The force may not have been with Sam Darnold and the New York Jets in the first half of tonight’s Monday Night Football game, but it arrived at halftime in the form of the final trailer for “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”
“Rise of Skywalker,” the last installment in the franchise’s newest trilogy, stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver. Also reprising their iconic roles for the conclusion are “Star Wars” royalty Mark Hamill as the titular Luke Skywalker, the late Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa (via archive footage), Anthony Daniels as C-3P0 and Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian. All get a spotlight in the trailer.
It begins by invoking images of Luke Skywalker and Yoda training in “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi,” but Rey (Ridley), looking determined, looks to be alone in a forest-like setting. Many voices narrate the trailer, including the voice of a familiar Sith Lord who ominiously mutters: “Your coming together will be your undoing.” And yes, there was a “coming together” as scenes of Rey and Kylo Ren (Driver) fighting against each other and fighting as allies are dispersed throughout the space fights and droid battles.
The studio giant has been dangling the highly anticipated arrival of its galactic holiday tentpole since the first teaser dropped in April, featuring a fully restored version of Luke’s signature blue lightsaber, a brand-new droid, a reunion between Lando and the Millennium Falcon and the return of Emperor Palpatine — whose trademark evil laugh got immediate meme treatment on the internet.
More details surrounding the reboot’s epic culmination emerged this summer at Disney’s D23 Expo, where director J.J. Abrams offered a preview joined by the cast — including “Star Wars” newcomer Keri Russell, whose casting last year sparked a flurry of fan theories. “The Americans” alum described her character, Zori Bliss — an “old friend” of Isaac’s Poe Dameron — as “very cool and a little shady. She’s kind of a criminal.”
In addition to fan favorites such as Ridley’s Rey and Boyega’s Finn, Episode IX will reunite several other key players in the saga, including Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca, Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico, Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata, Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux and Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, as Lt. Connix.
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” the follow-up to 2015’s “The Force Awakens” and 2017’s “The Last Jedi,” launches into theaters Dec. 20.