Star Wars Episode IX – What We Know So Far

You don’t get the release of a brand new Star Wars Episode every year. Sure, we’ve been getting one every two years since 2015, but please bare in mind that 2019 will be only the 9th year since 1977 which gets such a distinct honour. Say what you will about ‘The Last Jedi’ – Star Wars’ swansong will be huge. And while it certainly won’t be the last Star Wars project in a while, it will wrap up the story which propelled George Lucas’ characters and universe in all corners of the world.

A teaser for Episode IX has been released about two weeks ago. You can look it up on YouTube, in case you hadn’t yet heard about its existence. It doesn’t do much to fuel speculation, but it certainly establishes a few premises. We dug into the trailer and a variety of official confirmations and rumours, and came up with the following couple of info about The Rise of Skywalker.

It will release around Christmas time

Just in case there was any doubt – the final Star Wars will stick to the formula followed oh so successfully by its two immediate predecessors, and will launch in the midst of the season to be jolly. Nothing like watching the final Star Wars episode and then discussing it over Christmas dinner.

The action will take place many months after The Last Jedi

As confirmed by JJ Abrams, the events will mostly take place a fair while after those of The Last Jedi. Whether this is a coping mechanism to make Leia’s passing more natural, whether it provides a backdrop for Kylo Ren’s potential shift to the light side, or whether it has to do with something else entirely, I guess we’ll know by the end of the year.

A new droid will join the crew

While many hardcore fans have lukewarmly received the last two episodic entries to the franchise, and others have been outright disappointed by the quality and direction of the two movies, almost everyone is in agreement about one thing. BB-8 is adorable. So, in the eventuality that the final film will also disappoint, at least we’ll get… another droid! His name will be D-O – a tiny, single-wheeled, green-tinted piece of metal that is seen in the company of BB-8 during the teaser.

CG Carrie Fisher is a no go

The tragic death of Carrie Fisher has left many fans extremely saddened. Her passing likely prompted a partial rewriting of the script, as she was supposed to feature rather heavily (or even be the lead in) the final episode. However, despite computer-generated graphics being used in the past to bring certain characters back (including her own character, young Princess Leia, in Rogue One), it’s been confirmed that out of respect for the great actress, her likeness will not be recreated using CG effects. Whether JJ Abrams has any usable footage or audio recordings that can be used remains unclear at this point.

Emperor Palpatine might make some sort of appearance

The very ending of the teaser brought back memories of an old acquaintance – Emperor Palpatine himself. The actor who has portrayed him in the past, Ian McDiarmid, also featured in the marketing campaign of the new film. Despite his claims that Palpatine is positively and absolutely dead, you never know. Deceased characters have returned before, in one way or another (Master Yoda being the most recent culprit), so I guess we can take his declaration with a grain of salt.

The rise of which Skywalker?

Speaking of dead characters returning, the title of Episode IX has fueled a multitude of fan theories, some more realistically-sounding than others. The easiest way to interpret the title is Luke returning as a ghost, and getting stuff done once again. Other fans think it’s all about Kylo Ren – or Ben Solo, if we may – and his shift in allegiance toward the other extreme of the Force. Some far-fetched discussions even mention that Rey might be Luke’s daughter. A theory which might be worthwhile to mention is that the title per se is a trap – and ‘Skywalker’ refers more to an idea or a motif rather than a specific individual.

Article written by Julian Leu for The Monthly Film Festival

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1.5.2019
 

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