Disney on Sunday premiered the first Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker TV spot during NBC Sunday Night Football. An abbreviated version of the Special Look trailer premiered during D23 Expo in August, this first official TV spot offers no new footage.
The 45-second spot reunites Rey (Daisy Ridley) with adventurers Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac) and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), who are joined by franchise newcomers Jannah (Naomi Ackie), Zorii Bliss (Keri Russell) and Allegiant General Pryde (Richard E. Grant). Returning sequel trilogy stars also include Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico and Billie Lourd as Lieutenant Connix. They're joined by franchise veterans Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine and Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa, whose return is made possible through the use of repurposed archival footage.
"It's been a gift to work with these people again. To get to deal with these characters again. I didn't think that was going to happen for me," writer-director J.J. Abrams, who relaunched the franchise with 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, previously told The Star Wars Show. "This ending, which is such an important thing for all of us, by far, has been the most challenging thing I've ever worked on."
Set some time after the Rian Johnson-directed Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the ninth episode is "an adventure the group goes on together," Abrams said earlier this year during the film's presentation panel at Star Wars Celebration Chicago. "One of the great things about getting to work on the movie is the dynamic between all of the characters. They're amazing together, and it's something I'm excited for you all to see."
Billed as the culmination of the Skywalker Saga started with George Lucas' original Star Wars in 1977, The Rise of Skywalker "needed" Fisher's Leia, Abrams said at D23 Expo, where he explained the decision to utilize unused Force Awakens footage to involve Fisher, who died in 2016.
"The character of Leia is really the heart of this story. We realized we could not possibly tell this story without Leia," Abrams said. "We had footage from Episode VII that we could use in a new way. So, we were able to use Carrie in a new way."
Lucasfilm and director J.J. Abrams join forces once again to take viewers on an epic journey to a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the riveting conclusion of the seminal Skywalker saga, where new legends will be born and the final battle for freedom is yet to come.
Disney-Lucasfilm releases Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker December 20.