Hot on the heels of announcing the details of the upcoming Disney+ streaming service (which will feature plenty of Star Wars content), Disney and Lucasfilm just released the first trailer for “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”
The unveiling came at the end of a panel at this year’s Star Wars Celebration event in Chicago, where the title of the movie (previously only known as “Star Wars Episode IX”) was finally revealed.
While onstage, director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy talked about filming after the death of Carrie Fisher. They’d already announced that they will not be using CGI to try to bring Fisher’s character Leia Organa back to life — but she will be a part of “The Rise of Skywalker,” using previously unseen footage from “The Force Awakens.”
“The craziest part is how not crazy it feels,” Abrams said. “Princess Leia lives in this film in a way that is kind of mind-blowing to me.”
Abrams and Kennedy were joined by new and old cast members, including Billy Dee Williams, who is (finally!) returning as Lando Calrissian. Williams said it was a “highlight” of his career to be in the new film — and to work with the 52-year-old Abrams, who he described as “a beautiful young man.”
Abrams emphasized the idea that while “The Rise of Skywalker” is the final installment on the Skywalker Saga and the culmination of a nine-film story, it also has to work as its own film, and he said, “This movie, it’s about this new generation and what they’ve inherited, the light and the dark.”
He added that these characters will be facing “the greatest evil,” becoming cagey once interviewer Stephen Colbert asked him who or what that evil is. But the trailer ends with the familiar laugh of Emperor Palpatine (villain of the prequel trilogy and the original films), and as soon as the lights went up, Palpatine actor Ian McDiarmid was onstage, declaring, “Roll it again.”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” will be released on December 20, 2019.