Force Friday, grimly described as “the latest in a tradition of Star Wars product launches” on the franchise’s official site, is still more than a month away. That hasn’t stopped one intrepid redditor from sharing images of what they claim are new Lego sets coming to stores this fall to promote The Rise of Skywalker. If accurate, these unconfirmed leaks offer an intriguing sneak peek at what’s to come in Episode IX, hinting at an unexpected role for series newcomer Zorri Bliss and a surprising return to two long-gone characters from the original trilogy and the prequels.
Many of the images shared in the post from the Star Wars Leaks subreddit are in keeping with the information Lucasfilm and Disney have already made public about Episode IX and The Mandalorian. The sets include some spiffy Knights of Ren minifigs, a happy reminder that these mysterious Dark Siders will finally appear in the flesh in Episode IX, instead of being confined to memories or visions. Snap Wexley and Lieutenant Connix (the millennial’s answer to Biggs and Wedge) also get their own Lego figurines.
The upcoming wave of new Star Wars Lego sets also drops some interesting new clues about Zorri Bliss, the mysterious lady scoundrel played by The Americans star Keri Russell. The Rise of Skywalker cast and crew have yet to reveal much about her character, whose golden helmet is an awesome mashup of Boba Fett, a Cuisinart stand mixer, and C-3PO. But here, she’s included in the Resistance Y-Wing Starfighter set along with Poe Dameron, suggesting that even if she doesn’t start off fighting for the good guys, she ends up in the Resistance fold eventually. She may be a bigger player in the showdown against the First Order than fans initially assumed. Then again, it’s just Lego. so don’t read to far into it.
Meanwhile, a Mandalorian-themed set includes a spiffy new AT-ST, last seen blasting the stuffing out of Ewoks in Return of the Jedi, given the C-3PO red appendage treatment. It appears the new “Raider” version spindly-legged assault vehicle has been mended and modified with whatever resources were at hand following the fall of Palpatine and his empire. Sure, it’s mostly just a reskin of something we’ve seen before, but it’s cool-looking.
That said, the sets featuring characters and scenes that aren’t new to The Rise of Skywalker or The Mandalorian are the most exciting of the bunch. Consider the intensely creepy model of Yoda wielding a lightsaber in front of a purple background. Recognize that room? It’s from the scene where Yoda challenges the newly disfigured Palpatine to a duel in Coruscant. (We’ve embedded it below if you need a refresher.) Forced to escape, Yoda hops into a space convertible with Bail Organa (Leia’s foster dad) and declares he’s going into exile after failing to defeat the Emperor.
We know from Star Wars Celebration back in April that Palpatine will return in The Rise of Skywalker. Whether that’s the withered raisin-face we know and love, or some kind of disembodied presence remains to be seen.
We also know that Jedi just love going into exile after a spectacular failure: Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Luke all do this when someone close to them flips to the Dark Side. Admittedly, they spend much of this time sulking in caves, but at least some of that seems to have been devoted reflection and study about how a new hero could avoid making the same mistakes. If The Rise of Skywalker sees Rey facing off against Emperor Palpatine (in some form), we’ll likely get a scene of ghostly Yoda and Luke dishing some sage wisdom on Sheev’s weak spots.
The second set tied to the earlier films draws inspiration from an unexpected source: Obi-Wan disabling the tractor beam (the device with the blue tank on top) that restrains the Millennium Falcon in A New Hope. The moment comes just before his iconic face-off with prodigal padawan Darth Vader. While it’s easy to see the lightsaber duel as his pinnacle moment of sacrifice, it’s actually his choice to go disable the tractor beam that results in his death and enables Luke, Leia and Han to escape and ultimately bring down the Empire.
A new Obi-Wan Lego set certainly seems to support recent news that Ewan McGregor is in talks to play Kenobi again in a series for Disney+. It also hints that Obi-Wan (or at least his legacy), may yet have a role to play in The Rise of Skywalker, especially if Vader is also set to return.
During Rey’s vision in The Force Awakens, she hears the voice of Obi-Wan. Just after the film’s December 2015 release, director J.J. Abrams confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that the audio was a blend of Alec Guinness and McGregor’s voices. “And you hear Obi-Wan at the end say, ‘Rey … these are your first steps,’” Abrams explained. “Here’s the cool part. We asked Ewan McGregor to come in and do the line. And he was awesome and we were very grateful.”
We still don’t know if there’s any connection between Rey and Obi-Wan, and despite Kylo Ren’s insistence in The Last Jedi that her parents were “filthy junk traders who sold you off for drinking money.” Fans have long speculated that Obi-Wan may have had a child in the years between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, potentially making him Rey’s grandfather.
We also know Rey has a pretty strong knack for “Jedi mind tricks,” just like Obi-Wan. It’s possible Abrams will pull the old switcheroo on Rian Johnson and give Rey a familiar lineage, and that Kylo Ren would justify his past claims with an iteration of Obi-Wan’s “certain point of view” argument. Still, even if they aren’t related by blood, there’s arguably no one else in the saga who had a more instrumental role in “the rise of Skywalker,” meaning both Luke and Anakin. Whether it’s told through a Disney+ Series, Episode IX or both, it’s safe to assume old Ben Kenobi’s story is far from over.
Fans can expect to learn more about Star Wars: Episode IX and The Mandalorian this weekend at Disney’s fan convention D23, which kicks off this Friday in Anaheim. The Rise of Skywalker comes to theaters December 20.