With exactly one week to go before the movie hits theaters, Disney has released a new clip from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker that pretty much spoils a huge plot twist. It’s a dope twist, but it’s kind of amazing that it would just be casually dropped online. It’s almost like Disney is drunk or something and forgot that they’re supposed to be keeping secrets. So what’s up with this twist? And what does it mean for the movie? Let’s chat about Kylo Ren, shall we?
Spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ahead, which, to be clear, are in an actual trailer for the movie.
For the most part, J.J. Abrams likes to keep direct spoilers for his movies out of his trailers. In 2013, he didn’t want anyone to know Benedict Cumberbatch was playing Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness, and in 2015 he was really quiet about just how much Luke Skywalker would be in The Force Awakens. The man likes his secrets, and if you follow this kind of thing you know it’s kind of his whole brand. J.J. Abrams will never be able to live down his infamous Ted Talk where he extolled the virtues of “The Mystery Box.” Abrams thinks — quite correctly — that the most engaging fiction survives because it propels the reader (or audience) with questions they have about things that don’t add up. The problem is that with TV shows (like Lost) or movie series (like the Star Wars franchise), those answers don’t satisfy everyone involved. Which brings us to the Kylo Ren spoiler in the officially-released clip for The Rise of Skywalker. Let’s watch it.
Okay, so you get it. Basically, this clip is like OH SNAP, the Emperor has been fucking with Kylo Ren’s mind since day one. In the voices of Andy Serkis as Snoke and James Earl Jones as Darth Vader, the Emperor says “I have been every voice, you have ever heard, inside your head.” So, that means that Kylo Ren’s belief that the was talking to the spirit of Darth Vader in The Force Awakens was mistaken and that his entire relationship with Supreme Leader Snoke was a fraud. Basically, two huge mysteries have been let out of the J.J. Abrams box before the movie even comes out. We now know that Kylo Ren never talked to the spirit of Darth Vader and that his old boss, Snoke, was actually just Palpatine. Also, did we mention that Disney just straight-up confirmed that James Earl Jones is back as the voice of Darth FUCKING Vader in this movie? Yeah, that just sort of happened.
So there. You can now go into the movie not worrying about those two mysteries. But why did Disney do this? Cynical tin-foil-hat wearing weirdos on YouTube will tell you it’s because Disney and Lucasfilm are desperate and they want to get people to see the movie. But, if you’re smart about this, this scans more as crazy confidence. Disney is so sure that there are more reasons that people go to see a Star Wars movie than just plot twists. And, they’re also implying that they have a lot more up their sleeve than anyone realizes.
For four years, people have debated about Snoke and the ghost of Darth Vader. J.J. Abrams just destroyed that speculation in less than 15 seconds. So the question now is what will this movie do next? Or perhaps more accurately, if you know the twists ahead of time, will it really matter?
In some ways, the strategy behind this clip is brilliant. It’s not just a trailer; it gives you the sense that you’re already watching the movie. Now all we have to do is be good little Siths and all sit down in our seats next Friday to see how many twists Abrams didn’t let out early.
The Rise of Skywalker will be out next Friday, December 20, 2019.