The lead-up to the release of Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker has felt oddly uneventful, almost as if Disney’s decision to churn these movies out on an annual-ish schedule was a bad idea, but damn it, Star Wars is still Star Wars and it’s hard not to get excited about a trailer for a new one—especially if it’s making a point to bill itself as the definitive conclusion to the story of the Skywalker family. The first trailer, which came out a full six months ago, was largely dedicated to Rey jumping over a TIE fighter, some seemingly hopeful voiceover from Luke, and then the late rug-pulling twist of Emperor Palpatine’s cackle and the shattered ruins of the second Death Star (or at least that’s what it looked like). Then, a subsequent teaser showed an evil version of Rey with what might be the goofiest lightsaber ever, plus some of the leftover footage of Carrie Fisher that director J.J. Abrams is using to pay respect to Leia as a character despite Fisher’s death.
Tonight, during Monday Night Football, Disney and Lucasfilm dropped a brand new trailer for The Rise Of Skywalker and it certainly leaned into all of that “Emperor Palpatine is back” imagery. His throne room was there and he said more ominous things! There weren’t any Porgs, which is a little worrying, but there was a Star Destroyer rising up through the ground, a dramatic lightsaber duel between Rey and an extremely soaked Kylo Ren, and—in what is clearly meant to be one of the trailer’s big tearjerker moments—C-3P0 undergoing some kind of operation and taking one last chance to look at his friends. The other tearjerker moment, naturally, comes from a single word uttered by General Leia, which comes on what would’ve been Carrie Fisher’s 63rd birthday. A little cheap? Sure, but it’s still pretty damn effective.
Star Wars: Episode IX—The Rise Of Skywalker will be in theaters on December 20, and tickets are available now.