New ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Trailer Shocks With Surprise Original Cast Member

By Colin Fredericson

A new trailer for the next “Star Wars” movie emerged online on April 12, with many surprises for fans, including the return of more characters from the original trilogy.

The new trailer was revealed at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago, on April 12, the same day as the online reveal. Fans finally got to learn the official name of this addition to the franchise: “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”

J.J. Abrams returned to the series as director of this film. That appears to be a good move after his success with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and the lukewarm, mixed reactions to the Star Wars movies that came after, directed by others.

The trailer starts with Rey reaching for her lightsaber, accompanied by the guiding voice of Luke Skywalker. She then does a leaping evasive maneuver against a flying enemy.

Kylo Ren appears. He runs and slams someone to the ground, lightsaber in hand. In the next image, his helmet is being marked. Finn and Poe Dameron flash on screen, and then BB-8 and a new droid companion show up.

In the next scene, fans of the original series got a shock, seeing the original Lando Calrissian actor Billy Dee Williams in the Millennium Falcon alongside Chewbacca. A younger Calrissian was played by Donald Glover in last year’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”

Williams is 82-years-old. He made his first appearance in the Star Wars movies with the film now known as “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back,” which was released in 1980. He came back in 1983’s “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.”

Since then he has appeared in other Star Wars-related projects, including animated shows, and has lent his voice to Star Wars video games, but this is his first time back in official Star Wars movies since 1983. Most other surviving original trilogy cast members returned in 2015’s “The Force Awakens.”

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

Carrie Fisher is also in the trailer, shown embracing Rey. Although Fisher died in 2016, her Leia Organa character did not.

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

Abrams gathered unused footage of Fisher from “The Force Awakens” to keep the character in the picture.

“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.”

C-3PO is also seen in the trailer, from a distance.

The screen then turns black, and only the sinister laugh of Emperor Palpatine is heard before the Star Wars logo appears.

Palpatine was thought to be destroyed at the end of “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.”

“Jurassic World” director Colin Trevorrow was originally supposed to direct the movie, but plans changed due to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy’s dissatisfaction with the script he co-wrote for the film, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Trevorrow also felt the script could have been better, but his request to have another try to write the script was not honored by Kennedy, and she fired him in the middle of 2017. Then Abrams got the call.

“I had a bunch of ideas from the beginning, back on VII, of where the story would go,” said Mr. Abrams, via the Journal. “I just never in my wildest dreams thought I would have a chance to execute them.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.