’Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’: All the Original Trilogy Characters Expected to Return

Since 1977, the Star Wars saga has inspired generations of moviegoers to lose themselves in “a galaxy far, far away.” But, as Avengers: Endgame fans know, every story must eventually reach its end.

With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, director J.J. Abrams is tasked with tying up the Skywalker saga. After decades of focusing on Anakin Skywalker’s legacy, the franchise is ready to move on to something new. But not before catching up with a few familiar faces one last time.

Daisy Ridley and Billy Dee Williams at Disney’s D23 EXPO
Daisy Ridley and Billy Dee Williams at Disney’s D23 EXPO | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

‘One last look’ at your favorite ‘Star Wars’ characters

The marketing for The Rise of Skywalkerincluding the final trailer — has understandably teased the finality of the story. Indeed, fans are already feeling bittersweet about C-3PO’s (Anthony Daniels) big moment in the footage. The upcoming film will mark Daniels’ final performance as C-3PO, but he’s far from the only original character taking part.

C-3PO will be joined by a couple of longtime friends. Of course, his trusty counterpart R2-D2 — now played by Jimmy Vee, following the death of original actor Kenny Baker in 2016 — will be on hand. Likewise, Joonas Suotamo will reprise his role as Chewbacca, a role he inherited following Peter Mayhew’s passing just this year.

Moreover, we know that Abrams is using archive footage to create a proper farewell for the late Carrie Fisher. Leia will, of course, be joined by Mark Hamill’s Luke, who is expected to appear to Rey as a Force ghost. Then there’s the shocking return of Emperor Palpatine, whose unmistakable laugh punctuated the film’s teaser trailer.

The Resistance is also tapping into some longtime rebel friends in their battle against the First Order. Billy Dee Williams is making his long-awaited return, hopefully reuniting with Nien Nunb. Even Denis Lawson — who played Rebel Alliance pilot Wedge Antilles in the original trilogy — is back in the cockpit for this last installment.

What other ‘Star Wars’ characters might appear?

The above original trilogy characters are confirmed to join Rey (Daisy Ridley), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and company in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. But rumors are still swirling that other fan favorites may join them as well.

As in The Last Jedi, it’s very possible that Yoda (Frank Oz) could make a surprise appearance, perhaps counseling Rey. Likewise, Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi is an easy fit. Especially now that McGregor’s return to the franchise is official, expect him to factor into The Rise of Skywalker.

There’s even a wild rumor that Harrison Ford could pop up in a vision or flashback to Kylo Ren. After all, Kylo’s murder of his father in The Force Awakens is the biggest hurdle for audiences to accept his potential redemption. So if The Rise of Skywalker hopes to overcome this, a Ford cameo fits.

‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ needs its title character

Lastly, a definitive end to the Skywalker saga wouldn’t feel complete without the man who started it all. That’s right, folks. Anakin Skywalker will probably make some kind of appearance in the film. More than likely, we’ll get one more performance from Hayden Christensen in the role.

While purists may balk at this, the sequel trilogy has made great efforts to tie into the prequels. Anakin’s rise and fall kicked off the whole saga, and if Palpatine is returning, then we need Anakin to as well. The dark rises and light to meet it, right?

Besides, Kylo Ren needs to know that his grandfather perished due to the love for his son, not as the formidable Darth Vader. Throughout this current trilogy, we’ve seen Kylo worship Vader’s remains. But it’s never been made clear how much he really knows about his death. Perhaps the realization that Vader died as Anakin might inspire Kylo to tap into his own goodness as well.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20. Tickets are on sale now.