New Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker footage decoded: Does Rey take a turn to the Dark Side?
After a montage celebrating the legacy of Star Wars, particularly the Skywalker saga, the preview takes us to a shot of Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), the new core trio of this trilogy. Behind them are C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), Chewie (Joonas Suotamo), and a vast and familiar open desert backdrop. It's a similar setting to when Rey literally sky walks to attack Kylo Ren's (Adam Driver) careening TIE Silencer in the first trailer. But, here, the scene is much more joyous.
The desert planet is called Pasaana. Not much is known about the terrain and its inhabitants, but we do know it's home to the Aki-Aki, a community that embraces color in their fashions and, apparently, in their celebrations.
A princess and a general
Carrie Fisher may no longer be with us, but her legacy lives on. The same goes for General Leia Organa. Using footage shot of Fisher for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, her character is able to return for The Rise of Skywalker.
“It just felt wrong to say that she wasn’t around, to say that she had gone somewhere, to say that she had passed away in between, it just felt like there was no way to end this story," director J.J. Abrams told EW. "She’s such an integral part of it.”
A last stand
An assemblage of Resistance ships speed through the sky to fight another day. The sun may be going down, giving way to shadow and darkness, but their hope survives.
Lighting crackles against the darkened sky, illuminating the threat quietly waiting to strike: one seriously sinister lineup of Star Destroyer after Star Destroyer. The Resistance suffered serious casualties to their numbers in The Last Jedi as a result of The First Order's lightspeed-tracking tech. Will they be able to overcome this now?
Finn and Jannah
Finn reappears in the footage with Jannah (Naomi Ackie) by his side in a Resistance ship. The sky outside their window is as dark as the Star Destroyer battlefield and the flickering green lights signal a battle raging. In the midst of this chaos, something is able to catch their eye.
Unless the normally wired droid found a way to get baked out of his mind, it would seem someone has been tinkering with his mechanics. Or is this not actually C-3PO? Someone else in the world of Star Wars looks like this protocal droid with red eyes, 0-0-0, a.k.a. Triple Zero, another of Vader's creations.
Starkiller strikes again
After Finn and the Resistance infiltrated Starkiller base and successfully dismantled the weapon of mass destruction in The Force Awakens, it appears the weapon is up and running once again.
Snowcapped mountains sit on either side of the scene. There were snowcapped mountains in the first Rise of Skywalker trailer, too: they covered the backdrop as a ship, ressembling the one that carried off Rey's parents from Jakku when she was a child, speeds towards a development. This may be a stretch, but perhaps these scenes are connected. Is Starkiller base really back to being fully operational, or is this a flashback to explain why Rey's parents were MIA? Food for thought.
Echoing story beats from the original Star Wars trilogy, Rey is training with her lightsaber in the woods with a training droid. Sometimes hurling your lightsaber like a boomerang is more effective than reflecting laser beams.
The big question: Is Leia training Rey, or is the green backdrop from both of their shots just a coincidence?
"Your journey nears its end..."
Kylo Ren and Rey face off once again on a poetic battleground: the remnants of the Death Star. Palpatine's voice (that of Ian McDiarmid) echoes as waves crash and the two spar: "Your journey nears its end..."
The scene that has everyone at D23 talking: Rey, now donning a black cloak, holds a double-sided red lightsaber a la Darth Maul but with more swinging action.
Rey is constantly grappling with the light and dark forces within her, so is this her playing with the Dark Side? More likely, this seems to be a Force vision where she literally has to confront her darker nature, just as Luke (Mark Hamill) once faced himself as Vader while training with Yoda.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters Dec. 20.