The D23 Fan Expo is underway in Anaheim, California this weekend, and fans in attendance got a sneak peek of the final film in the original saga. Along with the new footage, the Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker poster debuted, showcasing a clash between Rey and Kylo Ren. The imagery hearkens back to the famous “Revenge of the Jedi” poster released before the original trilogy’s final act. The title would change, but it showcased the villain and an epic clash between him and our hero. Instead of Darth Vader’s famous visage, we see another familiar baddie on this poster. They teased his return with a sinister laugh at the end of the first trailer released at the Episode IX panel at Star Wars Celebration. Now, we see Emperor Palpatine’s face in full color (though still all gray and wrinkly) on the new Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker poster. You can see the full image below.
Image via Lucasfilm
A New Trailer Will Arrive On Monday, August 26
Typically, when Star Wars releases a new trailer at a fan event, they post it online immediately, so fans don’t first see grainy, leaked footage. Case in point, the first glimpse most people got of The Mandalorian came from shaky phone recordings of exclusive footage at Star Wars Celebration. While some of this footage did leak yesterday, the big moments stayed under wraps. Described as a “sizzle reel,” the new Star Wars trailer puts the final film in context of the entire saga. It opened with scenes from all of the previous Star Wars films. Mark Hamill’s “for a thousand generations” line from the first teaser is there. There are quick flashes of scenes, including Rey and Kylo facing off for a lightsaber fight while an epic starship battle rages around them. There was no sight of Palpatine, but perhaps fans some of his influence on the film.
Image via LucasfilmIn one oft-described moment, we see Rey wearing dark robes, the outfit preferred by Dark Side of the Force users. In her hands she holds two lightsabers, their blades glowing red. Again, this is the color used by the villains in the saga. Then she joins the hilts of the two sabers to make a double bladed lightsaber reminiscent of the one used by Darth Maul. As Rey’s previous weapon of choice was a staff, using this makes sense. Of course, it’s safe to assume that Rey doesn’t fall to the Dark Side. However, this is likely a “vision” of some kind, perhaps one meant to trick fans into thinking she fell to evil. We’ll see it for ourselves on Monday.
Everything Else Revealed at the D23 Star Wars Panel
Image via Lucasfilm
The Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker poster was not the only thing revealed at this panel. We also learn a little more about the late Carrie Fisher’s contribution to the film. The actress who brought Leia to life sadly lost her own in December of 2016. The Last Jedi was still a year away, and we didn’t even know who was going to direct the third film. When J.J. Abrams signed on to bring the saga to a close, he realized he had unused Force Awakens scenes featuring Fisher. He and co-writer Chris Terrio crafted scenes around those unused performances. Things don’t sound good for Leia’s chances of survival either. J.J. Abrams told the audience at D23 that Carrie Fisher is “the heart” of the film, which sounds like the character meets her end to inspire the heroes to victory.
Beyond this, most of what they discussed amounted to carefully cultivated fluff. We’ll break down the other revelations in a post with the sizzle reel on Monday. Still, with D23 officially behind them, it’s time for Lucasfilm to ramp up their marketing. The hype train for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker starts in earnest. With this film, they leave the legacy characters of the original trilogy (and their actors) behind. Of course, with the news that a new Obi-Wan Kenobi series starring Ewan McGregor will premiere on Disney+, maybe they aren’t leaving them that far behind. As Luke Skywalker said in the trailer, “No one is ever really gone.”
What do you think of the Star Wars: Rise of the Skywalker poster? Share your thoughts in the comments below or by sharing the article on social media.
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.