Breaking Down the new Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Footage
So we’ve all watched the new Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker teaser a few dozen times. Excellent. Now it’s time to break down the new footage. While everyone is justifiably talking about that wild last shot of Dark Rey in the Sith-like robes brandishing the double-bladed red lightsaber, there’s more to parse than just Rey potentially breaking bad.
The new teaser was revealed at Disney’s D23 Expo this past weekend. It begins with a sequence of some of the most iconic shots from the previous installments of the epic Skywalker saga. That means we get iconic moments from all eight films, beginning with 1977’s Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and through Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi. Once we’ve been properly reminded of all that’s come before, the new footage begins.
The Planet of Pasaana
We begin on Pasaana, where Rey (Ridley), Finn (Boyega), Poe (Isaac), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), and Chewbacca (Joona Suotamo) are looking out at a vast, bustling market. While it was understandable if you mistook the desert planet for one of the previous arid locations we’ve come to know—Tattooine or Jakku—this is a new planet in the Skywalker saga. The question this shot raises is what are our heroes looking for there? Considering the last time we left them, the Resistance had been nearly decapitated and were scrambling to stay alive, you have to assume Pasaana holds something important for the whole crew to show up there.
The late, great Carrie Fisher’s General Organa makes an appearance in the teaser. We’ve known for quite a while that unused shots from Fisher’s performance in The Force Awakens would be used to give her character a proper role in the final installment. Although she doesn’t say anything, she looks completely recovered from the events of The Last Jedi and appears happy to see someone. General Organa is in a forest setting, and you’ll note that later on in the teaser, Rey is training with her lightsaber in a similar setting. Perhaps General Organa is stepping in for Luke as a mentor? We know, thanks to her use of the Force in The Last Jedi, that Leia has the skills.
We’re also fairly confident that Rey and General Organa will have some meaningful time on screen together considering we saw this embrace in the film’s first trailer:
We got a glimpse of Resistance X-wings and the good, old Millenium Falcon in the new footage, and for a moment all seemed well in the world. But again, the Resistance suffered devastating loses in The Last Jedi, and the numbers by the end of the film were firmly on The First Order’s side. This fact is hammered home in a shot of the First Order’s starships filling the sky. Although Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is the First Order’s alpha now, General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and Allegiant General Pryde (newcomer Richard E. Grant) are around to help lead the First Order’s massive fleet.
C-3P0’s Red Eyes
Aside from Dark Rey, the shot of C-3P0’s red eyes has caused quite the stir. The galaxy’s most nervous droid seems to be restrained, and his red eyes (a first for him) have led many to believe he’s now in the employ of the First Order. Or, at a minimum, in the process of being hacked. C-3P0’s potent artificial brain likely holds plenty of secrets the First Order would love to have.
The money shot, folks. The one everyone has been talking about. Everything about Rey in this final shot seems to be designed to make us think she broke bad. The black robe, complete with the very Sith-like hood, the double-beamed red lightsaber, and the fact that said lightsaber can fold up or snap out, which brings back memories of Darth Maul—Dark Rey sure looks like a villain. This is very likely a classic J.J. Abrams misdirection, but it’s a delicious one nonetheless. It could be a dream sequence. It could be an actual moment in the film where Rey relents, giving up morality for the raw power of the Dark Side. It would be a completely wild left turn if it was Rey who went dark by the end of this film, and also highly unlikely. Regardless, the shot of Dark Rey speaks to the endless possibilities of where The Rise of Skywalker might go. One has to believe, however, that it’ll end with our heroine firmly on the right side of intergalactic history.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20, 2019.
For more from Disney’s D23 Expo, check out a fresh batch of photos and The Mandalorian‘s first trailer, and the sublimely odd WandaVision poster.
Featured image: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Poster. Courtesy Walt Disney Studios