Fans are clamoring for the release of a new Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker trailer, with speculation running rampant in recent weeks that it may or may not be debuting during Monday Night Football on ABC (as happened with new trailers for previous Star Wars movies). But with just two months to go before this concluding chapter in the Star Wars franchise hits theaters, I have to ask: do we really need another trailer?
The first Star Wars 9 trailer was revealed this past April during Star Wars Celebration, at which point the title and debut images were also revealed. The thrilling trailer teased a team-up story between Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and ended with a shocking reveal: Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) is back!
This summer, Star Wars has pretty much gone radio silent as director J.J. Abrams finishes the film, and with the movie’s release merely weeks away, some very vocal fans desperately want to see another trailer. But why? Isn’t the best viewing experience going in as cold as possible? Do we really want to know more about the film at this point, with so little time left to go?
The truth is, once The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters, we can never go back. You can only ever see this movie for the first time once. After that, every viewing experience will be colored by knowing what happens next. That doesn’t mean the subsequent viewing experiences will be worse, necessarily, but your first viewing of Rise of Skywalker is a singular, unique experience. Why would you want to further affect that experience by seeing even more footage, adding even more moments for you to mentally anticipate as the story unfolds?
And indeed this story is crucial. Abrams has teased that Rise of Skywalker—which he co-wrote with Chris Terrio—was constructed as the conclusion not just to this sequel trilogy that began with The Force Awakens, but to the entire Skywalker Saga that began with 1977’s A New Hope. This is an ending in the truest sense of the word, which means we’re likely in for a few surprises, a couple of callbacks, and a rousing grand finale.
I’ve had the privilege of attending a number of film festivals as part of my job, and during that time I’ve been able to see films like Boyhood and Arrival and Whiplash and The Witch completely cold, knowing only the bare-minimum about them before seeing them for the first time. It’s wonderful to allow a film to unfold having no idea what’s going to happen next, and I wish more people had that opportunity. I know full well a solution here is to just not watch the trailer, but if you’re someone who chooses to be/is forced to be online for business or pleasure, once the new Star Wars trailer hits it’ll be near impossible to avoid the barrage of memes and photos and gifs coming your way.
From a marketing perspective, Disney has its reasons. The Mouse House has perfected the “all-out assault” style of marketing, especially in the final month before release, and given the insane box office heights their films normally reach, it’s understandable why they haven’t changed course. But I just don’t understand why fans want to see even more footage from the film, completely out of context, when we’re less than 60 days away from being able to see the whole thing.
Once The Rise of Skywalker hits, it’ll be the end of an era. Lucasfilm is taking a breather on Star Wars movies for the next couple of years, and for all intents and purposes the story of the Skywalker lineage will be at an end after Star Wars 9 hits theaters. Let us savor that anticipation a bit more. Let us sit in this moment a little longer. And let us head to the theater opening night, ready for any and all surprises Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has in store for us.