Disney has been feeling itself all week: The stars of Avengers: Endgame have been making the late-night rounds, the company revealed all the delicious (if poorly named) contents of its forthcoming streaming service Disney+—and, oh right, a new Star Wars movie is coming out, and a teaser trailer dropped Friday at the Star Wars Celebration panel in Chicago.
It’s felt like we haven’t had a reason to celebrate Star Wars for a while—no offense, Solo—making this new footage even more enticing than usual. (Which is already a high bar to clear because we’re talking about goddamn Star Wars.) Let’s not waste another minute and break down the four biggest takeaways from the teaser:
We Have a Title
Episode IX wasn’t just keeping its footage close to the vest before Friday; we didn’t even know what this film was gonna be called. Well, now we know it’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Also: In lieu of The Force Awakens’ yellow font, and The Last Jedi’s Sith-ass red, we’re working with a blue scheme. (Yes, this is a franchise where you can infer things from the color of the damn font.)
And just as people were debating the merits of The Last Jedi—and whether the word “Jedi” was singular or plural—the title of this movie is just asking for armchair analysis from bloggers. Because you have to wonder: Just which Skywalker is rising here?
Luke, while undoubtedly a presence in this new movie, can’t exactly lay claim to franchise dominance from beyond the grave. He’s gonna Force ghost. Leia, meanwhile, isn’t a logical candidate because of Carrie Fisher’s death; while she will be featured in the new movie, she probably won’t take front and center. And that leaves, who, exactly? Rey.
Yes, The Last Jedi told us that Rey’s parentage didn’t have anything to do with legendary Jedi or Sith: According to Kylo Ren, her parents were just normal people. She wasn’t part of some great legacy. The message in Rian Johnson’s film was compelling: Anybody can become the hero of the story, even an orphaned girl whose parents sold her. (While Kylo Ren probably wouldn’t score well on PolitiFact, his lying in this context would seem a bit unnecessary.)
This title—well, it’s only a title, and it doesn’t change things just yet, and we’re just prognosticating. (Welcome to blogging.) But perhaps J.J. Abrams, back in the director’s seat, is steering the franchise back into the direction of The Force Awakens, and bookending these movies with the rise of a new Skywalker for a new generation. It would make the trilogy slightly awkward as a whole—and I’m not sure I prefer the Rey Is a Skywalker approach to Johnson’s Anybody Can Become a Hero ethos—but it seems like we’re trending in a Skywalker-centric direction. Hopefully, the movie can meet in the middle: Rey is a symbolic Skywalker in what she means to the galaxy.
The Emperor Is Back?!
“No one’s ever really gone,” Luke Skywalker intones in a voice-over at the end of the trailer. If the footage ended right there, it would’ve opened a Pandora’s box of fan theories: Is Luke coming back as a tangible presence? Is Anakin somehow alive, too, reviving Hayden Christensen’s career post-sad-pizza-movie? Did Supreme Leader Snoke reattach his pieces after getting sashimi’d by his apprentice?
Shockingly, we then hear a familiar cackle—one that bears a striking resemblance to the Sith Gawd himself, Emperor Palpatine. If that wasn’t enough of a hint for viewers, the actor Ian McDiarmid, who portrayed the Emperor in the prequels, actually showed up at the Star Wars Celebration panel once the trailer played and waved to the crowd.
So yeah, we can pretty much confirm: Emperor back. Does this mean he’s back as a fully formed villain, with some kind of accord with Kylo Ren—or is he merely coming back as a sinister type of Force Ghost? It’s obviously hard to say, but with all the new trilogy’s fan service nodding to characters of old, I’d have never expected Palpatine 2.0. But I’m about it. By all means: Course your Force lightning throughout my entire being, mister Emperor.
Kylo Ren Is Still Insecure
Whatever you thought of Snoke, he knew that Kylo Ren’s style choice of wearing a helmet that modulated his voice—making him look like a Darth Vader cosplayer at Comic-Con—was ludicrous. Kylo Ren’s insecure, but we don’t know what for: He was always turning heads when he walked around those Star Destroyer doors. He didn’t need no wannabe Vader helmet to cover up; being the way that he is, that’s enough.
Alas, Kylo’s Snoke-induced temper tantrum in The Last Jedi destroyed his precious helmet, but it looks like our mopey king has decided to stitch his prized possession back together.
This is arguably anti-fan service? Instead of removing more items of clothing, like when Kylo revealed his aesthetically confusing rectangular chest in The Last Jedi, he may be putting on more coverings. Kylo Ren, I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed. Get some of this rage out on your Tumblr, and start acting like a grown-up.
Carrie Fisher Is Going to Break Me
And I suspect her presence in The Rise of Skywalker will do the same for you. We’ll always miss you, princess.