Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker D23 footage, new poster add to the mystery of Rey's identity

Prahlad Srihari

Aug 26, 2019 09:39:14 IST

A sizzle reel and poster of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker unveiled at the Disney D23 Expo in Anaheim has certainly whipped fans into an excited frenzy online.

 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker D23 footage, new poster add to the mystery of Reys identity

R2-D2, Billy Dee Williams, Ian Mcdiarmid, Keri Russell, Naomi Ackie, Joonas Suotamo at D23 Expo | The Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA

Ever since the title for Star Wars: Episode IX was revealed as The Rise of Skywalker, fans have gone into overdrive in their efforts to figure out what it all means. Is Kylo Ren the rising Skywalker? Or does it refer to a new generation of Jedi knights, starting with Rey?

Once the teaser was out, there were more questions. Did the evil cackle at the end really mean Emperor Palpatine is alive or it just his Force Ghost?

And what about The Last Jedi's anticlimactic reveal that Rey's parents were nobodies? Was it a red herring? Does it have any bearing on the outcome of the Skywalker saga?

The answers will obviously only be revealed in December. For now, here's a round-up of all we learnt from Lucasfilm's presentation at Disney's fan event.

"Leia is the heart of this story"

Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy promised the conclusion to the 40-year-old Star Wars narrative is going to be "an incredibly good time." She was joined on-stage by writer-director JJ Abrams, who paid a lovely tribute to the late Carrie Fisher calling her character Leia "the heart" of the story. “We realised we could not possibly tell the end of these nine films without Leia. We realised that we had footage from Episode VII, and we could use it in a new way," he said, noting how footage shot before her death in 2016 will be used in the upcoming film.

Abrams then went on to introduce the cast of The Rise of Skywalker as Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Kelly Marie Tran, Keri Russell, Naomi Ackie, Billy Dee Williams, Joonas Suotamo and Anthony Daniels made their way to the stage along with R2-D2 and BB-8. “It’s kind of hard for me to understand that the story is ending, but what an ending,” Daniels said, before echoing Kennedy's sentiments. “You’ll love it.” He is set to reprise his role as C-3PO in the movie.

“Lando has never left me. He’s been with me all these years,” remarked Billy Dee Williams, who returns as the smooth-talking smuggler. 

Keri Russell also revealed her character, Zorri Bliss, was a criminal and an old friend of Poe's. She said, "I can't wait for you to meet Zorri. She's very cool and kind of shady." Fans were also treated to a glimpse of her character in her bounty hunter costume.

New poster revealed

Lucasfilm not only shared a new poster with the D23 attendees but also gave each one of them a copy. It teases the climactic face-off between Rey and Kylo Ren. Appearing in silhouette, Rey is duelling Kylo on top of the wreckage of a possible Star Destroyer. She has the blue lightsaber she inherited from Luke Skywalker; he is brandishing his usual red lightsaber. The colour of the bolts of lightning in the background also reflect their respective blades. Also in the background hidden in the shadows of darkness is Emperor Palpatine, whose menacing presence threatens the fate of the galaxy.

The Dark Side of Rey?

If Star Wars fans were excited for The Mandalorian, they were literally on their feet, applauding with enthusiasm after Lucasfilm debuted new footage from The Rise of Skywalker. In Hall D23, in front of a crowd of 7,000 eager fans, the brief clip opened with a montage of scenes from past Star Wars films, with Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker declaring in a voice-over, "We've passed on all we know. The thousand generations live in you now, but this is your fight."

This is followed by actual new footage from the upcoming film. It's not a Star Wars film without starships coming out of hyperspace and shots of a desert planet. Our beloved gang of Rey, Finn, Poe and the others are on an unknown mission. Finn is also seen with Ackie's character, Jannah. Rey throws her lightsaber but it comes back to her like a boomerang.

Oscar Isaac, John Boyega and Daisy Ridley at D23 Expo | The Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)

Oscar Isaac, John Boyega and Daisy Ridley at D23 Expo | The Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA

She is seen in an intense lightsaber duel with Kylo on top of a sinking ship as the world around them collapses, akin to Anakin Skywalker-Obi-Wan Kenobi's Revenge of the Sith final battle.

The footage concludes with a shot which has everyone talking: Rey, rocking black Sith-like robes and hood, wields a double-bladed red lightsaber (similar to the one owned by Darth Maul).

Has she turned to the dark side of the Force? With her allegiance a mystery, the suspense and questions only increase tenfold.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is scheduled for release on 20 December.

Updated Date: Sep 02, 2019 12:27:49 IST