It's a connection back to something long ago, and far, far away

By Anthony Breznican
April 12, 2019 at 02:58 PM EDT
Lucasfilm
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Some will recognize it right away, but others will have to think back to something that truly happened “a long time ago.”

In the new trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, there’s a shot of what appears to be General Leia (based on the hair in the upper corner), holding a golden medal.

There’s no mistaking where it’s from. This was one of the honors bestowed on Luke Skywalker and Han Solo (but not Chewie!) at the end of 1977’s original Star Wars.

The only question is, whose is it — Han’s or Luke’s?

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Either way, it’s a heartbreaking moment. Leia is looking back at a moment of joy, a moment of victory, but the two friends who she shared it with are gone. Only the medal remains as a memento.

Another relic of that time comes later. The hulking iris of a demolished Death Star rises like a mechanical mountain ridge from the sea of an alien planet.

But again, the same question: Which one is it — the original battle station taken down by Luke and Han, or the half-finished one blasted to pieces by Landon Calrissian in Return of the Jedi?

The medal is a hint that it’s the former, but there’s an equal chance it’s the latter. We hear the cackle of the Emperor, and the presentation at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago concluded with an appearance by Palpatine actor Ian McDiarmid walking onstage to intone: “Roll it again!” in his Sith voice.

Perhaps Palpatine had some Force relics in his chamber in the second Death Star?

There’s something in the past that needs to be recovered. The only question is what.

Well … it’s not the only question.

But it’s enough to hold fans over for now.

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