Let the speculation begin!

Star Wars Episode IX finally has a title: The Rise of Skywalker. And the opening images of the teaser trailer revealed today at the Star Wars Celebration held this weekend at Chicago’s McCormick Place seems to corroborate many fans’ theories and suspicions: that Rey is someway, somehow, genetically linked to Luke and Leia.

The teaser opens with Rey (Daisy Ridley) standing in the middle of a desert on some planet, panting, waiting; she pulls out a lightsaber, presumably Luke’s, and begins to run away from a Tie Fighter, presumably Kylo Ren’s (Adam Driver), as we hear Luke’s voice refer to the generations of Jedi that have paved the way for her. If it wasn’t clear in The Last Jedi, it should be now clear to many hardcore, recalcitrant fans of the saga: this new trilogy was not only about the past but also about the present and future of this fictional universe. About how the past weighs over the present.

I will not deny feeling a certain generational thrill (and chill) at seeing Lando Calrissian co-piloting the Millennium Falcon once again with Chewbacca by his side, or hearing Palpatine’s mad cackle at the end of the teaser. But unlike other teasers and trailers that give the whole story away, director J.J. Abrams, executive producer Kathleen Kennedy and the entire Lucasfilm marketing team deliver just enough to whet our appetite for more. We get new worlds, bits and pieces of exciting battle sequences and enticing clues that are already being examined and re-examined.

Alas, we only get three blink and you miss them glimpses of Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron (standing on a cliff in the distance with Finn in the foreground; a second of him piloting a land cruiser under attack, C3PO standing right behind him; and a final shot of him with his The Force Awakens co-stars, standing on a hill, staring at the remnants of a Death Star) but they do hold the promise of his character having as prominent a role as he did in The Last Jedi. It would also be remiss not to mention that one brief scene of Leia and Rey hugging, one that adds more fuel to the hypothetical fires and one that forces you to wipe a tear or two.

For one day The Avengers: Endgame stopped being the most anticipated movie of the year. The 14-year-old me who saw Star Wars in 1978 at the long-gone Bayamón Oeste’s duplex in Bayamón, Puerto Rico is now counting the days. This could turn out to be the best Christmas gift yet.

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