We’re now just a little over a week away from the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and it would be fair to say that the hype and anticipation levels are starting to reach fever pitch. The marketing for the movie has been ramped up to full speed, with the cast and crew now on the promotional trail and taking questions on everything from the franchise’s premier bromance to The Mandalorian’s Baby Yoda.
Ever since the franchise was brought back to our screens with The Force Awakens, the long-running sci-fi saga has used a delicate balancing act between introducing new characters and bringing back old favorites. While some fans aren’t too happy with the constant reliance on the legacy players, it does manage to bridge the gap between the Original Trilogy and the final three installments, with director J.J. Abrams stressing that The Rise of Skywalker will bring the saga that George Lucas began in 1977 to a definitive close.
Two of the major returning faces in the movie are Emperor Palpatine and Lando Calrissian, with the former being positioned as Star Wars’ ultimate end-of-game boss, and the latter enduring for decades as a massive fan favorite. While Palpatine’s return hasn’t come without people criticizing Abrams for returning to the well, the director teased that the Sith Lord’s role in the story will have a major impact on the rest of the characters.
“On the dark side, I can’t wait for people to see the story, I think it’s the most intense story these characters have been through. On the light side, it’s the first time we see these group of characters have an adventure together. The Emperor, as you’ll see, he’s got such extraordinary power. I can’t wait for you to see how and why that character’s back and what it means for these characters.”
Billy Dee Williams’ return as Lando has been more warmly-received given his status as the coolest guy in the galaxy, and star Oscar Isaac echoed those sentiments while also admitting that Lando has also retained the shades of grey that made him so interesting in the first place.
“Growing up, he was my favorite character. He looked a little different, he was such an interesting character, you couldn’t tell if he was good or bad, and all of that comes back in this one.”
John Boyega was even more effusive in his praise, admitting that Williams’ presence on the set reduced him to fanboy status.
“He’s the coolest dude in the galaxy, man. If you watch the movie, Finn’s reaction to meeting Lando was completely my reaction to meeting him. I’m so happy J.J. caught that.”
While it seems clear that Palpatine will ultimately play the part of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker‘s main antagonist, how largely Lando factors into the story will remain to be seen. We’ll just have to find out for ourselves when the movie finally hits theaters on the 20th of this month.