There’s still a long time to wait until we get to see Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, but we already know plenty about JJ Abrams’ epic trilogy closer.
From casting, rumours, plot details and everything else going down with the ninth installment set in a galaxy far, far away we’ll gather it up and plonk it in here. Check back for regular updates and news as it arrives.
Spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi to follow as well as potential spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker.
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker trailer
In an interview with IndieWire, Episode IX star Oscar Isaac discussed director J.J. Abrams’ shooting style, calling the process “looser than it’s been for the past two times,” and talking about the freedom he has to improvise. “It does feel like a relief to get on set and feel like, ‘Oh, we can try things.’ It’s a testament to J.J. coming back and feeling confident. There’s less pressure for it to be right. We just want to make a good movie and have a really good time while doing it.”
We hope to have a really good time watching it, Oscar!
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker poster
Usually, the first poster for one of the newer Star Wars movies is kind of ‘nothing of note’ and that hasn’t changed with The Rise Of Skywalker…
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker cast
Everyone you expect to be in The Rise Of Skywalker is in it – and then some.
Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Anthony Daniels and Billie Lourd are all returning to their roles – alongside Mark Hamill, who has revealed that Luke will return as a ‘Force ghost’.
Grant reacted with exactly the kind of enthusiam we’d probably all have when the news was annouced, posting a video on Twitter of himself grinning like a loon. “OK. I’m trying to be cool about this,” he says, “But I’ve been smiling ever since!”
Most significantly, Carrie Fisher will have a posthumous role in the film, with Abrams using unused footage from The Force Awakens to include Leia in the line-up, presumably to give her character a proper send off? Is bringing her back the best way to celebrate her legacy? Discuss.
The latest addition to the cast was former Doctor Who and Prince Philip, Matt Smith, confirmed to be taking a “major role” in the film. No details have emerged yet on who he’s playing, but Star Wars tends to cast posh english people as baddies. According to Matt Smith, though, he isn’t even in the film, let alone playing a major role, so take that with a pinch of salt for now.
A menacing laugh at the end of the first trailer and a guest appearance at the Star Wars Celebration in Chicago revealed that Ian McDiarmid will be returning, in some form, as Emperor Palpatine. What might this mean for Rey? Check out our thoughts on the matter.
Rumours that Harrison Ford would be re-joining the cast are still just rumours at the moment.
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker director
JJ Abrams was back in the director’s chair – taking over from Colin Trevorrow after yet another controversial Disney “re-hiring”. Last Jedi director Rian Johnson wrote a story treatment, but the script was revised by Trevorrow, Jurassic World writer Derek Connolly, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child’s Jack Thorne, Batman V Superman’s Chris Terrio and Abrams himself.
“I had no intention to return,” Abrams told Rolling Stone. “But when the opportunity presented itself to finish a story that we had begun with these new characters, to tell the last chapter of their story, it felt like there was a chance to do it in a way where we could go beyond, and do better than we did in VII. I learned so much in that movie and I saw that this was a chance to sort of realize something that we hadn’t quite achieved – and part of that was it was simply the beginning of these new characters and their story. The opportunity to sort of take what we had learned, to take the feeling of who these characters are and what they are and give them a final chapter that felt in the spirit of what we begun? It was too delicious of an opportunity to pass up.”
Long, long time series composer John Williams will be returning to do the score, announcing in May that Episode IX will be his last Star Wars.
One new addition behind the camera was art director Paul Inglis, who worked on Blade Runner 2049, Prometheus and Children Of Men, suggesting that whatever Episode IX is, it’s going to look gorgeous.
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker plot
At the moment, no one knows anything for sure about the story details, but we can safely expect The Rise Of Skywalker to provide some kind of resolution to the arc that’s been playing out since The Force Awakens. Will the First Order be defeated for good? Will Rey’s bigger role in the story be revealed in full? We just don’t know yet.
In all likelihood, The Rise Of Skywalker will pick up where The Last Jedi left off. Luke is dead, Rey is getting stronger, the Resistance is rising and Kylo Ren has gone completely bonkers – without a master, in charge of a huge army, and hell-bent on wiping out everyone in his path. Here are just some of the answers we need…
John Boyega has already hinted that Finn and Rey are going to be back together in the last part, which isn’t too much of a surprise given the pattern already set by the middle chapters of the first two Star Wars trilogies – breaking up the main gang before reuniting them again for the finale. If Episode IX is anything like Episode III and VI, we can expect multiple storylines to intersect as the action builds and loose ends get tied up.
Talking of loose ends, the biggest, and most controversial plot twist in The Last Jedi saw the huge question of Rey’s ancestry answered with a bit of a shrug. Some loved it, some hated it, and a lot of fans are holding out hope that it was all a Dark Side ruse to throw us off the scent. Will we see Abrams undoing with Rian Johnson did?
One thing’s for sure, Rey won’t die. Probably. “We’re talking about the next 10 years of Star Wars stories, and we’re looking at, narratively, where that might go,” says Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. “Future stories beyond Episode IX with these new characters – Rey, Poe, Finn, BB-8 – but we’re also looking at working with people who are interested in coming into the Star Wars world and taking us places we haven’t been yet. That’s exciting too because it’s a vast galaxy far, far away.”
The Knights of Ren will finally return in The Rise Of Skywalker, according to Vanity Fair, which published a cover story about the movie that reveals a few interesting titbits about this mysterious group of villains. The magazine also shared a photograph of the Knights of Ren on the Jordan set where the Pasaana portion of the movie was filmed.
Meanwhile, it’s been suggested that C-3PO might step into the legacy character shoes. Rumours abound that C-3PO could have a substantially important role, and C-3PO actor Anthony Daniels recently told Vanity Fair that “C-3PO does something in this movie that surprises everybody.”
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker release date
We were supposed to get a new Star Wars movie every Christmas. Then every summer. Then whenever they’re ready. Inevitably, the deadline for Episode IX has been pushed back a bit and the film is now currently scheduled for 19 December, 2019. At the moment, that sandwiches it between the new Jumanji movie and the Cats adaptation – both opening one day either side. That’s a sandwich we’d eat.