For those of us with our fingers on the pulse (and not far from the pulse and straight up somewhere very uncomfortable (no, not the back of a Volkswagen)), news of a teaser trailer for the upcoming Star Wars film was not entirely unanticipated. This past week in Chicago, Star Wars Celebration was underway, an annual expo dedicated to all things Star Wars related. With the end of the Skywalker saga slated for release in December of this year, this is prime time for the release of updates, teasers, and various other miscellaneous info to start dropping for one of the most highly anticipated films of… let me check again… ah yes, ever.
And drop the trailer for Episode IX has. And along with the trailer came the reveal of the name, which is (drum roll please) The Rise of Skywalker. Now, those who know me know I’m not prone to rash decisions, but my initial reaction is that this title sucks. Hard. I know I risk falling into that old cliche of “Nobody hates Star Wars like a Star Wars fan,” but I’m not suggesting that the film is going to be complete bantha poodo. Like all movies, I make an effort to reserve judgement until after I’ve seen the thing. Crazy, I know.
The Episode IX trailer is… fine, I guess. J.J. Abrams is back in the drivers seat after helming The Force Awakens, the first film of the sequel trilogy. Honestly, as a fairly dedicated Star Wars fan, I wasn’t as keen on The Force Awakens as a lot of my brethren. It was a good film, but it wasn’t a great Star Wars film. It had all the trappings of a Star Wars film, and it’s easy to see Abrams is a big fan of the series as well, but it felt like the ground it trod was just a little too familiar in terms of the narrative beats it seemed like Abrams felt obliged to hit. For his first foray into the Star Wars universe, Abrams also seemed too set on his standard “mystery box” format of storytelling, which aims to draw the audience in with a compelling mystery to hook their attention and interest, but without any idea of what the answer to that mystery might actually be. I think this was a major flaw not only with The Force Awakens, but will also turn out to be the Achilles heel of the sequel trilogy as a whole.
This is to say, I have a little bit of trepidation about the final episode in the nine-movie arc of Star Wars films in the Skywalker saga. And the name does not inspire a whole lot of confidence. You know what they say about first impression at all. Obviously, I’m not going to pre-judge The Rise of Skywalker. And based on my proclivities for the third entries in the original and prequel trilogies, it’s also well within the realm of possibility that Episode IX will wind up being my favourite in the sequel trilogy. As a life-long fan, I’m going to shell out my hard-earned cash to see this thing regardless. And as much as I’m lukewarm on J.J. Abrams as a director, I honestly hope that he knocks it out of the park. Either way, this December is going to mark a major milestone for those of us whose hearts are at least partially invested in that galaxy far, far away.