Frame-by-frame analysis of the Rise of Skywalker trailer

Frame-by-frame analysis of the Rise of Skywalker trailer
Ben Bowman

Ben Bowman

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The brand new teaser trailer for “Star Wars: Episode IX” rolled out today. If you haven’t taken your first look at “The Rise of Skywalker,” what are you waiting for? You can watch it right here:

Rise of Skywalker cast

Okay, let’s break this trailer down to see what we can learn.

An in-depth analysis of the Star Wars: Episode IX trailer

The clip begins with Rey’s heavy breathing. She calms herself, as a Jedi would.

We hear new dialogue from Luke Skywalker: “We’ve passed on all we know. A thousand generations live in you now. But this is your fight.”

Skywalker Saber

As Luke’s words roll out, we see that Rey has reassembled her lightsaber. (Remember, that used to belong to Luke and Anakin.) This was confirmed when Daisy Ridley told the Star Wars Celebration audience, “The lightsaber that Rey inherited from Luke lives.”

Saber standoff

Rey ignites the saber, but you’ll see she still carries a blaster in her holster. Clumsy and random, it might be, but also good in a fight.

Rey's hood

Rey’s outfit now includes a hood. Another Jedi trademark.

Rey runs

Rey runs from an incoming TIE silencer. This looks modified from previous versions we’ve seen. Given the gloved hands behind the controls (or, possibly, a shot of the controls from another scene), we’re meant to think Kylo Ren is in the cockpit.

Rey's jump

Since even a Jedi can’t outrun a spaceship, Rey does this awesome flip backward. It’s hard to tell from this frame, but if you watch the trailer, you’ll see her trajectory won’t carry her completely clear of the incoming ship. It certainly looks like she’s going to carve a hole in the cockpit with her lightsaber (maybe killing/wounding the pilot).

New Planet

What looks to be an A-wing soars toward a new city on what looks to be a new planet.

Kylo Ren fights

Kylo Ren messes people up. We’ve gotten strong hints we’re going to see the Knights of Ren in this film. The lighting suggests this might be some kind of flashback. Also making a return in this film: J.J. Abrams’ trademark lens flare.

Kylo Ren helmet

Kylo Ren gets his helmet repaired. Interestingly, the red/black combo here is mirrored in that TIE silencer from the first scene of the trailer.

Poe and Finn

We loved the Finn-Poe bromance in “The Force Awakens.” Looks like we’ll get lots of it in this film. Although this looks like Geonosis, it’s hard to imagine that’s actually where they are.

BB-8 and DO

During the Star Wars Celebration panel, J.J. Abrams said that BB-8’s new friend is named “Dio.” No word if that’s D-O or DE-O or some kind of tribute to Ronnie James Dio. Anyway, that’s this little bot’s name.

Lando Rise of Skywalker

So good to see Lando back at the controls of the Millennium Falcon, right beside Chewie. Seems like he’s loving the reunion.

Quidditch Troopers

One of the weirder shots in the trailer features what look to be Stormtroopers on Quidditch brooms or something. Hovertroopers? Jetpacktroopers?

Skiff chase

Finn, Poe, and C-3PO look like they’re trying to outrun the Quidditchtroopers on a skiff like the one we saw in “Return of the Jedi.”

Death Star medalWhose Medal of Bravery is this? Han’s? Luke’s? Maybe those are Leia’s hands and she’s finally going to get around to giving one to Chewbacca. (You’ll remember this is the same style of medal that Leia gave the heroes at the end of “A New Hope.”)


This moment broke us. So good to see Carrie Fisher back on screen. So sad that she’s gone. J.J. Abrams said they assembled her performance from unused footage from the previous films. Will it be sweet? Creepy? This shot looks like a new angle of the hug these characters gave each other at the end of “The Force Awakens.”

Main cast

End of the movie? Beginning of the movie? We’ve got most of the cast together, so it feels like it might be the end. Poe has something tied around his arm, suggesting a prior injury. He isn’t wearing that during the skiff chase scene.

Maybe new Death Star

“Hello. What have we here?” What are we looking at? Sure looks like that crescent is part of the distinctive ring around the laser cannon from a Death Star. Hmmm…

Again, we hear Luke speaking: “We’ll always be with you. No one’s ever really gone.”

And then, we hear Emperor Palpatine laughing. It’s spooky and weird and we simultaneously love and fear what this means. (Please be good. Please be good. Please be good.)

Who didn’t we see in the Rise of Skywalker trailer?

The teaser is notable for some omissions. We did not see…

Rose Tico: After catching some pretty foul trolling on social media, Kelly Marie Tran pulled back from the spotlight for a bit. She was present at today’s Celebration panel, and they shared this image of her character, so we know Rose returns.

R2-D2: Little Artoo has not gotten a ton of screen time in the new trilogy, but when he has, the tiny droid usually provides a big emotional punch.

Maz Kanata: No surprise here. After her small cameo in “The Last Jedi,” there’s no particular reason for her to appear in a teaser.

General Hux: Also no surprise. With Kylo Ren now leading the First Order, Hux fades to the background.

Captain Phasma: She’s probably dead. After being wasted for two movies, maybe it’s for the best.

DJ The Last Jedi

DJ: The Star Wars universe generally doesn’t leave loose ends lying around, so we’re likely to see Benicio Del Toro’s weird, stuttering backstabber again. Maybe Rose tracks him down for some revenge.

This weird alien guy: It seems like the leaked poster for the film might be real now. This weird thing featured prominently in the poster, giving us some scary Jar Jar vibes.

Snap Wexley: Because J.J. Abrams has some sort of weird Greg Grunberg fetish, and because of the image above, we know Wexley appears in the film. Who knows what’s to come for the portliest X-Wing pilot since Porkins?

The goofy stable boy: Remember the kid at the end of “The Last Jedi” who used the Force to summon a broom? No sign of him. Some fans theorized he would be some major figure in the film to come, but it’s more likely that he was just there to show that there were plenty of Force-sensitive people throughout the galaxy.

Zorii: Keri Russell is another J.J. Abrams favorite. We know she appears in this film, though there’s no word on her role. IMDB has her listed as “Zorii.” Probably Rey’s mother, if we had to guess.

Jannah: Naomi Ackie plays someone called Jannah, according to IMDB. It’s a good bet she’s Lando’s daughter.

????: Richard E. Grant is part of the cast. We have no idea who he’s playing, but he wasn’t in the teaser. Ditto for Dominic Monaghan. One of these gents may be Rey’s father. As for the other, who knows?

Emperor Palpatine: Yes, that’s clearly his voice at the end of the trailer. However, we didn’t see him. Again, it’s unlikely for Star Wars to do a bait-and-switch, but there are many ways Palapatine could appear without being, well, alive. For one, he could be an evil Force ghost, perhaps the mastermind behind Snoke or the cause of Kylo Ren’s conflicted feelings. Or yeah, maybe he’s alive. Since “Solo” made the odd choice to resurrect Darth Maul with robot legs after his seemingly fatal fall, maybe it’s now Star Wars canon that no one can die from a crazy tumble.

Ackmena: Since her debut in the 1978 “Star Wars Holiday Special,” we’ve been anxiously awaiting Bea Arthur’s return to the saga. Sadly, we may never hear her glorious singing voice ever again. Though based on this clip, maybe we were hearing Bea Arthur’s voice instead of the Emperor’s at the end of the trailer.

The final film in the Star Wars saga (for now anyway) arrives in theaters on December 20.

Ben Bowman

Ben Bowman

Ben Bowman is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who led's editorial team in 2018 and 2019. Before joining Softonic, he was the Head of Content for and a news producer for NBC, Fox, and CBS. He is an award-winning filmmaker and director of sketch and improv comedy, and a contributing writer for the Pitch comedy app.

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