Lucasfilm has finally revealed the official title for Star Wars: Episode IX. Drumroll, please.
The final film in the latest Star Wars trilogy is called Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker.
Lucasfilm announced the news during an Episode IX-centric panel at the 2019 edition of Star Wars Celebration, a biannual fan convention that celebrates all things Star Wars. Most excitingly, however, was the premiere of a teaser that accompanied the announcement. It offered our very first look at The Rise of Skywalker, full of this generation’s legendary heroes, before a disturbing voiceover at the very end suggested that perhaps Luke Skywalker isn’t quite gone, like we were previously led to believe at the end of Episode VIII.
(Thankfully, you can watch it above, so take 90 seconds and do that.)
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be the third and final chapter of the latest Skywalker saga, following 2015’s Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens and 2017’s Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi. It will debut in theaters on December 20, 2019, almost exactly four years after The Force Awakens. The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams is also back at the helm, after Jurassic World’s Colin Trevorrow walked away from the film in 2017 over “creative differences.”
Abrams told the crowd during the presentation that The Rise of Skywalker will pick up “not immediately after” The Last Jedi; “some time has gone by,” he explained. But the saga’s heroes will all return to complete this journey together, including Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), and, through the magic of unused footage from The Force Awakens, Commander Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher, who died at the end of 2016).
Many of the cast members stopped by the presentation to discuss the movie, although they remained highly guarded on the details of the plot. Still, a few small tidbits were shared; newcomer Naomi Ackie, a British actress whose previous credits are mostly in theater, revealed that her character is named Jannah, who looks pretty cool:
First look at Naomi Ackie’s Jannah. #EpisodeIX #StarWarsCelebration pic.twitter.com/MoaQucDC9f— Brian Truitt (@briantruitt) April 12, 2019
And Abrams showed off DIO, an adorable new Droid who befriends BB-8. I love him!
The Rise of Skywalker is also the rise of Star Wars’ future
With Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker, the story of the Skywalker family will come to a close. And Walt Disney Studios CEO Bob Iger, who has overseen Star Wars since the Mansion of Mouse’s $2.2 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012, says that it may be a while until we see what’s next for the franchise.
“We will take a pause, some time, and reset, because the Skywalker saga comes to an end with this ninth movie,” Iger told Bloomberg on April 11, coinciding with Disney’s quarterly presentation for investors. “There will be other Stars Wars movies, but there will be a bit of a hiatus.” Iger has made comments along these lines before, but it’s nice to know he’s sticking to his guns on this one.
Those “other” Star Wars movies include a spinoff trilogy led by Rian Johnson (who directed the well-received, if polarizing The Last Jedi) and a series from Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Lucasfilm has yet to announce further details about either of these projects.
Star Wars Celebration continues through the weekend in Chicago. Among other panels and events, attendees are expecting to see footage from the upcoming live-action TV series The Mandalorian, which premieres on the forthcoming Disney+ streaming platform this fall. Lucasfilm is streaming many of the festivities on the Star Wars YouTube channel, so interested fans can keep up with what’s happening there.