After 42 years and eight feature films, the Skywalker saga is set to come to an end with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. J.J. Abrams, the director of 2017’s The Force Awakens, returns for this final chapter that sees Rey (Daisy Ridley) rejoin friends Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega) as she comes to terms with her abilities and resolves a complex connection with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). In the background lurks the Emperor (Ian McDiarmid), the Sith master who pulled the strings of the Empire in the original trilogy.
Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Written by: J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio
Starring: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, Keri Russell, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, Carrie Fisher, and Ian McDiarmid
- Fans who were disappointed to see Rey, Poe, and Finn separated for most of 2017’s The Last Jedi should be heartened by comments from Abrams, who has said that The Rise of Skywalker involves “an adventure that the group goes on together.”
- Abrams has also hinted that the movie won’t pick up immediately after the ending of The Last Jedi, which saw the Resistance dwindling in number. “Some time has passed,” Abrams said.
- Expect C-3PO to have a larger role than in previous sequel installments. The protocol droid played by Anthony Daniels has been spotted in previews with a crossbow as well as glowing red eyes and was said to be on set for several sequences. Daisy Ridley said the cast worked with Daniels “a lot” and that “Anthony is really part of this adventure.”
- It seems likely that The Rise of Skywalker will finally resolve Rey’s lineage. The character, who was introduced in The Force Awakens, possesses Force sensitivity and has been subject to speculation that she might be a Skywalker, Solo, or Palpatine descendant. Co-writer Chris Terrio has said that the production tried to “factually” address the issue in the film.
- Abrams went to Star Wars creator George Lucas for guidance on how to wrap up the saga that began in 1977 with Lucas’s original film. “This movie had a very, very specific challenge, which was to take eight films and give an ending to three trilogies, and so, we had to look at it, what is the bigger story?” Abrams said. “We had conversations amongst ourselves, [and] we met with George Lucas before writing the script.”
- Although Carrie Fisher passed in 2016, Abrams plans to use unreleased footage of her performance in The Force Awakens as General Leia Organa. “The character of Leia is really, in a way, the heart of this story,” Abrams said. “We realized we could not possibly tell the end of these nine films without Leia. We realized that we had footage from Episode VII and we could use it in a new way.”
Walt Disney Studios will release Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in theaters on December 20, 2019.