The Rise of Skywalker is the last of the Star Wars “saga” films that include the original, prequel, and latest sequel trilogies. It’s also the last Star Wars film in the works at the moment. With the success of 2015’s The Force Awakens, Disney CEO Bob Iger said Lucasfilm is planning for the next “decade and a half” of Star Wars films. But following the rough productions of the two standalone “Star Wars Story” films, Solo and Rogue One (and Solo’s comparatively shaky take at the box office), he walked that back, saying fans should expect a slowdown in the pace. Lucasfilm has since canceled a nascent standalone film that was reportedly about Boba Fett.
But Rise of Skywalker won’t be the last we see of the franchise: Disney is prepping two TV shows for its streaming service, Disney+, as well as a revival of its animated Clone Wars series. And we’ll likely see more films in the future.
Rise of Skywalker has had its own rough production. Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow was initially slated to direct, but left the production in 2017, and was replaced by The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams. Production started in 2018, and the film includes original series stars Mark Hamill and Billy Dee Williams, as well as the late Carrie Fisher.
Rise of Skywalker is due out on December 20th, 2019. Follow along for all the updates, trailers, and commentary for the film.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was designed to answer big questions about the entire Skywalker Saga. But it also raised a lot of new ones, including how well director J.J. Abrams handled its breakneck pacing and huge plot reveals. We offered our spoiler-free impressions earlier this week. But with the film now in theaters, it’s time to take a closer (and, it should go without saying, spoiler-heavy) look at what worked and what didn’t.Read Article >
Final warning: we’ll be talking about specific plot points throughout The Rise of Skywalker below.
Dec 18, 2019
I thought a lot about Rey’s bread while I was watching Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The weird green food is a completely extraneous detail from Rey’s life as a desperate scavenger on the desert planet Jakku, where she began her journey in The Force Awakens, director J.J. Abrams’ first entry in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. But it’s the kind of memorable quirk that makes Star Wars feel like a fantastical world still inhabited by real human beings.Read Article >
The characters in Rise of Skywalker don’t have time to bake bread, which is understandable for a third-act finale involving a galaxy-spanning war. Unfortunately, they don’t really have time to be human either. Abrams has assembled a sweeping conclusion to Star Wars, pulling together stories that span both real and fictional decades. He’s guiding a deeply nostalgic series past an entry that decried nostalgia: Rian Johnson’s ambitious and polarizing The Last Jedi. It’s a vision that’s far too big for one movie, though — and the resulting film is permanently on fast-forward, too busy ticking off boxes to let audiences revel in its world-shifting twists.
Dec 14, 2019
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is so inescapable that it’s even started invading video games. This afternoon, director J.J. Abrams stopped by a unique location to show off a new clip from the movie: Risky Reels, the drive-in theater on Fortnite’s virtual island. It was a unique promotional event for the film, which naturally ended with a lightsaber duel.Read Article >
The event opened with Abrams arriving on the Millennium Falcon, amidst a battle with some TIE fighters and a few Star Destroyers. There was even an in-game avatar that looked remarkably like the director. After a bit of a preamble with host Geoff Keighley — best known as the host and creator of The Game Awards — a massive floating display appeared. The brief, exclusive clip of Rise of Skywalker featured heroes Rey, Finn, and Poe, and after it was over — and Abrams took off in his spaceship — things slowed down, while a Darth Sidious voiceover talked about the “day of the Sith.”
Aug 26, 2019
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will conclude the current Star Wars trilogy, and a new trailer showcased at Disney’s D23 Expo teases what that end looks like. And now, Disney has posted it online for everyone to see.Read Article >
The trailer opens with footage from all nine Star Wars films. A voiceover from Luke declares that there have been “a thousand generations, but this is your fight.” Rey, Poe, and Finn are preparing for the biggest fight of their life. Battleships tear through the skies, as Rey and Kylo Ren meet in the middle of a war-torn planet, ready to fight. The best bit of all? Rey is wielding a red, double-sided lightsaber.
Jul 20, 2019
When Disney released Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015, its 30-year jump from Return of the Jedi introduced plenty of new characters and mysteries to the franchise. One of those was how Han Solo and Leia Organa’s son Ben turned to the dark side to become Kylo Ren. Later this year, Marvel Comics will explore some of that story with new comic miniseries: The Rise of Kylo Ren.Read Article >
Lucasfilm announced the four-issue comic series at the Lucasfilm publishing panel yesterday at San Diego Comic-Con. Charles Soule, the writer behind Marvel’s Darth Vader and Poe Dameron comics, will write the series.
May 4, 2019
The Star Wars franchise famously includes a wide range of mediums beyond just the films — numerous books, comics, and games fill in the untold corners of the galaxy, and have set up the world for the coming installments. Lucasfilm just unveiled its publishing slate that will lead to the next film, The Rise of Skywalker, and it includes a novel that will bridge the gap from The Last Jedi, written by author Rebecca Roanhorse.Read Article >
The new adult novel is Resistance Reborn, set to be released on November 12th, just before the The Rise of Skywalker premieres in December. The bare-bones description says that it will follow General Leia Organa, Poe Dameron, Finn, and Rey as they “struggle to rebuild the Resistance after their defeat at the hands of the First Order.” Excitingly, the book will be written by Rebecca Roanhorse, who earned a Hugo and Nebula nomination for her fantastic debut novel Trail of Lightning, and a Nebula win for her short story Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience TM. Her latest book, Storm of Locus, just hit stores.
Apr 12, 2019
The first trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (the newly announced, official title for Episode IX, the upcoming conclusion of the Star Wars Skywalker saga) is here, and Lucasfilm has given fans a surprising amount of footage to dissect.Read Article >
There are virtually no details on Episode IX’s actual plot or story in the trailer, just a lot of disconnected scenes, but there are still plenty of hints about what to expect from The Rise of Skywalker. We’ve broken down all the key moments of the trailer below, along with our best guesses at what it all means.
Apr 12, 2019
The final installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy finally has a name. During a panel at Star Wars Celebration today, Lucasfilm debuted the first trailer for Episode IX, which will officially be called Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.Read Article >
The film will be directed by J.J. Abrams, who kicked off Disney’s Star Wars efforts with The Force Awakens back in 2015. According to Abrams, the new installment takes place sometime after Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, in which Leia Organa’s Resistance movement was forced on the run and battered by the First Order. That film also saw the death of Luke Skywalker after a showdown with his nephew, Kylo Ren, who also killed the leader of the First Order, Supreme Leader Snoke.
Aug 28, 2018
J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode IX began shooting earlier this month, and today, Variety reports that a new actor has joined the cast: former Doctor Who star Matt Smith.Read Article >
As usual with all things Star Wars, advanced details are light at the moment, but the report describes Smith’s character as a “key role” in the upcoming film. Science fiction fans are doubtless most familiar with Smith for his multiyear run as the Eleventh Doctor on the BBC program Doctor Who. He’s also been demonstrating his range since leaving that program by earning an Emmy nomination for his performance as Prince Philip in Netflix’s historical drama The Crown.
Jul 27, 2018
The next big Star Wars movie will begin production on Wednesday, August 1st in London, and Lucasfilm has formally announced the cast for the film. While there are no surprises regarding the actors playing the roles of the characters introduced in the sequel trilogy, there are a few major reveals: Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill will be back, and so will Billy Dee Williams, now officially confirmed to be reprising his role as Lando Calrissian, after rumors earlier this year.Read Article >
Other actors reprising their roles in the untitled sequel include Daisy Ridley (Rey), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz), Domhnall Gleeson (Hux), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), Billie Lourd (Ko Connix), and Anthony Daniels (C-3PO). Actors Naomi Ackie (Yardie) and Richard E. Grant (Gosford Park, Logan) will also join the cast. Lucasfilm also confirmed that Keri Russell (The Americans) will be joining the cast, in what was previously reported to be an “action-heavy” role.
Jul 10, 2018
Last week word broke the J.J. Abrams had cast The Americans’ Keri Russell in his upcoming Star Wars: Episode IX. According to The Hollywood Reporter, another actor has joined the project, as well: Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian.Read Article >
Williams originally joined the franchise back in 1980, in The Empire Strikes Back. Calrissian, a smuggler and friend of Harrison Ford’s Han Solo, quickly became a fan favorite. The character was recently brought back to the screen in a younger iteration by Donald Glover in Solo: A Star Wars Story. That movie left the door open for its own sequels, and potentially even a Glover-led Lando spin-off. However, Solo failed to meet box-office expectations, with Lucasfilm reportedly deciding to put development on all of its standalone movies on hold while attention turned to Abrams’ film.
Jul 6, 2018
Lucasfilm has kept things pretty quiet when it comes to J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode IX, but Variety is now reporting that the director has cast Keri Russell in the upcoming film. The character she’ll be playing isn’t named, but according to the report it calls for “action-heavy fight scenes.”Read Article >
Russell first came to national attention as the star of Felicity back in 1998. That show, which was created by Abrams and Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), featured Russell as the titular young woman who upends her life by deciding to go to college in New York, rather than California, to pursue a potential relationship. More recently, she has earned acclaim for her intense performance on The Americans, which just ended its six-season run. That show featured Russell as Elizabeth Jennings, one-half of a married couple who are actually Soviet spies living (and killing) undercover in Cold War America.
Sep 12, 2017
Disney just pushed back the release of Star Wars: Episode IX from May 2019 to December 2019, Deadline reports. The news comes after an announcement today that J.J. Abrams is taking over from Colin Trevorrow as director of the movie.Read Article >
Episode IX, originally slated to premiere on May 24th, 2019, was supposed to be a return to May release dates for the Star Wars franchise. Back in 2015, The Force Awakens was also originally supposed to be released in the summer, but was moved to a December release after Abrams took over screenwriting duties with Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi) and needed more time.
Sep 12, 2017
Lucasfilm announced today that J.J. Abrams will take over as the director for Star Wars: Episode IX after Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow left the project.Read Article >
Following Trevorrow’s departure from the project on September 5th, THR reporter Borys Kit tweeted earlier this month that Abrams was on the short list to pick up Episode IX. The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson was also on the list, but he said that he wasn’t going to direct over the weekend.
Sep 5, 2017
Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi doesn’t hit theaters until December 15th, but it appears that the movie’s sequel is already running into problems. Director Colin Trevorrow, who directed the runaway success Jurassic World, has stepped down from the project. The news comes a month after a new screenwriter, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’s Jack Thorne, come onto the project to rewrite the script by Trevorrow and co-writer Derek Connolly.Read Article >
Trevorrow was announced as the director of the project back in 2015, fresh off his Jurassic World success. That film ended up grossing over $1.6 billion worldwide, but his follow-up The Book of Henry was both a commercial and critical disaster. Episode IX was reportedly set to begin shooting in January of next year, but it’s not clear whether this creative change will push that date further out.
Aug 2, 2017
Star Wars: The Last Jedi won’t be in theaters until the end of the year, but preparation for the final installment of the Skywalker saga is already underway — and a new writer is jumping on board. According to The Hollywood Reporter, British screenwriter and playwright Jack Thorne will be tackling a rewrite for the as-of-yet untitled Star Wars: Episode IX. Thorne has created UK television shows like The Fades and The Last Panthers, and wrote both the upcoming Julia Roberts film Wonder and an installment of the anthology series Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams. His most high-profile work in terms of mainstream fantasy, however, is the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.Read Article >
Director Colin Trevorrow and screenwriter Derek Connolly had written previous drafts of the Episode IX script. The duo had both been behind Jurassic World, and given the production issues that Lucasfilm has faced with the untitled Han Solo film and Rogue One, there might be an inclination to wonder if this change points to issues arising with Episode IX, as well. However, according to Variety’s sources, the move is much more in line with the kind of polishes that blockbuster films routinely receive, rather than a ground-up rewrite. The movie hopes to begin principal photography in January of next year.
Apr 25, 2017
Star Wars: Episode IX is coming sooner than we expected: Disney just moved the release date for the film up to May 24th, 2019, io9 reports.Read Article >
Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World) will direct the final installment of the sequel trilogy, set to follow The Last Jedi, which will be out at the end of this year. As io9 points out, the other two sequels were both scheduled for a Christmas release, but Episode IX will be the outlier arriving on Memorial Day. The Hans Solo standalone movie has also been given a May release date. The first six Star Wars films were also released in the summer, so this could be a return to that schedule.
Apr 14, 2017
After widespread reports last weekend that Carrie Fisher’s family gave Lucasfilm the go-ahead for the late actress to appear in 2019’s Episode IX, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has told ABC News that Fisher will not be part of the film.Read Article >
“Sadly, Carrie will not be in [Episode 9],'” Kennedy said, “But we will see a lot of Carrie in [The Last Jedi].'” She said Fisher’s brother, Todd, likely mixed up the films when he spoke last weekend. “We finished everything in [The Last Jedi],” Kennedy explained, “and Carrie is absolutely phenomenal in the movie.”
Jan 14, 2017
Tonight Lucasfilm took to the Star Wars website to make it very clear that the company will not be using digital effects to recreate Carrie Fisher in future entries of the franchise.Read Article >
“We don’t normally respond to fan or press speculation, but there is a rumor circulating that we would like to address,” the statement reads. “We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher’s performance as Princess or General Leia Organa.”
Dec 27, 2016
Carrie Fisher, best known for her role as Princess Leia Organa in the Star Wars series, has died at age 60. Fisher suffered a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles on Friday, according to TMZ. An EMT on board administered CPR until the flight landed, and she was rushed to a nearby hospital. A family spokesperson confirmed her death this morning to People Magazine and said, “She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly.”Read Article >
In a statement, Disney CEO Bob Iger noted that Fisher “will always have a special place in the hearts of Star Wars fans as well as all of us who were lucky enough to know her personally.”
Aug 15, 2015
The third installment in the new Star Wars trilogy has a director. Episode IX will be directed by Colin Trevorrow, who directed his first blockbuster earlier this year with the massively successful Jurassic World. Trevorrow was previously rumored to be the director behind the film, and now it has been confirmed at Disney's massive D23 fan gathering in Anahiem, California today.Read Article >
In a statement, Trevorrow said "This is not a job or an assignment. It is a seat at a campfire, surrounded by an extraordinary group of storytellers, filmmakers, artists and craftspeople." He adds, a bit over-dramatically, that "We’ve been charged with telling new stories for a younger generation because they deserve what we all had — a mythology to call their own. We will do this by channeling something George Lucas instilled in all of us: boundless creativity, pure invention, and hope."