‘Rise of Skywalker’ Play Will Be Livestreamed Before Movie Hits Theaters

From the very beginning, Star Wars took inspiration from Japanese art and spirituality. It seems that Japanese art is now taking inspiration from Star Wars. Three Star Wars films, including The Rise of Skywalker, will be adapted into a Japanese kabuki theater production. Here are the details behind this exciting project.

C-3PO and R2-D2 will have roles in The Rise of Skywalker | DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images

‘Rise of Skywalker’ and other ‘Star Wars’ films become kabuki play

On November 28th, at an undisclosed location in Tokyo, Disney will stage a production called Star Wars Kabuki-Rennosuke Hikarigatana Sanbon, which translates to Star Wars Kabuki: Ren and Three Lightsabers. The stage show will adapt the three films in the Star Wars sequel trilogy – The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker – into a single drama. Since this drama will premiere nearly a month before The Rise of Skywalker, it will give fans a glimpse into the plot of that film.

So far, we know that the production will center on Kylo Ren. Rey, Lando Calrissian, Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker will have secondary roles. GamesRadar+ reported that, if the production stays true to Japanese tradition, all of the female roles will be played by men.

Who will get to see it?

France 24 reports that Disney will invite 25 couples to the performance, which is currently planned to be a one-off event. If you’re not one of those lucky few, don’t fret: Disney will livestream the performance, though its currently unknown how or where fans can watch the livestream. Star Wars Kabuki: Ren and Three Lightsabers will star Ichikawa Ebizo XI, one of the most prominent actors in contemporary kabuki theater, in the title role. Ebizo is a fan of the Star Wars saga and has had a role in the development of Ren and Three Lightsabers.

Ebizo Ichikawa | Jun Sato/WireImage

CBR reported that, in addition to his theater work, Ebizo is know for his roles in Japanese films like Blade of the Immortal, Hara-Kiki: Death of Samurai, and Ask This of Rikyu. Ebizo has said the following about Ren and Three Lightsabers: “Star Wars Kabuki will depict the sagas of love and loss for the Skywalker family that stretch for more than 40 years. It will be a show that both Star Wars fans and kabuki fans will enjoy.” Star Wars has always been known for technical innovation; according to rumor, Star Wars kabuki will live up to that legacy by incorporating video technology into this performance.

‘Rise of Skywalker’ play signals new era for kabuki

Kylo Ren and Stormtroopers | Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

This announcement comes at a time when kabuki theater is adapting stories from popular culture. Both the Naruto and One Piece comic books have inspired kabuki spinoffs. Japan Today reported that a kabuki version of Hayao Miyazaki’s classic science fiction anime Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is also set to premiere eight days after Ren and Three Lightsabers. It feels appropriate that Star Wars and Miyazaki stage shows will premiere so close to each other – Star Wars is a Disney property and Miyazaki is known as the “Walt Disney of Japan.”