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Disney releases new footage from The Rise of Skywalker

It’s been a busy few days for Star Wars fans thanks to Disney’s D23 expo. First, we saw the trailer for The Mandalorian, an original series for the new Disney+ streaming service, which begins in November. That was followed with news that Ewan McGregor will return to the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in another new series for Disney+, but it didn’t stop there. At D23 we also got our best look yet at episode nine—The Rise of Skywalker—which opens in December, and on Monday morning Disney posted that footage to YouTube.

First we see a montage of scenes from the original trilogy, then more recent Star Wars films, set to a haunting variation on John Williams’ score. We hear a tired-sounding Luke Skywalker telling someone that “this is your fight,” then the horns begin to swell. What follows over the next 30 or so seconds is new.

Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewie, and C-3PO are on a desert planet. Tatooine, Jakku, or somewhere new? Who knows, but there’s a bustling settlement. Then a brief shot of Leia before the setup to what may well be an enormous space battle. The resistance better have something up their collective sleeve because I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many Star Destroyers in one frame before.

There’s a giant red laser ruining the day of everything in its path, indicating that the starkiller technology we saw in The Force Awakens might make a comeback. Rey does some some Jedi training in Endor, or a place that looks a lot like it, and there’s a stormy seaside saber showdown between her and Kylo Ren. Things go black for a while, we hear the sound of a Vader-like respirator, and then… Rey as a Sith?

Disney also dropped a poster for The Rise of Skywalker, which curiously features Palpatine staring straight at you as Rey and Kylo Ren duel in the foreground. I was pretty sure he met his end in the reactor of the second Death Star during Return of the Jedi, but I guess not.

Listing image by Disney

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