The first spoken word in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has been revealed as “At”. Disney and company have been notoriously tip-lipped regarding the newest adventure in a galaxy far, far away. However, that hasn't stopped anyone and everyone from trying to pry spoilers/details from its filmmakers and stars. Arguably, no one has to exercise greater discretion than its co-writer and director, J.J. Abrams.
Having helmed (and created) Lost, two of the rebooted Star Trek films, and now two of the newest Star Wars films, Abrams knows how to give fans a little but not enough. Abrams did this when he appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live to discuss Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015; Kimmel asked Abrams what the first word spoken in the sequel trilogy would be - the world received the word “This”. That word ended up being spoken by Lor San Tekka when he told Poe Dameron that “This will begin to make things right”. It wasn’t much of a spoiler at the time, but fans were still excited to receive a smidge of information that could turn into something memorable.
Stephen Colbert stole a page out of Kimmel’s book this week when he asked Abrams a similar question on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert about the completed Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. When asked what the first spoken word in the upcoming film would be Abrams gave the world: “At”. That word, like “This”, exists outside of the franchise’s opening crawl and was given without the benefit of context. While it essentially means nothing to us now, eventually, it will be part of a sentence immortalized in Star Wars history. Watch a clip from Colbert's interview below.
Star Wars: A New Hope opened by introducing us to the iconic pairing of R2-D2 and C-3PO, the first word being spoken by the latter: “Did”. That word became “Did you hear that? They shut down the main reactor”. The next film, The Empire Strikes Back began with Luke saying “Echo” - “Echo Three to Echo Seven. Han, old buddy, do you read me?" Return of the Jedi began with “Command”, The Phantom Menace with “Captain”, Attack of the Clones with “Senator”, Revenge of the Sith with “Lock”, and The Last Jedi with “We're". If you know those films, there’s a good chance you know the words, sentences, and moments.
When interviewing Abrams, Colbert’s had a theory about what moment The Rise of Skywalker’s “At” could represent. He speculated that it would be spoken by a new character who is setting up the film in a voice-over. In that same interview, Abrams talked about something the late Carrie Fischer wrote in her book, The Princess Diarist, thanking Abrams for “working with her twice”. Unfortunately, Fischer never worked with Abrams a second time (nor did she know he would be directing The Rise of Skywalker). Her ominous words are indicative of a film that will undoubtedly carry a plethora of iconic words spoken at its beginning, middle, and end. While it's unlikely that the newest film's first word will be spoken by Fischer, thanks to leftover footage from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, her inclusion sets us all up for what we hope will be a satisfying finale.