Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Will Have Carrie Fisher Share the Screen With Her Daughter
On December 20, 2019, the 42 year-long saga that started with George Lucas's Star Wars all the way back in 1977 will come to a close. Details about the upcoming movie, like the knowledge of The Force in a war-torn galaxy devoid of Jedi, have been incredibly sparse. Vanity Fair published a gigantic cover story about the new film on Wednesday, featuring gorgeous on-set photography from Annie Leibovitz.
While the story focuses mainly on the production and grueling behind-the-scenes craftsmanship that a film of this unfathomable scale entails, many details about the narrative of Rise of Skywalker were quietly revealed in the piece written by Lev Grossman.
Here are five fascinating details that we learned from Vanity Fair's big Star Wars cover.
Behold, the Knights of Ren.
Kylo Ren's gang of technofuture biker demons has finally arrived. The boogeymen, who we briefly spotted in Rey's nightmare flashback in Force Awakens, have been rumored to show up in this big finale, and now we have conclusive evidence that the evil boy band is making their grand entrance. Though the piece doesn't really address their return directly, One of Leibovitz's photographs shows that the Knights look a lot like Kylo. They do not seem to carry lightsabers, and bear some striking resemblances to spooky Sith lords from Star Wars lore.
The new desert planet is called Pasaana
Was Vanity Fair trying to hide this detail? It almost seems like that's the case. The mysterious desert planet from the Rise of Skywalker trailer has been on everyone's mind, with fans speculating as to which of the franchise's many sandy locales these scenes may be taking place on. While the cover story explicitly reveals that the desert sequences were shot on-location in the Wadi Rum region of Jordan, it doesn't make any mention of what this desert planet is–except for in the fine print beneath a photograph deeper in the piece. The caption reads "Director J. J. Abrams sets up a shot of Daisy Ridley (Rey) in Jordan’s Wadi Rum desert, the setting for the planet Pasaana."
Keri Russell's character is named Zorri Bliss
We've known for some time that Russell would be making an appearance in Rise of Skywalker. Now, we have a character name, and some details. The badass bounty hunter-looking figure is pictured in Vanity Fair's story with a caption that reads, "Vanity Fair reveals Keri Russell as the masked scoundrel Zorri Bliss, seen in the Thieves’ Quarter of the snow-dusted world Kijimi." So not only are we confirming here that Russell is playing a new character that looks like the god damn Rocketeer, but that she's indeed a thief of some sort, and that we have yet another snow planet in the new film, this one called Kijimi.
Billie Lourd will share the screen with her late mother, Carrie Fisher
It's been known for a long time that Skywalker would feature unused footage from Force Awakens to bring a conclusion to Princess Leia's story. The Vanity Fair cover revealed that Billie Lourd, Fisher's daughter, would share the screen with Fisher in some of these sequences. Abrams explains in the story:
Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, appears in the movies as a Resistance officer named Lieutenant Connix, and at first Abrams deliberately wrote her out of the scenes in case it was too painful—but Lourd said no, she wanted to be in them. “And so, there are moments where they’re talking; there are moments where they’re touching,” Abrams says. “There are moments in this movie where Carrie is there, and I really do feel there is an element of the uncanny, spiritual, you know, classic Carrie, that it would have happened this way, because somehow it worked. And I never thought it would.”
The Jedi and the Sith will finally settle the score
In the trailer for Rise of Skywalker, we see the remains of a Death Star emerging from a vast body of water. In one of the Vanity Fair images, Kylo Ren and Rey are doing battle on what could very well be the watery surface of the fallen mega-ship, as waves crash upon its man-made walls. Based on what we've learned from the Vanity Fair story, their duel is about more than just their differences in philosophy and allegiance. It seems, in fact, that the Sith are finally making a comeback for the first time in literally decades, and whatever Ren and Rey and clashing over may mean the end for the Ancient Anti-Jedi once and for all. As the article reports:
The Empire built and lost two Death Stars. The First Order has already lost one super-weapon in The Force Awakens. Presumably it won’t make the same mistake twice, twice.
But the stakes go even higher than that, cosmically high. Sources close to the movie say that Skywalker will at long last bring to a climax the millennia-long conflict between the Jedi Order and its dark shadow, the Sith.
Luke Skywalker is....back?
While Mark Hamill played a huge role in The Last Jedi, we didn't expect the actor to factor too heavily into Rise of Skywalker. The iconic Chosen One character was slain in the end of Jedi, and it seemed, based on the trailer at least, that the upcoming finale would focus on the young new generation and do away with the old guard once and for all. But it's a little curious to see Hamill and R2 pictured together as part of this big package for Vanity Fair. This moment is very likely the flashback sequence from Last Jedi wherein Kylo Ren (then Ben Solo) reigned destruction upon Luke's budding Jedi Academy. Whether or not the flashback will appear in Rise of Skywalker, it seems safe to say that Skywalker himself will return in some form for Episode IX.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.