STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER Director J.J. Abrams On The Emperor's Return, The Title, And More

STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER Director J.J. Abrams On The Emperor's Return, The Title, And More

The first trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker confirmed that The Emperor will return, and now J.J. Abrams talks in vague terms about that, the movie's title, Rey's Force abilities, and more...

At Star Wars Celebration, Emperor Palpatine actor Ian McDiarmid walked out on stage to confirm that the iconic villain will make his return in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Amazingly, that wasn't revealed before the trailer landed and fans have been speculating ever since about what this might mean for the final chapter in the long-running Skywalker Saga. 

"It's amazing that he got to walk out here today and no one knew," director J.J. Abrams reflected in a recent interview with Empire Magazine. "The reaction that people had to him only made me grateful that all [those] who could have told and Tweeted and posted didn't. It was as much fun to watch as it was to work with him."

Well, that confirms that McDiarmid will appear in the movie (some fans believe Lucasfilm is trolling them), but what's the meaning behind that title? "In coming up with the title we just looked at the film and asked ourselves, 'What are we saying?'" he explains. "It feels very much like the title of this film."

A frustratingly vague, and understandably secretive response - but Abrams did go on to drop some hints about what we should expect from Rey in The Rise of Skywalker after The Last Jedi made it clear that she's more powerful than we imagined. "There are some extraordinary things that the character and Daisy [Ridley] did in this movie. There are some new things you'll see."

Are you excited to see how Abrams wraps up this story with Episode IX?

Hit the "View List" for a recap of spoilers from a recent leak
of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker character images!

New Characters

There are two noteworthy new additions to the franchise highlighted here: Naomi Ackie's Jannah and who we believe to be Keri Russell as Zorii. Their placement on the promo poster leads us to assume that they'll be on the side of good, but while Jannah looks like she's probably a Rebel fighter of some sort, Zorii could very easily end up being a Bounty Hunter. 

It's worth noting that we've heard rumours about Jannah being Lando's daughter, but there's nothing here that seems to link them. 

That droid sitting alongside BB-8 is said to be a new comedic sidekick of some sort and that alien next to Finn...well, his or her identity is a mystery for the time being. 

The Knights Of Ren

Talking of new characters, there are six of them flanking Kylo Ren, and you probably don't need us to tell you that these are the Knights of Ren we first saw in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

It's been said in the past that they all have different Sith-like abilities but none of them have a lightsaber from what we can see here, and they're instead wielding pretty ancient looking, physical weapons. The big questions going into this movie are: who are they, and what makes Kylo so special that he's been chosen to lead them?

Common sense says it has something to do with his heritage and Supreme Leader Snoke. 

New Ships

Look closely in the background of the poster and you'll notice some new Resistance starships blasting through space. As expected, both the A-Wings and Y-Wings have returned and there's even what appears to be a red/orange X-Wing. 

On The First Order side of things, we have what seems to be a brand new TIE Fighter but it's possible that it's either an updated version of a past model, or even what Kylo Ren will be piloting into battle. It feels like we're long overdue a space-fight, as the current trilogy has yet to beat the prequels or the original movies in that respect!

The Lightsabers

Kylo Ren's lightsaber still looks relatively unstable, but perhaps not quite as noticeably as in the previous two chapters (that could be a creative decision rather than a story-based one, though).

As for Rey, it seems as if she rebuilt Luke's old blade, but it's hard to say for sure as her hands obviously obscure much of it. Either way, she seems to be sticking with blue so those theories about her wielding a green lightsaber - similar to her former "master" in Return of the Jedi - clearly aren't correct. 

Kylo Ren's Helmet

We've heard rumblings for ages now that Kylo Ren will repair his helmet after smashing it in a fit of rage in The Last Jedi and this artwork confirms that. 

I don't know what sort of glue they have in a Galaxy Far, Far Away, but that sinister red glow looks very cool and seeing as he was the one who introduced the helmet, you can understand why Abrams has found a way to bring it back. I can't wait to see if this distorts his voice in any way (more so than it already does) but it makes for a great visual*.

*and should look particularly cool on action figures and other merchandise!

The Original Three

With no sign of Luke, Han, or Leia (sigh...), we do have the new trilogy's main heroes front and centre, but do their costumes tell us anything about what we should expect from them here? 

Rey is decked out in the colours you would expect to see a hopeful Jedi wearing, while Finn looks like he may have risen up the ranks of the Resistance (which is well-deserved after the lengths the former Stormtrooper was willing to go to the last time we saw him). 

As for Poe, it seems as if he's fully embraced his role as a soldier and his costume more than likely points to him spending a fair bit of time on the battlefield in this adventure. 

Red Stormtroopers

There have been some disagreements about whether these new-look Stormtroopers are red or just bathed in a red light but I can tell you that it is, in fact, the former. We've known for a while now that red versions of their armour would debut here, and while their purpose isn't known quite yet, it's likely that they're some sort of elite kill squad.

Plus, if we're being totally realistic, one of the main reasons they exist is probably to sell toys!

After all, there's only so much money Disney can make out of Stormtroopers and these nifty red numbers will definitely be a must-have for many collectors out there.

What The Hell Is Going On With C-3PO?

I think this is probably the biggest takeaway from the promo poster, right? 

While Chewbacca can be seen at the top of the poster, cast your eyes down and you'll notice C-3PO wearing Chewie's bandolier and wielding his crossbow. Is Lucasfilm trolling us at this point, or what? Well, while this might just be a moment played for laughs, I have a somewhat darker prediction for you.

What if Chewie ends up biting the dust in this movie and Threepio picks up his weapons as a way of paying homage to a fallen friend? It may sound far-fetched, but who would have though Luke and Han would be gone by this point? 

Some Big Omissions

It's important to remember that this poster won't be one we see in movie theaters later this year. Instead, it's the sort of thing you'd find on a poster rack in Walmart or across a t-shirt or other pieces of merchandise like mugs and lunchboxes. 

Despite that, many fans have already pointed out that there are some key characters missing, including R2-D2, General Leia Organa, and Lando Calrissian. This isn't necessarily an indication that they'll have only very minor roles in the movie, but it's easy enough to see why some people are worried - particularly when poor old R2 is the only droid not being given the spotlight. 

It's Subject To Change

A couple of very reliable Star Wars fansites who have been keeping on top of a lot of leaks have pointed out that some of the imagery seen here doesn't match what they've been shown or what they've heard about. Why is that significant? Well, it might not be, but it's worth pointing out that Zorii's helmet is different in the character images to what we see on the poster.

Personally, I would say the poster is the more accurate source of the two as it looks very final, but it's hard to say with these leaks and it could easily be little more than a mockup. 

Either way, we need to prepare ourselves for the fact that what we've seen here could end up changing and that we won't get a "final" look at any of these characters until a little later this year, or possibly even next month when that trailer debuts at Star Wars Celebration...









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