First Look At Final Star Wars Film Gives Heavy Touch of Excitement to Divided Fanbase

A Breakdown and Reaction to the First Teaser

Joey Goodsir, Editor

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DISCLAIMER: This column contains spoilers surrounding the first teaser trailer of Star Wars: Episode IX. If you are one of the few people in the galaxy who haven’t seen it yet, watch below before scrolling down:












So, that happened.

We know what you are feeling – because we’re feeling shocked too. Before we move any further in talking about how this trailer affects the Star Wars Universe and how I feel about it, let’s break things down in detail so we can fully comprehend what we all saw within the teaser itself.

I’m very happy to be inviting TFS reader and fellow Star Wars fan Mark Smirnov to give you that breakdown. I’ll be back with all the big introspective stuff afterwards.


Scene-By-Scene Breakdown of Star Wars: Episode IX

With guest writer (and Star Wars fanatic) Mark Smirnov


A familiar start.

We open with the famous glowing “Lucasfilm” logo, revealed at the beginning of every Star Wars film to date. The first thing we hear is Rey’s breathing – a common feature of recent trailers.

Rey begins another trailer, this time on an unidentified desert planet.

The big thing for this slow beginning of the first sequence is the voiceover, which features very obvious and, more importantly, NEW Luke Skywalker dialogue. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the famous Jedi that centered the original movies will have a significant role post-mortem in this new film.

The first piece of text seen in the teaser. JJ Abrams logically takes a reflective and time-encompassing approach to the last episode of the Skywalker Saga.

This is actually true. Every trilogy of the Skywalker Saga has had a legend. The fall of Anakin Skywalker and the rise of Darth Vader defined the Prequels. Luke’s epic journey defined the Originals and placed him in legendary status forever in the galaxy. This is the film that’ll really show us Rey’s place in all of this and if she is, in fact, the legend of the sequel-trilogy-generation.

Fun Fact: these same words also appeared here, at the beginning of the Phantom Menace’s first trailer in 1997.


The teaser picks up speed as a ship picks up speed, approaching Rey.

Yup – it’s Kylo Ren. Confirmed. The leather gloves are almost certainly his.

Perfect shot of Rey (Force) jumping over Kylo Ren’s “TIE Silencer.”

The new Star Wars movies are actually cinematically amazing. Like not even kidding. This shot is a testament to that. Plot debates aside, the level of filmmaking and cinematography that the crew at Lucasfilm has reached has been extraordinary.

The film comes out in December – a familiar season for Star Wars film releases in recent years.

Although Lucasfilm tried to release a movie (the second anthology film Solo: A Star Wars Story) outside of the typical release date, it soon became clear that the holiday season had been newly linked with Star Wars, and thus December solidified itself as the best time to put these out.

This big one is coming out on December 20th, to be exact. Start the countdown.

Kylo Ren’s helmet is back together again, and it looks pretty freaking sick.

Honestly, this once again seems to be JJ Abrams righting the wrongs made by Rian Johnson in the previous film – The Last Jedi. But obviously, all of that is still up for debate.

It does make sense, though. Kylo was basically a wanna-be Vader until Snoke insulted him and called him a “child in a mask.” But now, assuming his new position of Supreme Leader of the First Order, it seems as though Kylo has found the balance he needs to fully give himself to the Dark Side, lead his empire, and live up to the expectation of becoming the new Darth Vader.

A new droid joins BB-8 for Episode IX.

BB-8 has a new buddy: D/O. It’s a weird name that was revealed separately at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago over the weekend, but I guess we’ll learn more about him when the film comes out.


Lando Calrissian – the smooth-talking smuggler and selfless leader from the fifth and sixth episodes of the saga – is back in the Millenium Falcon, the ship he first owned before Han Solo won it from him “fair and square.”

Given Han’s death in the seventh film, Luke’s death in the eighth, and Leia’s final appearance in this film, Lando seems like the perfect Original Trilogy character to go to at this point.

Leia (presumably) holds one of the medals she awarded to Han and Luke at the Rebel Base on Yavin 4 in the original film Star Wars (A New Hope).

Nostalgia galore, people.

It’s true.

It’s kind of crazy to think about. This film is the final installment of the entire Skywalker Saga – the third film of the third trilogy of a three-act play.

Not only will this be finishing the storyline from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, but it will – on its own – be concluding the entire arc of all 9 films of the Skywalker Saga, including The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. What’s even crazier is that John Williams has composed the score for every single one of these movies, and the epic blaring sound we hear in this trailer is just as incredible as the iconic scores and themes he’s composed over the past 40 years.

The above words from this 2019 teaser are a callback to this, from the 1997 trailer for The Phantom Menace.


Finn, Poe, and C-3PO look like they’re in trouble.

Here, the gang looks like they’re being chased – a familiar scene in Star Wars movies. From the podracing in The Phantom Menace to the speeder bike chases in Return of the Jedi, chases are part of the Star Wars thrill, and it looks like we’ll be getting more of it in Episode IX.

An emotional scene with Rey and Princess Leia.

The teaser confirms that General Leia Organa – played by the late Carrie Fisher – will, in fact, make her final Star Wars appearance through unused Force Awakens footage. Hopefully, it’ll be a proper sendoff for one of the most beloved characters in the franchise.

What on Earth (well, clearly not) are they staring at?

So this is kind of interesting. People have claimed that those are indeed the ruins of the second Death Star. But if that’s true, then we have a serious inconsistency problem, because, by the looks of it from Return of the Jedi, there shouldn’t really be any pieces of the Death Star left. It literally got obliterated.

A familiar laugh marks the climax and the most surprising part of the teaser.
(I thought the caption on YouTube was kinda funny, too).

Emperor Sheev Palpatine – also known as Darth Sidious – apparently survived his fall down the shaft of the second Death Star. He’s back to close out this sequel trilogy of Star Wars films and is introduced by a chilling Luke soundbite, saying “no one’s ever really gone” – an emotional quote from the previous movie.

Atta boy, JJ.

The title is revealed to be “The Rise of Skywalker,” with the film marketing color to be blue this time around.

So obviously no one knows what this means.

Who’s the Skywalker the title references? Is Rey truly a Skywalker? Does Luke’s legacy somehow have an astounding impact on this film? How will the rise of this Skywalker conclude the saga of the same name?

There’s lots of questions to be answered. But you can’t deny the excitement. Especially after the disappointment of The Last Jedi, I really do want to see this film. It’s happening, and I really am excited to see how Abrams rounds everything out and concludes one of the greatest movie sagas in cinematic history.

Now that we know what we saw (or at least most of it), there is a lot to unbox and review, so I’m gonna hand it back over to Joey.


What We Make of All of This:

So I’m going to be brutally honest right now. Star Wars: The Last Jedi hurt me back in December of 2017.

I saw it first on a Friday night primetime screening on opening weekend and came home in a whirlwind of confusion. Then, I saw it for a second time a couple of days later and left saddened by the fact that Episode VIII was at best polarizing, and at worst terrible – with my own view leaning toward the terrible side.

It was not the cinematography or visuals – those were outstanding, and probably the best I had ever seen.  It was not necessarily the script-writing, as it did not carry the immense script flaws of a prequel film.

It was just a simple but catastrophic failure of a plot-writing job by director Rian Johnson, Kathleen Kennedy, and the LucasFilm team that horrifically corrupted the movie from its foundation before filming started – and seemingly at the time, corrupted the trilogy as well.

I won’t dive too deep into my reasoning behind my perspective on this polarizing debate, but I will say that despite some flaws in its similarities with the original movie A New Hope, the biggest positive out of Episode VII: The Force Awakens was a indisputably strong setup for a very large trilogy.

In my opinion, The Last Jedi failed to take any of these opportunities, preferring nonsensical surprise, inconsistency, and almost non-existent plot development.

Questions that were undoubtedly the ones to be asked were answered with destruction from Rian Johnson:

How does Luke react to the lightsaber that was so dramatically teased? He doesn’t care. Who are Rey’s parents? No one. Who is Snoke? Doesn’t matter, he’s dead. Does Rey get any training or development? No, anyone can use the force whenever they want now, including random final scene kid and Mary Poppins Leia. How is Finn’s story going to develop? In a pointless fifteen minute side quest that literally ends up not making any impact on the plot whatsoever. Is Kylo Ren actually going to develop as a villain in any way close to his grandfather in his second film? No, the only thing he does that is scary is kill the past (which is the opposite of the entire Disney formula anyway at this point).

I can stop now. You get the point. I hated that movie. I wasn’t in a good place with the state of the saga whatsoever. Solo was mildly enjoyable, but it all just seemed like sad and lost potential.

This teaser is a small, but very important, first step in the right direction. The fanbase was in turmoil, and this teaser successfully got nearly all of us back to “intrigued” mode.”

My position became simple and clear: Episode IX director JJ Abrams faces a challenge in developing this movie considering the detrimental flaws of the previous episode. For that reason, my expectations remain extremely low, however a good movie would warrant potentially the greatest film of the saga – as Abrams will have done the near-impossible in fixing what had been broken.

I also knew that I would remain sad until I would submit weakly to the hype of the trailers for the film. Enter this crucial teaser, and that is almost exactly what happened.

Hearing Lando’s laugh had me thrilled. Hearing the emperor making a surprise and epic return had me even more thrilled.

While the title took a little longer to digest, I now embrace it as Abrams’ explicit message to the fans that the imperfect results of The Last Jedi would be corrected, and the Skywalker name would stand in the legendary nature it deserves to stand in.

JJ Abrams is a very smart director who, unlike his smart colleague who made The Last Jedi, truly understands the desires of his audience. This helps him go a step further.

It is not necessarily Johnson’s fault that he didn’t, as he didn’t seem to be that big of a Star Wars fan from a story perspective. It is just that Abrams comprehends the saga and lore itself, and if not, tries to learn more to ensure that any mistakes can be avoided.

Rian Johnson simply didn’t get how to put together a good movie that is a part of a series with such a following. It (most likely unintentionally) came off to many fans as selfish.

I hope that Abrams uses his superior process again to his advantage, while considering the criticism The Force Awakens also received to improve his originality.

While I’m not going to go out and say that this teaser completely turns things around for me, I will say that the first teaser for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a small, but very important and necessary, first step in the right direction. The fanbase was divided and in turmoil, and this teaser successfully got nearly all of us back to “intrigued” mode.

I am very intrigued to see what they are going to do with this. May the Force be with them.


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker comes out in theaters on December 20, 2019.

Before you click away, enjoy the quite message-sending reaction from the first fans who saw the teaser – at this weekend’s Star Wars Celebration here in Chicago: