5 Things We Learned From The 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' Teaser - Rolling Stone
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5 Things We Learned From The ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Teaser

The new ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ sizzle reel features “Dark Rey,” a potentially evil C-3PO, and J.J. Abrams once again mining the past

(Left to right( Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), BB-8, D-O, Rey (Daisy Ridley), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega) in STAR WARS:  EPISODE IX

C-3PO, Rey (Daisy Ridley),and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) in STAR WARS: EPISODE IX

Lucasfilm Ltd.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is billed as the end of “the story of a generation.” On December 20, the ninth part of the storied franchise will end, but Star Wars is far from dying. Instead, the sci-fi epic is merely moving its center of operation to Disney’s new streaming service. While The Rise of Skywalker will be the end of a story, a show about a not-Boba Fett, a new season of the The Clone Wars, and Ewan McGregor reprising his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi were all at this weekend’s D23. However, the biggest draw at the event was still the next film, and new footage did give audiences a more in-depth look at some of the potential twists J.J. Abrams may deploy in his last foray into the Star Wars universe.

Rey Cosplays as Darth Maul

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Four years ago, J.J. Abrams gave John Boyega a lightsaber. In masterfully cut trailers and strategically placed movie posters, Finn (Boyega) held Luke Skywalker’s iconic blue lightsaber and looked like the Disney-backed trilogy’s Jedi protagonist. But Abrams built his career on subverting expectations, and at the climax of 2015’s The Force Awakens, Rey used the Force and took up the lightsaber when it seemed like all hope was lost. That’s why the image of “Dark Rey” is likely a red herring. At the close of the latest sizzle reel from The Rise of Skywalker, the screen cuts to black as Emperor Palpatine says “your journey nears its end” atop Darth Vader’s iconic breathing. Suddenly, Rey appears in a shrouded hood with a folding, doubled-bladed lightsaber that flips into a Darth Maul-esque staff.

It’s a striking moment, but Luke spent the bulk of The Last Jedi, explaining the hypocrisy of the Jedi Order and the need for true balance. “That Force does not belong to the Jedi,” Luke told Rey. “To say that if the Jedi die, the light dies, is vanity.” The likelihood of Rey making a late-stage turn to the Dark Side — instead of merely experiencing a vision or dream where she sees the specter of her divergent path — is unlikely, considering how many threads The Rise of Skywalker still has to wrap up.

C-3PO Might Be Breaking Bad

J.J. Abrams loves the color red on C-3PO. In The Force Awakens, he gave the golden droid a then-unexplained red arm, later revealed to be a memorial for a fallen comrade. Now C-3PO has foreboding red eyes to match. Evil protocol droids aren’t new to the Star Wars universe. In 2015, Marvel’s Darth Vader comic book introduced a black, murder-obsessed, red-eyed, antithesis to C-3PO called Triple-Zero. There is little that could make C-3PO less annoying after 42 years, but maybe a turn to villainy is all he needs.

Basic Training

At the conclusion of The Last Jedi, Rey was left without a teacher and still in need of training. In the aftermath of Luke’s death, it appears Rey is practicing her skills in the woods with a Marksman-H combat remote, harkening back to her teacher’s brief time with Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope. During the reel, Rey throws her lightsaber at the remote before summoning it back using the force. Let the force assisted training montages begin.

J.J. Abrams Won’t “Let The Past Die”

“Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to,” is the most iconic line of dialogue from the new Star Wars trilogy. Kylo Ren’s emo, but prescient, line was a less-than subtle push by The Last Jedi-director, Rian Johnson, for the almost 50-year franchise to move past its formulaic rut full of chosen ones with daddy issues, eternal Jedi vs. Sith struggles, and goofy helmets. But as these things tend to go, Abrams symbolically spent a good portion of the first The Rise of Skywalker trailer focused on Kylo super gluing his broken helmet back together after breaking it in the last film. The new footage doubles down on the nostalgia, deploying montages of the eight-preceding films, mournful shots of Carrie Fisher, and Palpatine’s face and voice appearing throughout most promotional material. It seems we’re going back to the classic’s well once again.

Finn Found a Better Barber

Nothing is more important — even Rey potentially going to the Dark Side — than Finn’s new haircut. The former First Order stormtrooper, now Resistance hero, has spent two movies in desperate need of a dark caesar. Abrams and Johnson had my man running around the galaxy with the worst struggle haircut since Anakin sported a rattail. Finn’s new twists are a step in the right direction, but we still need to find him someone who can deliver a good temp fade.

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