SALT LAKE CITY — It is the end of an era.
When ”The Rise of Skywalker” releases on Dec. 20, it will mark the conclusion of a nine-film saga that has taken us from one corner of the galaxy to the other, and the first trailer harkens back to that journey in some of the most poetic ways.
Here are 12 ways the “Rise of Skywalker” trailer parallels previous films and motifs in the saga. Note: This article uses screenshots captured from multiple "Star Wars" trailers, all of which are linked to in this article.
The opening scenes from "The Force Awakens" and "Rise of Skywalker"
As it was in the beginning, so shall be in the end, and thus it is with the “Rise of Skywalker” teaser that begins with Rey breathing in a desert landscape.
If the opener seems familiar, it’s because it closely mirrors the opening scenes from the “The Force Awakens” trailer, which show Finn breathing heavily on Jakku, having just escaped from the First Order.
Sandwiched between both of these teasers is the first teaser for “The Last Jedi,” which shows Rey breathing hard in an elemental space.
From teaser to teaser, we see, or rather hear that breath become more controlled, just as Rey’s control over the Force increases with each film. Breath, just like the Force, surrounds and binds the universes of the final films together.
The text on the trailer is the same as "The Phantom Menace," kind of
One thing you may have missed in the trailer is that it uses the same text that is used in the first trailer for “The Phantom Menace.”
In the “Phantom Menace” trailer, it reads “every generation has a legend” and “every saga has a beginning.”
Both lines are carried over into “The Rise of Skywalker” trailer with a slight twist on the second. Instead of reading “every saga has a beginning,” it reads “every saga comes to an end,” making a fitting close to the film saga.
The setting looks the same
The desert comes with a symbolic history in the “Star Wars” universe. In “The Phantom Menace,” it’s where a young Anakin learns he has a connection to the Force. In “A New Hope,” it’s also where Luke learns he has the Force.
Rey, too, has her beginnings rooted in the desert, having grown up in relative obscurity like Anakin and Luke.
The opening scenes of “The Rise of Skywalker” pull that desert forward again, harkening to the beginning, the middle and the end of the saga and our introduction to the Force. It feels like a fitting beginning to the end.
Lando is still smiling
One of the clearest parallels to previous films in the trailer is that scene with Lando (Billy Dee Williams) smiling, laughing and flying the Millennium Falcon. If it looks familiar, it’s because Lando did the same thing in “Return of the Jedi,” adding to the poetic feel of the “Rise of Skywalker” trailer.
The desert chase is here
There’s a scene in the “Rise of Skywalker” trailer that almost looks like a pod race, harkening back once more to “The Phantom Menace.”
This scene could hint at a return to Tatooine, as the towers in the scene look similar to Tatooine structures in previous films.
The medal is passed
In the “Rise of Skywalker” trailer, someone can be seen holding a medal. That medal is identical to the medals given to Han and Luke in “A New Hope.”
One of the most interesting scenes in the “The Rise of Skywalker” trailer is that we see someone melding together Kylo Ren’s (Adam Driver) helmet. It’s easy to assume that it’s Kylo himself doing the fixing, but what if it’s someone else entirely?
Where that question gets interesting is when we consider the similarities between the helmet scene from the “Rise of Skywalker” trailer and the scene when Anakin becomes Darth Vader for the first time, both marked by black tones with lines of red.
Emperor Palpatine, with the help of his droids, essentially stitches Anakin back together to make his Sith apprentice in the "Revenge of the Sith."
If fan theories that Palpatine is a returning evil force in “The Rise of Skywalker” prove true, is it possible Palpatine is creating his next apprentice in this scene? Only time will tell.
Rey and Kylo’s looks
As Twitter user reygranger pointed out, the picture of Kylo Ren revealed at the Star Wars Celebration and the picture of Rey look similar to some of the outfits Padme and Anakin have donned in previous films like “Attack of the Clones.”
One thing that consistently crops up in the "Star Wars" saga are the colors red and blue and how they’re framed as good vs. evil.
In “The Empire Strikes Back,” Luke fights Vader (who has a red saber) with his blue lightsaber against a blue backdrop.
Anakin fights Obi-Wan against a similar backdrop in “Revenge of the Sith.”
What’s striking is how these colors are played up and contrast each other in the “Rise of Skywalker” trailer, showcasing that the film will focus on the conflict between the Force and “the Dark Side.”
The Death Star
At the very end of the trailer, we see Rey looking over the remains of what has all but been confirmed to be the Death Star. If the structure is, in fact, the Death Star, it offers one of the most poetic symbols of all: the new generation of Star Wars heroes overlooking what remains of the past and moving forward.
The new trio
One of the more striking moments from the trailer is when Rey, Poe and Finn stand with Chewie, BB-8 and D-0 overlooking the assumed remains of the Death Star.Comment on this story
One can’t help but think of Han, Leia, Luke, Chewie, C-3PO and R2-D2 and see how the torch has been effectively passed to the next generation of heroes.
The literal rise of the Skywalker
The movie title also connects back to the series at-large. The progression of the "Star Wars" saga has been about the rise and fall of the Skywalker family — first Anakin Skywalker and then Luke Skywalker. The title of this film plays directly into that theme.
“The Rise of Skywalker” hits theaters Dec. 20.