Star Wars: The Force Awakens was known for its secrecy, but Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is being even more closely guarded. Both films were directed by J.J. Abrams, a man well-known for being incredibly spoiler-averse and who wants to craft a great air of mystery around his movies, which is why so little was known about Star Wars: The Force Awakens for so long.
Character details were kept vague, the trailers tried to point towards Finn, not Rey, being the new Jedi hero, and Mark Hamill was so absent that fans were left constantly asking "Where's Luke?" Nonetheless, Abrams did show off enough of the film to not only allow fans to get excited, but also have at least a few hints of what the plot was going to be. Now returning to the franchise after Colin Trevorrow's departure, he's up to his old tricks with Star Wars 9, but is taking the end of the Skywalker Saga to new extremes of secrecy.
When the new Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer debuted at D23 Expo 2019, it marked just the second brief look fans had been given at the upcoming movie, following on from the first Star Wars 9 trailer released at Star Wars Celebration back in April. Although both teasers had some exciting clues - Dark Side Rey and the return of Palpatine respectively - they didn't reveal a huge amount in terms of plot, nor show a great deal of footage. It means that we've seen less of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker than we had by this point for The Force Awakens, which had unveiled two teaser trailers and a behind-the-scenes look.
Of course, Star Wars: The Force Awakens was unique from a marketing perspective, since it was the return of Star Wars, with the first teaser debuting over a year in advance. Disney has since changed to a familiar pattern of a teaser in April, a summer BTS look, and then a full trailer in October. Star Wars 9 opted for a new teaser as opposed to a behind-the-scenes featurette, but that doesn't mean it revealed more than a BTS video would've done. Palpatine's return has been teased, but we've still not seen what he's actually going to look like in the movie; Hamill's return is also confirmed, but again, we've only heard his voice in the marketing; and it's still not even fully clear if Matt Smith is actually in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker or not.
Even Force Friday, the annual marketing blitz where Disney reveals the merchandise for that year's Star Wars film, is coming later in 2019. While previous iterations have all been at the very start of September, this year's isn't until early October. Given the merchandise will likely provide some more insight into Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, it's another sign of things being held back a little longer, and means the full trailer will likely be close behind. This does make sense, though, when considering that Star Wars 9 is the end of the Sequel Trilogy and the nine-movie Skywalker Saga. There are sure to be lots of surprises in store, and Abrams will want to protect them. Palpatine coming back was only revealed because they didn't think they'd be able to keep it a secret, but we can safely assume that there are many more secrets about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to be revealed.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019