Star Wars

‘The Rise of Skywalker’: Highlights from the D23 special look


So did you hear the screams all across the galaxy Monday morning? That was fans finally getting another sneak peek into the much anticipated final film in the Skywalker Franchise, The Rise of Skywalker.

As per tradition with other Star Wars trailers, this left us with more questions than answers, which opens the door for new theories and speculations. We can’t stop rewatching and analyzing every detail. Here are our top highlights and takeaways!

“A thousand generations live in you now” 

The special look begins with a nostalgic tribute to past films, reminding fans that the Skywalker legacy, that has passed through many generations, is coming to an end. It goes through each iconic scene in each movie leading up to the new footage. One of our favorite moments about this emotional montage is that it reminds fans what Star Wars is really about. It’s about family, love, hope, adventure, redemption, and of course, balance. 

The voiceover is significant because it establishes that the current hero’s are left to face the ultimate villain of the entire franchise, Palpatine. Everything that has happened so far has led up to this and in a way, the story has come full circle. 

When Luke, the initial hero of the series says, “but this is your fight,” it cuts to Rey and Kylo, emphasizing that this is their story. We see the two touching hands in The Last Jedi, foreshadowing that they will join together to defeat Palpatine. This illustrates that in order to defeat Palpatine once and for all, they have to unite the light and dark side of the force. 

After we see the two joining hands, it cuts to a scene from The Force Awakens where Rey is joining hands with Maz after Maz says to her that “the belonging you seek isn’t behind you, it is ahead” meaning that Rey is going to find that belonging in The Rise of Skywalker. Some can argue that she found that place inside the resistance, however, others believe she is still a lost character trying to find that place where she belongs and continues to struggle to find peace within her family background. 

It’s important to note that the next clip that is shown is Han touching his sons face in forgiveness and farewell, which could further indicate that a redemption for Ben is a strong possibility. Ben is a complex character who has been trying to find that belonging through the darkness, but he has been stuck straddling between the light and dark side of the force, trying to find a belonging inside that balance. It is our hope and theory that the two will find their purpose and belonging within the events that take place in the film. 

Another thing significant about the voiceover is how it reaches out towards the fans. Some can say Luke is talking to the fans of the beloved franchise. Those stories from all of those generations live within all of us because we have been there fighting alongside the Skywalkers. We’ve learned from their stories and now we get to see it all wrapped up in what is sure to be an epic conclusion. 


Reylo fight! (or is it?)

One of the most exciting yet controversial parts of the special look is the glimpse of Kylo Ren and Rey fighting on what could perhaps be a piece of the death star. After rewatching several times, we speculate that the two are actually training and not engaging in an attack. Kylo is walking slowly towards Rey and upon closer inspection and 500 rewatches later, it looks as though he is fighting defensively. 

It’s interesting that he is approaching her slowly because he is usually impatient and impulsive when in combat. This could indicate that they are either training or are fighting without the malicious intent on really doing any harm or killing each other. Regardless if it is a fight or a training scene, it looks visually awesome! 

The setting of this scene parallels the iconic fight on Mustafar between Obiwan and Anakin. Both take place on a wreckage with extreme conditions, water and fire. Fire symbolizes hatred, anger and destruction, which is clearly what Anakin was feeling at that moment, while water symbolizes the exact opposite. Water is cleansing, purifying, and symbolizes healing and transformation, which backs up the theory of the return of Ben Solo and the possibility of this not being a hateful battle.


“When the time comes, you’ll be the one to turn”

Perhaps the most shocking part of this special look is the glimpse of Rey, her face void of emotion, in dark Jedi robes with a double sided red lightsaber. Naturally, fans went wild with speculation of what this could mean. While some think this could simply be a vision of what could happen, others are convinced that it is possession or even cloning.

 With the return of Palpatine, fans speculate that he could somehow possess Rey, which opens the door for Kylo’s redemption. By bringing Rey back into the light, he himself could return to the light as well. 

The cloning theory goes back to speculation from The Last Jedi when Rey sees multiple versions of herself in the mirror. Fans think that Palpatine has an army with his and Vader’s DNA and that our Rey could fighting another darker version of herself. This seems very out there but nevertheless, it’s fun to theorize. 

The other theory is that this could be a vision of what could have happened had Rey turned to the dark side. What’s really interesting about this theory is that it could put Rey and Kylo Ren on the same playing field, meaning an understanding could come between the two and it would bring about the message that anyone is susceptible to falling into the dark side of the force. 

Going back to the elevator moment in The Last Jedi, Rey tells Kylo that he will not bow before Snoke, which ends up being true, and then he tells her that when the time comes, she will be the one to turn. If what Rey said came true, then based off the special look, perhaps Kylo’s will as well. Those visions that they saw were briefly justified as manipulation from Snoke, however it’s interesting to think there could have been a bit of truth to those words. 


The dark side

Lucas Film

Before this sinister shot, Darth Vader’s iconic breathing is heard, which could prove the theories that Palpatine is behind Dark Rey. Although it is extremely fitting that Palpatine is returning since he is the true villain behind the entire Skywalker legacy, it would be amazing to see a return of force ghost Anakin on screen as well. 

Having force ghost Anakin return would make the series come full circle and fans could get a stronger perception as to why Kylo Ren was drawn to the mask in the first place. Not only is the mask symbolic to Ben trying to cover up and hide who he really is, it would be really validating to dive deeper into the “voice” that beckoned Ben towards the dark side, which we feel was Palpatine all along. It would be great to have a scene where Anakin could give Ben clarity and explain more of the story.

Round of applause for John Williams!

star wars rise of skywalker

In the first teaser trailer, the music ends with Kylo Ren’s theme turning into an uplifting major key as the title sequence is revealed. Kylo Ren, being the only Skywalker to carry on the Skywalker name, having his music change to a major key  emphasizes that he will “rise” from the dark side. In this special look, Rey’s theme seems to turn into a minor key while still having a bit of a hopefulness to it. It’s significant that these two characters have been the focus of the musical score so far, as this proves how this is truly their story. 

The change in Rey’s theme seems to have an almost dreary tone to it, yet still remains hopeful. Some fans have even gone as far as to state that it sounds a bit like Beauty and the Beast. This is even more interesting because of the similarities between stories, Kylo Ren being the “beast” and Rey being the innocent “Belle”. (Fun fact: George Lucas himself has called Star Wars a “modern fairytale”)


So many questions!:
  • Why are C3Po’s eyes red?
  • Who is flying next to Finn?
  • Is that a row of imperial fleets?
  • Are Kylo and Rey fighting or training?
  • Will Rey join the dark side?
  • Will Ben be redeemed?

These are just a few of the questions fans have while anticipating The Rise of Skywalker, in theaters on December 20th. We will definitely be speculating and theorizing like crazy in the next few months. Until then, may the force be with you!

The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20th!


Jaclyn & Marcella

Jaclyn and Marcella are best friends who obsess over all kinds of storytelling. They always have a book on them and are commonly found at the movies or binging their new favorite tv show. They're most known for crying over their ships on YouTube.

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