J.J. Abrams commemorated the wrapping of Star Wars: Episode IX by posting a new behind-the-scenes photo of the cast, so what did it reveal about the upcoming movie? In typical Lucasfilm fashion, details about the Skywalker saga finale are hard to come by, as the studio's revealed only the bear minimum to this point. Fans are still waiting for the official title, but all of that will come in due time. Meanwhile, viewers have had to make do with what they can find on the internet, scouting the rumor mill for possible clues about where the narrative is headed.
When Episode IX filming started last summer, Abrams celebrated the occasion by sharing a set photo on his official Twitter account. Unfortunately, it was the polar opposite of Ron Howard's chronicling of Solo: A Star Wars Story production. Master of the mystery box, Abrams opted to keep the veil of secrecy intact and didn't share periodic looks at the film over these last several months. But now that he's done, he decided to give fans a fresh image and it shows off more than one might think. Here are all the reveals we spotted in Abrams' Episode IX photo.
Sequel Trilogy Heroes Finally United
Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia shared a lot of screen time during the original trilogy, strengthening their bond and forming the family unit fans have come to love over four decades. To date, their sequel trilogy counterparts haven't been afforded the same opportunity. Finn established relationships with Poe Dameron and Rey separately, and the new big three have yet to go on an adventure together. That's thankfully bound to change in Episode IX.
Abrams' photo showed stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac embracing each other in an emotional group hug in-costume and on location, indicating Rey, Finn, and Poe will finally be working in unison against the First Order. Fans have come to love these characters over the course of the previous two films, so it should be fun to watch them come together. Based on Force Awakens, viewers know Boyega has terrific chemistry with his co-stars, so hopefully Ridley and Isaac gel as well.
Another Sand Planet
From the beginning, sand has been a trademark landscape of the Star Wars franchise. Tatooine is the most famous example, but the movies have also featured the likes of Jakku, Jedha, and Savareen. Characters will once again be headed to a sandy environment in Episode IX, though it remains to be seen what planet this is.
Episode IX shot scenes in Jordan, which was the location used for Jedha in Rogue One. Before fans jump to conclusions, this does not mean Abrams' film will depict the sacred moon. Right now, that could just be a coincidence. There haven't been any concrete reports hinting at a return trip to Jedha, and the lack of official information makes it difficult to speculate. Remember, when the first Force Awakens teaser came out, everyone was convinced Jakku was actually Tatooine. We'll have to wait and see on this one.
Rightfully, many people focused on the three actors when the image was first shared, but after they got past the emotion of seeing the trio's embrace, they started to look around at what else was in the picture. On the right-hand side of the frame is a blurry object that looks like it was constructed for the film's purposes. On-screen, it'll likely be just a background element to flesh out an environment and give it that classic "lived-in" aesthetic Star Wars is so well-known for. But what, exactly, is this?
At first blush, it looks like it could be a moisture vaporator, which famously were used on the Lars family homestead on Tatooine. They're commonly found on desert planets, so it wouldn't be out of the question to see one here. Unfortunately, this is just a hypothesis, as there isn't enough context in the picture to definitively say one way or another. Abrams, likely intentionally, didn't show much of the surrounding area, limiting what fans will be able to know from this scene.