With less than three months to go before its release, information surrounding 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' has been coming through at a snail's pace. The film that marks the return of J.J. Abrams to the galaxy far, far away is shrouded in mystery, especially in the wake of the mess made by Rian Johnson in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'. The trailer that was announced during the D23 Expo triggered hundreds more theories as opposed to clarifying anything about this universe: whether Rey is now a Sith; whether J.J. Abrams will start with a clean slate after Johnson's directorial contribution to the franchise; whether Anakin will return; whether C3PO has been Darth Plagueis all along...Although the 'Super 8' director has denied that he will avoid trying to "repair" the previous episode, everything from the title to the return of Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine reeks of nostalgia for a time before 'The Last Jedi'.
Amongst this mountain of theories, Empire magazine has surprised us with two new stills from 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'. In the first, we can see Adam Driver (Kylo Ren) with a wrinkled sort of countenance whilst dozens of imperial solders fall to the ground behind him. From this we can deduce that this wave was caused by Kylo, or perhaps that he is trying to maintain balance through the force, or even that he's made the kamikaze decision to sabotage his own empire.
The limits of good and evil
As well as these photos, Empire magazine has created this spectacular double cover of Kylo and Rey facing off against each other for its November edition, and another exclusive for subscribers with a unique piece of artwork of them both done in the retro style of artist Paul Shipper.
Not long is left before our questions about the future of the franchise are answered. 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' is released in UK cinemas on the 19th December and will be a goodbye to this trilogy as well as the final farewell to Leia Organa. May the Force be with it when tickets are available to pre-order.