Please do not share the details of this article openly on social media and spoil Star Wars: Episode IX for those that want to remain spoiler-free. These are very general spoilers but let’s respect other fans’ wishes and not spoil those that do not appreciate spoilers. What follows will be considered a spoiler to some so as always, be cool! Guard your language like a Gamorrean.
There has been a lot of information floating around this week for Star Wars: Episode IX. A lot of the information has come from marketing meetings that occurred in the past quarter. The information in these meetings is tightly controlled and contacts at Lucasfilm in the past have told me they know that this type of stuff is going to leak. So there really isn’t a lot to glean from the story of Star Wars: Episode IX or the story of the moment from those meetings. It is all very protected. That said, those types of leaks such as the one that hit Reddit give us a sample of what is on the way and the general direction of things.
Information about Rey was held back but her lightsaber, the Skywalker saber, will be back. So far there hasn’t been anything solid about how the sword has changed. But I think there’s a really cool symmetry in that Rey fixes the sword from the past and Kylo fixes the helmet and they bring those things into their seemingly final conflict.
The very open information in this article is sourced from people I have spoken to at Pinewood Studios, various production offices, and those that attended licensee marketing meetings and presentations.
General Descriptions of The Worlds of Star Wars: Episode IX
Most of the Star Wars licensees have been shown some general concept art depicting three key environments at this time. The three locations consist of a “Jungle World” which is most likely what we saw in the vines of Black Park. Those that have seen the desert or sand planet have said there is nothing “Jakku” about it, meaning no downed Star Destroyers or wreckage. The final location was a swamp.
We have gone back and forth here at MSW trying to figure out if the “Jungle World” and the “Swamp World’ are two different worlds or does the jungle location become more swampy the deeper into we go? It appears Black Park outside of Pinewood Studios is currently doubling for both locations (which also doubled for Ahch-To). Even so it can literally be anything at this point.
Speaking of, the Star Wars: Episode IX crew is back at Black Park cleaning up an area for something to use soon. There’s a lot of fenced-off area. They cleaned the leaves from this location just yesterday:
It isn’t hard to imagine that as a swamp with a little bit of movie magic. But just to get it out of the way, no one thought it was Dagobah and no one knew if the sand planet was Tatooine, Jakku, Jedha, or someplace new.
The Knights of Ren
As I’ve said on “Now, This is Podcasting!” for some time now, the Knights of Ren have been sold as having a role in the film. In the spring the mantra was that they were “Force Wielding Mercenaries” which has since shifted to a new mantra of “a group with many special abilities.” I’m guessing this is because some will use some powers considered to be “unnatural.”
The Mask of the Master of the Knights of Ren
As we recently wrote about, Kylo’s black and silver mask has been put back together and bonded with some red substance. The break is not uniform and the mask likely represents Ben Solo’s further descent into evil. Helmet and mask lovers were jazzed to hear we get a new mask and fans of Ben Solo’s face were disappointed with the early news.
While everyone is entitled to their opinion, I don’t feel like there was anything on screen that was explicitly firm to make the choice of a mask or no mask the right answer. Kylo is berated by his old master, told he is not to wear it anymore and he destroys it in a fit after the meeting with Snoke. It wasn’t his choice. I feel that if Kylo made the choice to take the mask off for good, he would be completely good or completely evil at that point. The mask helps with the guilt. Doing evil without the mask is harder.
I also think that there are times when we look at the ongoing conversation in The Last Jedi and take the statements made by Kylo are eternal. But the conversation he was having with Rey, his master, and even himself are constantly in state of flux and torment. I think had Rey gone with Kylo he could have let the past die. But she didn’t go with him. Also, it is Rose that finally says we keep we what love and let the rest go which completes the message of the film. Kylo isn’t updated on that nice message at the end but he also didn’t get Rey by his side and his actions at the end of the film show a man going down a path we’ve seen traveled before. He didn’t let the past die; he is embracing it.
As I mentioned in the first article, we have no idea how often he wears the helmet. Rian Johnson’s perspective of having a wonderful actor like Adam Driver and not seeing his face makes sense for the intimate film Rian Johnson crafted for Rey and Ren. J.J. Abrams clearly has a lot of options with how the mask itself can be used in this film. Luke Skywalker did not see Darth Vader’s face until the moments before his death. That said, I can’t imagine Kylo keeping the mask on when he meets with Rey again. But once again, we don’t know how their relationship is at this moment. Does Kylo love her? Does Kylo want a pupil in here? After the ending of the novel for The Last Jedi it seems like she’s pretty over his evil emo bullshit.
The Falcon‘s Radar Dish
The funniest part about the meetings held for licensees is they showed the Falcon. However, after speaking to a lot of people who have seen it, no one noticed the ship’s radar dish. Galaxy’s Edge, the Star Wars-themed land coming to Disney Parks in 2019 takes place after Star Wars: The Last Jedi and before Star Wars: Episode IX and has the TFA-era radar dish. Also worth mentioning is that the Millennium Falcon book “Star Wars: YT-1300 Millennium Falcon Owners’ Workshop Manual” has a few moments that depict the group that blasted out of Crait and it does not seem to note anything about the radar dish being missing. So our guess and best bet is the Falcon will be pretty much the same as it was in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.
Captain Phasma’s Day Off
Those that asked about Captain Phasma weren’t told anything of importance and some were deflected by saying she can be merchandised from Star Wars: Resistance. I haven’t been able to nail down anything about the character being in late development for IX at this time. I’m not saying she isn’t in it, but I am saying I haven’t had anything that makes me think she is either.
Lando has a cape and that’s all you need to know!
People have seen stuff for Lando in Star Wars: Episode IX but all of the details have been murky, contradictory, and jazzed to say the least. The reactions have been great but the details have been really bad and the only thing we can say for certain is he has a cape. No shit, right? Imagine if they had Lando in live-action without a cape! Hopefully a source steps up with details to get us excited soon.
Red Dead Trooper
There’s a new type of elite trooper in Star Wars: Episode IX that is pretty much a solid red Stormtrooper with black stripes. The trooper does not appear to be one of the red pilots from Star Wars: Resistance, but it almost sounds like they were developed together. One theory I currently hold is that Elrik Vonreg from Resistance might be an unused design for this new Episode IX trooper, but that’s a guess. The trooper is not just a First Order Stormtrooper painted red either, as the helmet is different. Ironically, we did hear the trooper was a pilot but for all we know these are like Death Troopers and they can fly ships too. We also can’t confirm there are more than one in the film at this time.
The Last Jedi’s New Friends
At this time there has not been anything about DJ or Porgs in Star Wars: Episode IX. It doesn’t mean they aren’t in the film but they apparently won’t be making anything centered around them either. Both licensees and Pinewood sources haven’t mentioned either at this point. It wouldn’t surprise me if Chewbacca still had a Porg buddy on the Falcon but I don’t think we’re going to see as man as we did by the end of The Last Jedi. We also haven’t seen or heard a thing about DJ playing a part in IX. Here’s hoping he turns in a Disney+ streaming series down the road.
The Star Wars: Episode IX Trailer Rumor
Things are constantly in motion and what seems right yesterday might not be right tomorrow. A tweet yesterday suggested a trailer for Star Wars: Episode IX could be here by Christmas. If one is coming that close, I don’t know a thing about it. I’m not interested in debunking anyone or anything here. I have been asked so many times since that tweet was made and all I can say is the window I was hearing of most recently was after the holiday. I hope this one sneaked by me because I’m dying to see it!
Back in November of 2014 we got an early look at The Force Awakens. There were a lot of things at play that lead to that. I always heard that Bob Iger wanted that to hit then and there and J.J. Abrams would have preferred it not happen at that moment. My only guess for having one before we even have a title at this moment would be because Iger made a bad call with the Solo: A Star Wars Story release date and maybe the powers that be want a good win for Star Wars to change the discourse, forget the past, and face forward to this exciting thing coming next year.
A Mandalorian Bridge
For The Mandalorian a concept painting was shown of a bridge of a ship with a large window overlooking a large red planet. There’s something related to that piece I am currently looking into that connects behind the scenes to a character appearing in The Mandalorian I am trying to confirm at this point.
You can also check out this update where we talk about the plot info from Star Wars: The Mandalorian.
May the Force be with You
Hopefully these early rumors have you excited about what is coming. Hopefully you already checked out the information on BB-8’s new sidekick droid and the piece about Kylo’s mask. As always, this information is early and will likely evolve and become clearer as we move closer to the film’s release date. I also want to make it clear that nothing in this article is meant to debunk or prove anyone else wrong or right about anything. I’m only responsible for what I hear and share with you. The stuff I shared was what seemed to be a common thread throughout what I was told. There are a few things I’m still not sure about. For instance, back in the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story days, there was a ton of rumors about cameos in the film just based on products hitting with the film that opened up the possibility of those characters showing up and I expect 2019 to be no different. I would be cautious about a lot of those stories as they start leaking out in the next quarter or so.
I can’t wait for Star Wars: Episode IX and all of this information has reminded me why we should be excited. I hope you agree.
Also please consider donating a Star Wars toy to a hospitalized child for this year’s Kessel Toy Run! This makes it all worth it! Please donate! If you didn’t last year, let the past die and do it this year. If you did, save what you love and you know you loved doing something so good: