On Friday, Disney shocked fans when it dropped a surprised teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, the last film in the Star Wars franchise.
After the highly criticized release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi back in 2017, fans of the Star Wars franchise have been eager to see how Disney handles the story moving forward.
When Disney purchased the Star Wars franchise back in 2012, the company revealed that it would be releasing films nearly every year for the foreseeable future. However, with fans disappointed in the outcome of The Last Jedi, Disney will have to scramble to earn back their trust. Now, as a trailer for Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker hits the internet, fans are eager to see where the story will go.
No Star Wars movie was quite as polarizing as The Last Jedi. It’s 2017 release earned it a whopping $220 million in its opening weekend alone. It was the second highest grossing film of all time, losing only to the 2015 release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. With such a high grossing number, it’s hard to see why the film was so harshly criticized by the obsessive Star Wars fans out there.
Critics praised the film ahead of its release, but audience response showed that The Last Jedi would not earn the stamp of approval from longtime fans of the Star Wars franchise. Thus, the film earned the Star Wars franchise its lowest audience score of any Star Wars movie on Rotten Tomatoes. The film scored a shockingly low 44%, which sits lower than any of the famously terrible prequel movies that were released in the early 2000’s. At least those can be appreciated for how bad they were.
So what happened? Surely it can’t be the acting, as the film stars some of the hottest actors of the day. Longtime fans of the franchise were torn over Disney’s getting involved in the first place, but the higher scores on The Force Awakens prove that it’s not that simple. Fans were mad about The Last Jedi, claiming that it was out of character for show runner Luke Skywalker to have (spoiler alert) died in the way that he did. Ultimately, fans were mad at the writer/director Rian Johnson for failing what they had hoped The Last Jedi would deliver—a cathartic ending for Luke Skywalker.
Every Generation Has a Legend
With such a divisive last film, it’s hard to say where Disney will go with The Rise of Skywalker. The trailer begins as Rey (Daisy Ridley), the implied protege of Luke Skywalker, stands in a desert as she tries to catch her breath. Mark Hamill’s voice can be heard as he says “We’ve passed on all we know. A thousand generations live in you now. But this is your fight” before turning on a light saber that looks suspiciously like Skywalker’s did in previous Star Wars installments.
Suddenly, the trailer shows shots of Adam Driver as Kylo Ren as he repairs his famous helmet. The new generation of Star Wars alludes to replacing the former dichotomy between good and evil with a new generation of bad guys vs. good guys. Albeit, with a twist. The last film left off with Kylo Ren giving a pretty convincing argument to Rey about joining his army that is neither good nor evil, but something in between. The film suggested that there is a little bit of good and bad in all of us, and forces fans to question how that would pan out in the world of the Jedi.
Guess Whose Back?
Throughout the course of the trailer, fans are given glimpses of returning characters, most excitingly, Billy Dee Williams’ Lando Calrissian, alongside the late Carrie Fisher, who had filmed parts of the film prior to her passing, alongside digitally rendered additions.
The trailer ends with a glimpse of C-3P0, BB-8, and a new character, D-O.
[SPOILER ALERT] Finally, audiences get a glimpse of the real villain in the film, as an ominous, cackling laugh (which we can assume belongs to the evil Emperor Palpatine, believed to have perished in Return of the Jedi) finishes the scene.
The trailer was released on Friday at a Star Wars Celebration event held by Disney in Chicago. Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker will see a worldwide release this December, so fans can expect a lot more content between now and then.