By Vanessa Rupertus

Elm Staff Writer

Walt Disney Studios is back with their favorite cash cow, “Star Wars,” releasing the trailer and title for Episode IX, “The Rise of Skywalker,” on April 12.

The trailer of the film, which is set to premiere Dec. 20, was unveiled at the Star Wars Celebration in Chicago.

The teaser brought back many characters, including Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), seen piloting the Millennium Falcon with Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) happily growling beside him.

The familiar cackle of Darth Sidious, aka Sheev Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), who died in 1983’s “Return of the Jedi,” played over a black screen at the end of the trailer, which makes Luke’s claim that “no one’s ever really gone” turn ominous.

“The Rise of Skywalker” is a sequel to the “The Last Jedi” (2017), in which (spoiler alert) the last Skywalker, Luke (Mark Hamill), became one with the Force after achieving peace in confronting his estranged nephew, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

Little has been unveiled about the final film to the sequel trilogy beyond what can be gleaned from the teaser trailer.

Based on the trailer, the upcoming film seems to emphasize the importance of past events in the franchise.

Director J.J. Abrams, who also directed “The Force Awakens” from 2015, hinted that the film won’t just conclude Rey’s story, but the story of all nine episodes.

Palpatine’s possible return in particular has stirred the theory pot. One theory suggests Palpatine may return as a Force Ghost, but others wonder if Palpatine has a connection to Kylo Ren and Snoke, the former leader of the First Order.

One intriguing theory calls back to Palpatine’s master, Darth Plagueis.

According to the comics, Palpatine killed Plagueis after he taught Palpatine how to influence the midi-chlorians, which are microscopic life forms that, in sufficient numbers, allow one to sense the Force.

One Reddit user went farther with this theory. They claimed Plagueis wasn’t the one who perished, but Palpatine, instead.

The user claims Plagueis’ decision to train an apprentice was so he could possess Palpatine’s body before his own body failed him.

“Darth Plagueis unlocked the secret to immortality by moving from one body to the next, continuing his lifespan through multiple hosts over countless years,” the user wrote.

This is why Palpatine wished for Luke to strike him in “Return of the Jedi.” Plagueis, possessing Palpatine, wanted to move to Luke’s body before Palpatine’s expired.

The theorist suggests Plagueis has another host, though who this host is isn’t clear.

Abrams himself sparked fan theories, as well. He’s made elusive comments concerning his vision for the film, and has even hinted towards revealing Rey’s origin story and how her parents may come into play.

This small comment caused a burst of energy within the fanbase. Fans have thrown around theories as to who Rey’s parents really are and why they abandoned her.

Even the outdated “Rey is a Skywalker” theory has sparked conversation yet again, despite being debunked by Abrams.

Regardless of which theory, if any, come true, fans are hopeful that the series will come to a definitive and worthy end.

“There are a lot of words that we all hope that you feel, and obviously the biggest one is ‘satisfied,’” Abrams said.

The Elm

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