Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

This morning, the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker footage that played exclusively for The D23 Expo crowd on Saturday was released online. Taking a cue from the marketing campaign for Avengers: Endgame, half of the new sneak peek is a montage of footage from the previous films in the series before we get to see just under a minute of new footage from the final movie in the Skywalker saga. But damn, that new footage packs a punch, and we’re about to take a deep dive into it.

Find out what details there are to glean in our Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker trailer breakdown below.

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

After the montage of throwback shots to the eight preceding films, we get this new shot of our heroes standing in the middle of a desert. Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewbacca, and C-3PO are all together after finally being put in the same ship at the end of The Last Jedi. You can even see that ship, the trusty Millennium Falcon, in the background on the right side behind that rock.

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

Then we get a glimpse at what our heroes are looking at. It’s an entire desert civilization of thousands, and it appears to go on back towards those rock formations. We’re not sure who these people are, but they’re about to help our heroes in an action sequence that was teased in the first trailer for The Rise of Skywalker, where our heroes get chased by some Stormtroopers with jetpacks, which we officially got a look at from The D23 Expo.

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

What a lovely, bittersweet shot of Carrie Fisher back as General Leia. Confirming what J.J. Abrams said about bringing Fisher back in this movie after her passing, this appears to be a recycled shot from footage we’ve never seen before. The actress hasn’t been digitally altered in any way, though surely her surroundings have been altered somewhat. Interestingly enough, the jungle environment makes us think she might be present for another shot later in this trailer.

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

The Resistance fleet comes out of hyperspace, seemingly straight into a planet’s atmosphere. Either that or space has somehow gotten very hazy. The new X-wings from this trilogy are present, as are some A-wings and Y-wings. There’s also a ship that looks like a Tantive IV cruiser in the fleet, but we’re not sure what that ship is on the far right. Perhaps it’s the ship that we see Finn and Jannah inside of in a later shot. But the best thing about this is the return of B-wings, the coolest ship from the original trilogy.

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

But it looks like the Resistance fleet will have its hands full, because there’s a plethora of Star Destroyers seen in this shot and an alternate angle reveals dozens of them in formation as lightning strikes around them. What the hell is this? Those aren’t First Order Star Destroyers. Those are Imperial Star Destroyers. Is this perhaps a fleet that never got utilized? Could this have been meant to continue the Empire’s rule over the galaxy but the Emperor was never able to follow through? Or could this be part of some kind of contingency plan that is finally taking shape long after his death?

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

Finn and Jannah are in a ship that doesn’t seem to be the Millennium Falcon. There’s some kind of battle going on outside too because you can see a B-win fly by in the background and a green laser blast goes past it. We’re pretty sure this is whatever other ship was among the Resistance fleet, but were not sure who it belongs to. Is there a chance it’s Lando Calrissian’s new ship? He doesn’t appear to be flying it in the background, so we’re not sure.

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

First C-3PO got a red arm in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and now he has menacing red eyes. Did C-3PO get turned into a dark side droid? Or did he get ahold of some killer death sticks? Actually, we’re wondering if C-3PO has long had some kind of battle mode that no one was aware of and he ends up getting his time to shine while holding onto Rey’s staff and Chewbacca’s bowcaster, something that has been hinted at in leaked promotional art.

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

Good lord, is that the laser blast of another super weapon? What they hell did the First Order make this time? Maybe it’s just another piece of miniaturized Death Star technology like the cannon from the end of The Last Jedi. Either way, it seems to be blasting the hell out of whatever planet that is.

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

Rey’s powers have continued to evolve since The Last Jedi, and here she does something that fans have wanted to see Jedi do for a long time. Rey throws a lightsaber through a tree trunk and calls it back to her hand with the Force. She’s not throwing it at a threat though, because if you look carefully in the background, you’ll see a red and gray remote training droid. And since this is a jungle setting, we’re wondering if Leia is imparting some Force wisdom on Rey now that Luke is gone.

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

Interestingly enough, when Rey catches the lightsaber, she has some sort of red ribbon or bandage tied around her hand. Did she get cut somehow? Maybe she burned her hand while practicing this move? We’re not really sure. But it has to be risky trying a move like that.

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

Kylo Ren walks away from his TIE Silencer in the middle of a dark desert as a storm rages in the background. This feels like it shares the same ambiance as the shot of the Star Destroyers. Kylo ignites his lightsaber as he gets closer to the camera. Is there a threat off-screen or is he igniting it because he doesn’t know what’s out there. I wonder if this is Kylo tracking down hidden remnants of the Empire that never got used. Again, it would explain the seemingly dormant fleet of Star Destroyers.

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

Rey and Kylo Ren face-off one more time, echoing the shot from the recently released teaser poster. They’re fighting on debris of the destroyed Death Star that crashed down on this planet. Waves splash around them, making for one of the most unique fights we’ve seen in the Star Wars saga. As this shot cuts to black, we hear voiceover from the Emperor complete, saying, “Your journey nears its end.”

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

That’s when we get this shot of Rey with a two-bladed lightsaber and a cloak reminiscent of a Sith Lord. Then suddenly, the handle of the lightsaber flips down to turn the weapon into a double-bladed lightsaber like Darth Maul’s. This is the shot that is blowing everyone’s mind and making people think that Rey turns to the dark side, but this feels like classic misdirection from Mystery Box master J.J. Abrams. He’s not going to give away something like that in the trailer if it’s real. He just wants to stir the pot.

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

Our best guess is that this is some kind of vision of what Rey could become if she chose to follow the dark side. This is either something put in her mind by the Emperor, who may still be alive or back as a dark side Force ghost or something like that. It could also be a vision Rey has, like the one Luke Skywalker had in The Empire Strikes Back. There’s something about this shot that feels like a dream sequence, including the look of Rey’s skin, which has a ghostly glow to it. Plus, that setting feels eerily similar to when she had that vision of multiple versions of herself. So yeah, don’t expect this to be real, even if it’s the coolest shot of the trailer.

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That’s all for our Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer breakdown. Surely there will be plenty more details to be gleaned from the movie, especially with Triple Force Friday just around the corner on October 4. Stay tuned.

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