It may not even be autumn yet, but Christmas 2019's biggest movie is already stirring up excitement, thanks to the Disney D23 Expo. Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker cast graced the stage of the Walt Disney Studios panel at the annual Disney convention to debut a new Rise of Skywalker poster, some details about Keri Russell's new Star Wars character, and new Rise of Skywalker footage with one hell of a twist for Rey (Daisy Ridley) fans.
The new Star Wars: Episode IX footage, while not technically a trailer, included more than a few new glimpses at the final instalment of the Skywalker saga. New scenes include images of widespread battles, battalions of Star Destroyers in a lighting-filled sky, Emperor Palpatine’s signature cackle, Rey and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) locked in an even more epic lightsaber battle than in The Last Jedi, and, most importantly, Rey in a hooded black cloak wielding not just a red lightsaber, but a dual-blade red lightsaber à la Darth Maul, the villain from Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. It certainly looks like our hero might be wielding a weapon of the dark side. It just got real.
Also dropped in the panel was some detail about Russell's new character, Zorri Bliss. “My son actually thinks I’m cool now,” joked Russell to the crowd, adding that she found wearing Zorri’s helmet “empowering" and some new details about her rogue. "She’s cool and a little bit shady. She’s kind of a criminal and sort of this old friend of Poe’s," said Russell with a coy side-eye in the direction of Poe portrayer Oscar Isaac. It would seem that some past romance is making its way into Rise of Skywalker.
The panel also introduced the new poster for the film, which previously only had an image of stars with the name of the new movie dropped over it. The new image finds Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), who has returned (somehow) after dying in Return of the Jedi, looming over Kylo Ren and Rey as the engage in the battle teased in the trailer. It's, in a few words, a lot.
Is it Christmas yet?