'Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker' Theory: Trailer Teases a Time Travel Twist

Suddenly, the Resistance is back in business. But how? And what's up with the vintage starfighters?

It wouldn’t be a Star Wars movie without some killer spaceship battles. For all the talk about lightsabers, magical powers, ghosts and secret families, even a mediocre Star Wars movie has unparalleled spaceship porn. And based on the D23 trailer for Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, the final installment of the episodic saga will be no different. But, did you notice something fishy? How did the Resistance/the Rebels get all their old ships back?

Here are five questions about the new Rebel Fleet in The Rise of Skywalker, complete with speculation as to what is going on in one of the coolest shots from the new movie. Speculative Star Wars spoilers ahead! Let’s punch it!

Okay, so first off, let’s take a look at the shot in question. In the trailer, we see a modest group of familiar looking space craft pop-out of hyperspace, seemingly ready for battle. Here’s the ships we’re sure are there.

The new and retro Rebel Fleet in 'The Rise of Skywakler'

  1. X-Wings (the new kind from the sequel trilogy)
  2. A-Wings (we saw these first in Return of the Jedi and again in The Last Jedi
  3. One Corellian Corvette; more commonly known as a “Blockade Runner” (The most famous of these ships was the Tantive IV, Leia’s ship in Rogue One and A New Hope)
  4. Y-Wings (We haven’t seen these since the classic trilogy)
  5. B-Wings (We haven’t seen these since Return of the Jedi.)
  6. Maybe a ship called The Ghost which was flown by Hera in Star Wars: Rebels.

Okay, so because we’ve seen X-Wings and A-Wings recently, we’ll leave those alone for a second, but where did all these other ships come from?

In canon, the B-Wing's current origin is in 'Rebels'



Though first seen on screen in Return of the Jedi, contemporary canon has established that the B-Wing was designed by a Mon Calamari named Quarrie. Generally speaking, these ships pack a bigger punch but are a bit slower than X-Wings and A-Wings. In some ways, B-Wings are kind of like the “bombers” from The Last Jedi. Which brings us to the first question: why haven’t the B-Wings been around for awhile?

Possible answer: B-Wings were always a little rare in both old canon and new canon, meaning getting a hold of even a couple of them might have been tricky for the Resistance, particularly with the limited resources they’ve had post-Last Jedi.

Y-Wing in 'A New Hope'



If a lot of these ships are old, the Y-Wing is super-old. In fact, the ship dates back to the time of the Clone Wars, where even Anakin Skywalker knew how to fly one. In the original Star Wars, the Y-Wings also sported a pretty sick weapon called the Ion Cannon capable of delivering a kind of EM pulse that would disable enemy vessels. (Recall, the Rebels used a giant version of this weapon on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back.) The point is, if you’ve got Y-Wings in your Rebel fleet, you might be planning on disabling something more than destroying it. But, like the B-Wings, why are these ships suddenly back after having been gone for so long?

Possible answer: Because the Y-Wings are so old, there’s a good bet they’re somewhat ubiquitous if you’re in the market to buy a bunch of spaceships. Again, assuming the Resistance is desperate for cash and resources, the Y-Wings might be the best they can do to fortify what’s left of their battle fleet.

The Ghost in 'Star Wars Rebels'


The Ghost?

Okay, so is that one ship really Hera Syndulla’s ship from Star Wars Rebels? It’s not weird to think it might be. After all, The Ghost did have a cameo in the Battle of Scarif in Rogue One; and there’s every reason to think that Hera survived well past the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi. But, even if that’s not the Ghost there is something important, and even thematically relevant about all of this.

The TV series Rebels did a good job demonstrating that the early days of the Rebellion were fairly disorganized. All the various cells of the Rebellion weren’t really an “alliance” at first at all. Meaning, now that there’s basically a new Rebellion after The Last Jedi, it stands to reason that other Rebel cells have their own ships and resources. So perhaps the faux-Ghost is a clue to all that. Maybe this isn’t a reborn Resistance fleet. Maybe this is just a different Resistance fleet.

Tantive IV in 'A New Hope' 


Blockade Runner/Corellian Corvette

Technically called a “Corellian Corvette,” the iconic space ship that is front and center in this shot is actually the first space ship we ever saw in Star Wars. The Tantive IV was Leia’s ship in the original Star Wars. That said, it seems very unlikely this is actually Leia’s ship from the first Star Wars movie, simply because it seems likely the Empire would have held onto that sucker for a long-ass time after it was captured.

Then again, what if this is the original Blockade Runner? And if so, how did it rejoin the Rebel Fleet?

Benicio del Toro's D.J. sold X-Wings...to...anybody

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Time Travel versus the Black Market

Okay, so if all these retro-starfighters don’t come from another secret Resistance cell, where did they come from? On some level, this question might be stupid, because it’s possible that the return of the Rebel Fleet will never be answered on screen. (Like, that’s really possible.) But, even so, you’ve still got to wonder where all the ships came from.

The ending of The Last Jedi really makes you think the Resistance is 100 percent out of ships and all remaining survivors are hanging out on the Millennium Falcon. We know there’s probably a time-jump between Last Jedi and Rise of Skywalker, so it seems likely that the Resistance got a bunch of new/old ships in the time in between movies. But where did they get them from? In The Last Jedi it’s pretty clearly established that a Black Market exists for selling all kinds of space-weapons, including starfighters, meaning, the new Rebel Fleet could have come from Finn and Rose making a new deal with DJ, or hell, maybe even Maz Kanata.

But, the second option is a little more farfetched. Because so many of these ships haven’t been seen since the classic trilogy, could the Resistance have snagged a few ships thanks to some time travel? Rumors suggest the ending of this movie will “melt” everyone’s minds. And, because this is J.J. Abrams, we have to expect some kind of twist that we don’t see coming. (I know how that sounds, but that’s where we’re at.)

Time travel exists in the real-deal canon Star Wars universe. That’s a fact. And if time travel allows Palpatine to come back then maybe Leia can exploit the same system to get her fleet back in good shape. After all, they don’t make spaceships like they used to.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is out everywhere on December 20, 2019.

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