Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has been billed as the conclusion of the “Skywalker Saga” that began back in 1977. But those are just words. Do you you know what is more than just words? A surprisingly lovely featurette filled with behind-the-scenes footage from the entire Star Wars series from 1977 through 2019 that feels specially built to make those eyes of yours water.
However, this video also seems to indicate that a previously unannounced character from the original trilogy will return in The Rise of Skywalker. And honestly, I’m not sure any of us saw this coming.
The Rise of Skywalker Featurette
The video opens with priceless footage of Harrison Ford awkwardly rehearsing a famous scene from the original Star Wars, shooting the camera annoyed glances as he stumbles over dialogue that seems so alien to him but so familiar to us.
If the featurette was just wonderful footage from the sets of the various Star Wars films from over the decades, that would be enough. And while there is a lot of that – including a few touching reminders of those who have left us – the video also drops this pleasant surprise:
Yes, that is franchise actor and good luck charm Warwick Davis once again suited up as Wicket the Ewok, last seen in 1983’s Return of the Jedi. Davis was 13 years old when he originally played the part of the adorable/ferocious creature, who assisted the Rebel Alliance in their final battle against the Empire on the forest moon of Endor.
But with The Rise of Skywalker taking us full circle, and even returning to the remains of the second Death Star, it makes sense that he’d show up one more time. Does the Resistance return to Endor to find the Death Star wreckage and end up reconnecting with an old ally and possibly recruiting him to their cause? After all, it seems like Star Wars fans have turned around on the Ewoks – after decades of hating on them, everyone seems to have decided that that these little guys were always pretty cool. We’ll know for sure in just a few weeks.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hammll, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong’o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, Ian McDiarmid, Billy Dee Williams and Carrie Fisher. It hits theaters on December 20, 2019. Surely you’ve bought your tickets by now, right?
There’s one particularly telling and effective moment in The Skywalker Legacy, the feature-lenght documentary that’s included on the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker home release that sums up much of the ambivalence and consternation that some had with J.J. Abrams’ return to the Star Wars universe. After showing the intricate construction of a giant, practical snake monster, the doc cuts back to footage of Jabba The Hutt, that old analogue beast that slithered its way into our hearts. The sentiment is clear – we’re making movies like we used to! A celebration of practical effects, the dripping of k-y jelly to give viscosity just like the old costume days, it’s all there. There’s excitement on set, everyone talking about how amazing it looks, how lifelike, how this is how you’re supposed to do movies like this.
Cut to Visual Effects Supervisor Roger Guyett who shatters the myth, letting us know the creature was replaced by a CGI version in post.
Guyett’s resume is mighty. Having made his bones on groundbreaking films like Twister and Casper, he helped Spielberg bring the events of D-Day to screen in Saving Private Ryan, helped bring to life the best looking film in the Harry Potter series, Alfonso Cuarón’s Prisoner of Azkaban, and even made the theatrical version of Rent feel more than a stage production. Guyett has had many collaborations with Abrams – from the Star Trek Reboots through The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker he was even second unit director on the former, as well as working with George Lucas on Episode III to round off the prequels. He’s in a unique position to speak to these changing landscapes of epic filmmaking.
We spoke at length about the apparent contradictions and indulgences in making a Star Wars film, and he made the case for why nothing was wasted and all contributed to the final presentation. He was erudite and open to the discussion, making for a dream conversation with a man who quite literally has helped shape what amazes us on screen for decades.
The following has been edited for clarity and concision.
We see practical effects being championed as almost a marketing ploy with the “postquels” as a mix of nostalgia and an attempt to delineate from Lucas’ second trilogy. In some ways the love of the practically-realized snake undercuts the extraordinary CGI you and your team accomplished, and raises questions about why the need to fetishize the on-set inclusions when they’re replaced anyway. Could you talk about that ethos, that somehow doing stuff on a computer is a “cheat” while doing an effect practically is not?
I think at the end of the day we’re all trying to do the best that we can, trying to make the best, most dramatic or emotional movie we can visually. I’m coming from figuring out how do you get the most...
Only five episodes from the fourth season of Rick and Morty aired on Adult Swim towards the end of last year, so Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon still have to make good on the rest of the season. Thankfully, fans won’t have to wait much longer because a new trailer for the second half of Rick and Morty‘s current season has arrived, and it looks like some of their craziest adventures are coming. Get a peek at what’s in store when Rick and Morty season 4 returns in May.
Rick and Morty Season 4 Returns in May
There’s a lot to take in with this new Rick and Morty trailer. First of all, Adult Swim has announced that Rick and Morty will finish the fourth season with another five episodes starting on May 3 at 11:30 P.M. ET. The last episode this season aired back on December 15, so fans have been patient enough. Sure, there was that recent Rick and Morty anime short that was a nice treat while we wait, but it’s time to get back to the real adventures.
Speaking of which, a lot of this trailer seems to have footage from an episode where Summer is ruling over a species of aliens, and Rick and Morty get caught at some point trying to hide among them. They’re the same aliens that we see Rick and Morty slicing down when they’re in a pair of Gundam suits. So who knows what’s happening there, or when the hell Rick and Morty got those cool suits.
There are also some shots that don’t provide any context whatsoever, such as Morty levitating while being electrified by some kind of purple energy in Rick’s garage lab. There’s also a shot of a naked, goop-covered Morty running from several Ricks, Jerry flying through some kind of tube system with a camping backpack, Summer having a lightsaber fight with another woman, and even the return of Snowball aka Snuffles in his robot suit from the second episode all the way back in the first season.
The return of Rick and Morty couldn’t come at a better time. It’ll be nice to have the distraction of this grotesque and hilarious animated series back on Adult Swim. However, since coronavirus is delaying movie and TV productions across the board, who knows how long we’ll have to wait until we get a fifth season. Stay tuned.