Everything We Learned From The New 'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' Photos [Updated]

Update: The original source claiming that Kylo Ren was fighting the Knights of Ren and that Allegiant General Pryde is Hux's father has changed.Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is the end of an era. But fittingly, the ninth and final film in the Skywalker Saga is bringing things full circle. While new characters, both allies and enemies, will be introduced in the highly anticipated new Star Wars film directed by J.J. AbramsEpisode 9 will have more than a few familiar elements that offer some kind of poetic symmetry.

An extensive report from Vanity Fair reveals a slew of new Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker photos along with new details about new characters played by Keri Russell, Richard E. Grant, Naomi Ackie, as well as a few familiar faces that will be back. And just like it all started, we're ending it on a desert planet.

Keri Russell is the Roguish Zorri Bliss

Vanity Fair offers our first look at Keri Russell's masked rogue, Zorri Bliss, a mysterious scoundrel who frequents the Thieves' Quarter of Kihimi. As shot by legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz, who shot all the photos in the Vanity Fair cover story, Zorri Bliss strikes an imposing figure in a dark purple suit with a familiar silhouette not unlike that of the famous bounty hunter Boba Fett. But she's not without a few glamorous additions: the brass detailing on the belt and around the collar break up the long stretches of deep aubergine.

Hardcore Star Wars fans may also notice the similarity between Russell's costume, which the actress has praised as "the coolest costume," and the one worn by Attack of the Clones bounty hunter Zam Wesell. But what exactly is Zorri Bliss' deal? Vanity Fair was vague on details, but wrote:

Her mask helps Bliss disguise both her identity and motives—a useful feature for anyone who might want to blend in at a shady cantina or the Thieves' Quarter of Kijimi. Ever since the balance of power in the galaxy was thrown off by the invasion of the First Order and the destruction of the New Republic, it has become very profitable for scoundrels to avoid picking a side during the escalating war between Leia's Resistance and Kylo Ren's forces.

Richard E. Grant Plays Allegiant General Pryde

Domnhall Gleeson's General Hux used to be the only snobby British officer with high cheekbones strutting around the First Order. But now he's joined by Richard E. GrantVanity Fair revealed Grant's new character, Allegiant General Pryde, in a photo with Hux and Pryde, who aren't confirmed to share the same last family lineage (for now). However, the pair do seem to share similar sleek, black sartorial tastes and dour expressions. Annie Leibovitz's portrait of the two show them on the deck of Kylo Ren's destroyer, which confirms Pryde is working for the First Order.

The Knights of Ren are Confirmed to Be Back

Update: It's vague whether the people that Kylo Ren are fighting are the Knights of Ren. Vanity Fair has retracted its confirmation.

Vanity Fair confirms that not only are the Knights of Ren confirmed to be back, but they are the ones that "Kylo is mowing down in The Rise of Skywalker trailer." A behind-the-scenes photo of them on set with Abrams and stunt coordinator Eunice Huthart shows the Knights of Ren ready for a fight on the desert planet of Pasaana, though against who is the big question. Introduced in The Force Awakens as the elite fearsome enforcers of Kylo Ren's will, they disappeared from The Last Jedi, and now seem to be an obstacle to the new leader of the First Order. Could this be a hint at Kylo's redemption?

Rey and Kylo Will Clash a Third Time

Rey and Kylo's two prior clashes have provided some of the most breathtaking fights of the new Star Wars trilogy, and they'll be closing out the trifecta with a third lightsaber clash that the Vanity Fair cover story promises will unveil how Rey and Kylo Ren's "Force-connection will turn out to run even deeper than we thought." Leibovitz's stunning portrait of their third lightsaber clash shows Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley in a stormy confrontation, standing atop some sort of rocky platform as they're battered by rain and water. It should be noted that Leibovitz's photos often have little to do with how the actual film turns out, so don't count on this being an accurate representation of Rey and Kylo's actual fight.

The New Desert Planet of Pasaana

Keeping up the tradition of introducing a new desert planet, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker introduces the desert planet of Pasaana "on the edge of the galaxy." The production shot the Pasaana scenes in Jordan's legendary Wadi Rum valley, which the cast and crew gushed about in their appearance at Star Wars Celebration. Pasaana is populated by a new alien race known as the Aki-Aki and a breed of horse-like creatures called orbaks, the latter of which we see John Boyega's Finn riding alongside new ally Jannah (Naomi Ackie). In a photo of the two of them on orbak-back, they lead a charge against the mechanized forces of the First Order. "It's extremely surreal to be in it," Ackie told Vanity Fair, "and see how it works from the inside."

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the "snow-dusted" Kijimi, which houses the shadowy Thieves' Quarter, where we first meet Russell's Zorri Bliss.

Luke Skywalker Will Be Back — But How?

Luke Skywalker has long been rumored to appear in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, despite his heroic demise at the end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. But a new photo of Mark Hamill standing in front of a fiery blaze next to R2-D2, clad in the same cloak he wore in Last Jedi, confirms that he will appear in some form. What form that will be — Force ghost, memory, etc. — is still unknown. And while speculation is rampant about who the "rise" refers to in The Rise of Skywalker, it's unlikely that this means Luke will rise from the dead. But hey it's a cool photo, so let the fan theories begin!

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in theaters on December 20, 2019. Watch the behind-the-scenes video of the Vanity Fair photoshoot below.