It has been roughly 1 year and 4 months since Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the last film in the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, hit theaters. In all that time we have yet to see so much as a single frame from the next and final film in the trilogy, J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode IX. Fortunately, that long wait will soon be at an end.
Star Wars Celebration begins this week in Chicago, and with a Star Wars: Episode IX panel featuring director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy scheduled for Friday, April 12, the prevailing wisdom and expectation is that is when we will finally get the trailer for the film. A trailer for a new Star Wars film would be eagerly anticipated regardless, but this one has even more riding on it.
This trailer, which is for the final movie in the Skywalker Saga, comes after the bumpy patch of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story. Those factors mean that this trailer has to deliver. So what do we want from the Star Wars: Episode IX trailer to make it worth the wait? Here are a few things we’d like to see.
This one is obvious and pretty much a given (how weird would it be if we got a trailer but no full title?) but that doesn’t diminish the fact that we want to know what this movie is called. This will be the latest we have found out the title of any movie in the Sequel Trilogy and while the title doesn’t matter insofar as the quality of the film is concerned, on a macro level, it is important. This is the end of the Skywalker Saga and an over 40-year journey, the concluding chapter title is more than a point of speculation. It should have weight and meaning and sound cool.
In our long wait for the title reveal, there have been a ton of rumored and potential contenders thrown out there, from Son of Darkness and The New Order to Balance of the Force and Skywalkers. We’ll soon find out if any of these guesses were right. I expect that this title reveal will be done as it was for Avengers 4, with the title being revealed at the end of the trailer. If it’s a banger, it will be a heck of a way to close out the first trailer for Star Wars: Episode IX and send fans into a frenzy.
The Knights Of Ren
Glimpsed in the first full trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Rey’s lightsaber vision in the film) and talked about in both Episode VII and Episode VIII, we still have yet to see the enigmatic Knights of Ren in person in the sequel trilogy. Rumors have indicated that Kylo Ren’s coterie of force-wielders will finally show up in Star Wars: Episode IX and if that’s true, they need to be in the trailer.
At this point, the villains are just Supreme Leader Kylo Ren, General Hux, and a bunch of faceless First Order soldiers. The Star Wars: Episode IX trailer could up the stakes and the threat level in a major way by giving us a group of badass darksiders showcasing some serious skills and powers or doing something menacing. J.J. Abrams introduced the idea of the Knights of Ren all the way back in 2015’s The Force Awakens, its time to finally deliver and that should happen starting with the Episode IX trailer.
The Original Trilogy Characters
In the official Star Wars: Episode IX casting announcement, Lucasfilm let us know that Mark Hamill would be reprising his role as Luke Skywalker, Billy Dee Williams would be returning to the franchise as Lando Calrissian, and the late Carrie Fisher would appear as Leia Organa thanks to unused footage from the previous two films. Although the focus of this film will likely be on the new characters like Rey, Finn, and Kylo, the trailer for Episode IX, the end of the Skywalker Saga, should honor its history by showing these Original Trilogy characters.
Lucasfilm made the bold decision to reveal that Luke Skywalker would be back (in some form) in Episode IX, choosing not to keep it a secret despite his death in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. With Luke returning being public knowledge, we should see him in the trailer. With regards to Leia, without knowing how much footage they had to work with, I wouldn’t want too much revealed ahead of time, but just a shot or two would be enough. And Donald Glover’s Lando stole the show in the Solo trailers, and just seeing Billy Dee Williams as Lando again in the Episode IX trailer would be great.
There are few inventions in fiction as cool and beloved as the lightsaber, and seeing an awesome lightsaber ignite or some signature lightsaber combat is a great way to have people freaking out over a trailer. Just think back to the trailer for Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace when you saw Darth Maul whip out a double-bladed lightsaber or in the teaser for The Force Awakens when Kylo Ren pulled his jagged crossguard lightsaber. The trailer for Episode IX should have a similar ‘Holy Shit!’ lightsaber moment.
I know Rey’s/Anakin’s blue saber is/was broken and I’m not saying we need to see a new kind of lightsaber in the trailer, but it feels like we do need to see some kind of lightsaber moment that surprises you and has you pumping your fist. The Last Jedi didn’t feature any lightsaber on lightsaber battles but I hope and expect J.J. Abrams to give us plenty of that in this film. If we could see some of that in the trailer it would help get everyone back on board with this saga and hyped about this film.
The New Characters
Star Wars: Episode IX may be the last film in this trilogy and the Skywalker Saga at large, but there are still new faces that will be introduced. Richard E. Grant, Keri Russell, Dominic Monaghan, and Naomi Ackie are all joining the cast in roles that are yet to be officially revealed. There is also still something of an open question whether or not Matt Smith is in this movie. Exciting new characters interacting with our faves and doing cool things is a good way to build the hype for the film and hopefully the Episode IX trailer does just that by showing them.
That said, there is a caveat to this wish list item; if any of the new characters or their roles in the film are meant to be a surprise, like Yoda in The Last Jedi, I’m fine with omitting them from the trailer, as I don’t think any of us want major plot beats spoiled. But we should be able to see at least some of these new characters in the trailer, if only enough to whet our appetites and give us something to speculate over until December.
An Idea Of The Story
Generally speaking, I’m a huge advocate of trailers that go light on plot details and heavy on establishing the tone of a film, and while that latter part is also important, I think that the first trailer for Star Wars: Episode IX needs to really give us an idea of what the story is. This isn’t a teaser that’s arriving a year before the film releases, this is a trailer that’s giving us our first anything from this film a mere eight months before its release.
Unlike The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi didn’t leave us with a cliffhanger or a ton of huge questions in need of answering, so the story feels wide open with where it could go in Episode IX. This trailer needs to give us some idea of where it is going, what’s at stake in this film and what the characters will be up to. Obviously it will be a battle between The First Order and the Resistance, but what’s the current dynamic between those forces after the time jump? What are the characters up to and what’s going on with Kylo and Rey? Is there a new enemy or a quest that must be completed? I feel like tone alone isn’t enough; we need at least a few plot details (nothing too spoilery, of course).
These are just a few of the things that we’d like to see in the Star Wars: Episode IX trailer. The wait alone for this trailer has built up a ton of anticipation and that means expectations are sky high. This is the last time we'll ever see the first trailer from a Skywalker Saga film for the first time. That's momentous and the trailer should convey that.
Whatever it includes or doesn’t, this trailer has a lot of work to do to get everyone excited and on board for a new Star Wars film after the past two entries haven’t been universally beloved. The Episode IX trailer can do that by delivering on some of these elements, feeling epic and maybe even including a surprise or two.