Shot by Shot with ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ D23 Trailer

Skip to the end. Seriously. This is the kind of trailer where the final shots consume all your thoughts, and it takes a little while before you can begin to process any of the other revelations packed within. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker currently rests as our most anticipated film of the Fall/Holiday season. Based on those last two shots of you-know-who slinging you-know-what, we’re gnawing our fingernails down to the bone in excitement. It’s going to be a rough couple of months of waiting.

Episode IX closes the book on a four-decade-plus story. That’s a big promise. J.J. Abrams has the eyes of the world on him, and below those eyes are a whole lot of mouths ready to spout, and below those mouths are even more fingers ready to lash out at their laptops. Based on what we see below, at the very least, the film is an absolute stunner of a picture. One shot after the other and we’re already salivating over the inevitable Blu-ray. We want to dissect this baby inch by inch.

Wait – wait – what? Darth Rey (Daisy Ridley)!?! Has she gone full-Dark Side? Is she a clone? Is this just a Dark Side cave vision a la Luke’s Dagobah duel in Empire Strikes Back!?!? Relax. We gotta listen to our favorite Skywalker on this one, “Breathe. Just breathe.” Skip to the end, or don’t, we’ll get to it, but first, let’s journey back through the saga as this trailer does and go shot by shot.

The Rise of Skywalker trailer opens on a frame of the two suns (Tatoo and Tatoo II) orbiting Tatooine. We’re going back to where it all began – release schedule-wise – in 1977 when a poor adopted kid of a moisture farmer dreamed of bigger things for himself. The power converters on Tosche station can wait; the teenager hungers for adventure.

Destiny calls. John Williams‘ “The Force Theme” from A New Hope reverberates in our soul as Luke stares past the horizon. We’ve been assured that The Skywalker Saga will end with Episode IX. Decades of stories are building to this final runtime, and J.J. Abrams has the unenviable task of pleasing the most rabid fanbase on the planet.

Victory. It’s been had before, and it can be had again. Simpler, precious, and revered times.

Darth Vader, the chosen one, fallen. He carried all the hopes and dreams of Qui-Gon Jinn, but he was unable to prevent his rage from consuming his essence. His hate turned on all those he once loved, and he became the greatest turncoat in galactic history. If not for the love of his son, he would have left this life as a wretched waste of scum.

Hey – Boba Fett! We love that dude for some reason. A super rad suit, obvi. His placement here in this trailer (taken from Return of the Jedi even though it’s during the Empire Strikes Back segment of the montage) seems to act only as a reminder of how amazing that Mandalorian footage looked. Disney+ subscription guaranteed.

“I love you,” she said. “I know,” he said. Shut up; you’re crying. I’m not crying. Sniff. It’s dusty in here. Han Solo is gone. Carrie Fisher is gone. This iconic moment mixed with the Williams music strikes all the heartstrings. Human connection. That’s what it’s all about. Even in the bleakest moments, we can find peace in our bond with others. This is Star Wars. Lightsabers and Tie Fighters and Ugnaughts are great, but it’s the relationships between the heroes we love that keeps us up at night worrying about the fates of fictional people.


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Brad Gullickson: @@MouthDork Trekkie, Not Trekker. Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects, co-host of the In The Mouth of Dorkness Podcast.