HEAT VISION

A Closer Look at the 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' Trailer

The latest glimpse of J.J. Abrams' film needs second and third looks.

The final trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker may be everything that fans wanted — well, except for a lack of General Hux and no complete sighting of the Emperor, perhaps — but so much happens in the two-minute-plus span that it’s possible that some of the details passed you by on first glimpse. And second. And third.

Here, then, are some important things that Heat Vision noticed, including the many ways the final movie in the storyline connects to what’s come before, again and again.  

0:05: Is this Endor? It certainly looks like the forest moon of Endor, from 1984’s Return of the Jedi, and there are further context clues later in the trailer to suggest this is the case. If so, consider this another case of the nostalgia for the franchise’s original trilogy peeking through.

0:09: Rey (Daisy Ridley) drops what appears to be a blast helmet while running; a visual cue to fans that she’s no longer training to be a Jedi, perhaps, given that Luke wore a blast helmet in the 1977 original movie when beginning his training.

0:12: “It’s an instinct, a feeling,” says someone. “The Force brought us together.” But who’s speaking? It sounds like Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) to me, but John Boyega is the one who tweeted the line out … Note that we see Finn (Boyega) for the first time during this line.

0:17: Rey inside the wreckage of a starship (or, as we’ll see later, perhaps something else) mirrors her introduction in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, when she would scavenge fallen Imperial ships to survive.

0:27: “We’re not alone. Good people will fight if we lead them.” The Resistance has grown significantly since the end of 2017’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, in which the remaining rebels could all fit aboard the Millennium Falcon. The rebuilding of the group is part of the ancillary Journey to The Rise of Skywalker novels and comic material being released in the run-up to the movie, for those curious how it happened. As well as the shot of Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) with Dominic Monaghan's character in the background, the long shot seems to show Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) talking to Poe. The Resistance seems to be gathering on the forest planet we saw at the start of the trailer — we see Finn, Poe and Chewbacca standing beside Poe’s distinctive X-Wing, and a Blockade Cruiser landing (or is that potentially crashing?) in among the trees — but … why?

0:37: “People keep telling me they know me. No one does.” “I do.” The relationship between Rey and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) seems as complicated as ever, as the latter shows up for the first time in the trailer, on top of a partially submerged … something. (Is it a ship, or something else altogether? We see the Death Star later in the trailer, but also a Star Destroyer rising from the depths; either could be a possibility.) It looks like the soaked Kylo is putting his lightsaber away, which might be an important detail.

0:50: A fleet of TIE Fighters speeding toward an ice asteroid in what appears to be a space storm. This doesn’t seem to be foreboding or anything.

0:53: “Long have I waited,” says the Emperor as the camera focuses on a throne originally designed by Ralph McQuarrie for Return of the Jedi. “And now, your coming together is your undoing.” But whose coming together? The Resistance? Or, perhaps, Rey and Kylo? Also, the Star Destroyer breaking free of the ice suggests that, perhaps, that ice asteroid isn’t what it seemed to be in the first place. Has there been a hidden fleet of Imperial warships this whole time?

1:01: The Millennium Falcon leads a new Resistance fleet that includes, in the background, the Ghost from animated series Star Wars: Rebels and a Hammerhead Corvette from Rogue One.

1:04: Is this the first time we’ve ever seen Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewbacca and C3-PO in the Millennium Falcon cockpit together? Surely not. (That this shot is seen as the Emperor says, “Your coming together” is no accident.)

1:06: Looks like Kylo didn’t come in peace after all. Or perhaps Rey was the one who started the fight …?

1:12: The ship skipping across the turbulent waters appears to be headed toward … the remains of a Death Star.

1:14: “What’re you doing, Threepio?” Well, he’s getting hacked by Babu Frik, a new character revealed during Lucasfilm’s Triple Force Friday announcements. Why is he getting hacked? That’s a mystery, but it’s likely connected to the red-eyed Threepio we saw in the D23 teaser footage, and given the dialogue in this scene, it might be a permanent change to the droid. “Taking one last look, sir, at my friends,” Threepio replies, with the metatextual meaning clear to all. (Worth taking notice of: D/O, the new droid introduced at this year’s Star Wars Celebration, is in this scene, beside BB-8. And, over the shoulder of Threepio is a Battle Droid, from the prequel trilogy. Is it too much to hope that it’s Mister Bones?)

1:29: Not only does this corridor look very much like a Death Star corridor of old, but John Boyega’s body language here is curiously reminiscent of Harrison Ford’s Han Solo running through the Death Star in the original Star Wars.

1:32: New dialogue from Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) seems to confirm rumors that the character will return as a Force Ghost in this final chapter. “Confronting fear — it’s the destiny of a Jedi,” he says. “Your destiny.” He may be talking more literally than it seems; remember the cave on Dagobah where Luke confronted his literal fears in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) …? Also, the planet where this scene takes place … could it be Tatooine or Jakku, or somewhere altogether new? (A return to Jakku feels overdue, considering it’s where Rey came from in Force Awakens.)

1:40: We’ve already seen it in other trailers, but the first full appearance of Billy Dee Williams in this trailer, and he’s classic Lando: co-piloting the Millennium Falcon and laughing at danger.

1:41: In the background of this shot, note the numerous Star Destroyers; after the shot of the assembled Resistance fleet, now we see that the First Order fleet — or is it the Imperial fleet? — is nothing to be sneezed at, either.

1:45: Apparently, the fathier riding scene in The Last Jedi unleashed a new desire for space horses in the Star Wars franchise, because here’s John Boyega and Naomi Ackie (playing new character Jannah) riding into battle on different space horses. Never doubt the power of a good cavalry charge visual, even in a galaxy far, far away.

1:49: That window is unmistakable; Rey and Kylo are standing in the wreckage of the throne room of the second Death Star from Return of the Jedi. But are they fighting, still ... ? It’s uncertain, especially given that …

1:50: … the two seem to be working together to destroy something in this brightly lit room in this shot. But what? And where are they? (While I’m asking questions, what’s Rey holding in her left hand?)

1:53: Unexpectedly, multiple seemingly disconnected visuals from the trailer come together in this shot: The cavalry charge from 1:45 is revealed to be taking place on the hull of a starship, as the fleet of Star Destroyers looms in the background, with the lightning surrounding both the ice asteroid and the Emperor’s throne flashes. We get to see a B-Wing and X-Wing chase two TIE Fighters, as well — but it doesn’t look like a pitched space battle, per se. So what is going on here?

1:58: This is purposefully obscure, but look at the left of this shot; that looks like the Emperor’s hood, attached to some kind of mechanism that Rey’s looking at as lightning crashes in the background. Is this the Emperor reborn?

2:01: The only fitting dialogue from the final trailer for a movie in what’s now being called the “Skywalker Saga”: Luke’s “The Force will be with you,” followed by Leia (Carrie Fisher) adding, “always,” as Rey stands with lightsaber ready.

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