Emotions ran high when the world-first trailer for ninth and final film in the Star Wars saga was released at the “Star Wars Celebration” in Chicago, and soon made waves on the Internet to fans all around the globe. With director J.J. Abrams at the helm (who also directed the seventh and first in the sequel trilogy, The Force Awakens), the title of the much-anticipated film was revealed – The Rise of Skywalker.
While the trailer showed glimpses of the events of the film, which is still in post-production, characters from the entire saga appeared even those who were in the original 1977 film A New Hope. One of the returning characters fans were waiting for was Billy Dee Williams‘ Lando Calrissian from the original trilogy (Donald Glover played him the Solo spin-off film) again at the helm of the Millenium Falcon, but a lot of tears were held back upon seeing Carrie Fisher‘s Leia Organa on the screen.
Fisher passed away last December 2016, a year before the eighth installment The Last Jedi was released which also starred the beloved Leia. Abrams told the crowd that the screenwriters had agonized over giving Fisher’s character a fitting send-off in The Rise of Skywalker, “Every day it hits me that she is not here but it’s so surreal because we’re working with her still… she’s in scenes.”
A weird miracle
Even with Fisher’s death in 2016, the character of princess-turned-general Leia was still alive in The Last Jedi Fisher had finished shooting her scenes. For the new film, unreleased footage of Leia from both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi will be used, with the blessing of Fisher’s daughter Billy Lourd who portrays a Resistance pilot in the Star Wars saga.
Abrams himself calls it a “weird miracle” that they are able to continue Leia’s story by looking at old footage. This is not the first time Fisher’s likeness will be used in Star Wars even though she was absent in production, in the 2016 Star Wars spin-off Rogue One featured a younger version of Fisher as Princess Leia thanks to computer-generated imagery. Fisher passed away a few weeks after Rogue One was released.
Other returning characters
As mentioned earlier, Billy Dee Williams is reprising his role as the slick-talking Lando Calrissian, who will accompany the new generation of Star Wars actors which include Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, and Kelly Marie Tran.
Mark Hamill‘s voice is also heard in the trailer, despite his character the Jedi master Luke Skywalker seemingly passed away at the end of The Last Jedi; Luke is expected to still have a role in the new film, given his name features in the title. “No one’s ever really gone,” says Hamill’s Luke as Leia hugs Daisy Ridley’s Rey (who Luke trained to be a Jedi).
Anthony Daniels also returns as the droid C-3PO, the only character to appear in every Star Wars film but one. Also returning, much to the surprise and excitement of fans, is Ian McDiarmid as the evil Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious (Palpatine was the central villain in the third installment The Return of the Jedi, and the prequel trilogy). Joining the cast are Keri Russell, Matt Smith, Dominic Monaghan, Naomi Ackie, and veteran actor Richard E. Grant.
Story from AFP
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