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The Star Wars Sequel Trilogy: Where Are We Now?

December 18, 2019

For the last four years, world-renowned Lucasfilm Ltd. has rewarded its fans with early Christmas presents. Starting with the first in the ‘sequel trilogy’ in 2015, The Force Awakens hit the silver screen on December 18th.

Following the five-Oscar-nominated film came The Last Jedi, arriving just in time for Christmas 2017 on December 20th. Daisy Ridley and John Boyega reprised their roles, while fans mourned the loss of Carrie Fisher, who had filmed her scenes before her death in 2016.

Fast forward to 2019, and we’ve seen the plot for the final chapter shift significantly. Originally intended to be a homage to Fisher’s Princess Leia, The Rise of Skywalker will hit the big screen just five days before Christmas.

What we know about The Rise of Skywalker

Episode IX promises to be the last in the nine-part Skywalker Saga. Fans of Fisher’s Princess Leia, who rose to fame when the middle part of the trilogy was released between 1977 and 1983, will be pleased to see her back. This time around, the actress will appear using unseen footage from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.

For the final chapter, a year has passed since the events of The Last Jedi, when the Resistance was gearing up to battle The First Order. While this promises to reach boiling point in The Rise of Skywalker, another old battle re-emerges: the fight between the Jedi and the Sith.

Just like The Avengers: End Game, we can expect epic battles and heart-breaking scenes as we say goodbye to our favourite characters. Mark Hamill returns once again, while there is debate as to whether or not Princess Leia will finally meet her demise. One thing is for sure – there will likely be many twists and turns as the directors grapple with the challenges of last-minute plot changes.

How the Skywalker Saga has evolved

Directorial changes have always been at the centre of the Star Wars franchise. The original trilogy was produced “in media res” – meaning we were introduced to the characters midway through the story. As such, the saga began with Episode IV – A New Hope in 1977, followed by The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and Return of the Jedi in 1983.

The original series was critically acclaimed, with Episode IV winning seven Oscars, while V won one and VI received four nominations.

The prequel trilogy followed some 16 years later to a lukewarm reception. Episode I: The Phantom Menace debuted in May 1999, while Attack of the Clones followed in 2002, and Revenge of the Sith in 2005. Despite Lucas’ continued direction, audiences said the updated technology did not meet their expectations, which sparked a controversial decision some years later.

Changes to the original

With the franchise focused on technological developments, production teams started making “retroactive changes” as early as 1997. These were largely adaptations to colour and audio, but in a more controversial move, new characters were added and some actors replaced.

Perhaps the most controversial change, however, came in 2012 when Disney bought the franchise. While some fans said the Disney acquisition – and more importantly, the departure of Lucas – ruined the series, others welcomed the new diverse range of characters and technological advancements.

What next?

Whichever camp you’re in as a Star Wars fan, the last in the nine-part Skywalker Saga promises to deliver. Those watching on a home cinema screen will be pleased to hear it’s been shot in 4K resolution, promising razor-sharp imagery for those final battles. The film has also teamed up with Bose on an augmented reality app with 360 audio, so we have high hopes for crystal-clear sound.

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker hits UK cinemas on Thursday 19th December. Ask the SONA team today about home cinema installations in time for the home release.