Forty-two years since the release of the original Star Wars movie, fans are finally getting a conclusion to the series. Two weeks ago, Disney released the trailer for the ninth film, titled The Rise of Skywalker. This comes after Disney released the teaser in April, giving plenty of hints as to the plot of the upcoming movie.
Perhaps the most important detail revealed in the trailer is the return of Emperor Palpatine, who has been missing from the series since his death in Return of the Jedi. As the most powerful user of the force in the galaxy, his reappearance gives the story a clear antagonist, replacing Supreme Leader Snoke, who was killed in the previous film The Last Jedi.
The so-called “ghost fleet” leaves hints that Palpatine may have stockpiled old imperial equipment for his eventual return.
With Palpatine’s return comes an ominous easter egg in the teaser; we catch a brief glimpse of a massive fleet of star destroyers. The destroyers are all parked in neat rows, in an interstellar storm, with no lights on. More importantly, the star destroyers pictured are from the Old Empire, not the First Order. This so-called “ghost fleet” leaves hints that Palpatine may have stockpiled old imperial equipment for his eventual return.
This shot is my favorite of the trailer, as it shows a superweapon that isn’t a planetary laser cannon. The Force Awakens was starkly criticized for recycling the idea of a planetary death station from the original trilogy, and this shot shows that director J. J. Abrams has listened to the fan community. I look forward to seeing how the fleet is used in the movie.
Another important point alluded in the trailer is the relationship between Kylo Ren and Rey. Many have speculated, based on their cooperation in The Last Jedi, that the two may become involved in a relationship or remain allies. However, the hopes of “Reylo” fans have been dashed by leaks and trailer footage. While some of the footage shows the two working together, they are also engaged in very heated lightsaber combat, and nothing in the trailer alludes to a possible relationship.
Overall, the trailer seems promising. The plot element of the “ghost fleet” and Palpatine’s return reintroduces one of the series’ most beloved characters and shows that Abrams is over lazily introducing a bigger Death Star to present an antagonistic element into the story.
The most important key to success in The Rise of Skywalker will be to create an original plot and to stay consistent with the defining features and plot elements of previous movies. This has been without a doubt the main letdowns of the past movies.
While commercial successes, the fan community response has been cold. It is never a good sign when the director has been changed after each new movie. Fans, including myself, were especially disappointed with The Last Jedi, which saw many plot points that seemed completely out of keeping with the logic and in-universe mechanics. This outrage led to director Rian Johnson being axed from The Rise of Skywalker, and Abrams taking the reigns once again. While Abrams did not impress many fans with The Force Awakens, I remain hopeful for The Rise Of Skywalker, with many of the teased elements so far showing promise.