Disney has been firing off big reveals this week at a pace that’s barely left fans time to come up for air, and Friday has certainly proven to be no exception. Today at the Star Wars Celebration in Chicago, both a first trailer and a name were revealed for the upcoming Star Wars Episode IX.
Subtitled “The Rise of Skywalker,” which admittedly seems odd for the series’ ninth Skwalker-centric film, Episode IX promises to be the conclusion of the galaxy-spanning story arc that’s been playing out since 1977.
Here’s a look at the trailer, which Disney calls a “teaser” but is blessedly rich in reasons to be excited without being overly spoiler-y:
(If you’re not caught up on the Star Wars series, fair warning that there might be spoilers ahead.)
The new trailer is a much-needed rallying cray for fans after the divisive and consternation-plagued reception to Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, which advanced the core characters in interesting ways but generally felt a bit clunky and inconsistent.
In the trailer for Episode IX, we see that Rey has emerged from her training under Luke Skywalker as an even bigger badass, capable of staring down (and hopefully bisecting) a TIE fighter at ground level.
The rest is a rapid montage of diverse settings and mostly recognizable characters, including the return of Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian.
But what’s sure to spark the most debate and frenzied theorizing is the long, icy laugh at the end. With Episode VIII abruptly executing Supreme Leader Snoke, who had appeared to be the new “big bad” for the third Star Wars trilogy, many wondered who would fill the role of top villain. Would the petulant and conflicted Kylo Ren rise to the top and become a new empire builder?
Instead, we’re treated to what sure sounds like the laugh of Emperor Palpatine, reasonably assumed to have died after being tossed into a bottomless pit by Darth Vader in Episode III: Return of the Jedi. But given that the series (or at least its animated series and Solo side film) has also brought back Darth Maul after he was literally sliced in half, it’s safe to say that anyone could stroll back in at any time.