Film - Star Wars Episode IX Trailer Analysis

"Every Generation has a Legend" and our own legendary Kraig Taylor-Bryant takes an indepth look at the recent trailer for Star Wars Episode IX...

So, after waiting 11 months, and only receiving a few leaks of costumes, and potentially, a poster that may be real after all, we finally have a teaser trailer for Star Wars episode 9 and, better than that, we have a title, “The Rise of Skywalker”. Personally I think it’s the perfect title to end a Skywalker saga, the fact that it’s the only film that has the word “Skywalker”, makes it seem more important, and it kind of is, considering it’s the last film to have reference to the characters we grew up with (as far as we know). The rumours speculating about the Game of Thrones directors doing an “Old Republic” style trilogy are at an all-time high, and Rian Johnson himself has said that his own trilogy will be completely separate from the Skywalker saga, so this very well could be the last time we see our beloved characters on screen, the ones who aren’t dead of course (with the exception of Luke).

With all the over-speculation of other trilogies out of the way, let's focus on this trilogy, and the teaser below to hint at the film that will end it.

The trailer opens to a black screen, where we can only hear Rey panting, before cutting straight after to show Rey, in a sandy/rock-based environment. Now she could be panting for one of these reasons, she could be nervous about a confrontation with Kylo Ren, or something else entirely, she could be trying to focus her mind, by heavily breathing, to ready herself for what happens not long afterwards in the trailer, or she could be out of breath, because she’s already been running from the Tie Fighter, that we see charging towards her in the next shot. Just before this happens, she activates her blade, readying herself, as the Tie Fighter (potentially Kylo’s Tie Silencer) nears her. Now, during this sequence, we can hear Luke offering guidance to Rey, the lines he gives seem as though they could be spoken at completely different times in the film, but at the same time, they could also be spoken together. Luke is saying to Rey that ‘We’ve passed on all we know” and that “a thousand generations live in you now’ and with the monologue ending for this part of the teaser with ‘but this is your fight’. Now I think the last line definitely belongs with at least one of the before mentioned lines, such as “We’ve passed on all we know, but this is your fight”, or the alternative “a thousand generations live in you now, but this is your fight”. So why am I trying to speculate about these lines being from different moments in the film? Well I want to consider the possibility that we could see Luke more than once in this film, though it’s entirely possible that these lines are indeed said together in the film; if you think back to one of the teasers for the Force Awakens trailer there were a lot of monologue lines that weren’t even spoken in the film at all, so we’re no stranger to JJ Abrams playing with our emotions when it comes to trailers.

Regardless, the rocky environment, could be a planet that we’ve never seen before, or possibly we could be revisiting an old planet such as Tatooine or Jakku (though this place doesn’t seem to have much of a Jakku vibe to it), or it could even be Jedha, or the remains of it, after the Death Star destroyed it in Rogue One, which would explain the lack of settlement, or anything. I think if it was Jedha it would also have significance to Rey, considering the Jedi clearly had a huge presence there once upon a time, as we can see from a fallen statue shot in Rogue One, so it would make sense for Rey to be there.

Anyway, as the Tie fighter approaches Rey, she seems to run in the opposite direction, before performing a somersault over it, in the shot it almost looks like she’s slicing the top of it whilst doing this somersault. I think that it’s clear that in the time difference, which JJ Abrams has confirmed to have been “quite some time”, Rey has learned more in terms of concentration in her abilities, to be able to time a jump like that.

During this jump, and as she's running, there seems a high-pitched sound starts to build into one of John Williams' themes that starts to become clear when “This Christmas” appears on screen. The theme they chose to use for the trailer is the Leia theme, though it isn’t used innocently like it is in A New Hope when she’s hiding from the stormtroopers, this time it’s played loud and boomingly, which I think works perfectly with everything in the trailer following this, and portrays her as the loud and memorable presence that both Carrie Fisher and Leia will always be remembered to be.

Following the “this Christmas” text, it starts to transition to a snowy/rocky environment, that could be a city in the sky, a completely new area of Bespin (also known as Cloud City) that we have never seen before, as it almost looks like different areas of the glowing lights of the city are more elevated than others, like they may be mounted on rocks perhaps. As we look closely, a ship that we’ve actually never seen before comes into shot, as it flies to the city and, judging by the blue lights on the back of the ship, we can assume this is a new ship. Now, whether this is Lando’s ship or the Resistance has gathered new ships over time is the real question here, as we know, the First Order doesn’t appear to be interested in changing from the typical Tie Fighters and shuttles that they use. It is possible that this is the same planet that we initially met Lando on, in Solo, as this did seem to be a snowy environment, filled with mountains, so it could be interesting if we find Lando back here again, as an older man (and, of course, being Billy Dee Williams this time around).

The scene then cuts to a shot of Kylo Ren in the woods, who appears to be pushing a soldier down with his lightsaber hilt, with an unusually red-looking background, could this be because this is a completely new planet with a red sky? Or could this actually be a second Starkiller base that is being invaded, and the red is merely the beam of the base, that will fire at some stage of the movie. I sincerely hope that it isn’t a Starkiller base 2, because at this point, I’m sure we’re all tired of big space stations that can blow up planets. Though of course, at this stage we really can’t know for sure. But what we do know, is that in this shot Kylo doesn’t have his mask again, as we have seen in the leaked poster and the following shot, that he appears to be repairing it in this film. I think this could mean that whatever is happening here, could happen either fairly early in the film, or Kylo doesn’t get his helmet back until much later on.

This brings me to the next shot where we see Kylo repairing his helmet, or at least it seemed likely Kylo at a first glance. Though, after looking a little more closely, the hands seem to be a little too hairy to be Kylo’s. Perhaps he meets a new companion/follower that repairs the helmet for him? This could be our first hint at a new character, or maybe this could be the Emperor himself, who has repaired Kylo’s helmet, to help send Kylo on his way? The reason I say this is because perhaps he has become hairier from all the time he’s been away from the fight, though I don’t really want to believe that the Emperor will be reintroduced as just being alive all this time, and not doing anything to get revenge on Luke, until now, so I sincerely hope this isn’t the case, I’m really just trying to cover all the bases here.

I was initially annoyed about Kylo repairing his helmet, considering he said in the previous film about letting the past die, and all of a sudden, he seems to care about the past again, although someone on social media made the point that it was a ghost from his past (of sorts) that distracted him so the rebels could escape, so perhaps he’s learned from this and realised the importance of learning from the past/ relying on it. I say this because this mask signifies Kylo’s close connection to Darth Vader, and now Kylo has realised how much he needs his grandfather to guide him, especially now that he is in charge of the first order and may not know what to do next.

The next shot of the trailer is of Finn and Poe looking at something in the distance, in what seems to be the same sandy environment we see Rey in at the start of the trailer, though of course we’ve already seen a variety of locations, so it could be another sandy planet entirely. However we can see Finn holding Rey’s staff in this shot and I don’t believe Rey would go too far without it, so it’s safe to assume that they arrived on this planet together. Though we have to wonder why exactly they did separate, perhaps they have to complete separate tasks at some point? Or maybe the circumstances of them being separated are forced on our heroes, and they have to find each other again. This could be exactly why they are both looking around in this shot, because they are potentially, looking for her.

We also get a look at the new droid, accompanied by BB8, and it’s believed that these droids are supposed to be the 3P0 and R2 of this trilogy, appearing fairly frequently in the movie. Now what’s interesting is the background of this shot being full of pipes and slightly dirty. It’s possible that this is from the inside of the broken Death Star that we see later in the trailer, and they could be looking at something in particular that they have found in there. Though seeing as the sandy planet is probably very dry, it’s also likely that this is a warehouse or factory of sorts on this planet, that they are in, and this could even be how we meet this new droid, I suppose we’ll have to wait and see in December to find out.

The shot transitions to a shot of Lando and Chewie in the Falcon together, from behind before confirming it to be them, with a shot of Lando laughing whilst they’re in hyperspace, wearing a headset similar to that which Chewie is wearing. It could be the case that he’s wearing the headset because they are preparing to go into a battle of sorts. As he was wearing a headset during the battle of Endor, when he was piloting the Falcon. Regardless, we also see Lando in the old costume from the Solo movie, under his jacket if you look closely, this may be due to him revisiting the old planet that he used to live on, or it could just be for younger audiences to understand that they are the same character, if they didn’t already know.

Next, we see the dramatic text stating that the saga will come to end, followed by a shot of a speeder chase scene of sorts, in the same sandy environment that we saw earlier, with spiky pillars of a sort, scattered around, perhaps this is a race track of sorts or a moisture farm? Who knows really? In the shot for a second you can also notice what appears to be an Imperial speeder bike, as well as a scout trooper on it, and two jetpack troopers. It should be interesting to see these jet troopers, as we are yet to see them on the big screen, though they have been shown in the Star Wars game “Star Wars Battlefront 2”. Anyway, this then cuts to a shot of 3P0, Poe and Finn on a speeder of sorts, being shot at by, what we can guess to be the speeder bike, or maybe the jetpack troopers, or maybe this is another enemy that joins the chase at some point? Considering the laser blast that hits them is green, it’s possible that it is in fact a tie fighter, that joins in the fight. So anyway, this shot ends with Finn leaning to the side of the speeder, which we can assume is to begin shooting back at what could be, a tie fighter.

Cut to a shot of an A-wing with smoke pouring out of it. What’s really interesting is what this ship is flying past as it begins to fall from the sky. It almost looks like its flying past an Old Republic ship from the days of the Clone Wars. It could be that the Resistance has resulted to salvaging an old republic ship, or maybe the new republic has a few ships left that have come to support them during a dog fight, at one stage in the film, it’ll certainly be exciting to find out what this is.

Anyway, this fades to a shot of what seems to be Leia’s hands holding one of the old medals from the celebration after the destruction of the first death star. It’s interesting that she would be holding onto this, this could be Leia reminiscing of either Han or Luke, or maybe she is holding it because she has found out about Rey and co, rediscovering the death star, and this has led her to dig this out of a draw somewhere.

The camera then cuts to Leia and Rey hugging, which could be linked to the medal, as Rey may be comforting Leia over this, or maybe they are upset over the death of another character? This would make sense, considering that Luke says “We’ll always be with you” during this moment in the trailer. And maybe this could even mean that one of these characters has to go away to do something dangerous, now this could be Rey’s confrontation with Kylo, on last time, or maybe Leia has to go away to do something to sacrifice herself, and provide a way for the character to leave the franchise? Again, we’ll have to find out later in the year to answer such questions.

The teaser then ends with a shot of the whole group together, including the new droid, on a rocky/grassy, water type planet. As they overlook the wreckage of the death star, whether it is the first death star or the second death star is entirely up for speculation, though I believe it to be Endor if I had to choose between Endor and Yavin 4. This would be purely because, after doing some light research I discovered that Yavin is purely jungle, and Endor seems to contain mountains and various other terrain, so this seems like the more likely of the two, so therefore I believe it’s the second death star, and I don’t believe either death star would have ended up crashing on any planet other than these two. Anyway what’s also interesting is how they are all looking towards the death star wreckage, and Rey seems to be holding a bag of sorts in front of her, this leads me to believe that they have been on a journey of sorts to look for the Death star specifically, though of course, we can never know until we see the film.

So, the trailer ends with Luke saying, “No one’s ever really gone”, before cutting to a black screen, and the cackle of none other than the old Emperor is heard. Now this could mean any number of things. It could mean that Palpatine is back in the form of a clone, which I sincerely hope not to be the case, because I would like to see them do something a little more original if they are to bring the Emperor back. As this was already done in one of the old “legends” books. He could also come back by being resurrected, potentially by Kylo, because he has discovered some kind of dark side ritual, or maybe Palpatine will just appear through flashbacks. Something people may not know is that during the panel, the man who plays Palpatine Ian McDiarmid, said in his old Palpatine voice “roll it again”, now what I also noticed when he does this, is that McDiarmid seems to be looking fitter since the last time he attended celebration, now I think this is as good a sign as any that we won’t be merely hearing Palpatine’s voice in the movie. I believe that he will appear in physical form, through either a flashback, in clone form, he will be resurrected, or maybe he will merely appear as a Sith ghost. This is something that I believe to be the most anticipated part of the episode 9 trailer, and I hope that this ends up being executed well in the movie, otherwise, the current haters of the franchise, will be sure to point it out, and encourage bad publicity for Disney. I honestly hope this movie goes well, and gives a satisfying ending to the Skywalker saga, and honours Carrie Fisher’s memory, and does her character justice.

Follow Kraig on Twitter @Kraigandhismac

Images - IMDb

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