What THIS Art Book Tells Us About The Rise of Skywalker...
The next and final instalment in the Star Wars saga is almost upon us. Hoping to deliver where The Last Jedi failed, while also wrapping up a series of films spanning three generations, J.J. Abrams is looking more towards the past than he is the future. The initial teaser trailer for The Rise of Skywalker not only concluded with a dramatic shot of the second Death Star, at least what is left of it, but also the evil and iconic laugh of Emperor Palpatine. If you're a long-standing fan of this very channel, then you'll know we here at Inside Star Wars can't get enough of Mr. Sidious. However, this isn't the first time Abrams and his team have toyed with the idea of bringing back the Sith Lord and his fallen superweapon. To get a better understanding of this, we need to take a closer look at an art book published four years ago. I'm Matt from Inside Star Wars, and here is everything The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens tells us about The Rise of Skywalker.
Published on the very same day as the blockbuster film, The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens details the exact journey each character and location took from rough, imprecise sketches to, well, what we finally saw on December 18th, 2015. One such environment, as we've already hinted at, was the wreckage of the second Death Star. According to concept artists Ryan Church, Doug Chiang, and Iain McCaig, the climax of Episode VII almost featured the downed superweapon:
“[Co-production designer Rick Carter] said, 'What if the Emperor's chamber had crash-landed after the second Death Star explosion?' That doesn't make any sense, but that's when Rick knows he has something. He'll say, 'Exactly!'”
“Part of the journey of the story is that they take the Falcon, go underwater, and find the Emperor's tower. The Falcon is watertight, because it's airtight, so it can go underwater, right?”
“So when the adventure's over, [Rey] finds a hidden map inside the Emperor's tower of the second Death Star. And the map tells you where the Jedi are and where Luke is hiding.”
As with any conceptual phase, these artists were encouraged to essentially go big or go home, to let their imaginations run wild, even if it seemed utterly bizarre or difficult to recreate on-screen. The underwater search for Luke Skywalker's location would have undoubtedly looked fantastic from a visual standpoint, as would Chiang's imagining of the second Death Star erupting from the sands of a planet's surface. None of these concepts wound up making the final cut of the film, but with The Rise of Skywalker right around the corner, a project J.J. Abrams has returned to direct, it's not a stretch to think they might resurface in one form or another. This means the wreckage of the second Death Star holds significance to Rey, presumably Kylo Ren, and especially Emperor Palpatine. What is the Sith Lord's presence still doing on the ocean moon of Kef Bir? Could he possibly be guarding something of importance? If so, what might it be? Either way, resurrecting the second Death Star has been on the mind of Abrams and his team from well before the sequel trilogy even began production, so expect it to play a significant role in The Rise of Skywalker.
But what do you think? Will Rey turn to the dark side thanks to Palpatine and the wreckage of the second Death Star? Let me know in the comments below!