Star Wars celebration kicked off Friday morning, with the eagerly anticipated Star Wars Episode IX panel/presentation, and it didn’t disappoint. It began with Kathleen Kennedy and JJ Abrams (with surprise guest-host Stephen Colbert), talking about the responsibility they felt to fans of the franchise. Abrams in particular had a nice bit about ‘still getting to work with Carrie Fisher’ via unused footage from TFA being used for episode IX, getting visibly emotional. After that, they brought out Anthony Daniels to charm the crowd (and plug his new book, of course. This is Disney after all).

Colbert slowly filled the stage with everyone we’ve come to expect for a new sequel-trilogy movie, old cast and new (minus Mark Hamill). Billy D Williams, in particular was a delight. The man, well into his 80’s, may not be as quick as he once was, but still commanded the crowd like he once did on screens decades ago. It was a pretty fun, breezy panel, avoiding spoilers like usual, always looking to Kennedy or JJ for approval before speaking up. But enough of that stuff, we mostly watch these things for the reveals, and there were PLENTY to be had.

In typical JJ Abrams fashion, that’s a *hell* of a teaser trailer. I don’t want to recap the entire thing, as you can see it for yourself. However, I do want to talk about what JJ and Lucasfilm might be up to with this movie.

For one, a lot of people are saying this feels a bit retcon-y, with Kylo’s fanboy helmet being back in the mix, some major legacy characters showing up, and that title (more on that later). I honestly don’t really get that vibe. It’s always been my view that The Last Jedi works perfectly as a second act of a larger story: our characters are tested and given more depth, and the larger story works as a deconstruction, breaking down what we think we know and understand to build it back up in the end, having ‘grown beyond’ failure, to become stronger and wiser for it. That now being said, let’s talk about this title:

STAR WARS EPISODE IX: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER

That’s the official title for the final film in the trilogy (and ostensibly, the entire Skywalker saga). Many have claimed it feels like a bit of a course correction after Rian Johnson’s “cOnTrOvErShAL” ‘The Last Jedi’, but it’s too early to really say one way or another. If it’s about Luke himself, I could see it making sense, as Luke is probably godlike now that he’s become one with the force (as they’ve hinted at for 8 movies now). More likely is ‘Skywalker’ being a symbolic title, either having Rey adopt the name to carry the legacy, or possibly with a new generation of Jedi calling themselves ‘Skywalkers’ as force-users walking the middle path between light and dark (I kinda hope it’s this one). Either way, it’s all wild speculation at this point!

One of the biggest reveals is near the end, with Emperor Palpatines creepy laugh playing right after Luke saying “no one is ever really gone.” This is obviously going to have huge ramifications for this entire final trilogy, and really lends credence to this tying up not only this trilogy, but the prior two as well. Was Palpatine the puppet master of Snoke this entire time? Is he the “father” of Rey, just as many claim he was of Anakin, having created him in the force? How the hell is Palpatine still around after being tossed into a Death Star trench and exploding at the end of RotJ? I’m honestly excited as hell to find out in December, and pretty surprised that it *seems* JJ and the gang have done some odd and unexpected things with the plot of this one.

Also, KLAWD.

That’s going to do it for Friday’s big Star Wars celebration news! Check back over the rest of the weekend for more news about all things Star Wars from Celebration 2019, with articles on Saturday’s ‘Star Wars: The Fallen Order’ game reveal and ‘The Mandalorian’ on Sunday!
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