'Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker' Trailer Teases a Death Star, but Which One?

Towards the very end of the first teaser trailer for Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker, our heroine Rey shuffles down a hill on some grassy temperate planet with all her BBFs: Finn, Poe, C-3PO, BB-8, Chewbacca, and that new droid, Dio. They’re staring across a tumultuous ocean at a piece of wreckage in the distance. If you look closely, you can see the distinct curvature and the unique paneling — this is definitely a section of a Death Star. The concave section on the top-left is the circular area that acts as the firing mechanism.

It’s obviously a hugely important reference to the original trilogy, but it’s impossible to know exactly where this was or which Death Star we’re looking at.

Are they on Yavin 4 looking at the wreckage of the first Death Star destroyed in A New Hope? Or are they on the forest moon of Endor looking at the second Death Star from Return of the Jedi?

We haven’t seen much of these planets (technically moons!) outside of the Yavin 4 rebel base and the jungles surrounding Endor’s shield generator, but given what we know of these climates, this setting could be on either world.

Perhaps more importantly, what is that bag that Rey is carrying?

Star Wars Rise of Skywalker Death Star II
Hold up: What is Rey holding here?

The vibe here is reminiscent of Jyn Erso carrying the Death Star plans, leading us to assume that whatever this object is, it’s probably the infamous Rise of Skywalker MacGuffin we keep hearing about

Rumors indicate that Episode IX will have some kind of MacGuffin that’s been described as both “controversial” and “delightful,” and this particular scene probably shows it plainly as some form of data storage.

Secret files stored in a droid’s memory banks? Decades-old recordings from Emperor Palpatine? Ancient Sith data drives?

Whatever planet this is could be a clue about the contents of this portable hard drive, and it probably ties into the film’s title. Does “Rise of Skywalker” refer to Kylo Ren’s rise to power? Is Rey the secret Skywalker rising to power?

An alternate, more retrospective interpretation is that Episode IX is a nostalgic exploration of the Skywalker legacy that began with Luke destroying the very first Death Star.

Thematically, it would make sense for The Rise of Skywalker to mirror Return of the Jedi in the same way that The Force Awakens paralleled A New Hope, meaning that our heroes could revisit that planet, meet some Ewoks, and uncover some 30-year-old secret on the wreckage of the Death Star II. If that’s the case, does the Force ghost of Emperor Palpatine haunt the wreckage?

Alternatively, as this is supposedly the end of the Skywalker saga, it would make even more sense for The Rise of Skywalker to book-end the nine-part series by re-examining the events from the very first Star Wars movie ever. Hopefully, we can learn more in future trailers.

Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker will be released in theaters December 20, 2019.

Media via Lucasfilm