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New Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker footage shows Rey with a red lightsaber

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Plus more information on the new characters

Lucasfilm

Disney and Lucasfilm unveiled a new featurette for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker at D23, and it sheds some light on the conflict of the film and how Emperor Palpatine’s presence comes into play. The featurette has yet to land online, but here’s a quick summary:

Starting with a loving retrospective on the original and prequel trilogies, the featurette shows some of the previously seen The Rise of the Skywalker footage, along with new scenes: glimpses of Naomi Ackie’s character flying with Finn, followed by more lightsaber battles. Before the end, Rey and Kylo battle it out on wreckage drifting on the ocean planet we saw in the first Rise of Skywalker trailer, with Darth Vader’s breathing ominously in the background.

At the end, we see a hooded Rey in a dark forest — uh oh, is that a dual-bladed red lightsaber she’s wielding?!

The Rise of Skywalker takes place some time after the events of The Last Jedi. After several years of recovery following the First Order’s massive attack, the Resistance, along with Rey, Finn, and Poe, is doing alright and growing stronger. Not only are they going back for a rematch with Kylo Ren and the First Order, but they also may have an older enemy to contend with.

The first trailer for The Rise of Skywalker brought Emperor Palpatine back into the game by way of a broken piece of the Death Star and Palpatine’s harrowing laugh. Even with more threats facing them, it looks like the Resistance — and Rey, in particular — is smarter, stronger, and more prepared than ever.

The Rise of Skywalker brings back Daisy Ridley as Rey, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, John Boyega as Finn, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata, Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico, Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca, Billie Lourd as Lieutenant Connix, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, and perhaps most notably, Billy Dee Williams returning to the mantle of Lando Calrissian. The late Carrie Fisher will also appear in the film as Leia Organa with previously unreleased footage from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Newcomers include Naomi Ackie as Jannah, Richard E. Grant as Allegiant General Pryde, and Keri Russell as Zorri Bliss.

“I can’t wait for you guys to meet Zorri. She’s incredibly cool … and shady,” teased Russell about her character. “She’s kind of a criminal and an old friend of Poe’s.”

“She’s not a friend,” Isaacs quipped with a smirk.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will hit theaters on Dec. 20.