Here’s 100 screenshots breaking down everything revealed in this amazing trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
On Friday, April 12th, just after noon in Chicago, Illinois, Lucasfilm once again reasserted why Star Wars is the greatest film franchise ever. After a rousing panel at Star Wars Celebration Chicago, hosted by Stephen Colbert with JJ Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, and much of the cast of the upcoming film, the world was shows the first teaser trailer for what Star Wars Episode IX, forevermore known as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (note that episode numbers are once again removed from all Star Wars film titles).
Two minutes and three seconds in length, this “teaser trailer,” as JJ Abrams put it, is as long as most theatrical trailers. It’s an educated guess that it’s considered a teaser due to the limited scope of the footage—after all, more than 50% of the trailer is centered on one scene with Rey. See for yourself below.
Here at RetroZap, we’ve broken this trailer down, shot for shot, and presented initial thoughts, reactions, and theories.
The Title Screen
Breathe. Just…breathe. The patina of the Lucasfilm logo flashes across the screen, presaging the most exciting trailer reveals of our time. Rey breathes furtively before anything else is shown.
Back to the Desert
Ten seconds in, and a cut from black reveals Rey catching her breath in a desert. Is this Jakku? Is it Tatooine? It’s hard to say, although it looks more mountainous, with more atmosphere. Gathering clouds tell the tale of conflict about to be unleashed.
At first glance, Rey doesn’t look much different than she did a few years ago. However, she stands taller, more confident. Her eyes show a determination and steely resolve that was not there in The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi. Clearly, some time has passed. She is older, bolder, and chiseled out of stone.
The Master Sword
What’s this? The Master Sword—Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber—the one that cut down Mace Windu, the one that killed younglings, the one that fought Obi-Wan Kenobi on Mustafar, the one passed on the Luke Skywalker, who used it to duel his father in Cloud City, only to be lost on Bespin, to be found again and given to Rey on Takodana, only to be torn apart on the Supremacy in the shadow of Snoke’s corpse—THAT lightsaber is by Rey’s side, crafted anew in the time since the last film. also of note, this is not the garb Rey wore t the outset of her journey. It is styled similarly, but it is more carefully crafted: the fatigues of a warrior who knows who she is and how she is best dressed. Also, note the blaster given to her by Han Solo. Rey has the relics of her tutors on her; a hero in the final stage of her journey.
A TIE Approaches
She waits, as a dot appears on the horizon. She was waiting for this to come.
On better inspection, the saber has been reworked. It is shorter and more suited for Rey’s hand, with a black moulded grip. She has constructed her own lightsaber. Her skills are now complete.
This is Your Fight
Across this scene, Luke speaks over the action. Is he in Rey’s head? Or, by her side? He speaks in plural, as a representative for all the Jedi that has come before her. It feels almost like Other Memory in Dune, the collective consciousness of history that the prescient carry with them in that series. Could there be a similar phenomenon going on here?
We’ve passed on all we know.
The Thousand Generations live in you now.
But this is your fight.
Rey is ready. She is clearly now a Jedi, and has learned all that could be learned from the Jedi Order. What skills does this knight possess? Is she the Chosen One?
Every Generation has a Legend
It’s obvious that this is now Rey. How has her legend spread across the galaxy? At the end of The Last Jedi, Luke’s legend was the one proliferating and inspiring the broom boys of the universe. Could Rey’s story now be intertwined with that, given the deeds she’s performed since then?
A TIE Intercepts
A TIE fighter screams toward her. It is clearly a First Order Interceptor class.
The Lightsaber Ignites
This looks like Kylo Ren’s TIE Interceptor. And man, is it moving. But, why is it not firing on Rey?
Jedi Robes Revealed—with a Twist
Rey has augmented her clothing to include modified traditional Jedi robes. Her hood is white, direct antithesis of Anakin and Luke. Is there meaning here? Does it signify purity, as it did with Ganalf—or Ahsoka?
A Warrior Readies Herself
Rey is chiseled out of stone. Her hair is decidedly samurai-styled, and she has never looked stronger—a force to be reckoned with.
The Gloves of Kylo Ren
Let’s all be serious—is anyone debating whose hads these are? They belong to Kylo Ren.
One Last Look
A steely eyed glance back at this foe (is it even a foe?) before Rey starts speeding across the desert to meet it.
It;s hard to tell if this is Force-enabled speed, but Rey moves with a quickness as the TIE bears down upon her.
A Heavy Duty Interceptor
This TIE Fighter has blood-red components and blackened metal, a specialized, heavy-duty variant of the previously seen model. Rey prepared to jump…
Wow. Is she looking to land on top of this speeding TIE, or dodge it altogether? Why is the TIE not firing on her?It had her dead to rights. And why is Rey not readying herself to cut it down in her aerial maneuver? She visibly an audibly RETRACTS her saber. There’s more to this scene than meets the eye. But WOW, if it isn’t awe-inspiring.
That’s only eight months away!
Shrouded by Night…or Water?
A Resistance shuttle descends on a darkened, rocky landscape shrouded by clouds. Is this nighttime, or a planet always in darkness? As the shuttles enters the frame, a new city of glowing lights is revealed. What is this? There are towers, similar to Luke’s Jedi training temple…could it be Rey’s new order? Or the Resistance hideout? Or, is this something a bit more familar…like a Gungan Underwater city? Is it possible this is underwater? Likely not, but it can’t be ruled out. There seems to be what could be precipitation or bubbles as the ship moves past screen, and those clouds look a lot like hydrothermal vents, essential for keeping a city warm in cold water.
Surrounded by Red
A winter forest burns, as Kylo Ren battles at the center of it. Red is everywhere except the snowy ground, presumably from a fire blazing around the scene. But, it also has the haze of Starkiller’s superweapon, too. Could there be more going on here than a forest fire? In any event, Kylo is back at his old game, killing people with that cross-guard saber. This time he takes down a foe with a deceptive move using only the crossguard to fell an attacker, as stormtroopers press their advantage ahead of him. Who are these foes? They don’t look Resistance at first glance, and this dead one had some sort of hand weapon.
That Ridiculous Mask, Reforged
Ben Solo has fully embraced his Kylo Ren persona it seems, reforging his mask as soldered streaks glow in red. Will this color maintain? What does the resurgence of the mask signify? Is it time to see Kylo in fuly masked garb as the Master of the Knights of Ren? So much for killing the past; he is clinging to his own legend. And, for that matter, what is his legend out in the Galaxy? Is he Supreme Leader? Or, something else?
Poe and Finn
Finn and Poe hang out on an similarly deserted scene. Is that Finn with Rey’s staff? The structure Poe is standing on looks almost Geonosian, but that could be a trick of the eyes. So much for leather jackets; these two look comfortable in this terrain with decidedly Uncharted looking gear.
The Droid’s got a Droid
In the early 2000s, Neopets took Gen Z by storm. Then, the Neopets got pets of their own, called pet-pets. This seems to be the Star Wars version of that. Meet D-O (Dio), a simple looking droid with a wheel and a cone. Is Dio a Holy Diver? Does he ride the tiger? Or, is this more of a Neon (Jedi) Knights thing? RetroZap will forever honor Ronnie James Dio and will never stop these jokes.
Hello, what do we have here? Look who’s back in the captain’s chair of the Millennium Falcon…an old friend of Chewie’s…LANDO CALRISSIAN! The old smoothie’s never looked better, and still rocks a cape like no one else. Is this doesn’t make you smile, why are you reading this?
One other note: Lando’s laugh is the only non-VO voice heard in this trailer.
Every Saga has an End
This is it: the end of the Skywalker Saga. No matter what happens in Star Wars afterward, the central story of Star Wars is coming to a close.
A chase ensues among mpisture vaporators as a desert ship races against aeirial opponents. Are these speeder bikes? On closer inspection, these look like jetpacked foes. The likely guess is that they are First Order jumptroopers…but they sort of look like Mandolorians in McQuarrie prototype armor. It’s purposefully blurred.
The pirate ship analogs are all-too-obvious here, as Finn, Poe, and Threepio dodge blasts to the back and from the front. Oddly enough, Threepio doesn’t look too rattled! Maybe he isn’t so afraid of battle after all these years. Imagine if he regained all his memories?
An A-Wing Aflame
In a blazing orange sky, an A-Wing is shot down, flaming out and crash landing in atmosphere.
The Medal of Yavin
Has the New Rebellion (formerly the Resistance) returned to Yavin? Is this Han’s medal…or is this the medal Leia meant to give to Chewie? It’s a poignant scene, as General Leia looks back upon a lifetime of strife, and a very special moment of hope so long ago.
Goodbye, Carrie. We’re crying, too.
Luke speaks, again.
We’ll always be with you…
The Gang’s All Here (Sort Of)
Rey, Fin, Poe, Threepio, Chewie, BB-8, and Dio approach something on a grassy, rolling plain. Is this Yavin IV? Is it Endor? What do they see? And where is Lando, and Artoo, and Rose, and newly introduced Jana? What quest is this team on, and what do they see? Also, note Chewie has his bowcaster. Nice.
Dead Death Star
A massive piece of a Death Star is embedded in a rocky ocean-scape, with currents flowing in multiple directions, probably due to the moon-sized space station distorting the gravity of the area. What is this team after in these ruins? Is this the Death Star I or II? Or is it another? What is happening?!
Luke speaks, as the music rises to final crescendo, echoing his statement in The Last Jedi:
No one’s ever really gone…
No One’s Ever Really Gone
A fade to black…as Luke’s statement is twisted into something truly evil. Emperor Palpatine laughs with a sinister sneering, echoing tone…chilling every heart who understands…Palpatine was never really gone? This film is going there…and it is going to be intense.
The Rise of Skywalker
Wait, this is the end of the saga. Why is anything rising now? Shouldn’t it be ending, or wrapping up? At first glance, this might seem very confusing. But, if you consider an idea that Rey is a clone of Anakin Skywalker, a theory going back to 2015, this might make a lot more sense. Rey, as a fully realized Jedi, now fully embraces the Skywalker origins inside her, and a new Skywalker emerges to lead the light in the fight against evil…once and for all.
But what about that Palpatine laugh? And the idea that he created Anakin Skywalker in the first place? Could the rise of Skywalker be something more sinister? Does the universe need Skywalkers after all? So many questions to be answered as the world waits the long months to know.
Joseph Tavano is the owner and editor in chief of RetroZap. Born just months before Luke found out who his father was, he has been fortunate to have had Star Wars in his life as long as he can remember. Growing up just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, he can remember substituting sticks for lightsabers and BMX bikes for speeders. He loves comics, retro games, vintage sci-fi paperbacks, and maps. Though an accomplished drummer, he doesn’t crave adventure (as much) any more, and prefers his old haunts in Salem, Massachusetts, where he resides with his family. Buy him a glass of whiskey and he’ll return it in kind.