We are mere weeks away from the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but as Disney and Lucasfilm close the final chapter of this saga, director JJ Abrams as well as stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac took the dais at CCXP to share the end of this adventure with the passionate fans in Sao Paulo.
“It’s the light and the dark side,” said Abrams, who was the first on stage before the actors. “On the dark side, I cant wait to see what you see between Palpatine and the characters. For the light side, it’s about friendship. We get to see, for the first time, the main group of characters go on an adventure together.”
Abrams then shared a featurette detailing the Star Wars journey with the crowd filled with lightsabers. The video was an emotional look at the iconic sci-fi franchise since A New Hope. When the featurette ended, Ridley, Boyega and Isaac stepped out on stage to an uproarious ovation.
“Oi Brazil!” Boyega exclaimed to the crowd as they got even impossibly louder.
Later in the panel, Abrams shared an exclusive extended clip from the film for the CCXP crowd. In it, we see Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewbacca, C-3PO and BB-8 on a desert planet on the run from a group Storm Troopers. Why? We aren’t too sure, but it leads to a spectacular chase scene through valleys and sandy terrain.
One “wow” moment to be noted is that we see Storm Troopers with jet packs who get launched into the air to attack our friendly band of heroes. “They fly now?” Finn asks. To which Poe responds, “They fly now.”
One by one, each of the group pulls their weight picking off their chasers — even BB-8 manages to help Rey. And in the end, they get rid of all of them with explosive charm.
The cast shared their first memories of Star Wars, their journey since The Force Awakens and how its like saying goodbye to these characters that have become iconic in pop culture fandom. Abrams, Ridley, Boyega and Isaac also addressed how Carrie Fischer’s Leia is folded into the final film and the legacy she left behind.
“We all felt her presence every day when we were on set and we still feel it now,” said Isaac.
Ridley, who shared some scenes with Fisher, had to act to previously taped footage that was folded into the narrative of The Rise of Skywalker. “It’s emotional watching it,” said Fisher. “It’s an amazing tribute to Carrie — Leia is super-important to the story.
“We couldn’t tell the Skywalker saga without her,” Abrams chimed in saying that they could have used a digital version of her, but admitted, “Carrie would have never approved.” Instead of digitizing her or recasting, they used a number of shots from footage they didn’t use.
“We all love Carrie and Leia and we’ll see her in this film,” he added.
In addition, we will see more familiar faces from the Star Wars canon including Ian McDiarmid’s Palpatine. Abrams teased that his role in this installment is important and we will get to see why he is the way he is and what that means for the Rey and the gang.
We also get to see the return of Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, who Abrams wanted to bring back in Force Awakens but was excited to have him return in The Rise of Skywalker.
“He is so debonair and charismatic,” said Isaac of Williams. “For me, he was my favorite character.” He went on to point out that he appreciated that he was a person of color in the franchise and it wasn’t something we saw often in sci-films.
For Boyega, he said that Lando was the “coolest guy in the galaxy”. He added, “Finn’s excited reaction to meeting Lando in the movie was my real reaction to meeting him in real life.”
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in theaters December 20.