New Star Wars twist dumbfounds fans
Star Wars fans have had a big weekend.
Yesterday Disney screened a trailer for The Mandalorian, the highly anticipated TV series starring Pedro Pascal that will drop on the Disney+ streaming platform on November 12.
It also revealed that Ewan McGregor, who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequel film trilogy, would be reprising that role in a new TV series.
And today the main Star Wars films took centre stage, with some mouth-watering new details for fans to digest.
The attendees of Disney's D23 convention in Anaheim, California got to see new footage from the upcoming Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker.
The clip they were shown included memorable footage from all nine main anthology films, culminating in a quick cut of scenes from the new one, which is coming in December.
One scene showed Daisy Ridley's character Rey throwing her lightsaber and then calling it back to her hand. Think of Thor and his hammer Mjolnir in the Marvel films.
More intriguingly, the final shot showed her wearing a black cloak and hood, and wielding a double-bladed red lightsaber, similar to the one Darth Maul famously had in The Phantom Menace.
It all sounds very Dark Sidey and exciting.
It also sounds like the sort of thing that would never be included in publicity for the film unless it were a case of classic misdirection.
You might recall that all the marketing for The Force Awakens showed John Boyega's character Finn, not Rey, using a lightsaber. Very devious. And the director of that movie, J.J. Abrams, is back for The Rise of Skywalker.
So perhaps "Dark Side Rey" is only in a Force vision, or some other type of shenanigans.
The footage will reportedly be released online on Monday (US time), so you'll get the chance to judge for yourself.
In #TheRiseOfSkywalker footage Rey is seen wearing a dark hood on her head, with evil sith eyes. You hear the voice of the Emperor saying "it nears it's end," followed by his laugh. Rey ignites a RED lightsaber which she unfolds into a double blade and HOLY MOLY!!!!!!🤯 #D23Expo pic.twitter.com/oSSDzO7ghe— 𝕂ℝ𝕀𝕊𝕋𝕀𝔸ℕ 𝕆𝔻𝕃𝔸ℕ𝔻 (@kreshjun) August 24, 2019
The actors, for their part, are playing coy.
"That's crazy. That's the first time I've seen her like that. And I was actually supposed to come on set while she was dressed like that and I didn't get a chance. So I'm seeing it for the first time, just with the full look. She looks very evil," Boyega told reporters at D23.
"It's a mad plot point for the movie, so you know, bringing out all the cards on this one."
"I think the most important thing to take from that whole snippet is just that the ending of this film is going to be really groundbreaking in a good way," said Tran, who plays the character Rose Tico.
"I went to Bad Robot yesterday and I was like, 'Hey, can I see the teaser?' They were like, 'Yeah, yeah.' No warning," Ridley herself said.
"And I watch, and went, 'Oh my god, are you really putting that in there?' That was my reaction. And then watching it today, it was weird because I felt nervous with it coming, because I knew it was going to be. And then hearing the audience reaction was amazing."
That audience reaction was essentially an explosion of noise in the form of cheering.
Abrams, Ridley, Boyega and Tran were joined in Anaheim by Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and fellow actors Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo and Billy Dee Williams.
Disney unveiled The Rise of Skywalker's official poster, which featured Rey and Adam Driver's Kylo Ren battling and Ian McDiarmid's Emperor Palpatine looming in the background.
Palpatine was killed at the end of the original Star Wars trilogy, but is returning in some form for this movie.
There was a particularly touching moment when Abrams spoke about Carrie Fisher, who portrayed Princess Leia and tragically died in 2016 at the age of 60.
"The character of Leia is really, in a way, the heart of this story. When we were taking about this story we realised we could not possibly tell the end of these nine films without Leia," Abrams said.
He said they had found unused footage from The Force Awakens and used it to make Fisher a part of the final chapter.
"We realised we could use (it) in a new way so Carrie, as Leia, gets to be in the film."
Abrams was not originally going to direct The Rise of Skywalker, but revealed he was inspired to return by something Fisher had written in her book, The Princess Diarist.
"And special thanks to J.J. Abrams for putting up with me twice," she wrote.
"Now, I had never worked with her before The Force Awakens and I wasn't supposed to do this movie, so it was a classic Carrie thing to sort of write something like that, and it could only mean one thing for me," Abrams said.
"And I could not be more excited to have you see her in her final performance."
OMG... did we just see Rey with a double red lightsaber?!— Wendy Lee Szany (@WendyLeeSzany) August 24, 2019
WHERE IS THIS FOOTAGE OF REY WITH THE DOUBLE BLADED RED LIGHTSABER I NEED IT I AM LOSING MY MIND #TheRiseofSkywalker— Tessa Netting (@tessanetting) August 24, 2019
I've seen a few folks freaking out about the reveal of Rey in a black cloak with a red lightsaber as though that's not precisely the sort of screamingly obvious misdirect JJ Abrams might gleefully include in a sizzle reel/trailer.— Scott Wampler™ (@ScottWamplerBMD) August 24, 2019