'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' Cast Tease Plot Details, Palpatine, And More

Disney's 2019 D23 Expo has proven to be a goldmine of information for Star Wars fans. Not only did we get treated to a teaser jam-packed with new footage from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, director J.J. Abrams and his cast were all there to tease new plot details from the upcoming film. Star Daisy Ridley was especially chatty, revealing a few Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker plot details about the return of a big villain, and the possible introduction of a new one.

The Trio is Sticking Together

In an interview with Variety, J.J. Abrams confirmed what stars like John Boyega have been hinting for months: We'll finally get a whole movie of the new trio together. Star Wars: The Force Awakens saw Boyega's Finn parting ways with Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) shortly after they meet, only to run into Daisy Ridley's Rey soon after. Rey and Poe didn't even meet until the final scene of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. But that's all going to change with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. This new trio is finally going to act like the trio they were introduced as, Abrams said:

"Star Wars has always been a story of good versus evil, it's always been a story about fighting an oppressive regime. And my favorite one about this one is that it's about a group of friends going on this adventure. You get to see them on this crazy, thrilling adventure together and not split up, so I'm really excited about that.

Emperor Palpatine Plays an "Instrumental Role"

When Emperor Palpatine's instantly recognizable cackle appeared at the end of the first Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer, the internet was rife with speculation. How much of a part would the Emperor truly play? Was this just a tease of a ghostly vision or a suggestion of the return of the Skywalker Saga's Big Bad? According to Ridley, it's the latter. In an interview with CinemaBlend, Ridley revealed that the Emperor plays an "instrumental" part to the plot of the film. But there's more to his return than simply Luke Skywalker's declaration in the trailer that "No one's ever really gone":

He's the biggest baddie in Star Wars history. Now that we've done the story, I'm like, it couldn't have happened any other way. It had to be that. But he's very instrumental to the plot of the film. It's not just like he appears again; it's all explained.

Rose actress Kelly Marie Tran added that the Emperor's storyline has a tie to her favorite Star Wars theme – "redemption." This is an interesting twist on what we've known of the Emperor to date. There is no indication that he would ever seek redemption, much less deserve it. Or could Tran be hinting at someone else getting redemption through the return of the Emperor? We'll have to wait and see.

Daisy Ridley Was Just as Surprised as You Were By the Dark Rey Reveal

But let's get to the biggest reveal of the D23 teaser: Dark Rey. It's all up in the air whether this evil version of Rey is simply a vision or from a dream sequence, or whether Rey has truly gone to the Dark Side. But one thing's for certain: Ridley is just as surprised by this reveal as you are:

I went to Bad Robot yesterday and I was like, 'Hey, can I see the teaser'? They were like, 'Yeah, yeah.' No warning. And I watch, and went [inhales deeply] 'Oh my god, are you really putting that in there?' That was my reaction. And then watching it today, it was weird because I felt nervous with it coming because I knew it was going to be. And then hearing the audience reaction was amazing.

To be fair, Ridley knew about the reveal itself (she had to put on that black coat and wield that awesome double-bladed lightsaber for at least one shot), but it was more the inclusion of the reveal in the teaser considering how close to the chest Abrams and Lucasfilm play things with Star Wars. But don't expect Ridley to speak more on what this reveal means. When probed about the reveal by IGN, Ridley only said vaguely, "I think it should hopefully show people that we did a big old journey. And we explored some things."

Boyega was a little more playful with IGN when speaking about the reveal, calling the red lightsaber "a glowstick thing, Rey's going to a rave," but he did caution that "I don't think the fans should really get into all that."

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens December 20, 2019.