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April 12, 2019

Millions of voices cried out in excitement on Friday when the official title and first trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker debuted. Here are the trailer's six biggest takeaways:

1. No one's ever really gone. The teaser is built around a Luke Skywalker voiceover, suggesting Mark Hamill's role following Luke's death is likely more significant than a cameo. Could Luke's reference to "we" also suggest more Force ghosts will visit Rey?

2. "Every generation has a legend." This phrase calls back to the trailer for The Phantom Menace, supporting speculation that The Rise of Skywalker will tie the entire franchise together by featuring connections to the prequels.

3. Our princess. Leia is seen hugging Rey in a bit of the Carrie Fisher footage originally shot for The Force Awakens, years prior to Fisher's death. But Rey is wearing her new outfit, teasing some post-production alterations.

4. Repairs. The teaser reveals Rey's lightsaber and Kylo Ren's helmet, both destroyed in The Last Jedi, have been reassembled.

5. Lando reunites with the Falcon. Billy Dee Williams returns as Lando Calrissian, finally reuniting with the Millennium Falcon — and, in turn, with L3-37. Might he regain possession of the ship he lost to Han Solo decades ago?

6. Palpatine lives? The teaser shockingly ends with a cackling Emperor Palpatine, who was killed off in Return of the Jedi, after a shot of the wreckage of the Death Star. Could Palpatine have found a way to appear as the Sith equivalent of a Force ghost? Could he have survived? Or might this have something to do with the film's McGuffin, which could be located inside the Death Star ruins? Either way, it seems a character who hasn't factored into the saga in a major way in years could unexpectedly play a key role in its final installment.

Watch the trailer below. Brendan Morrow

December 12, 2018

For Star Wars fans, the new TV show's latest casting news is a surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one.

After it was reported that the upcoming live-action series The Mandalorian would star Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones), Lucasfilm confirmed the choice on Wednesday and announced seven additional members of the cast, including none other than Werner Herzog. Yes, that Werner Herzog: the 76-year-old German director who might be one of the very last people you'd expect to see cast in a Star Wars project. He's taken some acting roles in the past like in Jack Reacher and had previously been rumored for a part in the series, but while it might have seemed too good (and weird) to be true, it's official now.

Also joining the cast of The Mandalorian is Giancarlo Esposito, best known for playing Gus Fring on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, and Carl Weathers, best known for his role as Apollo Creed in the Rocky series. Other members of the cast include Emily Swallow (Supernatural), Gina Carano (Deadpool), Omid Abtahi (American Gods), and Nick Nolte (Affliction).

The Mandalorian is set to follow the adventures of a lone gunfighter, played by Pascal, in the galaxy's outer reaches a few years after the events of 1983's Return of the Jedi. It's currently in production under the stewardship of Jon Favreau (The Jungle Book) and will be an exclusive to the Disney+ streaming service, which launches in late 2019. Brendan Morrow

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