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Rey looking at a Throne

Like a Phantom Menace, Ian McDiarmid’s Emperor Sheev Palpatine, also known as Darth Sidious, has loomed over December’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ever since his return was revealed in the first teaser trailer. We notably and surely with good reason have yet to see the Emperor, but being the politician that he is, he sure has had a lot to say in the various trailers and TV spots. That continues with a new action-packed trailer for The Rise of Skywalker, as Palpatine gets another line teasing the climactic nature of this film. Check it out:

Old Sheev is always one for theatrics. Like a hype-man or promoter drumming up interest in a big fight, the Sith Lord sets the stage for the conflict in this film, saying “Let the final battle begin.” It is both exciting and ominous, laying bare the vital stakes in this fight between good and evil. And unlike Gandalf standing on the balcony of Minas Tirith and saying with trepidation and lament, “We come to it at last, the great battle of our time,” this is a battle Palpatine is looking forward to.

As we’ve heard from the Emperor in the other footage we’ve seen, this is a battle long in the making, a carefully planned and anticipated final move to achieve complete, total and lasting victory. It’s this quality to the Emperor that makes it easy to understand why J.J. Abrams felt that his return was not only warranted, but essential. While we get more dialogue from Palpatine in this trailer, we still don’t see him, not even a silhouette or hint of him like in the final trailer.

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This is to be expected at this point, and it’s highly unlikely that we will see Palpatine before the film opens. We don’t yet know the manner of his return and what form he will take and any glimpse of him could spoil too much. Fortunately, while we don’t see Darth Sidious, we do see plenty of action in this new TV spot titled “Adventure.”

Of particular note is the shot over which Palpatine’s line about the final battle plays. We see Rey and Kylo Ren facing off in some sort of Imperial looking room aboard a spaceship, with their lightsabers drawn. This is the same room we see them in in the first trailer where together they smash what may or may not be Darth Vader’s helmet.

We see that shot again at the end of this trailer, which is interesting because we also see Rey attacking Kylo in this room, while Sidious talks about the final battle. That means that in the same room and presumably the same scene where they appear to be working together to destroy what may be a Dark Side artifact, they will be battling first. So something happens in that room to change their dynamic.

The natural conclusion would be that the helmet is controlling Kylo in some way, and Rey helps him to break its hold over him before they destroy it together. Frankly the pairing of the two shots feels like it’s potentially very spoilery.

Also in this trailer, we see plenty of massive battles, both in space and on different planets-- leaving little doubt that this final battle will be of an epic nature suiting the stature of this franchise and its story. Other highlights include Rey training in the forest, but with her staff, not a lightsaber; could a double-bladed Light Side saber be in her future?

The trailer also shows Poe stepping into more of a leadership role with a speech about not surrendering and how this final battle will be the Resistance’s last stand.

That final battle is not too far away now. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker blasts into theaters on December 20. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to see what’s headed your way next year.