The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker sizzle reel that premiered during D23 2019 is officially released online. This past weekend, Lucasfilm brought their highly-anticipated blockbuster to the biennial expo, using it as a launchpad for the next wave of promotion. Director J.J. Abrams, producer Kathleen Kennedy, and various members of the cast were on hand to briefly discuss the project, sharing new bits of information about Star Wars 9. Of course, there were no massive plot spoilers revealed, but fans now have a better idea of how some aspects (like Keri Russell's Zorri Bliss) fit into the narrative.
There were no promises of a new Star Wars 9 trailer made, but the expectation going into the weekend was that there would be some new footage released. At similar points in the Force Awakens and Last Jedi marketing campaigns, Lucasfilm unveiled behind-the-scenes sizzle reels that essentially took the place of a second theatrical teaser. Such a Star Wars reel did screen at D23, but the studio made the decision to hold off sharing it with the general public until after the convention. That didn't stop the contents of said reel from making a wave online, but now everyone has a chance to see the reel.
Today, Lucasfilm officially released the Star Wars 9 reel, which of course includes the tantalizing image of Rey wielding her new, double-bladed red lightsaber. Watch it for yourself in the space below:
Unlike the reels for Force Awakens and Last Jedi, which were essentially featurettes one might find as a Blu-ray special feature, this Star Wars 9 special look theoretically could have been another trailer. It's cut like a traditional preview, with no behind-the-scenes interviews or glimpses to be found. About half of it consists of footage from the previous episodes in the Skywalker saga, recapping key moments before transitioning into Rise of Skywalker clips. One of the biggest takeaways is that (unsurprisingly) the scale of Star Wars 9 is massive. Imagery like the Pasaana civilization encountered by the heroes and the tease of a massive space battle immediately grab the viewer's attention with their sheer scope. And after there was no traditional lightsaber duel in The Last Jedi, The Rise of Skywalker looks to up the ante considerably with a final showdown between Rey and Kylo Ren. This time, the conflict takes place on water - presumably on the Death Star wreckage seen in the teaser.
Undeniably, the money shot of the trailer is Rey in her black robes, wielding the red double-bladed lightsaber. Already, this has spawned a plethora of fan theories. The initial gut reaction is that Rey's turned to the dark side, but the truth likely isn't that simple. Lucasfilm has always been averse to revealing plot spoilers in marketing materials, and Rey going bad would be a massive revelation. Many have speculated that this is instead some kind of vision or nightmare Rey has as she works toward completing her journey, similar to the "Force flashback" from The Force Awakens. Of course, it's extremely difficult to gauge the context of this shot with so little information to draw from, so anything is possible at this point in time. The only thing that can be said for sure is this Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer will get people buzzing and talking.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019