‘The Rise of Skywalker’ is official title of ‘Episode IX’ — WATCH teaser trailer
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“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”
Or, as it’s been known for nearly two years: “Star Wars: Episode IX.”
The name was revealed Friday at the Episode IX panel at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago, along with the an official teaser trailer for the movie, which opens Dec. 20.
One of the biggest reveals is the return of Palpatine, played by Ian McDiarmid, who made a surprise appearance after the trailer was shown and “commanded” it be replayed and whose villainous laugh is heard at the end of the trailer.
The trailer also features a voiceover by Luke (Mark Hamill) telling Rey: “We’ve passed on all we know. A thousand generations live in you now. … We’ll always be with you. No one’s ever really gone.”
It was the hottest ticket at Star Wars Celebration 2019 at Chicago’s McCormick Place West, and the panel hosted by surprise guest Stephen Colbert and featuring Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and “Episode IX” director J.J. Abrams lived up to its hype.
“You will need to conserve your energy for the exciting hour you’re about to be a part of,” Colbert, a self-proclaimed lifelong “Star Wars” fan, said to a standing ovation. “We know Star Wars isn’t just a movie or cartoon or Christmas special … It’s also a place, a universe where we go to get lost, to get inspired, to feel understood, to feel like anything is possible.”
He also revealed that Abrams, his good friend, let him visit the “Episode IX” film set.
The film is currently in editing and special effects stages, Abrams said.
On hand Friday were actors Anthony Daniels (C-3PO in all nine “Star Wars” films) accompanied by R2-D2, Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), Daisy Ridley (Rey), who was serenaded with “Happy Birthday” from the audience for her 27th birthday earlier in the week, John Boyega (Finn), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose), a very bearded Oscar Isaac (Poe), Joonas Suatamo (Chewbacca) and “Star Wars” newcomer Naomi Ackie, who revealed her character’s name is Jana (teased at the panel to possibly be Lando’s daughter).
“The light saber that Rey inherited from Luke lives,” Ridley happily revealed when asked about the beloved weapon seemingly destroyed in “Episode VIII.”
The new movie is the last in the Skywalker “Star Wars” saga — ninth in the series that began in 1977.
It also stars Hamill, Adam Driver, Keri Russell, Lupita Nyong’o and the late Carrie Fisher via unused footage from “The Last Jedi.”
“You don’t recast that part, and you don’t suddenly have her disappear,” Abrams said of Fisher. “The weird miracle of having a number of scenes from ‘Force Awakens’ that had got unused, looking at those scenes and starting to understand that there was an actually a way to use those scenes and continue her story so that it would be her. The idea of having a CG character was off the table … We said, ‘What if we could write scenes about her so it’s her performance?’ … She is there in these scenes, in some scenes with Billie [Catherine Lourde] her daughter, who is also in the film.”
As for the new film’s storyline, Abrams revealed it does not pick up where “The Last Jedi” left off, saying only that some time has gone by and that “it’s about this new generation and what they’ve inherited the light and the dark and asking the question as they face the greatest evil. Are they prepared? Are they ready? … [IT’s] an adventure that the group goes on together.”
More than 60,000 “Star Wars” fans are convening in Chicago for this annual extravaganza, which runs through Monday. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Celebration.
Fans take note: According to reports, Disney CEO Bob Iger hinted that the “Star Wars” movies will be “paused’ for the foreseeable future: “We will take a pause, some time, and reset because the Skywalker saga comes to an end with this ninth movie. There will be other Star Wars movies, but there will be a bit of a hiatus.”