At long last, we finally got an official glimpse at Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the upcoming ninth film in the decades-long Skywalker saga. Rey is doing force flips! Leia gives great hugs! Kylo Ren is a beast on the battlefield! It’s all very exciting, teeing up the end of one of film’s most iconic and long-running sagas. So naturally, it was the headliner at Star Wars Celebration today, where Lucasfilm trotted out their stars to an adoring Chicago crowd.
Along with the trailer debut, Star Wars Celebration also brought an entire hour-long panel dedicated entirely to Star Wars: Episode IX, filling the stage with Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy, Director J.J. Abrams, and a whole heap of cast members, including Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, and franchise newcomer Naomi Ackie, who may or may not be playing Lando’s daughter. (More on that in a bit)
Naturally, they kept plot and character details to a minimum — this is Star Wars after all, and the king of Mystery Box storytelling, no less — but Abrams did confirm some exciting details. The Rise of Skywalker will feature a time jump from The Last Jedi and in classic Star Wars fashion, the final installment in the trilogy will unite its ensemble for a an intergalactic adventure.
“The movie doesn’t pick up immediately after the last film; some time has gone by,” Abrams explained. “This is an adventure that the group goes on together. It’s a story that, I think, one of the great things about the movie, getting work on it, was the dynamic between the characters. That’s the thing I’m most excited for you to see.”
Rumors of a time jump have been floating around for a while, and it’s easy to see why — no matter what side of the fence you fall on (personally I adore the film), The Last Jedi was one of the most divisive entries in the Star Wars canon, and giving some distance in the plot allows Abrams to distance his adventure enough without retconning the whole thing. Or maybe he will! There are plenty of theories on what exactly Rise of the Skywalker means, and we do see Kylo Ren reassembling his Darth-esque mask. Either way, it’s a firm creative and business move that plainly says, this is a new adventure.
Back to Jannah, the new character played by Ackie, it indeed sounds like she might be yet another character tied into the legacy of the original trilogy. She didn’t come right out and say she’s Lando’s daughter, but she didn’t deny it either. “Listen, Lando is a very charming man,” Ackie said coyly, “so he could have children all over the universe. That’s what I’m saying,” The actress continued, “All I can say is the original group are going on this epic adventure and I’m so excited about where Jannah crosses paths with them.”
The panel also introduced a new, peculiar looking droid by the name of D-0, who looks to be up to some hijinks with BB-8 and teased the arrival of Klaud, a new creature, who will appear alongside Greg Grunberg’s Snap Wexley in the film. “He is a friend of the Resistance, and someone Chewie brought in,” Abrams said.
Also returning are Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, and Billie Lourd, as well as a posthumous performance from Carrie Fisher created from old The Force Awakens footage that ended up on the cutting room. Richard E. Grant, Keri Russell, Matt Smith, and Dominic Monaghan as new additions. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in theaters on December 20th.
- For more on the breaking Rise of Skywalker news, check out the links below:
- First ‘Star Wars 9’ Trailer Teases the End of the New Trilogy
- Watch the ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ Panel Live from Star Wars Celebration
- ‘Star Wars’ Movies Will Take a “Hiatus” After ‘Episode IX’, Says Bob Iger
- Star Wars 9’ Title Explained: What Does “The Rise of Skywalker” Mean?