FULL BREAKDOWN: The Rise of Skywalker Final Trailer
Updated: Oct 27, 2019
There is only one event that could convince a person to sit through a Monday Night Football game between the New England Patriots and New York Jets--a Star Wars trailer. Let's ignore the fact we could have just waited for the online drop.
A 2:30 trailer is deemed the "Final" trailer for the final installment of the Skywalker Saga that will put Star Wars fans in the seats at least five times based on Twitter. It's a fair criticism this is the only trailer as the Star Wars Celebration footage in April was a simple teaser and the D23 "Memory lane" footage was a handful of shots in the grand scheme of things. It's clear JJ Abrams and crew want to keep as many secrets as possible leading to the debut of this grand finale in December. That's typical JJ and we can assume there is some misdirect in this trailer and that should be accepted and welcomed by fans. Satisfaction is based on expectation and the less you enter your movie-going experience with, the far greater your chances of losing yourself in this galaxy far far away.
Below BTBD Creator and Host David Amelotti and BTBD.com's Lead Contributor Marie E. Wilson grabbed 16 shots from the trailer to identify what we see, what we think we see, and what we think its purpose is for the story.
Let's get to it!
Rey is always out of breathe. Have you ever noticed this? Like The Last Jedi trailer, we start off with Rey panting, in a full sprint, on a lush jungle planet complete with beautiful critter sounds. Whether it's climbing fallen Star Destroyers in the dunes of Jakku, losing control of the force on Ahch-To, or a stroll through the woods on this unknown planet, this girl is always catching her breath. When the weight of the fractured galaxy is on your shoulders, you have to make sure you have strong lungs. Rey busts through, training with remotes, as an old Rebel helmet clatters to the forest floor.
*Note from David: "This looks like the planet where Rey embraces Leia in previously seen footage. Curious if Leia somehow is providing Rey training with assistance of the Jedi texts stolen from Luke before departing Ahch-To. But what if Leia is teaching her and not alone. Could this be the place where Luke imparts sage wisdom before Rey and company head off to face the Emperor? No clue, but there's a chance Leia and Luke appear early to step aside for Rey to face off against Kylo."
"It's an instinct. A feeling. The force brought us together."-- Finn
Rey continues to train, leaping from the side of a ravine and landing on what appears to be Death Star II wreckage in the ocean.
*Note from Marie: "Although these being an actual continuous shot does work and would be super cool and Force-like, my money's on editing making this magic happen."
As Finn continues to speak, we see a shot of him with quadnoculars probably on Pasaana and then cut back to Rey on the jungle planet and get a spectacular sweeping view of the landscape as seen below.
*Note from David: "Some fans have been led to believe since the first image of Finn holding the Skywalker saber during The Force Awakens promotional campaign that Finn would be a Force user. These words fuel the idea because, to an extent, a person has to be trained to tap into the Force, right? One could make the argument that Rey disproves this by her actions in The Force Awakens. Once she is told of the Force's abilities or ability to allow a person to perform, she can do mind tricks and overwhelm a vulnerable Kylo Ren. There's a good chance fans would accept Finn as a Force user or Force-capable character. It would be a great explanation behind how Finn separated himself so drastically from the other First Order troopers in training."
"We're not alone. Good people will fight if we lead them."-- Poe
*Note from David: "Poe is a liability. He's a charming, vocal, aggressive, sarcastic, fly boy that has always demonstrated great passion for The Resistance's cause but has forced himself and others to fall victim to his recklessness. At least, this is the Poe we know from what transpired during The Last Jedi. These words suggest Poe, in the year between Rian Johnson's film and JJ's return to the franchise, has grown as a person and as a leader in this Rebel Alliance 2.0 that is about to engage in the greatest battle told in the Star Wars universe....if you have watched the trailer, you know what these words refer to. Yes, horses riding into battle on Star Destroyers."
Poe's words echo as we see a hangar bay full of Rebels. Notice Lando might be at the helm of this meeting as he's the only one sitting...or maybe that's because of his age.
*Note from Marie: "The idea of the old scoundrel being in charge brings joy to my heart! Seems like he's a bigger part of the movie than anybody originally expected. And we see Rose walking forward as people are running in the background--something appears to be going down! I absolutely love her new get up by the way. She and Poe seem to have a very similar adventurer aesthetic going on."
Chewie, Finn, and Poe then appear next to Poe's new "creamsicle" X-wing, also in the jungle.
*Note from David: "There have already been some incredible ideas of who could appear in this sequence. It would be interesting if Admiral Ackbar's son, Aftab, appeared, or would JJ be kind enough to give the Bothans their on-screen debut?!"
This is followed by a gorgeous shot of what we assume is a CR90 Corvette (think Tantive IV) bursting through the tops of the trees, seemingly in a hurry to blast off.
"People keep telling me they know me. No one does."-- Rey
As we see the Death Star II wreckage in the ocean from afar, Rey stands atop it. Who do you think will answer her proclamation? None other than Kylo Ren as he busts through a sheet of water with his lightsaber ablaze, saying in his own voice over--
"But I do." - Kylo
Yes he does.
The music swells as a whole heap of TIE fighters zoom straight for a floating ice island! How do these physics work? I'll definitely accept it though because it just looks so freaking cool!
*Note from David: "I went pretty in-depth as to what I want this planet to be. Hint, ILUM! You can read my reasons why I want it to be ILUM but it won't be ILUM on my original story previewing the Monday Night Football trailer debut."
"Long have I waited. And now, your coming together is your undoing."
-- The Emperor
A stone throne is revealed as lightning illuminates the shot. The first place someone's mind could go is "Black Diamond," because of the design engraved to the back of the throne. "Black Diamond" was the working title for The Rise of Skywalker. The title is also believed by some to have a connection to Snoke because of the black diamond ring he sported.
*Note from David: "I don't think there is a connection to Snoke because we know his ring is from a larger stone underneath Vader's Castle on Mustafar." This throne design closely resembles the concept art from Ralph McQuarrie's art for Return of the Jedi in the earlier 80's. I think the stones jetting out from the back remind me of the Night Sisters on Dathomir. It would be fascinating if they played a role in the Emperor's resurrection. I wouldn't put a Vegas bet on it.
Let's jump to a Star Destroyer RISING UP FROM UNDERNEATH A MASSIVE ICE SURFACE!!!
*Note from Marie: "I didn't know I could experience a visual this freaking cool, but here it is! I wonder if this is Palpatine raising the Star Destroyer by way of the Force? And could this be where all the Imperial-era Star Destroyers we've seen in trailers come from??...below the ice?! He really has waited for this day."
THE GHOST IS IN FORMATION BEHIND THE FALCON. REPEAT, THE GHOST WE LAST SAW IN ROGUE ONE IS IN FORMATION. Of course The Ghost is most popular as:
"A modified VCX-100 light freighter owned by the Twi'lek Hera Syndulla that was used by the Spectres rebel cell during the Age of the Empire. As part of the rebellion, the Ghost saw actions on numerous missions and skirmishes against the forces of the Galactic Empire," - Wookiepedia.
We also see a Hammerhead corvette, Bunkerbuster corvette, a Dornean gunship, and a Neb-B Green. But there are too many ships to identify, let alone count. That was the thought until one dedicated fan took to Paint to circle and identify the above mentioned ships and more. A big thanks to Twitter user, @AdmiralNick22 for a thorough breakdown of most, if not all, the ships showcased in this shot.
Just as Palpatine begins the second sentence of his voice over, we see Rey, Chewie, Finn, C-3PO, and Poe in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon and it just feels oh so right. We then go back to the Death Star II wreckage where Rey and Kylo are battling it out as waves crash--the imagery is super compelling!
*Note from Marie: "I do feel like they show the Death Star II wreckage an awful lot though...I think we get it now. I'm just ready to see these scenes in context in the movie itself! And Palpatine finishes up as something in space explodes and we see what looks very similar to a skim speeder (a la The Last Jedi) traveling over the ocean water."
The trailer slows down for a few seconds to give us an actual scene at this point. We see Babu Frik (the tiny droidsmith) working on C-3PO as the protocol droid is attached to a wide array of wires. It seems as if Poe, Rey, Finn, and Zorii Bliss have just entered the room (meaning 3PO had complete agency in whatever act he is about to commit) as Poe says, "What uh...what're you doing there 3PO." 3PO's response makes my heart stop it is so sad!! Plus it has so many crazy possible implications!
"Taking one last look sir, at my friends." -- C-3PO
It's hard to replicate the power of, "Chewie, We're Home," from the initial teaser for The Force Awakens (2015). But you have to give this moment an "A" for effort as this is just as much Anthony Daniels saying "Good-bye" as his character. This moment sinks in on the second viewing as 3PO says goodbye to his counterpart R2-D2 and Chewbacca, but it's also a goodbye to Kenny Baker and Peter Mayhew who have passed in recent years.
*Note from Marie: "It is quite possible that he's uploading a program to become a killing machine to help with the big fight--remember his red eyes from the D23 teaser?? My bet's on the 0-0-0 personality matrix from the "Dr. Aphra" comics, but it might also be Mr. Bones' personality matrix (Snap Wexley's crazy battle droid) from the Aftermath trilogy of adult novels. Either way, I really do feel some sort of deep canon connection in whatever is happening in this scene."
Snaps for the Trade Federation Battle Droid that is off in the shadows to the right of C-3PO. Those little call backs to the prequels will go a long way to making these sequel films feel connected to the overall saga.
Finn, Poe, and Chewie then barrel through a pristine hallway blasting down stormtroopers.
"Confronting fear is the destiny of a Jedi. Your destiny."-- Luke
Rey and Leia hug in the jungle as Luke's words break through. The Pasaana speeder chase begins in earnest, Lando and Chewie fly the Falcon, and a Y-wing attacks a Star Destroyer.
The music then ramps up and we get a variety of scenes including Jannah and her crew along with Finn galloping on orbaks through a battle.
*Note from Marie: "Jannah, oh Jannah!! She leads the charge on her orbak with her hair flying in the wind behind her. I'm already in love with this character. She just seems so intense and hardcore, in other words...a badass. But that takes me back to a time when I thought another character would be a badass in this sequel trilogy--Captain Phasma. Before The Force Awakens came out I went and bought everything Phasma that I could...FUNKO Pop, posters, cups, everything. I was all in for this mysterious and seemingly amazing new female stormtrooper. And then...well, she shuts down Starkiller Base's shields to save her own behind and barely has any screen time in either movie--granted she has a very full and fleshed out story in the literature, but she's still not what I had expected. Please please please let Jannah stay awesome!"
Next, Finn running along the Death Star II wreckage yelling at presumably Rey.
Then we jump to Rey and Kylo facing off in the Death Star II throne room. It's incredible to see the Emperor's tower still semi intact 30 years later after the destruction of Death Star II. How is the Emperor's chair still resembling a chair? One would think after an explosion and crashing into a planet that the chair would be decimated. No matter, this provides an incredible back drop to hopefully a well choreographed lightsaber duel to give us those Return of the Jedi feels.
Where in the last shot we see Rey and Kylo looking as if they are seconds away from facing off, the next shot of the two shows them working in tandem. One immediately notices the two destroy some type of statue together. Some speculate that statue is one of Darth Vader.
This sequence leaves us with many questions. Is that Vader's mask? Where in the world could they be? Why are they working in tandem??
*Note from David: "Kylo and Rey seem to be working together in this shot. They take swings at a black statue that possibly has Vader's helmet. It's the environment that is super interesting though. All white with First Order light fixtures. Off into the distance on the right side you see other buildings and those buildings look pretty similar to Cloud City. Could we be making a return to Cloud City? Is there a chance that the Empire maintained control of Cloud City after the events we witness in Empire Strikes Back. That would make sense except we know thanks to Chuck Wendig's "Aftermath" trilogy of novels that Lando takes Cloud City back over from the Imperials after Governor Adelhard is removed.
There also appears to be a dagger in Rey's left hand. It seems a lot of fans have tried to connect it to the Dagger of Mortis from the "Clone Wars" series. The episodes in question introduced us to the Father, Daughter, and Son of the living Force.
"A mystical weapon that resided on the Altar of the Wild Space world of Mortis. The weapon was kept hidden on the realm of Mortis by the Father, who kept it as a means that could control his children, the Daughter and the Son. The weapon was capable of controlling the sibling pair of powerful Force wielders, and it was also capable of killing them, if necessary. When used on the Father, however, his death at the hands of the dagger would rob his children of their immortality." -- Wookiepedia
You can learn more about the Dagger of Mortis, the planet Mortis itself, and the Father and his children by watching the "Clone Wars" episodes "Alter of Mortis" and "Ghosts of Mortis." These two episodes are personal favorites because they dive into the living Force which clearly was an interest of George Lucas as this series concluded. It's why I would have liked to see how he approached a sequel trilogy knowing he was hoping to explore more of the micro world of the Force. ---We have provided background on the dagger because it's where a lot of fans have gone with their speculating but as some have pointed out like our friend Patric Covey, the Mortis dagger and the dagger in Rey's hand doesn't seem to have the same design. But still fun to explore!
The only other dagger of prominence that comes to mind is the original concept for Padme in Revenge of the Sith. Originally she kept a dagger with her in case Anakin would betray her. That was cut from the movie...as was most of Padme. Maybe JJ thought to bring back a dagger or maybe that is Padme's dagger? We don't know.
The orbaks are back again but this time galloping along what appears to be the top of a Star Destroyer in a sky FULL of Star Destroyers. You've noticed by now that these are not First Order destroyers. JJ specifically has the Imperial Class I model from the original trilogy in use.
"The Imperial I-class Star Destroyer, also referred to as an Imperial-class Star Destroyer or Star Destroyer, was a model of Imperial-class Star Destroyer in the service of the Imperial Navy." - Wookiepedia
*Note from David: "Really the question here is how was this armada of ships preserved this long? To me, it proves that we know very little about Operation Cinder. That's the Emperor's contingency plan that was introduced in Star Wars Battlefront 2. We know the Empire was splintered after the destruction of Death Star II and the remnants of the Empire became factions trying to gain control of territories. Does this armada play into Operation Cinder? Was Cinder a balk while the Emperor enacted an ulterior motive simultaneously? Is this where the Sith Troopers come into play? Can it be December already?"
In this moment we see a Rey walking backwards on an icy surface. Maybe the viewer misses it the first time viewing, but a second time one knows for certain that there is a hooded figure on some kind of apparatus that makes a crawling motion. That hood, those finger tips, that is the Emperor walking towards Rey and he seems to have the high ground.
*Note from Marie: "She appears to be standing on ice! Is it the same place where the floating ice island from earlier in the trailer is?? And goodness I can't get enough of staring at this image. Just seeing Palpatine in the flesh again gives me absolute goosebumps in the best of ways!!"
"The Force will be with you." --Luke
"...always." -- Leia
We see Rey with her blue lightsaber lighting up her face, frankly looking terrified. THE END
*Note from Marie: "All I can say is, I am super excited and can tell this is going to be a wild freaking ride!! So happy I went ahead and bought tickets for back to back showings on Dec 19th!! This is going to be a blast. Even though, as is the case for all the sequel trilogy trailers, we have no idea what this movie is about, no plot hints whatsoever. I can live with that...mostly because Palpatine is back!!!"
*Note from David: "I loved this trailer. It's a fun trailer. So many incredible looking shots. At the same time, I can't tell you what this movie is about. My assumption is there is a greater disturbance and Rey faces the Emperor. Maybe Kylo joins her side or maybe when the two come together they resurrect the Emperor? I'm reaching!"
What Went Right
A massive space "War to end all wars" front and center
More shots of lightsaber combat
A new glance at the Emperor
The cinematography--it feels like a Star Wars movie
John Williams's score front and center
What Went Wrong
A missed opportunity to blatantly show The Emperor
No visual incorporation of Luke
We don't know anything about the story
After having watched this trailer more than a dozen times, I'm really comfortable saying it's a great trailer but I think this would have better served the marketing effort and fan satisfaction as the first trailer. Lots of space ships, ligthsabers, explosions, landscapes are getting people talking: some for the first time. I will stand by the idea that The Emperor's eyes to end the trailer or Luke as a Force ghost walking into the shot would have elevated this 2:30 trailer to "Mic-drop" status. That said, it's a trailer which is really a commercial so I'm sold on cool looking stuff and for the next two months I will hope for a rich story that is just as awe-inspiring.
Now, as Porky the Pig would say, "That's all folks!" Maybe for this article it's best to refer to Yoda's words, "Rest, I need. Yes, rest."
What do you think of our breakdown and observations of the trailer? Be sure you share your feedback and your hopes with us on Twitter @BTBDStarWars.
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20th, 2019. Tickets are now available for purchase.