Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will have a major presence during this month's D23 Expo, so what can fans expect? As difficult as it is to believe, the conclusion to the Skywalker saga arrives in about four months, and there's still a lot viewers are waiting to learn about the film. Early marketing materials have been very bare-bones, offering very few story details. Other than the surprise return of Emperor Palpatine and the introduction of Sith Troopers, much of Star Wars 9 remains under wraps. That will likely change (somewhat) as advertising efforts rev up over the next couple months.
Lucasfilm bypassed staging a Hall H panel during July's San Diego Comic-Con, so the weekend's D23 Expo will be center stage to the next wave of Star Wars 9 promotion. It's already been confirmed the galaxy far, far away will be featured during the event, leaving fans to wonder what will be in store. Looking back at past Star Wars marketing campaigns, we have a pretty good idea what viewers should be prepared for.
It's important to note upfront that there will, in all likelihood, not be a new Star Wars 9 trailer at D23. The initial teaser debuted in April during Celebration Chicago, similar to the teaser drops for The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Going off established Lucasfilm history, the next Rise of Skywalker trailer won't come until October, presumably during a Monday Night Football telecast on ESPN. That was precisely the strategy for Star Wars 9's two direct predecessors, coupled with tickets going on sale. There's little incentive to change that formula after Force Awakens and Last Jedi combined for more than $3 billion at the worldwide box office, so Lucasfilm will probably stick to the plan for the finale.
Instead, D23 should be used to showcase a behind-the-scenes sizzle reel, which has taken the place of a second teaser trailer throughout the duration of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. One for The Force Awakens came out in July 2015 during Comic-Con, while one for The Last Jedi premiered at D23 in 2017. So, it stands reason to believe that summer 2015 will bring a sizzle reel for The Rise of Skywalker. In essence, it'll act as a featurette, teasing the film's scope and story in vague terms while also providing glimpses of new footage. Perhaps there'll be a few shots of Sith Troopers in action, since they've been a key component of advertising so far.
The panel itself will probably be similar to the Star Wars 9 panel at Celebration Chicago, where J.J. Abrams and various members of the cast offer coy non-answers to questions about the movie. There might be some general information revealed during the presentation (like how fans learned the sequel trilogy heroes go on a mission together at Celebration), but there probably won't be anything major. Remember, Star Wars 9 doesn't have its own individual panel; it's part of the Walt Disney Studios panel on August 24, which also includes Marvel, Pixar, and Disney's in-house projects. The Mouse House can dedicate only so much time to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, so a lot of the film will still be under lock and key.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019