A lot of us may not have been able to attend the wild D23 Expo this past weekend, but Disney and Lucasfilm graced their not-at-all-toxic fanbase with a special look at Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, a film that absolutely no one will complain about. After a public poster reveal, this two-minute special look video has about less than a minute of new footage—still, there’s a lot to sift through here.
After nine full seconds of pure darkness, we are treated with a montage of all of the Skywalker saga films, presented in release order (and not Machete Order? Shame, shame). After that, we see the trio of Rey, Finn, and Poe, along with Chewbacca and C-3PO, finding what looks like to be a civilization (or a giant party?) on a mysterious desert planet. The following shot has a brief glimpse of the late Carrie Fisher as General Leia, using unused footage from previous films.
Then we have the money shots of dueling fleets, with the Resistance fleet of X-Wings, Y-Wings, A-Wings, and B-Wings coming out of lightspeed. Assuming the editing isn’t misleading, they’re facing off against a legion of Star Destroyers. Observant Star Wars fans noticed, however, that these are Galactic Empire-era Star Destroyers rather than the more recent First Order Star Destroyers. This could be a secret fleet from the Emperor, a flashback, or maybe some Avengers: Endgame-style time travel, if J.J. Abrams dares to go that route.
Also, I totally lied that that was the money shot, because the real one is what looks like to be a zombiefied C-3PO. Well, probably not a zombie, but that red-eyed 3PO doesn’t look friendly one bit. Earlier art for Episode IX had C-3PO holding a freaking gun, so maybe our neurotic English butler robot will finally get a little hostile after eight films playing the fool.
And then we’re treated towards a couple of seconds of… a giant red beam from the sky hitting the ground. I dread this possibly being another giant super weapon from the big baddies. And then we have Rey showing off some Force-lightsaber moves in a forest, reminding you how much skilled and more determined she is from when we first saw her years ago.
The Emperor grovels some narration about the end of the journey, as a menacing Kylo Ren ignites his lightsaber and faces off against Rey amidst the crashing waves of an ocean, presumably their final face-off. And then, and then, is the actual real money shot of a hooded Rey with a dope-ass lightsaber—double bladed and with a cool nunchaku hinge of sorts.
With Star Wars movies and J.J. Abrams films in particular, nothing is as they seem. I’ve been hoping for either Rey or Kylo Ren to switch sides throughout this trilogy, so I’m curious if this represents a hard committal to that. Other theories point to it being a vision (a la Luke’s vision in the cave in The Empire Strikes Back), either from Kylo Ren or Rey herself. Could she be a descendent of Darth Maul? If so, from the lower half or the upper half?
Knowing how secretive both Disney and Abrams are, I expect practically nothing from the marketing campaign of this movie, so there’s a good chance we won’t get any answers to these questions until the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on December 20. Maybe we’ll see evil Rey and evil 3PO fight each other, or something.