It’s been a strangely quiet 11 months since “Solo: A Star Wars Story” landed in theaters in May with a thud, dramatically underperforming at the box office and leaving December bereft of a new “Star Wars” movie for the first time in four years. Director JJ Abrams has been plugging away at “Episode IX” all this time, but we heard pretty much nothing about it — we still have no idea what it’s even really about.
Or we didn’t know anything about it, until now. This weekend’s Star Wars Celebration convention in Chicago has finally shed some light on the mysterious “Star Wars: Episode IX.” Including dropping the title — “The Rise of Skywalker” — and the very first trailer for the movie. Technically the first real look we’ve had at all at “Episode IX.” You can watch it above.
In standard fashion for these things, we still have no idea what the plot of “The Rise of Skywalker” is based on this collection of cool but completely context-free shots. But the reveal does spark two very big questions. First, what in the hell could that title mean? And second, was that Emperor Palpatine laughing at the end? it sure sounded like it.
We already knew, of course, that pretty much everybody from “The Last Jedi” would be back — Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico, Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, and so on.
Some new folks joining the fray are Keri Russell, Richard E. Grant and Dominic Monahan, with Billy Dee Williams popping up as Lando Calrissian for the first time in this new Disney era of “Star Wars” after Donald Glover played the character in the prequel “Solo.”
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” left the good guys in a rather dire situation, with pretty much the entire Resistance wiped from the face of the galaxy — the entire Resistance at the end of the movie fit inside the Millennium Falcon.
It felt very much like the war had ended, with Kylo Ren and the First Order emerging victorious. But with “Episode IX” — the conclusion of this trilogy of films — on the way, we knew it had to continue on somehow. And now we’ve finally gotten some clues as to how.