‘Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker:’ Who Is Laughing In The Trailer?

It’s been about 42 years since the original Star Wars: A New Hope played in theaters. Since then, there’s been a prequel trilogy, spinoff films, and dozens of cartoons episodes all leading up to this year’s movie — Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker.

If there’s one thing we learned from Luke Skywalker, it’s that “no one is ever really ‘gone.'” (Cue menacing laugh.)

The trailer for Star Wars: Episode IX left some viewers with more questions than they started with. Is Snoke still alive? Is General Hux still competing with Kylo Ren? Who is laughing at the end of the trailer? Let’s dissect fan theories for the next (and final) chapter of the Skywalker story

BB-8
BB-8 | Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Disney

Here’s what we know about ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’

Lucasfilm released the first trailer for Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker in April 2019. From there, the internet exploded. Fans saw Rey, Poe, Finn, and Kylo Ren and even a few old favorites, like General Organa (also known as Princess Leia) and Lando Calrissian.

“The story is about this young, new generation of characters and, sort of, being up against everything that they’ve inherited,” said Director J.J. Abrams in an interview with ABC News. “And I think that that is sort of true, whether it’s literal or figurative — the idea that whoever has inspired you is always with you, whether they’re still alive or not.

Lucasfilm and director J.J. Abrams revealed very little in this trailer, in fact, it’s mostly Rey preparing to jump on a ship. We do know, however, that the resistance is still fighting for the freedom of the galaxy from the First Order. Only now, there’s something else standing in their way.

Kylo Ren
Kylo Ren | Anthony Harvey/Getty Images for Harrods

Who is the villain of Episode IX?

The laughter in the trailer is none other than Emperor Palpatine’s, the Sith Lord who made Anakin turn to the dark side. The Emperor’s relationship to Kylo Ren, or even the Emperor’s role in this movie, is still unclear.

Will Kylo Ren suffer the same fate as Anakin Skywalker? Were Snoke and Emperor Palpatine working together? Will this be the end of the rebellion? Fans speculate the dark side might have gotten stronger since the addition of this powerful villain.

“Is there a chance that it was actually Palpatine that was communicating with Kylo through Vader’s mask? That would make more sense since Anakin was redeemed in [Return of the Jedi]. Could his spirit be ‘haunting’ various artifacts?” one Twitter user speculated.

What does this mean for the dark side?

From the trailer, Kylo Ren still has his iconic red lightsaber. This relationship with Rey might be rocky, but we know their force bond will bring about some awkward conversations. Snoke did not make an appearance in the trailer, but some fans speculate he might not be dead, either.

Additionally, the trailer includes a clip of Kylo Ren’s mask being repaired and a clip of Rey standing in front of the original Death Star.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is scheduled to release on December 20, 2019. According to thewrap.com, Disney announced three more Star Wars films to be released through 2026. It is unclear whether or not these new movies will be associated with the original trilogy.