'Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker' Teases Emperor Palpatine, Kylo Ren Alliance

We finally got a first look at Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Packed into the two-minute trailer are a few even bigger clues about the Episode IX plot and the return of Ian McDiarmid (aka Emperor Palpatine). But more specifically, what does the new teaser trailer reveal about Kylo Ren’s plotline in The Rise of Skywalker? Here’s what we know (or think we know) so far.

That’s Definitely Kylo Ren Flying the Ship in the Opening of the Trailer

The new trailer begins with Rey wandering through a desert while we hear Luke Skywalker’s narration basically giving her a pep talk. Then, out of nowhere, a tricked out TIE Fighter appears on the horizon and speeds straight towards Rey. We cut to a closeup of the interior and a pair of black gloves at the wheel before Rey does an acrobatic flip over the attacking ship with her lightsaber engaged.

Who’s driving the TIE Fighter? It’s not totally clear, but we’re almost certain its Kylo Ren for two big reasons. First, the ship we see looks a lot like the one he’s used in previous Star Wars movies (with a few minor upgrades). See the comparison below.

'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'


'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'


Second, the interior of the TIE Fighter shown in the trailer also looks very similar to a still image of Kylo that was revealed during the Episode IX panel at Star Wars Celebration on Friday. Here’s those two images to compare.

Kylo Ren?


Kylo Ren!


What does this mean? Well, for one thing, Kylo and Rey won’t be on particularly good terms in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which Daisy Ridley confirmed will begin at least a bit of time after the end of The Last Jedi. This also suggests Kylo could be chasing her down on whatever epic adventure the good guys are embarking on in Episode IX.

The Helmet Is Back!

This doesn’t come as a huge surprise. Countless leaks have claimed, or even shown, Kylo Ren (or someone pretending to be him) wearing a repaired version of the helmet from The Force Awakens. However, the trailer confirms it once and for all, showing the repairs in action.

Kylo Ren's helmet being repaired.


Kylo Ren Could Team Up With Emperor Palpatine

The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker teaser trailer ends with an ominous laugh that any fan of the movies will recognize as belonging to Emperor Palpatine, and the actor who played him in the prequels (Ian McDiarmid) even showed up at the panel right afterwards to essentially confirm the reveal.

It’s unclear what role the Emperor, who totally died in Return of the Jedi, could play in The Rise of Skywalker. However, it seems likely that he’ll be there to assist Kylo Ren in some way now that Snoke is dead. Whether that’s as a Force ghost, an actual resurrection, or just some files hidden away on an old Empire hard drive remains to be seen, but you can definitely expect to see Ian McDiarmid show up in Episode IX.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20.

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