“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” — Palpatine return an act of desperation?

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker dir. J.J. Abrams 2019

The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer has emerged, teasing the return of Palpatine.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. That's our title and a mysterious one at that. Some have dismissed it as clunky, but honestly, it's actually a pretty intriguing choice; it raises questions. Whenever a trailer for a new Star Wars film is released, a whirlwind of speculation and excitement always follows. It's the most popular franchise in cinema history, so it's not exactly a surprise that the recently released trailer for the saga's concluding chapter has taken social media by storm. 

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams is back at the helm to bid the iconic series a fond farewell. His previous entry in the franchise was a colossal hit, proving to audiences that the sci-fi series could still be fun despite what the prequels had led viewers to believe. Abrams took a back-to-basics approach, but perhaps that's exactly what it needed. Rian Johnson, on the other hand, decided to take the new trilogy into some wild new directions with 2017's Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi

Since Johnson's entry proved much more divisive and riskier than Abrams' entry, the latter is back to steer the series into a safe home run, or at least that appears to be the plan. The recently unveiled trailer - tonally - delivered upon expectations; fans have felt some serious The Force Awakens vibes. However, the final moments of the footage took most by surprise. Luke Skywalker's (Mark Hamill) voice-over anchors the images: "no one's ever really gone," he confesses, which immediately filled fans with a strange sense of comfort. However, this emotional security is shattered with a cut to black and echoes of Palpatine's discomforting laugh. The fallen emperor. 

The last we saw of the character - chronologically, that is - was him being thrown to his death by Darth Vader in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the JediHowever, with Abrams teasing his return in the saga's final chapter, perhaps he's been pulling the strings all along. We were pretty surprised when Snoke's presence was cut short in The Last Jedi, but it seems he may have just been a sinister pawn in an even greater game. 

You could argue that his resurfacing is just a result of Abrams clutching at the original trilogy like a life-raft to save the new one. In wake of the trailer, it's a debate which has likely been held many times already. However, the final act in which all is revealed should provide the saga with a truly memorable and jaw-dropping moment. When we finally catch a glimpse of his dooming figure, the image will likely be ingrained in our minds for years to come. Abrams could definitely pull it off. 

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