Disney released the trailer for the final film of the Star Wars saga, “The Rise of Skywalker,” on Oct. 21, giving plenty for both casual fans and aficionados of all ages to peruse over the next two months. It’s almost an understatement to say that this trailer is packed, two minutes crammed with all the staples that define the Star Wars franchise. Action and nostalgia are something this film promises in full.
If it wasn’t clear already, Rey (Daisy Ridley) will be the core of this film. She might be the last of the Jedi, and going off the trailer, she seems in for a whirlwind of an experience. She appears to be embarking on the solitary adventures that define the Jedi experience. We see her running through a forest that evokes Endor (will the Ewoks return?), exploring a cavernous building, and climbing aboard something like a partially submerged spaceship. She appears to be gearing up for one climactic fight (more on that later). And Rey reminds us we still don’t know much about her: “People keep telling me they know me. But no one does.”
But what’s Star Wars without companions, and Rey has many in the Resistance, new and old. There’s Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Issac), Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), and BB-8 – the now-familiar faces (and droid) of the new generation. There are the beloved faces, voices, and droids of lore, too: Chewbacca, R2-D2, and Princess Leia (the late Carrie Fisher), for starters, and even Lando Carrisian (Billy Dee Williams) returns after a nearly four-decade absence. At the end of the trailer, we hear Luke (Mark Hamill) say, “The force will be with you.”
“Always,” Leia adds.
C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) will likely drive fans into a panic with these words: “I’m taking one last look, sir, at my friends.”
And lest we forget that Star Wars is a fine-tuned money-making machine, a fuzzy little creature to warm the hearts and headline the Christmas wish lists of children worldwide is here again, too. At first, I foolishly thought I had gotten through the trailer with no cuddly creature in sight. But upon further examination, I realized the franchise that introduced us to Ewoks and Porgs had struck again. A diminutive, big-eyed creature sat perched on C-3PO’s shoulders, fixing the droid’s wires (Babu Frik, as he’s apparently known, already has a “Wookieepedia” page).
A heroine, of course, needs her villain, and it looks like we have two. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) returns to be Rey’s foil. Everything appears set for one last fight between the two — apparently in the ruins of the old Death Star, no less, where Luke and Darth Vader battled in “Return of the Jedi.” Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) is back, too, sinister and foreboding as always. “Long I have waited. And now, your coming together is your undoing,” he warns.
This trailer – to borrow Donald Rumsfeld’s immortal words – leaves us with many “known unknowns,” and invariably many “unknown unknowns” as well. There’s only so much to glean from two minutes of probably misleadingly cut film clips. So with John Williams’s grand, sentimental reworking of his famous theme and plenty of visual and verbal teasers, one is left waiting and expectant for the final reveal.