The Force got emotional Monday night.
The full trailer for “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” — the latest installment in the multibillion-dollar-earning Disney franchise — premiered during the New York Jets’ dreadful loss to the New England Patriots on ESPN. It was marked by particularly touching moments involving longtime robot sidekick C-3PO and the late actress Carrie Fisher, who played General Leia Organa and whose 63rd birthday would have been Monday.
While a key trailer tease focuses on a battle between lightsaber-wielding Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), fans’ tears likely spilled when, in another scene, C-3PO is depicted “taking one last look . . . at my friends” on the bridge of the Millennium Falcon as R2-D2 totters next to him and Rey, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and Finn (John Boyega) look on. Is C-3PO being dismantled, or just getting a repair? You’ll have to see the film, which drops Dec. 20, to find out.
Another heart-tugger involves a quick glimpse of Rey getting a hug from Leia, a scene that uses previously unseen footage of Fisher — who died in December 2016 following a heart attack at age 60 — repurposed from prior franchise films “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi.” But most poignant is Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker voice-over declaring, “The Force will be with you,” which elicits a haunting response from Fisher’s Leia: “Always.”
Cue the tears.
Fisher’s revived portrayal is apparently key to the final movie’s plot. At a Disney event in August, director J.J. Abrams called Fisher’s longtime, iconic character “the heart of this story.”
“We realized we could not possibly tell the end of these nine films without Leia,” he said. “We realized that we had footage from ‘Episode VII,’ and we could use it in a new way.”