In a dark room lit with neon pops of green, red, and blue by the force of glowing lightsabers, Star Wars super-fans gathered at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago for a highly anticipated panel on the upcoming finale to the Skywalker saga: Episode IX.
Or, we should say, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Fans got to see some of the first photos from the upcoming film, hear insights from Star Wars actors themselves, and watch the first teaser trailer for the movie, which also FINALLY revealed the title.
The first ever Star Wars: Episode IX teaser shows Rey on a dessert planet, sweaty and out of breath, as she draws her lightsaber and jumps over an incoming ship apparently piloted by Kylo Ren. The trailer is cut with scenes that read “Every generation has a legend,” and “This Christmas, the saga comes to an end.”
Luke’s voice is heard whispering, ““We’ve passed on all we know, a thousand generations live in you now. But this is your fight. We’ll always be with you. No one’s ever really gone,” furthering the idea that this will be Luke’s final appearance.
We also see glimpses of Lando Calrissian at the helm of the Millennium Falcon, droids old and new, epic battle scenes with Poe Dameron and Finn, and a tender moment between Rey and General Leia Organa. The band of rebels stares down at a destroyed Death Star — an early concept from The Force Awakens — and the trailer ends with a dark, ominous laugh, with the title we’ve all been waiting for: The Rise of Skywalker.
Check out the teaser trailer and our recap of the panel below.
— Star Wars (@starwars) April 12, 2019
Star Wars mega-fan Stephen Colbert hosted the panel, invited by apparent Soulcycle emergency contact and self-proclaimed “best friend” JJ Abrams, who sat alongside the late night host. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy was also on deck, though she deferred to Abrams to answer most of the pressing questions.
Daisy Ridley , John Boyega, Kelly Marie Tran, Oscar Isaac, Billy Dee Williams, Naomi Ackie, Joonas Suotamo and Anthony Daniels took the stage as well. The majority of the panel was spent watching Abrams and the cast nervously giggle and squirm. They couldn’t answer many of Colbert’s questions because, naturally, #spoilers. But they still managed to provide fans with some really meaningful and fun previews, anecdotes, and more.
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Anthony Daniels, who has played C-3PO in ALL of the Star Wars films, teased himself about his once jet black hair. When Colbert asked Billy Dee Williams, the OG Lando Calrissian, how he found Lando again after all these years, he simply replied “Lando never left me.” Fans erupted in support.
John Boyega — who wore a sweater that Neil from the Santa Clause would highly approve of — had two choices: reveal Finn’s fate, or explain Brexit. When asked whether or not Finn is with Rose, Boyega responded, “Finn is single and willing to mingle.”
Looking a bit more scruffy than he does on-screen, Oscar Isaac, who plays rebel pilot Poe Dameron, was forced to tell who is the better pilot: Poe or Han Solo? “No one can fly the Millennium Falcon better than Han. Poe can literally fly anything. I’m just saying, Poe is the better Uber driver.” Personally, none of my Uber drivers have ever been as eventful as a flight scene in Star Wars, and I’d like to keep it that way.
Fans erupted into a spontaneous “Happy Birthday” to Daisy Ridley, who turned 27 on Wednesday. Colbert asks whether or not Rey’s lightsaber is truly down for the count, after being destroyed in Episode VIII, but Ridley reassures fans that “the lightsaber that Rey inherited from Luke lives.”
But perhaps the best fan reaction of the entire panel was for Kelly Marie Tran, who notoriously received a lot of backlash from the man-baby trolls after her character Rose Trico debuted in Episode VIII. Fans and the cast alike showed their support for Tran with chants of “Kelly! Kelly! Kelly!” as she was introduced, further solidifying that true Star Wars fans don’t have as much of an issue with more female representation in the Star Wars universe as the aforementioned internet bullies would like you to believe. In full support, Abrams said, “The best thing Rian Johnson did for me was casting Kelly Marie Tran.”
Fans also got to meet D-0 (pronounced: dee-oh), BB-8’s adorable, dog-esque new droid friend.
Then, just when you thought the fun was over, they dropped the teaser trailer. And while our heads were already exploding from how MUCH JUST HAPPENED, Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine) came on stage and simply said “Roll it again.” Guess that explains who’s doing the laughing.
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker is due in theaters in December.
Photo: Star Wars