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Rey in Episode IX

There is arguably no film franchise quite as beloved as Star Wars. George Lucas' colorful galaxy has delighted moviegoers for decades, resulting in generations of hardcore fans. And with Disney acquiring Lucasfilm, the past few years have come with new releases, expanding the space opera through spinoffs and main installments. The latter have considerably higher stakes, and J.J. Abrams will end the current trilogy and overall Skywalker Saga with his mysterious Episode IX.

The movie might be coming this December, but Star Wars has been keeping its cards close to the chest regarding the film's contents. Furthermore, we haven't even been privy to its title or any footage. But that changed with this week's annual Star Wars Celebration, which debuted the Episode IX's official title (and first teaser). It is called The Rise Of Skywalker.

Does anyone else have chills? Tons of potential titles have been thrown around in the year and chance since The Last Jedi arrived in theaters to subvert fan expectations. Given the high stakes Episode IX, it seemed like just about any potential title could come to fruition-- especially as Disney and Lucasfilm kept their secrets from the general public.

But the most popular theorized titles for Episode IX did not include The Rise of Skywalker, giving the epic space opera to get yet another surprise over on the rabid fanbase. Considering Luke's fate in The Last Jedi, no one really expected him to be name checked in the next movie. Luke seemingly perished after Force Projecting to Crait for the final battle. While we expected him to return as a Force Ghost in The Rise of Skywalker, the title may tease an even meatier role for the franchise hero.

Of course, The Rise of Skywalker might not only reference Luke. The movie will end the Skywalker Saga forever, which (timeline wise) started when we met a young Anakin in Phantom Menace. The first trailer teased a strong connection to the franchise's past, as it ended on The Emperor's iconic laugh. So it doesn't seem out of question that both Anakin, Luke, Leia, and perhaps even more characters are being referenced in the film's recently revealed title.

You can check out the first teaser for Star War: The Rise of Skywalker below. Prepare for goosebumps.

Overall, it looks like Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be going new places for the current trilogy, and has an ambitious scope as the finale in a nine-film narrative. The trailer and title were debuted in the final moments of the Episode IX panel at Star Wars Celebration, and the cast and crew revealed plenty juicy bits of information. J.J. Abrams teased a time jump since the events of The Last Jedi, allowing the characters to get both their bearings and some new duds for the battle to come. Furthermore, it looks like The Rise of Skywalker will keep the current cast largely together, rather than separating their stories across various locations like the last two installments.

As for Luke's role, your guess is as good as mine. But clearly Mark Hamill's character and his lineage will have a part of play in the highly anticipated blockbuster. The Rise of Skywalker will end the story we've been following for decades, so the pressure is on.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will arrive in theaters on December 20th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

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