It’s the beginning of the end — and “The Rise of Skywalker.” Yup, that’s the subtitle of “Star Wars: Episode IX,” which was revealed Friday at Star Wars Celebration 2019, along with an eye-popping teaser trailer that features an unexpected return.
The teaser focuses mostly on, as it has been with the modern trilogy, Rey (Daisy Ridley). The clip kicks off with her activating her lightsaber and backflipping onto an aircraft that’s chasing her. We get a montage of shots of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac), BB-8, Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams — in his first franchise appearance since 1983’s “Return of the Jedi”) and General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). Unused footage of Fisher, who died in December 2016, from “The Force Awakens” (2015) and “The Last Jedi” (2017) was used to integrate her into the final film of the Skywalker saga. Between that and the dazzling action sequences, expect another Oscar nomination for visual effects.
And this is the final chapter for the Skywalkers, no matter how many spin-offs and side projects Disney makes to milk this brand. “The saga comes to an end,” a title card reads.
Be sure to listen carefully at the end. That menacing laugh belongs to Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), the sinister Sith who seemingly died in “Return of the Jedi.” McDiarmid made a surprise appearance at Friday’s event to tease his return.
New cast members include Keri Russell, Dominic Monaghan and Matt Smith.
Directed by J.J. Abrams, who helmed “The Force Awakens,” “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” hits theaters Dec. 20.