“Your journey nears its end.”
Those words are spoken by The Emperor (who’s unseen) in this latest teaser for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, one that premiered this past weekend at Disney’s D23 conferernce, and since this “Special Look” trailer (watch it first, then continue reading) begins with Luke (also unseen) expressing sentiments most certainly directed at Rey, The Emperor’s words would seem to suggest that he’s referring (and possibly talking) to Rey as well.
But the cloak-and-dagger assembly of this latest look is worth noting because Darth Sidious could just as easily be talking to Kylo Ren or somebody else. Also, it would be well within director J. J. Abrams‘ marketing style to throw us a misdirect.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this trailer is the focus on Rey (set to those quotes from Luke and Palpatine) because it may be seems hinting at what Last Jedi diehards are deeply fearing: a quasi-retconning of Rian Johnson‘s demystifying of Rey’s parentage and Chosen One importance. The suggestion of that here is subtle but, I’d also wager, likely intentional.
The possibility excites me because, well, I don’t agree with the fan argument that redefining Rey’s lineage or Messianic import is somehow a “retcon” of The Last Jedi. If anything, Johnson retconned the entire Hero’s Journey template that Lucas established through 6 films and Abrams honored in the 7th.
More directly, there’s also the simple fact that Kylo Ren — a Sith apprentice who had just killed his master — is the one who “revealed” this information. In short, J. J. has the liberty to take this where he wants to. He’s not beholden to the possible (even likely) deception of Kylo, and is well within his license to finish what he started in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. To apply the term “retcon”, in this case, wouldn’t be accurate, and would primarily serve as a knee-jerk pejorative for those who want Lucas’s mythology upended.
Regardless, this is the perfect kind of new trailer. It begins as a reflective homage to the entire saga that has built to this Episode IX moment (and it’s a sequence that, in itself, is moving for any Star Wars Fan). Then, the remainder gives us brief new glimpses of things we’ve already seen or been primed for through the debut trailer, the new poster, as well as the Vanity Fair photo spread.
And finally, it ends with a shocking stinger: a dark-cloaked Rey brandishing a foldable/expandable Maul-styled duel red lightsaber (that apparently has its origins in The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels animated series). The whole thing just gives me chills while still maintaining its mystery. Indeed, the more we learn the more mysterious this all becomes; now that’s classic Abrams’ marketing.
To read my theory about Dark Rey, click here.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the final chapter in the Skywalker saga, opens on December 20, 2019.