The first TV spot for The Rise of Skywalker is here. Disney decided to air the spot during Sunday Night Football on NBC, as opposed to doing so during the Emmys broadcast. That proved to be a wise decision, as ratings for the Emmys were down this year. In any event, this signals that Episode IX is drawing near, as Lucasfilm is starting to ramp up the marketing for the conclusion of this sequel trilogy, and the Skywalker saga overall.
This spot unfortunately doesn't bring with it any new footage. Instead, this is a slightly condensed version of the D23 trailer that was released online not long ago. So, we get a glimpse at Leia, some Kylo Ren in there, lots of Star Destroyers and Dark Rey at the end, with a little bit of Palpatine dialogue and the Vader breath. The spot aired with the following tagline, signaling that this truly is the end of a story more than 40 years in the making.
Director J.J. Abrams is returning to the franchise after successfully helming The Force Awakens, which ushered in the Disney era of Star Wars and grossed more than $2 billion worldwide. Abrams stepped away to make room for Rian Johnson, who took over as writer/director on The Last Jedi. Following the hiring and subsequent parting of ways with Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow, Abrams was brought back by Lucasfilm to finish what he started. A movie of this size always comes with pressure, but having to close out an entire nine-movie saga in a satisfying way is truly a tall order.
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Much of what we're going to see in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker remains a mystery. We know Palpatine will return, but how that's going to be accomplished is anyone's guess right now. Even intriguing imagery, such as Rey with that double-bladed lightsaber and hood, without further context, raises more questions than it does provide us with any answers. With any luck, we'll be seeing a full-length trailer sooner rather than later, which may finally give us a window into the actual story at hand. Or it could just be more classic Abrams misdirects.