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rey climbs up a piece of the fallen death star and takes a deep breath Lucasfilm

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What you may have missed in the final Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer

Easter eggs, references, and the Emperor himself

Matt Patches is an executive editor at Polygon. He has over 15 years of experience reporting on movies and TV, and reviewing pop culture.

The final trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is here. And while writer-director J.J. Abrams loves to shroud his blockbusters in secrecy, the 2:20 spot gives eagle-eyed fans plenty to chew on. The Emperor appears to be back. The Reylo fans have enough fodder for 60 days of nonstop shipping. There are space horses!

And that’s just on the surface. After combing through the frames, here are the Star Wars Easter eggs, references, and potential plot beacons we picked up from the new trailer. If you’re going in clean-ish, then beware of speculation and possible spoilerage.

Rey trains where she later hugs Leia

rey jumps across a chasm in the jungle Lucasfilm

A moment teased in several trailers becomes clearer: early on on the film, Rey trains in the art of the Force, and likely under the guidance of should-have-been-a-Jedi General Leia Organa. Later in the trailer we see the big Leia-Rey hug moment happening on the same planet.

Admiral Ackbar’s son is alive and ready to avenge his father

Admiral Ackbar’s son Aftab joins the resistance Lucasfilm

Admiral Ackbar yelped his last “it’s a trap” in The Last Jedi, a victim of the First Order’s brutal attack on the Resistance. But his death won’t go in vain: as the new trailer confirms, his son, Aftab — who we just met in the prelude Star Wars comic series The Rise of Skywalker - Allegiance — is right up with Lando and Poe during what could be the big battle planning meeting.

Dominic Monaghan’s Resistance character makes a blurry first appearance

dominic monaghan’s star wars character stands behind rose at a resistance base Lucasfilm

The Lord of the Rings actor is also Abrams’ buddy from the Lost days. We weren’t quite sure who he was playing in The Rise of Skywalker, but this tracking shot with Kelly Marie Tran and Billie Lourd reveals him as a Resistance fighter.

The Emperor’s throne is an original trilogy idea brought to life

the emperor’s stony throne Lucasfilm

As noted by Lucasfilm’s creative art manager Phil Szostack, the image of Palpatine’s throne lifts directly from sketches produced by famed concept artist Ralph McQuarrie for Return of the Jedi. Also, do we think Palpatine was digitally removed from this shot like Tony Stark from the Endgame trailers?

The return of classic Imperial Star Destroyers

imperial star destroyer surfaces from under water in rise of skywalker Lucasfilm

Expect someone with Force powers to make a serious flex in The Rise of Skywalker. Despite a fleet of First Order destroyers in the sky, another fleet of the old model is pulled out of the depths of an ocean and put back into action. We see the spherical shield generators that makes it obvious in this shot, where one of the ships surfaces like a submarine.

A Star Wars: Rebels ship makes a cameo

an intact millennium falcon leads a squad of ships into battle Lucasfilm

Those cackling over the return of an intact Millennium Falcon — circular radar and all, even after the scuffle in The Last Jedi — could overlook the small, winged ship to its left, which Rebels fans know as Ghost. Captain Hera Syndulla’s preferred model VCX-100 light freighter made a previous appearance in Rogue One, and appears to be making for the final assault on the First Order.

Rey’s face at this exact moment

babu repairs c3po as rey watches nervously Lucasfilm

Neither an Easter egg nor reference — just a really good face, as the new alien Babu makes a few adjustments to C-3PO’s mainframe.

A prequel battle droid surfaces in the sequel trilogy

a battle droid hangs on the wall behind a plugged-in C-3PO Lucasfilm

That’s a roger, Roger.

Rey’s holding a dagger as her and Kylo slash a Vader statue

rey and kylo slash a vader-like statue in rise of skywalker Image: Lucasfilm/Disney

Are Rey and Kylo on Bespin? Kamino? Some other planet that supplied Darth Vader with a spare meditation chamber? Are they slashing a Vader statue to bits? Something even more sinister and ancient? There’s so much to unpack in this split-second frame from the trailer, but we’re homing in on the weapon in Rey’s off hand that isn’t as obvious as a glowing light sword: the small stone dagger.

The Emperor is alive and mobile

emperor palpatine on a mech spider chair Lucasfilm

Early trailers for The Rise of Skywalker teased the return of Darth Sidious, be it in spirit or physical form. This final trailer seems to confirm his literal presence, meaning he escaped death after Darth Vader threw him down a chute in Return of the Jedi. Not only that, at some point, he picked up a really sweet walking chair.


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