There is an immense amount of anticipation when it comes to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The film is the last entry in the Skywalker saga and brings to a close to a nine-chapter story arc that first started back in 1977. While we may be bidding one final farewell to these characters, much of the story remains a mystery.
We only got a small tease of what’s to come a few weeks back at Star Wars Celebration, where we saw the first teaser for the upcoming film. Of course, fans were excited to hear the Luke Skywalker voice over, that Lando Calrissian laugh, and a very tearful Rey embracing General Leia. But the one thing that got fans riled up was the Emperor’s laugh. The menacing character has been a dark and evil fixture since the original trilogy.
Now we are getting yet another look at the film. So to speak. It’s another behind the scenes look from Vanity Fair’s Annie Leibovitz, whose engaging photos provide an intimate look at the production of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Check out the new gallery, plus what some of the cast and crew had to say below.
It’s important to note that these photos are not an accurate representation of what will be in the film. However, all the quotes and extra bits of trivia have been confirmed by either Vanity Fair, the cast, or the crew. So without further ado, here are the seven things that we learned from Vanity Fair’s latest piece.
1 – A Family Affair
Domhnall Gleeson‘s General Hux isn’t the only high-ranking military officer in the film. And apparently, it runs in the family. The cover story confirms that Richard E. Grant’s new character, Allegiant General Pryde, is Hux’s father. However, the two do not share a last name. “The pair do have similar tastes in uniforms and, to the surprise of no one, Leibovitz’s portrait from the deck of Kylo Ren’s destroyer confirms Pryde is working for the First Order.”
Audiences can also expect to learn more about The First Order and their origins in The Rise of Skywalker.
2 – The Knights of Ren Will Return
Teased during a dark and stormy scene in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Knights of Ren were a collective group of “masked warriors with specialized weaponry who add an element of chaos to the war between the Resistance and the First Order.”
It’s not clear how these knights came together, but Luke may have alluded to them during The Last Jedi when he talked to Rey about how Ben Solo became Kylo Ren, and how he took a handful of Luke’s students with him and slaughtered the rest. Also unclear is how they factor into the film. But they will have an “oversize, vicious-looking arsenal and mismatched armor sets them apart from the sleek, coordinated looks of the First Order bad guys and the elegant weaponry of the Jedi. Their D.I.Y. look—including one especially lethal-looking gun arm—would be equally at home in one of the Mad Max movies.”
3 – Oh The New Places You’ll Go
The settings in Star Wars are just as much of a character as the characters themselves. In The Rise of Skywalker, we can expect to visit places like the desert planet Pasaana “on the edge of the galaxy” and the “snow-dusted” Kijimi which is home to a shadowy Thieves’ Quarter. Director J.J. Abrams, who shot on location in a Jordanian desert, says “there’s something about the way the sand interacts with the light.”
Pasaana is populated by a new alien race known as the Aki-Aki and a breed of horse-like creatures called orbaks.
4 – There Will Be Another Lightsaber Duel
It almost seems obligatory for a Star Wars film about the Jedi and the Sith to have some sort of lightsaber duel. In the last two films, both Rey and Kylo Ren has clashed lightsabers in an epic battle. However, their inevitable battle in The Rise of Skywalker will explore how their “Force-Connection” runs “even deeper than we thought.”
One thing that Adam Driver points out is how the events of The Last Jedi affected his character in The Rise of Skywalker. “It kind of ends with the question in the air: is he going to pursue that relationship, or when the door of her ship goes up, does that also close that camaraderie that they were maybe forming,” Driver said.
5 – See You Space Cowboy
Joining John Boyega on this adventure in a galaxy far, far away is Naomi Ackie. She plays Janna. And though we know very little about the character, we can see that she dresses very similarly to that of any smuggler. In one photo, she is seen riding an orbak alongside Finn. “It’s extremely surreal to be in it,” says Ackie, “and see how it works from the inside.”
“There’s the kind of spectacular-ness, and the supernatural move-things-with-your-mind magic stuff, but then there’s also this really grounded, rugged nature where everything is distressed and old and kind of worn out and lived-in,” Ackie said. “And I think playing with those two ideas means that you get this feeling that it could almost be real. Like, in a galaxy far away, it could almost be the case that you could have this.”
6 – What A Difference A Year Makes
Vanity Fair confirms that The Rise of Skywalker will take place a year after the events of The Last Jedi. A somewhat different approach to how The Last Jedi took place moments after The Force Awakens. That gap of time leaves a mystery behind as to what happened to The First Order and The Resistance during that time. As far as we know, The Resistance was left decimated during the last moments of The Last Jedi. Though there was some hope left that they could rise again, it looked impossible with their fleet destroyed.
Oscar Isaac says a lot has changed during that time. “Poe is this kind of lone wolf, now he’s really part of a group. They’re going out and going on missions and have a much more familiar dynamic now,” Isaac said.
7 – Keri Russell Is Zorri Bliss
Keri Russell is also among the newcomers to join the final installment of the Skywalker saga. In the film, she will play Zorri Bliss, a masked scoundrel, who can be found in the Thieves’ Quarter of the snow-dusted world Kijimi. And just like any roguish scoundrel, they aren’t exactly going to pick sides in the war between The First Order and The Resistance.
Vanity Fair has so much more to look at in their cover story, which we have the links for below. And don’t forget to check the video of Ridley, Boyega, and Isaac reflecting on the impact of these films and what it was like to be a part of the final chapter.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be released in theaters on December 20, 2019. Click right here for much more on the film.