo still be struggling to embrace the dark path he believes he's on? That is certainly possible, although it could feel like a step backward for his character development. One other possibility could add credence to a theory regarding who Kylo is really communing with when speaking to the helmet. He believes it is the spirit of his grandfather, but some theories suggest that it could be the spirit of Palpatine instead. The truth behind the helmet's inclusion could be a number of different things, so we'll just have to wait and see if more details on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker help make it more clear.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019