And the title of ‘Star Wars Episode IX’ is…

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The Rise of Skywalker.

Hyperdrive on that for a minute, Jedis.

After almost 40 years, director JJ Abrams and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy have announced the title of Episode IX to an adoring and excited Star Wars crowd comprised of Jedi and Sith lovers on the first day of the weekend-long Star Wars Celebration 2019.

The Rise of Skywalker a fitting title that brings the 9-episode Skywalker saga to an emotional close.

Host Stephen Colbert, a devout Star Wars fan, was joined not only by Abrams and Kennedy but practically the entire cast which consisted of Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Anthony Daniels, Oscar Issac, Kelly Marie Tran, and the legend himself Billy Dee Williams.

When Williams arrived on stage, the crowd cheered excitedly, with one fan yelling out, “It’s about time!” Williams, smiling, responded by saying, “I’ve been telling them that.”

Of course R2-D2 and BB-8 were there as well.

After a little over an hour of interviews, the trailer from Disney and Lucasfilm finally screened. And man oh man is it sweet.

How about that Emperor Palpatine laugh at the end? Whaaaat?

Until now, the word on the whom the villain would be in IX has been mum. But the teaser concludes with the ominous laughter of Ian McDiarmid’s Emperor Palpatine, hinting at the return of the original trilogy’s key villain.

After the teaser was screened, Ian McDiarmid appeared on stage but did not offer details on how or why Emperor Palpatine will return for Episode IX.

Earlier, Colbert asked Abrams about working around Carrie Fisher, who passed away in 2016.

Abrams responded, “We couldn’t replace Carrie. We all talked about how to move on. She was the best. She was glorious. She was amazing. You don’t recast that part. The weird miracle of having footage of her from The Force Awakens. There was actually a way of continuing her story. What if we could write scenes around her? Emotionally, every day it hits me that she’s not here. It’s so surreal because we’re working with her still. She is there in these scenes.”

There was (thankfully) little mention of Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, which while a box office success, has been raked over the coals on the Internet. After the box office disappointment of Solo: A Star Wars Story, much is riding (including Kennedy’s job) on this last film in the Skywalker saga.

Directed by JJ Abrams, Star Wars: Episode IX stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, Keri Russell, Dominic Monaghan, Matt Smith, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, and Billy Dee Williams.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker lands in theaters December 20, 2019.

 
Contact Colin Costello at colin@reelchicago.com.

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