'No one is ever really gone': Fans get sneak peek at new Star Wars film

The first teaser trailer for the new Star Wars film dropped at a fan event in Chicago.

Director J.J. Abrams confirms Episode IX is the end to the Skywalker saga

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will hit theatres on Dec. 20 and stars Daisy Ridley as Rey. (Lucasfilm Ltd. via AP)

"No one is ever really gone," says the voice of Luke Skywalker in the first teaser trailer for Star Wars: Episode IX, which audiences finally learned will be called Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Friday at a fan event in Chicago.

The closely guarded film from director J.J. Abrams will put an end to the Skywalker saga that began over 40 years ago, but even as characters and actors have passed on, the footage shown at Star Wars Celebration suggests that as with all Star Wars films, death is just a technicality a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Mark Hamill's Skywalker may have died at the end of the most recent instalment but his voice dominates the teaser trailer, telling someone, possibly Daisy Ridley's Rey, that "this is your fight now." And audiences got a tantalizing tease from another figure from the past: Emperor Palpatine from the original and prequel trilogies, whose ominous laugh closes out the promotional spot.

Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, centre, and Oscar Isaac participate in the 'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' panel at the Star Wars Celebration at Wintrust Arena in Chicago. (Rob Grabowski/Invision/AP)

Carrie Fisher's Leia Organa is back as well, despite the actress's untimely death in December 2016, thanks to unused footage from The Force Awakens, which Abrams was able to craft into its own narrative for this new film.

"You can't just recast and you can't just have her disappear," Abrams said. "The idea of having a CG character wasn't even an option."

He's editing and adding visual effects to the film which will hit theatres on Dec. 20 and said that despite Fisher's death, "we're working with her every day."

"Princess Leia lives in this film in way that is mind-blowing to me," Abrams said.

Director J.J. Abrams says Carrie Fisher's Leia Organa will still be in the film despite the actress's death in 2016. (Photo by Rob Grabowski/Invision/AP)

Abrams was joined on stage at the event by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and actors and droids alike including Ridley, Oscar Isaac (Poe), John Boyega (Finn), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), newcomer Naomi Ackie, who plays a character named Jannah, Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and even Billy Dee Williams, who reprises his role as Lando Calrissian in the new film after decades away.

"How did I find Lando again?" Williams said. "Lando never left me."

Star Wars superfan Stephen Colbert moderated the panel, doing his best to get the tight-lipped cast and creators to reveal anything about the film. Although no one cracked under pressure, Abrams did reveal some previously known details, like the fact that The Rise of Skywalker will pick up "some time" after the events of The Last Jedi.

Billy Dee Williams will reprise his role as Lando Calrissian in the new film after decades away from the role. (Lucasfilm Ltd. via AP)

"This is an adventure that the group goes on together," he teased, although he wouldn't reveal whether that meant the group on stage or some other combination.

"This movie is about this new generation and what they've inherited, the light and the dark," Abrams added. "As they face this greatest evil, are they prepared?"

Besides Hamill, another person who wasn't in attendance was Kylo Ren actor Adam Driver, who as the son of Han Solo and Leia is the only known Skywalker left.

Adam Driver plays Kylo Ren and has played one of the main villains in the films. (Lucasfilm Ltd. via AP)

When prodded about what will happen with the complex relationship between Kylo and Rey, Ridley demurred, "I guess the Kylo and Rey thing, we'll have to see."

She added, "I think I can confirm there are no more semi-naked Kylos." That's a reference to the scenes of a shirtless Driver in The Last Jedi that surprised fans.

Although fans are salivating for any morsel of information, the panellists stayed as vague as possible, and kept things light-hearted debating questions like "who's a better pilot: Poe or Han?" and even taking a break so the audience could sing an unprompted Happy Birthday to Ridley, who turned 27 on Wednesday.

Kennedy, quoting George Lucas, said however that Episode IX is indeed the third act of a three-act structure.


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