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New Rise Of Skywalker Footage, Poster Unveiled At D23 Expo 2019

"It's too dangerous. I have to go alone."

Those are the words Daisy Ridley's Rey utters in the brand-new footage from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker shown at this year's D23 Expo. 

Lucasfilm took the stage on Saturday during the hotly anticipated Walt Disney Studios presentation to unravel fresh footage from the saga-ending Rise of Skywalker. Director J.J. Abrams explained that the creative team is working hard on putting the finishing touches on the film and is tinkering away at a new trailer to reveal ahead of the movie's December 20 release date, but he didn't want to leave the Star Wars fans in attendance hanging. So, he, his Lucasfilm partners, and the cast of The Rise of Skywalker gifted the world with a stellar sizzle reel featuring shots from the flick. And believe us — there's a reason why the footage received a standing ovation at D23. 

The Hollywood Reporter had the breakdown of the footage, which shows a sizable fleet of Star Destroyers clustered in the sky, Rey and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) battling atop a sunken ship in the ocean, and the first look at Keri Russell's character — whom Russell describes as "very cool and a little bit shady ... kind of a criminal" and an old friend of Poe Dameron's (Oscar Isaac). 

The new Rise of Skywalker footage ended with the most jaw-dropping shot of all: Rey is seen cloaked in a dark hood and holding a dual-bladed lightsaber... that's glowing red. This suggests that Rey, who struggled with understanding and channeling the Force in The Last Jedi, may give into temptation and turn to the dark side in The Rise of Skywalker

C'mon, a red saber with two blades? A black hood over her head? Rey's giving serious dark side vibes in the new footage, and it's already sending fans into a spiral of speculation — with many theorizing that the get-up she sports in the new footage may be her response to discovering her true parentage, which has always been a hot point of discussion amongst fans. If The Rise of Skywalker reveals that Rey is a descendant of a prominent dark-sider — like, say, Palpatine — she certainly couldn't be blamed for having an existential crisis major enough to make her re-think her identity and morality. 

On the other hand, maybe she's wearing a creepy hood and wielding a new lightsaber because she's trying to infiltrate the First Order as part of a Resistance mission. That seems more likely than Rey going mad, but hey, anything goes in the Star Wars universe.

Unfortunately, the Rise of Skywalker sizzle reel isn't available online as of this writing. The silver lining is that something else related to the movie is: a badass new poster. Lucasfilm unveiled the one-sheet at the Walt Disney Studios presentation on Saturday, giving fans a glimpse at the tone and aesthetic of the upcoming film. The poster depicts an intense Rey-versus-Ren fight, and features the intimidating face of one Emperor Palpatine in the background. Bursts of blue light emit from Rey's saber, while crackles of red shoot from Kylo's weapon, which perfectly represents the good-versus-evil tug-of-war the two have been engaged in since The Force Awakens

These reveals should tide fans over until Lucasfilm drops the second trailer for The Rise of Skywalker, and definitely serve to boost hype for the flick that will put a definitive cap on the nine-movie Skywalker saga. The Star Wars franchise will, of course, live on after The Rise of Skywalker with David Benioff and D.B. Weiss' Star Wars film, the new trilogy from The Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson, and the three live-action Star Wars series (The Mandalorian, the Rogue One prequel centered on Diego Luna's character Cassian Andor, and the Obi-Wan Kenobi show) that will premiere on the Disney+ streaming platform. Still, The Rise of Skywalker marks the conclusion of an important era of the property and of cinema, and will be the last Star Wars film for a while, as the franchise is taking a hiatus after it's released. 

The hope is that The Rise of Skywalker will be so epic that fans completely forget there won't be a new Star Wars movie hitting the big screen for some time. Based on this footage description, the new poster, and the first trailer for the flick that dropped earlier this year, that goal should be one easily achieved. The end is nigh, and the saga is sure to go out with a bang. 

Catch The Rise of Skywalker — also starring John Boyega, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, Lupita Nyong'o, and Domhnall Gleeson — in theaters on December 20.