‘The Rise of Skywalker:’ Breaking down the new ‘Star Wars’ trailer

You read the title.

You saw the trailer.

Now get ready for the single best part of being a Star Wars fan: Eight months of endless speculation about what the hell is happening in the preview for The Rise of Skywalker. Seriously, this is a time for fandom to heal, after The Last Jedi wars and Solo tore us apart. Let us congregate and be hopeful, despite whether you’re objectively wrong about whether or not those movies are good (spoiler alert: Last Jedi is about as good as Empire, and Solo isn’t terrible). All are welcome at the fandom table, as long as you’re respectful and don’t send people death threats.

Let’s get to it!

The trailer opens with Rey, standing on a desert planet, anticipating an attack from a straighter in the distance. Notice her new re-assembled lightsaber attached to her belt.
The attack is coming from, presumably, Kylo Ren, who is flying a new version of his TIE Silencer, which has been revised to look more in-line with the original design that the craft is based on: the TIE Interceptor from Return of the Jedi. Notice the color of Rey’s lightsaber, as well: some have theorized that it’s white, not blue, which is an interesting development.
An A-Wing heads to a mountainous city, shrouded in fog and cloud-cover. Could this be the population center of Eadu from Rogue One? Probably not, but it is fun to dream about.
very interesting shot of Kylo Ren fighting on the planet that Kirk and company visited at the start of Star Trek Into Darkness. Just kidding. Anyways, Kylo body-slams a motherfucker, showing off some strength that we’ve never quite seen from him before. Who is he body-slamming? Well, it looks like… a Knight of Ren! If you’ve followed the leaks, you know they’re going to make an appearance here.
Ren’s helmet, destroyed in The Last Jedi, being repaired by his underlings.
Finn and Poe, standing on the desert planet where Kylo and Rey have their showdown.
BB-8, and his sidekick, the adorable D-O. We can’t wait to hear his droid-speak cover of “Rainbow in the Dark.”
Lando returns, proving the marketing material that leaked a few weeks ago was right on the money. He’s sporting his Solo look here, which adds some interesting continuity to the film series. We do miss the blue shirt, though: Billy Dee Williams looked dope as hell in that ensemble.
Continuing along in our “let’s visually reference Return of the Jedi” section of the trailer, here’s a chase between our heroes — on board what looks like a Skiff from Jabba’s Palace — and a series of speeder bikes and jet-packed stormtroopers. Interesting!
More skiff vibes, and we’d make a Mad Max: Fury Road joke here, but everybody else on Twitter beat us to it.
A damaged A-Wing flying near a Star Destroyer? Yep, this is another Return of the Jedi reference, though it’ll be hard to top Admiral Holdo’s Kamikaze act now after The Last Jedi.
The Medal of Bravery that was given to Han, Luke and Chewbacca (yes, you fucks, Chewie got a medal in the new continuity in the novel Smuggler’s Run) after the Battle of Yavin, presumably being held by General Leia. Or perhaps it’s an ungloved Keri Russell holding it? Anyways, as Wookepedia says, the medal “was engraved in a stylized flower that resembled an emblem used by the Galactic Republic of old. At its heart was a stylized rising sun that symbolized the dawn of a new hope in the wake of the Alliance’s victory over the Galactic Empire.” Another hint, perhaps?
Well, this probably made you cry. It’s a glimpse at Leia (Carrie Fisher) hugging Rey, as a single tear falls down the young Jedi’s face. JJ Abrams has said that they’re not using a CGI replica of Fisher, like in Rogue One, instead opting to insert deleted scenesfrom The Force Awakens into the new film and write around them.
Our heroes, standing on a field on what looks to be a grassy planet. Finn’s new look is great –emphasizing his connection to Han, especially his Return of the Jedi outfit. Poe’s hot. That’s all you need to know.
And then, there’s our biggest reveal of the trailer: The remnants of the Death Star, sitting in the middle of a sea. Is this Yavin IV or Endor, however? There’s been lots of post-canon horror stories about what would happen when a moon-sized mass like the Death Star exploded — in short, it would rain debris down on any heavenly body in its path, and presumably kill all of those cute little Ewoks — but we’d bet that this is the coast of Yavin. Who knows why our heroes need to adventure into it? Only time will tell.

And with the Emperor’s cackle, you’re left wanting to know exactly what the hell is going with that title. We’re inclined to believe that it’s like what esteemed critic and noted Star Wars nerd Drew McWeeny says:

Or it’s talking about the redemption arc of Kylo Ren, which, again, would echo his grandfather’s arc in Return of the Jedi. But all the answers will be revealed when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20. Or at least when ESPN drops the full-length trailer for the film during a really shitty Monday Night Football game in October.