Lucasfilm has unveiled the final trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - and there are quite a few story details, Easter eggs, and more in it. The Star Wars Saga is coming to an end, a trilogy of trilogies that promises to bring light and dark into head-on collision.
Writer/director J.J. Abrams is back, and he's deploying his usual "Mystery Box" approach to marketing. Right now, the overarching narrative of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker remains enigmatic, and there's particularly intense speculation over just how the Emperor will return. Palpatine's unexpected resurrection was teased in the first Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer, and the return of Darth Sidious promises to bring the story full circle. Meanwhile, viewers are eager to see just how the Resistance finally triumph against the First Order, given the devastating losses they suffered in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
In a normal marketing campaign, the final trailer serves to give audiences a sense of the story. But this is far from a normal marketing campaign, because the end of the Star Wars Saga is a cinematic event that viewers are already thrilled about. As a result, even this final Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer avoids revealing the story beats. Here are the main takeaways.
33. Rey Continues To Train as a Jedi
The previous two Star Wars 9 trailers have shown Rey training alone somewhere on the jungle planet, and this latest trailer continues that theme. She's practicing at blocking drone attacks when she drops the helmet traditionally used to blind a Jedi, and begins to sprint away. The drone chases after her, continuing the session, but soon the trailer moves to show Rey practicing Force leaps. It's possible that the training session has been interrupted, given Rey seems to drop the helmet forcefully and suddenly. At this stage, though, it's difficult to say for certain.
32. Rey Climbs Over The Death Star Debris
The Star Wars 9 trailer uses Rey's Force-aided jump to segue artistically to another one, in which Rey performs another leap through some sort of wreckage. Other trailers have confirmed that the Resistance will be forced to travel to Endor and explore the wreckage of the Second Death Star, so it's reasonable to assume this shows Rey inside a hunk of Death Star debris.
31. What Has Finn Spotted?
The various Star Wars 9 trailers have either focused in on Rey, or tended to show the heroes of the Sequel Trilogy standing together. This latest trailer includes an interesting exception, though, as Finn stares out at something using macronoculars. The background lighting suggests it's the planet Pasaana, and it may be that Finn is looking at First Order troops who've discovered a Resistance base. The shot is accompanied by dialogue in which Finn claims that the Force brought the heroes of the Resistance together. It's testimony to how much he's developed as a character over the course of the Sequel Trilogy, in that he now considers himself part of the team, and has a deep-rooted belief in the Force.
30. Lando Is A Resistance Hero
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker features the return of Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian. Lando has only had a minor presence in Disney's Star Wars canon to date; it's known that he returned to his home on Bespin and even started a family. But he's evidently decided to return to the Resistance, and it seems he's embraced as a hero. That makes sense; he's one of the few survivors of the Death Star run at Endor. No doubt Lando is quite enjoying all the attention. Attentive viewers will also notice Greg Grunberg's character, "Snap" Wexley.
29. Dominic Monaghan's Star Wars Character Is Seen At Last - And He's With Rose
Lost star Dominic Monaghan is reuniting with J.J. Abrams in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and the new The Rise of Skywalker trailer offers a glimpse of his character. To date, precious little is known about the part Monaghan is playing, but the trailer makes it clear that he's a member of the Resistance. He's also a voice of hope, insisting that the Resistance may be diminished in number as a result of the First Order's attack, but it is not alone. It's interesting to compare Monaghan's sentiment with the events of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, when the Resistance called out for help, and nobody came. That experience clearly hasn't shaken the faith of Monaghan's character, and he's shown reassuring Kelly Marie Tran's Rose Tico. Rose has been quite a controversial figure, and hasn't featured heavily in the marketing for Star Wars 9.
28. Is Poe Destined To Become A Resistance Leader?
Dominic Monaghan's dialogue calls for a leader, and the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer transitions to a shot that's focused upon Poe. Tie-in comics have suggested that Poe is stepping up as a Resistance leader, becoming more responsible and trustworthy, and that he'll potentially play a key role in the coming conflict. The trailer clearly shows Poe going on some sort of mission with Finn and Chewie.
27. A Corellian Corvette Arrives - Possibly The Tantive IV?
An old Corellian Corvette arrives at the Resistance base. This spaceship will be quite familiar to Star Wars viewers; the most famous Corellian Corvette was the Tantive IV, the Alderaanian consular vessel raided by Darth Vader at the beginning of the first Star Wars film. It's even possible that this is indeed the Tantive IV, and that Leia has continued to use it. If so, that makes sense why the trailer puts these details together; the Resistance needs leadership, and presumably Leia herself is on board.
26. Rey Confronts Kylo Ren on the Death Star
The Star Wars 9 trailers have focused on a duel between Rey and Kylo Ren as they stand on the wreckage of the Second Death Star. This time round, the shots focus on the personal connection between the two, with Rey insisting that nobody knows her - and Kylo Ren claiming that he does. Star Wars: The Last Jedi saw Supreme Leader Snoke establish a Force bond between the two, and Kylo Ren clearly believes it's still there.
25. TIE Fighters Over Kijimii
The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer shows a fleet of new TIE Fighters sweeping down upon an ice planet, presumably Kijimi. Kijimi is a snowy, rocky planet home to the Thieves' Quarter, where other scoundrels, thieves, bounty hunters, and neutral yet morally dubious folk reside. These appear to be First Order TIEs, so Kylo Ren may have called them down.
24. The Emperor's Throne
The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer moves on to a shot of a sinister throne, surrounded by jagged edges. This is based on sketches by Star Wars concept artist Ralph McQuarrie, which were made for the Emperor's throne room in Return of the Jedi. It's clearly intended to be Palpatine's new throne, and that sense is reinforced by a voice-over from Ian McDiarmid. "Long have I waited," he declares in the Emperor's voice. Notice the icy backdrop to the throne, suggesting that Kijimi is the world the Emperor has been waiting on - gathering his forces.
23. What Is The Emperor's Plan?
The Emperor has always been a master strategist, and he uses the dark side of the Force to navigate the future. According to his dialogue in the Star Wars 9 trailer, he's been waiting for the right moment to make his presence felt. This moment appears to be the "coming together" of specific beings, likely Rey and Kylo Ren. Naturally, the exact nature of Palpatine's plan is a mystery right now.
22. Star Destroyers Emerge From The Ice
One of the most stunning shots in the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer shows an Imperial Star Destroyer breaking out of the ice. The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker D23 trailer confirmed that the Emperor has a vast fleet of Imperial Star Destroyers, which appear to have Death Star technology integrated into their systems. Presumably they've been hidden beneath the ice - and now Palpatine orders them to rise to the surface, ready to launch a devastating onslaught upon the galaxy.
21. The Millennium Falcon and the Resistance Fleet
Fortunately, the galaxy still has heroes - and the Resistance has assembled to go to war. It's fascinating to see how the Resistance's numbers have improved over the year since Star Wars: The Last Jedi, when they were almost destroyed by the First Order. Official tie-in books have confirmed that Leia used similar tactics to those that allowed the old Rebel Alliance to flourish. She sent operatives across the galaxy to create a network of Resistance cells, with each cell building up a small arsenal and fleet, explaining why there's such a variation in ship design. Naturally, the Millennium Falcon takes its rightful place at the front of the Resistance fleet. There's some speculation that the Ghost, from Star Wars Rebels, is in the shot - but it's probably just a similar vessel.
20. The Heroes of the Sequel Trilogy on the Falcon
The next shot is surely meant to be from an iconic scene, showing all the heroes of the Sequel Trilogy - Rey, Finn, Poe, and Chewbacca - on the Millennium Falcon. The placement is intended to signify that they're about to participate in the space battle as they lead the Resistance fleet, but that may just be misdirection. A sinister voice-over from Palpatine suggests that their coming together is according to his plan - just the kind of pronouncement the Emperor is famous for.
19. A Mysterious Explosion - Has A World Just Died?
The Star Wars 9 trailer shows a mysterious explosion. No context is provided, so it's impossible to say what has just been destroyed, but it seems to be an important scene. It's easy to miss, but at the side there are the distinctive lights of an Imperial Star Destroyer. Palpatine's fleet of ISDs is confirmed to use Death Star technology, with each Star Destroyer carrying some sort of additional gun-port on the bottom. It could be that they've just opened fire - and perhaps even destroyed an entire world.
18. A New Skiff Navigates The Waters Around The Death Star
The Star Wars 9 trailer moves to a shot of a new water-skiff navigating the choppy seas around the Death Star debris. Given the amount of wreckage, it's likely this is situated on Endor, and that the Resistance has had to acquire a specific vessel that can get through the stormy sea. It's possible this isn't the Endor viewers know and love from Return of the Jedi; the chunks of Death Star wreckage would probably have kicked up vast clouds of dust into the atmosphere when they made planetfall, turning the Forest Moon into a far more inhospitable location. That explains the storms.
17. Babu Frik, The Hacker
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will introduce viewers to Babu Frik, a droidsmith who's evidently tasked with conducting an unknown operation on Threepio. He's said to be able to "reprogram or modify any droid," and the Star Wars 9 trailer shows him practicing his skill. He appears to be attempting to hack into Threepio's neural circuitry, while the rest of the team watch in concern.
16. A Look at D0, The New Star Wars Droid
Star Wars 9 will also introduce a new droid friend for BB-8, who's been called D-0. According to the latest edition of Ultimate Star Wars, D-0 is a small, rolling droid who's been cobbled together from spare parts in a droidsmith's workshop. He's skittish and impressionable, and quickly becomes fixated on BB-8, attempting to copy his new friend. It's safe to assume that D-0 was created by Babu Frik.
15. C-3P0 Sacrifices Himself - And Becomes Red-Eyed
The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer teases C-3PO's death. As noted, Babu is shown attempting to hack into Threepio's matrix. That may explain why previous trailers have shown Threepio with red eyes, traditionally associated with a hacked droid in the Star Wars galaxy. Disturbingly, Threepio doesn't expect to survive whatever is going on here. It's unclear whether his concerns are well-grounded, or whether he's being his usual melodramatic self; he does, however, sound surprisingly calm and resigned to his fate.
14. A Battle Droid In The Background
It's easy to miss, but in the background in Babu Frik's workshop there's an old Battle Droid, of the type used by the Separatists during the Clone Wars. It's unlikely this is anything more than an Easter egg, given it would make sense for a droidsmith to have pieces of various different droids littered around his place of work. Still, it's always great to see a subtle detail that ties the trilogy of trilogies together.
13. The Resistance Storm A First Order Base
Poe and Finn lead a charge through a First Order base, blasting down Stormtroopers as they go. As with most of the trailer, there's absolutely no context, meaning it's impossible to say why they've raided this particular First Order facility. This shot may be connected to later scenes that show the Resistance riding the Star Wars equivalent of horses in a Star Destroyer.
12. The Star Wars Theme At Last
John Williams' epic theme finally arrives in the Sequel Trilogy, and the music is sure to delight old-school Star Wars viewers. The use of this theme serves as a promise that this story will draw the trilogy of trilogies together, and that the Sequels are as much a part of the Star Wars Saga as the Prequels or the Original Trilogy.
11. Leia and Rey Share A Hug
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker isn't just the end of the Skywalker Saga; it's also an opportunity for fans to bid a heartfelt farewell to the late, great Carrie Fisher. Lucasfilm has used previously-unseen footage from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi to incorporate General Leia Organa into this story, and at the Star Wars Celebration Episode IX panel they stressed just how much of a presence Fisher has in the film. One shot in particular keeps being used in Star Wars 9 trailers, showing Rey giving Leia an embrace, tears streaking down her face. Whatever this may mean in the story, to viewers it's a beautiful moment that acknowledges the Star Wars franchise's debt to Carrie Fisher.
10. The Pasaana Skiff Chase
The First Order appear to trace the Resistance to Pasaana, and previous trailers have already teased a thrilling skiff chase in which the First Order pursue Finn, Poe, Chewie, and BB8 across the desert-world. This latest trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker sees BB8 trigger some sort of counter-attack, which looks like a yellow paint bomb. Finn whoops with delight, indicating the counter-strike has been successful.
9. Lando At The Falcon
Lando is definitely getting the chance to fly the Millennium Falcon once again. The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer repeats a shot of Lando piloting the Falcon, clearly delighted at the experience. This takes on a new depth of meaning after Solo: A Star Wars Story, which revealed that the consciousness of Lando's old droid L3-37 was uploaded into the Falcon after her body was destroyed. There was a strong bond between Lando and L3, and it's fitting to see them reunited in a sense.
8. The Resistance Target The Emperor's New Superweapons
This is Star Wars, of course, which means there'll be a lot of starfighter action. In one key shot, a Y-wing is shown targeting the cannon now afixed to the bottom of one of Palpatine's Star Destroyers. While these ISDs won't have the traditional Death Star weakness - the exhaust port - they'll be vulnerable to traditional strategies deployed against capital ships. Their firepower can also be lessened significantly by taking down the guns, and there's even the potential that a successful strike could cause an explosion in the Kyber reactor.
7. Horses Stampede On The Star Destroyer
The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer moves on to an unexpected shot of the Resistance racing through a Star Destroyer on their equivalent of horses. No context is provided for this scene, so it's impossible to say what's going on, but it's so very true to George Lucas' original vision for Star Wars. Lucas was strongly influenced by the Vietnam War, where a scrappy bunch of freedom fighters held their own against the military might of the United States. There was a complete mismatch in terms of technology and firepower, and yet the US was unable to triumph. This image speaks of the same kind of power dynamic - and of the same unstoppable spirit. Notice that Finn appears to be leading the charge.
6. Rey and Kylo Ren in the Throne Room
The plot of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is largely a mystery, but for some reason it involves both Rey and Kylo Ren heading to the wreckage of the Death Star on Endor. This shot shows that they reach the heart of the Death Star, the Emperor's Throne Room itself. It's fascinating to see that the Throne Room is still recognizable, and testimony to the quality of the Empire's craftsmanship. It's possible the two have traveled here in order to seek out answers to the mystery of the Emperor's return.
5. Finn On The Death Star Debris
The Star Wars 9 trailer shows Finn racing across the Death Star debris, shouting to someone - probably Rey. This is the first time the trailers have confirmed that Rey and Kylo Ren aren't the only ones who manage to get on to the Death Star, and Finn is mysteriously absent from all the other shots.
4. Rey and Kylo Ren Destroy Vader's Mask
In another surprising twist, Rey and Kylo Ren are shown working together, attacking what appears to be a plinth carrying Darth Vader's helmet. It's difficult to say why destroying the mask has become a priority for both Force-wielders, but the way it shatters apart is decidedly unnatural. That suggests the mask has been imbued with some dark side power; it could even potentially be key to the Emperor's plans. What's more, Rey can be seen holding a dagger of some sort in her left hand.
3. A Massive Imperial Armada
There's another shot of Palpatine's secret fleet. Notice that these are old-school Imperial Star Destroyers, albeit equipped with the Death Star cannons on their hulls. At this stage, it's unclear quite how Palpatine has managed to secrete away resources on this scale, unnoticed by the First Order, the New Republic, and the Resistance. The typical Imperial Star Destroyer has a crew of over 37,000 personnel, so Palpatine must have hundreds of thousands of Imperial loyalists on his side.
2. Rey Confronts The Emperor
The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer ends with Rey coming face-to-face with the Emperor. There's been intense speculation over whether the Emperor would return in physical form or as some sort of Sith spirit, but this shot confirms that he does indeed have a body. At the same time, though, the trailer continues to avoid giving a glimpse of Palpatine's face, which could be important. Note that Rey is stood on some sort of ice shelf, which again suggests that the ice planet is Palpatine's hidden base. Disturbingly, Rey stands alone; her friends aren't with her, and neither is Kylo Ren.
1. "The Force Will Be With You - Always"
The Star Wars 9 trailer comes to an emotional close, with the voices of Luke and Leia promising Rey that the Force will be with her always. In the context of Star Wars 9's marketing, though, these words reinforce the sense of closure that the trailers are attempting to bring. While Star Wars will continue, The Rise of Skywalker is the end of the main Saga, and the franchise will be evolving into a new form.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019