The Rise of Skywalker: Star Wars Sizzle Reel Wows at D23

J.J. Abrams and his team shared a new poster and details, including the look of Keri Russell’s mysterious character.

The cast of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker received a standing ovation as they took the stage at D23 in Anaheim Saturday. Filmmaker J.J. Abrams said the team was hard at work on a new trailer, but weren’t quite ready, so they showed off a sizzle reel.The footage included a fleet of dozens of star destroyers in the atmosphere of a planet. Rey (Daisey Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) appeared in a later scene, fighting on a downed ship in the middle of the ocean as waves crashed around them. The biggest crowd-pleasing shot occurred at the end of the reel, with Rey wearing a dark hood, sporting a double lightsaber. The footage hasn’t been released online.

The presentation also gave a first look at Keri Russell’s mysterious character, who sports a helmet and a red suit. “She’s very cool and a little bit shady. She’s kind of a criminal, and an old friend of Poe’s,” Russell said.

Oscar Isaac, who plays Poe, pretended to comfort his co-star John Boyega. (Online, fans have expressed a desire for the two to have a romantic relationship.) “We were young. Everyone was experimenting,” said Isaac to Boyega, who pretended to be upset.

Abrams also spoke about the late Carrie Fisher, who will appear as Leia one last time via unused footage he shot while directing 2015’s The Force Awakens. He initially was not on board to direct Rise of Skywalker, and after her death he noted she had thanked him in her 2016 book The Princess Diarist for putting up with her “twice” as director. Abrams noted it must have been an intentional joke, as they had only worked together once.

“it was a classic Carrie thing to write something like that, that could only mean one thing for me. We could not be more excited for you to see her final performance as Leia,” said Abrams.

The filmmaker unveiled the first trailer for The Rise of Skywalker at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago in April.

The Rise of Skywalker cast also includes Daisy Ridley, Lupita Nyong’o and Domhnall Gleeson, along with franchise newcomers Richard E. Grant. Original Star Wars actors including Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) return.

The Rise of Skywalker is the end of an era for Star Wars and is billed as the conclusion to the nine-picture Skywalker Saga that began with 1977’s Star Wars. The enduring sci-fi franchise will be taking a break from the big screen following December’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, with the next feature film not scheduled for 2022. Disney+ will become the torch bearer for a galaxy far, far away during those years, with three series known to be in the pipeline: Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian (debuting Nov. 12 when Disney+ launches), as well as an Obi-Wan Kenobi series to star Ewan McGregor and a Rogue One prequel starring Diego Luna and showrun by The Americans producer Stephen Schiff.

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