‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ D23 Trailer: A Shot-by-Shot Analysis

by Antonia Haynes
Published: Last Updated on

A new special look at the next Star Wars movie has been released at the Disney D23 Expo in Anaheim. Whilst the teaser is relatively short, it is intriguing and raises multiple questions, so it’s worth having a deeper look.* That said, let’s dive into it.

*The feature starts off with some clips from the other Star Wars films, so we will start the breakdown about half way through the video when the new footage kicks in.

 Group Up

The new trilogy of heroes — Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Poe (Oscar Issac, looking dashing in that lovely scarf and Nathan Drake style outfit again) — form up with C3-PO (Anthony Daniels) and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) in the first shot of the new footage. The group seem tired and a tad fed up, so it could be that they have been travelling for a long while. They appear to be in a desert setting, possibly a planet named Pasana (the existence of which was confirmed several months ago after Vanity Fair visited the set of the film).

We could also be being thrown off the scent of the real destination of the team; could they be on a different desert planet, such as Rey’s home planet of Jakku, or Luke Skywalker’s home of Tattooine? It would make sense for Rey to want to return to Jakku at some point, as she was adamant to go back there in The Force Awakens. We can see a peek of the Millennium Falcon on the right, and the crew appear to be looking at something with confusion and curiosity. This leads us to the next shot…

Desert Party

A bazaar of sorts fills the next shot with colourful smoke, towering decorations, and bright, flowing kites floating through the sky. This seems more than likely to be a new planet, and if that’s true, what could be their purpose there? Following The Last Jedi, the rebels are few and far between; perhaps they are on a mission to recruit more to the cause? It is also possible that they have had intel leading them there. The story details are still unknown, so at this point it is pure speculation, but that is part of the fun of these breakdowns!

Our Princess

A shot of General Leia in a jungle setting is seen next. This was always going to be an emotional moment for Star Wars fans — and fans of Carrie Fisher in general — due to her passing in 2016. It is curious as to what her role will be here, but J.J Abrams referred to her as “the heart of this (the Skywalker saga) story,” so she is sure to have an important role even if she is not hugely present. Abrams also confirmed that they will be recycling previous footage of Fisher as Leia to enhance her role in The Rise of Skywalker. I’m looking forward to how they will go about this, and hope that they give both Carrie Fisher and General Leia the send off that they deserve.

The Resistance Flies

Next we see a fleet of rebel ships flying through the air, possibly on the way to some of kind of space battle. There are X-Wings, Y-Wings, A-Wings, and the Millennium Falcon, but the group is also quite small, emphasising what little is left of the Resistance following The Last Jedi. The theory of a large space battle is furthered by the next shot that we get…

A LOT Of Star Destroyers

One of the more ominous shots of the trailer is this dramatic moment where a huge amount of First Order Star Destroyers emerge from a stormy sky as lightning crackles in the background. This scene is important to the trailer for a few reasons. The first is that it shows just how outnumbered the Resistance are by the First Order; this fleet is enormous, and the Resistance only have a handful of ships at their disposal. Just like in the original films, the rebels are the underdogs here, and are at a very real risk of being wiped out entirely.

Another important element to mention here is that these ships look like old Imperial Star Destroyers. We know that Emperor Palpatine will play some kind of role in this film (whether he is still alive or definitely dead remains to be seen), so is it possible that these are old Star Destroyers that were hidden somewhere in the galaxy by Palpatine before his downfall?

Finn and Jannah

Finn is seen looking pretty distraught in the next shot, possibly due to the overwhelming number of First Order Star Destroyers on the Resistance’s doorstep. Of course, this is likely just clever editing, but Finn’s expression certainly suggests some kind of peril is heading his way. He is joined by a new character named Jannah, played by Naomi Ackie. Jannah crosses paths with the group and joins them on their adventure, but her role is still uncertain. It has been rumored that she may be related to Lando Calrissian, but even if not, I’m always happy to see a strong female character introduced in the Star Wars series.

Seeing Red

The next moment showcases everyone’s favourite neurotic droid, C3-PO, except he is looking a little more ‘dark side’ than I’m comfortable with due to his ominously glowing red eyes. This could be for a number of reasons, but the chaotic nature of the colour red within the Star Wars universe can’t be ignored. Red is usually associated with the dark side, as the light sabers of the bad guys are usually red, as well as the general colour schemes of the Empire and First Order troops (in comparison to the Rebels, who usually adopt earthy tones such as oranges and greens). Could the underrated droid be turning to the dark side? Or is he being controlled against his will? The trailer seems to be throwing curve balls, so this could be something completely different, but it is a striking image to see a classic character looking so…evil.

Big Laser

A shot of an explosion is seen next, and it looks like it is coming from a pretty big laser. Could this be yet another Death Star, or is it coming from a space ship of some kind? It certainly looks pretty evil, since the good guys don’t usually tend to shoot things with giant lasers (plus that whole red-is-an-evil-colour thing again). No matter where it is coming from, this laser certainly looks to be causing a significant amount of destruction.

Rey’s Training

Rey is next seen performing some pretty cool moves with her light saber alongside a small training droid similar to the one that Luke uses in A New Hope. Rey is distinctively looking a little more furious than expected though, as she angrily throws her light saber, which cuts through a tree before returning to her hand like a deadly laser boomerang. She seems to hit the training droid as well, suggesting that her pent-up aggression may be stemming from her lack of a teacher. At the end of The Last Jedi, Rey was certainly learning to control her Jedi powers, but she still had much to learn. With Luke’s supposed death, she is still missing the valuable training that she needs. Her anger is understandable, and this rage may be causing her to lose some of her control.

The Kylo Ren Strut

Kylo Ren returns in the next shot with his infamous red light saber, along with his TIE Fighter looming in the background. He looks like he is on the warpath, as he charges across some kind of dry and barren landscape. His relationship with Rey is one of the most interesting elements of The Last Jedi, so hopefully this will be expanded on in The Rise of Skywalker. However, they are still at each others throats despite their connection, which becomes clear in the next scene.

Death Star II Fight

Rey and Kylo Ren are seen engaging in a lightsaber battle upon the wreckage of the Death Star II, which was destroyed in Return of the Jedi. The ocean crashes in the background as they continue to fight, making for a very cool shot, and I look forward to seeing it on the big screen. However, it is the last moment of the trailer that has really gotten people talking…

Dark Rey

After hearing the undeniable laboured breaths of Darth Vader, we see a glimpse of Rey, looking like she has fully embraced the dark side. Dressed in a black outfit with a stereotypical bad-guy hood, she wields a red light saber (there’s that evil red again!) with two blades. The shot then pans out to show her flipping the light saber down to reveal…

Darth Maul Would Be Proud

…a Darth Maul-style, double-edged light saber. This is a shock to see, as Rey has always been a good, heroic character, but her dabbles with the dark side were briefly suggested in The Last Jedi. I am pretty certain, however, that this moment is going to be one of three things: a dream sequence, a vision, or a trial similar to the one that Luke experienced in The Empire Strikes Back. I think that Rey will battle her dark thoughts, and I have no doubt that she will be tempted to join the dark side. However, I do not think that Disney will be brave enough to turn one of their heroes completely evil. As interesting as it would be, it wouldn’t make sense for the franchise or the Star Wars brand.

Rey is a character that little girls have looked up to since her introduction in 2015, so to turn her from awesome female lead to evil doer doesn’t seem like a decision that Disney would allow to come to fruition. Of course, being evil wouldn’t stop Rey from being a great character, but she wouldn’t have the same effect on the young fans. It could be very interesting to see Rey’s internal struggles in The Rise of Skywalker, however, so this is something I am looking forward to.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be released on December 20th, 2019.

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1 comment

Skyler Martin August 27, 2019 - 11:47 pm

So give it some thought people. The end scene on the trailer is REY’S MOTHER. Perfect way to end a saga and complete the Star Wars era. Just think about it, to show in the final film who Rey’s mother is would end the theories and end the series all in one fatal blow.
Skylord 4 life


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