It was a huge weekend in Anaheim, as Walt Disney Studios unveiled all of the programming that will be coming to theaters and its new streaming service, Disney+, in years to come. But the biggest splash had to be the Star Wars panel, which showed off footage from the upcoming J.J. Abrams sequel, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Fans who wouldn't attend D23 Expo initially were bummed that the footage didn't make its way online. Well, wait no longer.
As if it wasn’t clear already, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is the conclusion to a story that has been 40 years in the making. It’s the end of what Lucasfilm is calling The Skywalker Saga, a story that stretches through the Prequel Trilogy, through the Original trilogy (that started with Star Wars) and into the new movies directed by Abrams and Rian Johnson.
And this sizzle reel, which was shown to the D23 Expo audience, banks heavily on that legacy. It traces footage all the way through the saga, stopping on every key character before it stops on the adventure shown in The Rise of Skywalker.
And man, does it show some fascinating stuff from the concluding chapter of the Skywalker Saga. Especially this sure-to-be-fake misdirection shot of Daisy Ridley’s heroic Rey apparently turning to the Dark Side by wearing an ominous cloak and wielding a red lightsaber.
There’s no way this isn’t misdirect, right? J.J. Abrams specializes in the Mystery Box aspect of marketing, showing you what you think you see, when it’s really not that. Also, there’s no way that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker tips that major hand in a trailer when we’re still four months away from the movie being screened for fans. This shot is meant to give people a talking point, and hot damn, is it ever working.
What else was shown from the anticipated Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker? You have to forgive us. We kind of laser-focused on Rey’s alleged heel turn. But there looks to be an epic battle between Rey and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) on a roaring river. We get a loving shot of General Leia (Carrie Fisher), and remain intrigued about how this new movie will use the late actress’s likeness. And there’s a lot of action shots with ships, promising aerial battles galore as the saga draws to a conclusion.
Emotions will be high come December, as Star Wars fans prepare to say goodbye to a storyline they have been following the bulk of their lives. We might see one more trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker before the movie hits. But we also might not, and after watching this reel, I’m totally OK with it. How about you? Vote in our poll below.