The ‘Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker’ Third Trailer Teases A Rey Vs. Palpatine Showdown

As promised, Monday brought two things: tickets went on sale for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker — aka Episode IX of the series’ main story branch — and the third full-length trailer for same. The biggest revelation? (Apart from a bit where we see C-3PO missing a chunk of the back of his head and a shot of our heroes riding…horses?) It’s that there’s so much more Emperor Palpatine, the closest the entire franchise can get to a main baddie and whose return was teased in the first teaser back in April.

At first it looks like we’re simply getting part three of the tussle between Daisy Ridley’s Rey and Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren. But as the trailer goes on, we start to hear the eerie voice of English actor Ian McDiarmid, who took over the role in Return of the Jedi then returned for the prequels. Eventually Palpatine dominates the trailer, heard but not seen until a shot that seems to show the side of his body, sitting on a throne, confronted by Rey, there as what may turn out to be the series’ final boss.

The trailer drop was a bittersweet affair: Monday was also the birthday of Carrie Fisher, the late longtime Leia Organa, who died after suffering cardiac arrest on a plane trip to Los Angeles in December of 2016. It’s unclear how much of Skywalker will contain Fisher, whose performance is reportedly being pieced together out of unused footage from The Last Jedi. Earlier in the day the official Star Wars Twitter account paid tribute to their departed Leia.

Star Wars: Rise of the Skywalker comes out on December 20.