October 21st would have marked the late Carrie Fisher’s 63rd birthday, so there was no better way to celebrate than for Lucasfilm to release the final trailer for The Rise of Skywalker, the epic conclusion to the nine-film Skywalker story. With the audience left worried over the state of the Resistance forces, who narrowly escaped from Kylo Ren after Luke Skywalker sacrificed himself in The Last Jedi, the trailer provides hope for the rebels, alongside the return of a familiar face.
With The Force Awakens’ J.J. Abrams returning to direct the climax of the battle between Jedi and Sith, the final showdown looks not to be between Daisy Ridley’s Rey and Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren, but between the two and Palpatine. The surprise comeback of Ian McDiarmid’s character was first unveiled at the Star Wars Celebration convention, and with Palpatine last seen being thrown into the Death Star’s reactor by Darth Vader, his return will be tricky for Abrams to explain. However, with the disappointingly easy defeat of Snoke in The Last Jedi, it’s no wonder that Lucasfilm brought back the popular villain to complete the Skywalker arc.
While Kylo Ren seemed poised to become the lead villain at the end of Episode VIII, the redemption plotline hinted at in the newest trailer is a twist that frankly fans saw coming- it is , after all, a repeat of his grandfather Anakin Skywalker’s betrayal of the Sith to save his family. His scenes all seem to feature him with Rey, not just fighting one another but working together at crucial points. A video posted on the Star Wars YouTube channel breaking down the trailer confirms that Kylo and Rey are seen here destroying Kylo’s shrine to Darth Vader. Could it be that he returns to the light side in The Rise of Skywalker?
As planned, this film is very much Leia Organa’s- The Force Awakens was for Han Solo, The Last Jedi focussed on Luke Skywalker, and Episode IX was planned to be focussed around Carrie Fisher’s character. It still is. Fisher receives top billing and, thanks to unused footage from episodes VII and VIII, will still have a substantial role in the film. Her voice can be heard at the end of the trailer, saying ‘always’ in response to Luke Skywalker telling Rey ‘the Force will be with you’. Whether the two present themselves to Rey as Force ghosts after both their deaths is yet to be deciphered, with Mark Hamill also receiving high billing despite Luke seemingly dying at the end of The Last Jedi. No matter what, fans can rest easy knowing that at least for their favourite Princess, her story will have a fitting end.
Image Credit: IGN Middle East