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The ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Trailer Exit Survey

The first teaser for the ‘Episode IX’ dropped Friday, and our staff has some reactions

Lucasfilm/Ringer illustration

The first teaser trailer for the final film of the Skywalker saga is finally here. We have only two minutes of The Rise of Skywalker to obsess over, but it’s already beginning to destroy The Ringer from the inside—as we argue about what its title means, whether Rey is a secret Skywalker, and how we feel about the Emperor. For those thoughts and more, check out our Rise of Skywalker exit survey.


1. What is your tweet-length review of the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer?

Ben Lindbergh: I’m long past the point when a Star Wars trailer could have any bearing on my level of excitement for a Star Wars movie, let alone my decision to see one. This tease didn’t decrease the unflagging hype I feel by default.

Micah Peters:

Michael Baumann: Exactly what I have feared since the moment I heard J.J. Abrams was back in as director.

Miles Surrey: Inject some blue milk right into my veins.

Chris Almeida: Yup, looks and sounds like a Star Wars trailer.

Alison Herman: Not to be dramatic, but I would literally give my life for Rey.

Shaker Samman: I WILL GIVE MY LIFE FOR THIS MOVIE.

2. What was the best moment of the trailer?

Baumann: If they’re going to bring back all the old people, at least they’re bringing back Lando too.

Lindbergh: I liked Leia’s theme as the sonic centerpiece. Not only a touching tribute to Carrie Fisher, but probably the best of the saga’s oft-recycled musical motifs.

Herman: DID YOU SEE THE AIR ON THAT JUMP?!?!

Surrey: The embrace between Leia and Rey. At the Star Wars Celebration panel Friday, Abrams said that, despite Carrie Fisher’s death, Leia will have a significant role in the new movie. (Probably more in terms of Important Moments than actual screen time, but still.) I’m not emotionally prepared: One hug is already attacking my tear ducts.

Samman: The opening sequence, when Rey sees the imperial fighter speeding toward her, turns, breaks into a dead sprint, AND THEN BACKFLIPS WITH HER SABER LIT. IS SHE GOING TO SLICE THE DAMN THING IN HALF?

Peters: Yoda walked so Obi-Wan could fly so Luke could lift an X-Wing out of a bog so Rey could do parkour over it.

Almeida: The Palpatine laugh!!!!

3. Which moment has you extremely concerned?

Lindbergh: I’m the guy who really liked Solo, so nothing here has me very concerned. That said, I’m slightly uneasy about the tension between competing sentiments in Luke’s voice-over. Can “This is your fight” coexist peacefully with “We’ll always be with you” and “No one’s ever really gone”? From a story perspective, that’s the central tension of this trilogy as a whole, and I trust Abrams to navigate it a little less than I did Rian Johnson. Abrams’s reliance on the original trilogy worked fine for The Force Awakens, but the third act should stand on its own, which may be difficult with Leia, Luke, Lando, Chewie, the droids, and Palpatine still prominent parts of the picture. Abrams says the movie is “about the new generation.” Fingers crossed that that’s clear in the finished film.

Baumann: Half of this trailer is Rey doing the Kobe Bryant–jumps-a-car stunt, and the other half is about how they’re going to bring back a bunch of old people. Tagging all that with “Every Generation Has a Legend” when the purpose of the trailer is to showcase legends from two generations ago is extremely troubling.

Samman: The moment when she backflips into the spaceship because like, if she misses she’s for sure dead. Degree of difficulty seems very high there.

Surrey: That they’re going to backtrack Rey’s backstory and confirm that she’s a Skywalker.

4. Which character did you not see enough of?

Baumann: Poe. If you squint, a couple of times he’s up on a hill but if you blink you’d miss him. It’s troubling, not only because he’s Leia’s heir apparent, but because he provides 80 percent of the swagger in these movies.

Surrey: Two straight minutes of Poe Dameron still wouldn’t be nearly enough Poe Dameron.

Lindbergh: The one played by Keri Russell (who’s rumored to be a bounty hunter).

Herman: There can never be enough Kylo Ren. He’s the only kind of toxic masculinity I want more of in my life.

Samman: Rey. I don’t care if the entire opening sequence was her in a solo shot. If Avengers: Endgame can go 182 minutes long, Disney can give me two hours of Rey meandering through the world like the series premiere of The Last Man on Earth.

Peters: I could only sort of see where Finn was at in his hair journey. Are those micro twists?

5. Based on the trailer, do you think J.J. Abrams is sticking to the “Rey’s parents are nobody” plotline of The Last Jedi, or have changes been made?

Lindbergh: It would be a real power move for Abrams to yank this trilogy right back to how he initially envisioned it unfolding before Johnson redirected it. It would also be a big mistake, not only because of how disjointed it would make the movies seem in sequence, but also because Johnson’s decision to strip Rey of any special lineage was the right one. I’m banking on the titular “Skywalker” being an honorific Rey (or even Kylo) adopts as a tribute to Luke and Leia.

Almeida: I’m not sure why everybody took the parentage reveal in TLJ at face value. Since when has our guy Kylo been a reliable source?

Herman: I mean, she’s clearly Luke’s spiritual successor, so I don’t think her literal genealogy really matters.

Surrey: Seeing that this movie is called The Rise of Skywalker, unfortunately, yes. J.J. is hitting us with a lens flare to the heart.

Samman: I think so? Maybe it’s the rise of Skywalker’s legacy? His apprentice? If Rey turns out to be a secret Skywalker, there will be hell to pay.

Peters: Honestly, I hope he does stick with it—it’d be a shame to backtrack the franchise’s best and most interesting twist.

Baumann: Changes have been made. There is no limit to my faith in Abrams to saturate his films with barely coherent fan service.

6. IS THE EMPEROR REALLY BACK? HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT IT?

Baumann: Awful. Episode VIII’s break with the past was the smartest narrative choice Star Wars has made in my lifetime, and apparently we’re not only going to roll all that back, we’re going to bend over backward to resurrect the ninth-most important character from the original trilogy for reasons passing understanding.

Peters: I don’t care that he was definitely, completely dead the last I heard of it—I got excited when I heard the cackle. I’m ready and willing to accept that the Emperor was just falling continuously for 36 years, or that he himself was Darth Plagueis the Wise this whole time.

Samman: Palpatine sort of back? Maybe we’ll get Force ghost Palpatine? I don’t think we’ve had a Force ghost Sith to date, so that would be cool. I hesitate to say he’s alive, considering Anakin threw him out of the Death Star and then it exploded.

Lindbergh: There’s a long and sordid history of Palpatine clones in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. I’m hoping this is not that. As far as we know, Sith don’t do Force ghosts, so the smart money is on Palpatine’s spirit imbuing some object or area. As long as he’s not hanging in the Death Star ruins in physical form, I’m on board with more McDiarmid.

Herman: No one’s ever really gone, and no conflict from the original trilogy is ever really resolved!!!!

Almeida: [Fingertips crackle with lightning.]

Surrey: Call me when they bring back the real king of the prequels: General “Throat Lozenge” Grievous.

7. How will this saga end?

Lindbergh: With me in tears and getting back into line for a second screening.

Peters: With any luck, some outrageous battle royal in the bowels of the hollowed-out Death Star.

Baumann: I dunno, I guess Han Solo comes back from beyond the grave and quips Mace Windu back to death or some other dumb-ass shit.

Herman: With Rey and Kylo walking into the sunset. Don’t @ me.

Samman: Rey’s going to slice through like 40 Stormtroopers and all the Knights of Ren and then just take Kylo to school. My man ended the last movie pretty shook, and Rey is entering playoff mode.

Surrey: Nobody will be sitting on the Iron Throne.