On 19 December, the final chapter in the Star Wars saga, The Rise of Skywalker, explodes into ODEON cinemas. Ahead of the release of what’s sure to be the final cinematic event of the year, we reveal 17 incredible facts about this long-awaited ninth episode...
The Rise of Skywalker is the ninth ‘episode’ in the Star Wars franchise, bringing to a close the epic Skywalker saga, which began in 1977 with A New Hope.
The film is set one year after the events of The Last Jedi.
The Rise of Skywalker is directed by J.J. Abrams, who also helmed Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
The Rise of Skywalker's screenwriter is Chris Terrio, who also wrote 2012's Oscar winning thriller Argo.
The Rise of Skywalker still features Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa, despite the actress’ death in December 2016. After her passing, Disney reassured fans she would not be recast or duplicated using CGI – and they’ve kept their promise. Director J.J. Abrams used archive footage for Leia’s scenes, describing her role as “the heart of the movie”.
At 141 minutes, this is the second longest runtime in the franchise, just behind The Last Jedi.
The UK release is one day earlier than the US, reaching ODEON cinemas on Thursday 19 December in 2D, 3D and IMAX. (No Twitter spoilers now!)
The film once again stars C-3P0 and R2-D2. The sparring droids are the only characters to have appeared in all nine Star Wars movies. Wookiee warrior (and fan favourite) Chewbacca is also back.
The Rise of Skywalker features a new droid named D-O, who can be seen alongside BB-8 in the film’s trailer. D-O made his debut at the Episode IX panel during Celebration Chicago.
D-O isn’t the only new character. The film also sees the introduction of Naomi Ackie as Jannah, a feisty new ally of the Resistance.
The film will see a much juicier role for The Knights of Ren, the sinister group led by Kylo Ren and first introduced by Abrams in The Force Awakens.
Ian McDiarmid returns as the long-thought-dead (and unmistakably evil) Emperor Palpatine. The actor last played the role in 2005’s Revenge Of The Sith, directed by George Lucas.
The sinister throne glimpsed in the final trailer is from a design first sketched by Ralph McQuarrie for Return of the Jedi in 1981.
This ninth chapter also stars Billy Dee Williams as smooth-talking-former-smuggler Lando Calrissian, the actor’s first physical appearance in the role for 36 years. The character was played by Donald Glover in 2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Like its predecessors, The Rise of Skywalker was filmed largely in the UK, specifically Pinewood Studios in London.
The film features dozens of classic ships and designs from previous Star Wars films, including B-wings, U-wings and Imperial Star Destroyers. It looks like both the First Order and the Resistance are digging deep in preparation for a climactic confrontation.
The Rise of Skywalker will be John Williams’ final score on a Star Wars film. According to the great composer, it will musically wrap up the entire Skywalker saga.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – in ODEON cinemas from 19 December.