Walt Disney’s third and presumably final (at least in North America) theatrical trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is leading with their biggest hooks. Yes, like we’ve been informed for the last year and change, this ninth Star Wars episode will be the final chapter in the so-called Skywalker Saga. That’s the key enticement for folks even in a world where Star Wars is now, relatively speaking, another huge IP/franchise in a world currently populated by the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Fast and Furious movies, the Jurassic World movies and DC Films.
If Solo: A Star Wars Story failed, especially overseas, because it wasn’t an event even with the words “Star” and “Wars” slapped on the title, well, the final lap of The Rise of Skywalker is going to be all about why this isn’t just a big holiday blockbuster but an end of an era. And, truth be told, it is. Yes, there will be more Star Wars movie beginning in December of 2022. But whatever form those films take, they will just be “new” sci-fi action movies that happen to take place in the Star Wars universe.
Moreover, depending on when these new films, be it the Rian Johnson flicks, the David Benioff/D.B. Weiss films and/or whatever Kevin Feige is developing in his spare time, The Rise of Skywalker could very well be the “end” of Star Wars in terms of narrative continuity. We could get a Knights of the Republic trilogy, or something taking place between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, or a movie set any period before The Phantom Menace. Heck, if we might get one more Star Wars Story set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.
In that case, we’ll a separate trilogy of Star Wars movies in between Episode III and Episode IV, technically meaning that Star Wars, the Skywalker/Solo story as we know it, will have twelve chapters instead of nine. These options would still be in the narrative continuity of Star Wars without undoing whatever status quo Rise of Skywalker brings about. So, yes, if this comes to pass, and the next batch of Star Wars movies aren’t explicitly “present-tense” sequels to The Rise Skywalker, then Star Wars IX will really be the end of the line.
For those who came to see the trailer and/or read my thoughts, it’s similar in concept to the final trailers for The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Unlike the previous two Rise of Skywalker trailers, we get actual onscreen dialogue and characters interacting with each other. We get another bit of that glorious-looking lightsaber battle between Rey and Kylo, we get more of Lando, Leia and the vocals of (presumably) ghost Luke and ghost Palpantine, and we get plenty of juicy beats that will be dissected ad nauseum for “clues” as if Abrams, Disney or Lucasfilm would drop a spoiler right in the last trailer.
So, yeah, it’s a pretty great “It all ends here!” trailer, and one of the jobs of the promotional campaign will be at least hinting at why this is the end of the end rather than just an arbitrary third chapter, especially as (like The Dark Knight and The Godfather Part II) The Last Jedi could have worked as a series finale just as well as whatever Lucasfilm has up their sleeve. I said the same thing about Mad Men season six and its “could have been the finale” season closer, and still season seven was great.
The film opens December 19 in North America as early as 6:00 pm (5 pm if you do the Star Wars marathon fan event). Let’s hope Rise of Skywalker is more Mad Men season seven and less Scrubs season nine (or Goliath Chronicles). Fun fact: the Star Wars finale sold more tickets in the first hour on Atom Tickets than Avengers: Endgame, setting a record for the company. That may not mean much, but it’s not nothing. Anyway, I’m off to see Terminator: Dark Fate, because insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different outcome.