Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker Trailer Breakdown and Analysis

We found lots of story hints and secrets in the first Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker trailer! Here's our analysis...

We finally got out first look at footage from Star Wars Episode IX as well as the movie’s title, The Rise of Skywalker. Besides plenty of action, the first teaser trailer shows us all the heroes back together for one last showdown with Kylo Ren and the First Order. Rey’s learned a few new Jedi tricks, Poe and Finn are on an epic adventure together, and Kylo Ren seems as ruthless as ever. 

The trailer also features some HUGE teases for why the movie’s story may be about, our first hints of how the Skywalker saga will finally come to a close. We unpacked the trailer to see what secrets we could find (quite a few!). 

Further Reading: The Definitive Star Wars Gift Guide

If you haven’t already, check out the trailer below:

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Don’t have the time to read through the entire article? Listen to us break down the trailer here:

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Alright, here’s what we’ve found so far. Give us a shout in the comments or hit up @johnsjr9 on Twitter if you spotted something we missed (a screenshot would help, too)!

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Rey in a Desert

The first shot of the teaser trailer is a nod to the very first shot of The Force Awakens teaser where Finn pops up out of nowhere in the desert of Jakku. Of course, Rey is nowhere near as distressed as Finn crawling his way out of a TIE fighter crash. She’s standing her ground, waiting for an enemy that’s fast approaching.

Also, it’s pretty interesting that the first teasers for all three Sequel Trilogy movies open with heavy breathing. It’s probably not a thing but interesting nonetheless.

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker - Rey's Lightsaber

Luckily, she has her handy lightsaber with her! If it looks family, it’s because it’s Luke first lightsaber — the same one that was destroyed in The Last Jedi, broken in half by Rey and Kylo Ren during a struggle. So how is it back? Well, a Jedi can’t complete their training until they’ve constructed their own lightsaber. So, like Luke before her (he built a new lightsaber for himself in a deleted scene from Return of the Jedi), Rey seems to have reconstructed Luke’s damaged lightsaber. It’s looking good as new!

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Oh, and she still has the blaster Han gave her in The Force Awakens, too. At the Episode IX panel, they showed an image of Rey firing the blaster in the movie, which means she’ll be putting both weapons to good use!

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Rey Fighting an X-Wing

Rey is even stronger in the Force than the last time we saw her in action, as she clashes with what looks like a First Order TIE Interceptor! She flips over the fighter before the screen cuts to the Lucasfilm logo. I assume that this confrontation didn’t end well for that First Order pilot. 

It’s important to note that The Rise of Skywalker takes place a while after The Last Jedi, although neither director J.J. Abrams nor the cast went into detail about just how big the time jump is. I assume it’s at least a year or two.   

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Trailer Still

We then get our first glimpse of some sort of city or village in a mountainous area. No idea what planet this is, but if you have any theories, let me know!

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Kylo Ren Fighting

Our only shot of Kylo Ren, Supreme Leader of the First Order, and it’s a clip of him laying down the law on what we assume is a helpless rebel. It’s important to note that he’s in a wooded area not unlike the area of Starkiller Base where he first faced off against Rey in The Force Awakens. It’s probably not Starkiller Base, and it’s only SLIGHTLY more likely that it’s Endor (more on that in a second).

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Kylo Ren's Helmet

The Kylo helmet is back, patched up by some sort of red paste. I assume this stitched up helmet won’t have much screen time since Kylo isn’t wearing it in the shot before. 

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Finn and Poe Dameron

Finn and Poe are going an excellent adventure in Episode IX. Peep both of their new outfits. Both actors were very excited about them at the Celebration panel. Oscar Isaac, in particular, was really happy about his scarf. Doesn’t he kind of look like a more debonair Indiana Jones? 

Also, Finn seems to be carrying Rey’s staff from the first two movies. Are they back on Jakku maybe?

Further Reading: Star Wars Episode IX Predictions

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - BB-8 and New Droid D-0

BB-8 has a new buddy! The little uniwheel droid is named D-0 and he’s a nod to the Pixar logo. Disney synergy at its finest.

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Lando Calrissian and Chewbacca

The Millennium Falcon is back, of course, and Chewie is at the ready, as the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy jumps to hyperspace. But who is piloting alongside him?

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Lando Calrissian

It’s LANDO CALRISSIAN! Yes, smooth-talking Billy Dee Williams is back to reprise the role he first played in The Empire Strikes Back. And it was revealed at the Celebration panel that he’s wearing a version of Donald Glover’s Lando outfit from Solo: A Star Wars Story! Complete with cape, of course…

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - C3PO, Finn, and Poe Dameron

Poe and Finn’s epic journey includes a high-speed chase on some sort of sand skiff, which may or may not be a nod to the desert skiff from Return of the Jedi. Are they actually back on Tatooine??? My money is still on Jakku, though. 

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The teaser also confirms we’ll see A-wings again in the Sequel Trilogy. No surprise the poor ship is crashing. Some on the internet are saying it’s crashing over a Venator-class Star Destroyer from the Clone Wars because of what looks like a red strip running over the top of the ship. You decide. It seems like the kind of easter egg Lucasfilm would include, but what’s the story reason?

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Crest Object

The crowd inside the Episode IX panel absolutely ERUPTED when we got this first shot of Leia holding what looks like Han’s medal from A New Hope! It seems like she kept it after all this time. I’m not crying, you are!

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Rey Hugging Leia

It’s so nice to see Carrie Fisher as Leia again. The actress, who passed away in 2016, was brought back to life for Episode IX through some digital wizardry from Lucasfilm. Unused footage from The Force Awakens was repurposed for Episode IX, which is why Leia is wearing her TFA General outfit. It kind of looks like this might have been part of the scene where Leia cheered up Rey after the death of Han Solo. 

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Cast

The whole crew is back together for this amazing shot. (Note that Poe’s arm is bandaged up, so he must get wounded at some point in the movie.) But what are they looking at?

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker - The Death Star Wreckage

WHAT REMAINS OF THE DEATH STAR! Or at the very least, it’s some scrap that crashed on this mystery planet after either the Battle of Yavin or Endor. Both Yavin IV and Endor are heavily-forested places, so it’s impossible to really say which it is. Although it’s probably Endor, it would be nice to see the saga go full-circle and visit the site of the first big battle in franchise history. 

Anyway, what are the heroes doing here? The cackling laughter we hear at the very end of the trailer might have something to do with it. Yes, that’s Emperor Palpatine’s voice! But what does it mean?!

Two theories: maybe the heroes encounter a Palpatine Force ghost while at the site of the Death Star wreck. Ian McDiarmid, who showed up in the final moments of the panel to the delight of fans, might just have a short cameo in the movie. 

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The other theory is that The Rise of Skywalker is going full Dark Empire! In case you don’t know, Dark Empire is a comic published in the early ’90s that brought back the Emperor for one last go at galactic domination. You see, the Sith Lord had long ago created clones of himself, so that, were he ever to be defeated, he would effectively become immortal. His soul would just transfer over to a new body and the Skywalker nightmare would begin all over again. 

The resurgence of Palpatine through clones would jive with that rumor we heard a few weeks back about a new threat to the galaxy that forces both the Resistance and First Order to join the same side. Has the Emperor rebuilt his army in the far reaches of space? Does it include the Knights of Ren? 

We’ll be honest: the latter theory probably isn’t the case. This is most likely a cameo. The Emperor may be the movie’s MacGuffin. 

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Title Card

Finally, we get to the title for the movie: The Rise of Skywalker. What does it mean? Is Rey a Skywalker afterward? Did Luke leave an heir to the Skywalker bloodline nobody knew about? Or is that just referring to the fact that we’ll totally see Force Ghost Luke in this movie?

The internet will have lots of theories for the next eight months. We’ll surely come up with our own. Stay tuned for more Star Wars Episode IX updates here!

John Saavedra is an associate editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9