During this year’s annual Star Wars Celebration in Chicago, Disney and Lucasfilm released a trailer for the upcoming ninth and final instalment of the Skywalker saga, which we now know is titled, The Rise of Skywalker.

Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) is set to be an important part of this final film, and while Fisher passed away in 2016, her scenes in Episode IX will be made up of discarded footage and outtakes from the first two films. Director JJ Abrams said of the work, “Princess Leia lives in a way in this film that is kind of mind-blowing to me.”

He continued by saying, “You don’t recast that part and you don’t suddenly have her disappear. The idea of having a CGI character was off the table. So we said ‘What if we could write scenes about her so it’s her performance? […] Every day it hits me that she’s not here. It’s so surreal because we are working with her still, if that makes sense. She’s in scenes. She’s alive in scenes.”

The director also confirmed that the film’s events unfold after those of The Last Jedi: “Some time has gone by. This is an adventure that the group goes on together. It’s a story that I think is one of the great things about the movie – the dynamic between the characters. They are just the most wonderful together.”

While this is a Star Wars trailer, and as usual doesn’t give much away, there certainly are some interesting details to ponder until the next trailer – including a glimpse of Lando (Billy Dee Williams) in the Millennium Falcon, Leia and Rey (Daisy Ridley) embracing, the wreckage of the Death Star in the ocean, and a FREAKING EMPEROR PALPATINE LAUGH. So, it seems the emperor will be making a return to bookend the saga.

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker is set for release on December 19th in the UK, and December 20th in the US.

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