Everything We Know So Far About 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'

Sorting through the gossip of the galaxy far, far away.

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There’s a lot riding on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

The ninth (and supposedly final) episode of the saga will be following up the disappointing Solo: A Star Wars Story and the continually controversial The Last Jedi (though we were big fans). And it will finally put to rest what's known as The Skywalker Saga, the story of that famous force-sensitive family that's defined Star Wars cinema for decades.

But the movie doesn't arrive in theaters until December 20, 2019, which means we’ve got plenty of time for more rumors and theories before we finally find out what’s what. Here's what we know so far.

[Editor's note: This story was originally published September 17th, 2018. It's been updated after the announcement of the film's first trailer.]

The Title

Announced on April 12, 2019, the title for J.J. Abrams' film and ninth installment of The Skywalker Saga is fittingly called The Rise of Skywalker. It's a curious title considering the most famous of the Skywalkers met his end near the conclusion of The Last Jedi.

Much like speculation surrounding the last film's title, it's uncertain who Skywalker could be referring to. Kylo Ren is technically a Skywalker though his last name is actually Solo, and of course there's Leia, though with Carrie Fisher's death it's unlikely the character will play a pivotal role.

Then there's Rey. Director Rian Johnson explored Rey's parentage in The Last Jedi, simply stating she was was a nobody, pawned off for some drinking money by unfitting parents. Although rumors suggest Abrams might retcon that bit of information in the new film, will mess with Rey's established backstory. Instead, early online Twitter rumors have considered or that Skywalker the word 'Jedi' in some new galactic order

After all, the Jedi were supposed to end, right?

Whatever the case, the title serves a bit of mystery for now, which is, of course, what makes it such a great title.

The Cast

Previous cast members, including Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Lupita Nyong’o, Kelly Mary Marie Tran, and Adam Driver, are all set to return. We see a few new looks for the character in the trailer, but it appears that they're all there, and it looks like a new droid will be joining the cast as well—. Many veteran characters will be returning as well—some more surprising than others.

Anthony Daniels, the actor behind our favorite golden droid, will make once again bring C-3P0 to life. Billy Dee Williams, the actor behind Lando Calrissian, is also back. Lando returned to screen in 2018's Solo: A Star Wars Story with Donald Glover playing a younger character. Glover that when he asked Williams' advice on the character, Williams simply said: "just be charming." So Rise of Skywalker will usher in the return of the suavest swindler in the galaxy.

Another surprise return is Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker, who died in The Last Jedi, as his voice can be heard throughout the first teaser trailer's short runtime. Of course, Star Wars has an ironclad reason for bringing back dead characters (aka Force Ghosts), and considering Luke's last line in The Last Jedi ("see you around, kid"), it was always unlikely that Luke Skywalker would be written off completely.

Luke also won't be the only Skywalker making a comeback. General Leia Organa will also appear in Risedespite Carrie Fisher’s death in December 2016. The film will incorporate footage shot for The Force Awakens that didn’t make it into the final cut. As Abrams :

“We desperately loved Carrie Fisher. Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.”

Abrams has also recruited pals Dominic Monaghan (Lost) and Keri Russell (Felicity) to join the fray, and other newcomers include Matt Smith, , and Richard E. Grant, though they don't make an appearance in the trailer.

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Matt Smith as the eleventh Doctor.
BBC

Bringing Doctor Who into the mix has fans in a frenzy Will he be joining the dark side? Possibly another Knight of Ren or a new vital leader of The Resistance? Some are hoping he'll play a baddie working with Domhnall Gleeson’s General Hux or Adam Driver's Kylo Ren.

On May 22, news from Vanity Fair's cover story confirmed that Russell would be playing Zorri Bliss, described as a rogue character in the Thieves' Quarter on the planet Kijimi.

We've got the scoop on Keri Russell's rad new character Zorri Bliss. Look! At! This! Costume!

— Joanna Robinson (@jowrotethis)

As for Swazi-English actor Richard Grant, he'd make a great candidate for The First Order (since the Empire was previously stacked with British generals), and that Grant would be playing General Pryde.

OH HELLO DID YOU SAY MATCHING EVIL CHEEKBONES?

— Joanna Robinson (@jowrotethis)

Other tidbits from Vanity Fair's feature is a , surveying (presumably) the ashes of his former Jedi academy, an , and frustratingly no mention of Palpatine, a surprise appearance from The Rise of Skywalker's teaser trailer.

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Disney

Another new face is a new character played by Naomi Ackie (Lady Macbeth). While we know what she'll look like (above), we're not sure who she's playing, but the running theory is she'll play Calrissian's daughter.

On the more far-fetched end of the spectrum, that Ewan McGregor, who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequel trilogy, would secretly film scenes for Rise, though the rumor has yet to be confirmed and has been quiet as of late.

Some details—from the Star Wars universe and our universe—would suggest a comeback could be possible. Obi-Wan played a major role in both the prequel and original trilogy and has so far remained restricted to his voice appearing (both as Ewan McGregor and Alec Guinness) in a very brief flashback in The Force Awakens, which was also directed by J. J. Abrams. Also, Solo: A Star Wars Story reintroduced one of Kenobi's major adversaries from the prequels, and an Obi-Wan Kenobi standalone film has been .

In pure Marvel-esque fashion, Disney appears to be laying the groundwork for Kenobi-centric stories in the future.

But perhaps the most surprising character return from the teaser trailer is Emperor Palpatine, cackling at the trailer's end. At Celebration Chicago, where they announced the trailer, Ian McDiarmid appeared on stage after his reveal, suggesting he will be very much involved in The Rise of Skywalker.

Remember, this is a Sith emperor who studied and promised Anakin that together they could find out a way to cheat death. Considering that sinister résumé, it's not unlikely that he found a workaround to his seemingly fatal plunge into the second Death Star's core.

The Plot

Obviously this information has been kept strictly under wraps. Abrams wrote the script with Chris Terrio after the original director, Colin Trevorrow, left the project over creative differences in September 2017. Few details were provided on Trevorrow's exit, but the announcement suspiciously coincided with the colossal failure of his film The Book of Henry.

One Reddit user named FOOSLS an early storyboard where the events of the film take place five years after The Last Jedi and Kylo Ren rules the galaxy, with Rey, Leia, and Poe trying to stop The First Order. They supposedly travel to the Unknown Regions and get help from a character described as a “female alien prodigy.” All the while, Ren is on a witch hunt trying to stop anyone using The Force. However, all this could be central to the now-abandoned Trevorrow script or completely fake altogether.

Other rumors point out that Snoke supposedly trained another apprentice who could make an appearance in IX. According to , Star Wars Insider magazine let a detail slip in its The Last Jedi issue that Snoke "has trained Kylo Ren and at least one other apprentice." Who this apprentice could be and who could be playing him/her (Matt Smith? Keri Russell?) remains a complete mystery.

The trailer doesn't give much away, only that our heroes are back and some new and familiar faces are returning. Abrams send during a Rise of the Skywalker panel that "some time has passed" since the events of the The Last Jedi though we don't know how much.The crew does seem to travel to the wreck of the Death Star though it's not immediately apparent if it's the first or the second one. It also appears that at the very least.

also reported that an anonymous source familiar with Rise's production says Yoda will also make an appearance after the Jedi master's startling appearance in The Last Jedi.

Another major piece of the plot—one that was also thoroughly explored in The Last Jedi—will be the growing relationship between Rey and Kylo Ren. striking similarities between Rey and Kylo's fighting styles in The Last Jedi and it's possible that there's much more to learn about their connection.

But the piece of information that absolutely isn't up for debate is that Star Wars: Rise of the Skywalker will be , confirmed by a Lucasfilm press release. This film spells the end of a story that's crossed three generations and took more than 40 years to see to completion, growing into one of the most influential pieces of science fiction in cinema history.

No matter what Rise entails, it's been a great journey.

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