Four things you need to know before you see “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

The highly anticipated final installment of the “Star Wars” franchise releases on Dec. 20. With two years since the release of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” fans have been missing this part of the “Star Wars” universe for a while. After the release of Disney+, new content has brought momentum back to the “Star Wars” hype train – these are exciting times for “Star Wars” fans like myself. The “Star Wars” universe is a franchise I grew up with: the incredible fight between light and dark, epic space battles and a brilliant score by the one and only John Williams. As the “Star Wars” universe progressed, so did the fanbase. Whether you are a seasoned “Star Wars” expert or an incoming fan, here are five things you need to know before seeing “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” 



  • Who is new in the cast and what are their roles?


“Star Wars episode IX” already has a loaded returning cast, but there are a few new faces. Often times, these new characters add heavily to the plot, connecting to the film’s themes and arcs. That was the case with Vice Admiral Holdo, Rose Tico, and DJ in “The Last Jedi.” Here’s what we know about the newest additions to the franchise:

Keri Russell – Russell was the first new name added to the cast and her involvement was later confirmed by Lucasfilm. It has been confirmed that she will be playing the bounty hunter looking character on the movie poster with the name of Rougish Zorri Bliss, a role rumored to be action-heavy. The specifics of her role in the film have yet to be announced.

Richard E. Grant – Grant will be playing Allegiant General Pryde. Grant seems like a perfect fit for a First Order officer. The First Order forces need a boost following the deaths of Supreme Leader Snoke and Captain Phasma. Chances are, Pryde will work alongside General Armitage Hux (Domhnall Gleeson).

Naomi Ackie – Ackie will be playing Jannah. Jannah is positioned as a lead in the movie, so it’s possible she is the most significant newcomer. There have been photos of her included in Finn (John Boyega) and Poe’s (Oscar Issac) mission.

Dominic Monaghan – Monaghan was a late addition to the cast, which suggests his role is minor. We still don’t know anything about who his character is or the specifics of his role.



  • Where is everyone?


Rey (Daisy Ridley)After turning down Kylo Ren’s offer to let both the First Order and the Resistance be destroyed and instead conquer the galaxy together, Rey is last seen on the Millennium Falcon with the sacred Jedi texts taken from Ach-To. Rey will probably continue her own version of Jedi training using a combination of the texts, personal practice and maybe some off-screen mentorship from Leia Organa. At D23 fan expo, footage showed Rey battling Kylo Ren. She also wielded a new double-bladed red lightsaber. Because she used a staff in The Force Awakens, it makes sense that she could carry a bigger blade, but does the red coloring mean she’s turned to the dark side?

Finn (John Boyega) – Finn is a new member of the Resistance when “The Rise of Skywalker” begins. Unlike in “The Last Jedi,” Finn and Rey are expected to stay paired up for Episode 9. There have been many photos released of Finn and Poe together, so we should see how deep their friendship can get after the chemistry displayed in The Force Awakens.

Leia (Carrie Fisher) – Fans were heartbroken when actress Carrie Fisher died on Dec. 27, 2016 and were worried as to what the franchise would do without the iconic actress playing her integral role as Leia in the films. We can expect Leia to still be a central part of the film through a combination of unreleased footage from The Force Awakens and newly shot footage with other actors to bring Fisher back to life. After her ability to fly through space using the Force left her in a coma, Leia woke up to finish off the movie, but her condition is otherwise unknown. Exactly how much Fisher we’ll get is yet to be determined; however, J.J. Abrams (director) has repeatedly noted the effort to take great care with her depiction in this film.

Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) – After killing off Snoke, Ren is the new supreme leader of the First Order. Having his connection to Rey cut off at the end of “The Last Jedi,” Kylo might be fully embracing his role as a Sith leader. “Vanity Fair” revealed that the Knights of Ren will be returning in “Rise of the Skywalker,” who were only seen in a flashback sequence during “The Force Awakens.”


  • What about the rumors?


There are a lot of rumors on the internet about Episode IX, here are a few: 

There were many rumors about where in the Star Wars timeline this movie will take place. While “The Last Jedi” picks up immediately after The Force Awakens, there will be a time jump before Episode IX. John Boyega has confirmed the film takes place roughly one year after the events of “The Last Jedi.” 

Yoda appeared as a force ghost during The Last Jedi, and the “New York Daily News” said an “insider” revealed Yoda is returning for the 2019 movie. 

According to some sources, Obi-Wan Kenobi, played by Ewan McGregor, could be making an appearance in Episode IX. McGregor was apparently secretly shooting scenes for it. 


  • What other “Star Wars” shows can I watch?


Disney+ is huge for Star Wars fans. There’s almost too much Star Wars stuff to watch. “The Mandalorian,” a live-action Star Wars TV series by Jon Favreau, starring Pedro Pascal. “Star Wars Resistance,” an animated series airing on Disney Channel, takes place just before “The Force Awakens.” The show comes from Dave Filoni, who previously led the “Star Wars Rebels” series and “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” While “Resistance” showcases new characters, it also features Poe Dameron and Captain Phasma as voiced by Oscar Isaac and Gwendoline Christie.