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'Star Wars' fans lose it over 'Rise of Skywalker' D23 footage and Rey's double lightsaber

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At D23, Disney revealed several new projects that are set to be released with its new streaming service, Disney+. Veuer’s Lenneia Batiste has more.
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ANAHEIM — The end is coming for the Skywalker “Star Wars” saga after 40 years, but it’s going out with interstellar explosions.

LucasFilms president Kathleen Kennedy showed off special footage of “Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker” at the D23 fan convention Saturday, which took a trip down “Star Wars” memory lane.

The trailer showed memorable footage from all nine “Star Wars” movies, starting with 1977’s “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.”

Then the footage went into warp drive for the new film hitting theaters Dec. 20, as an end-all battle rages and Rey (Daisy Ridley) engages in a fierce lightsaber battle with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) precariously on a ship’s wreckage.

Disney released a new poster depicting the Kylo Ren battle, presenting it to all attendees.

‘The Mandalorian’ trailer: 6 Disney streaming projects that rocked D23

Not released yet is the pinnacle moment of the footage – a cloaked Rey pulls out what appeared to be a red, double lightsaber in battle, similar to that infamous weapon wielded by Darth Maul in “A Phantom Menace.”

The D23 crowd let out an immediate, overpowering cheer at the sight of the weapon’s return and proclaimed the sighting on Twitter.

It caused a disturbance in The Force which was felt well beyond the D23 walls.

“Where is this footage of Rey with the double bladed red lightsaber. I need it. I am losing my mind,” tweeted @tessanetting.

Most of the “Rise of Skywalker” cast — including Ridley, Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), John Boyega (Finn), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca) — along with returning “Star Wars” cast members Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) and Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) hit the stage “to celebrate a saga that began 40 years ago,” said director JJ Abrams.

Daniels veered into sentimentality for a moment speaking from the stage.

“It’s hard for me to fully understand the story is ending,” he said. “But what an ending.” 

The D23 footage provided a new look at Keri Russell’s new, mysterious character Zorri Bliss, sporting a red suit and a helmet. Russell talked about Bliss from the stage.

“She is very cool. Very shady,” said Russell. “She’s a criminal and an old friend of Poe.”

Abrams took a moment to discuss the late actress Carrie Fisher, whose Leia Organa will appear in the final episode based on footage shot in Episode VII.

Abrams said it was vital to have Fisher in the finale as “the character of Leia is the heart of the story.” The director said he was re-reading Fisher’s 2016 memoir “The Princess Diariest” and found “she had written special thanks for JJ Abrams ‘For putting up with me twice.’ “

This seemed prophetic and “classic” Fisher since it came despite the two working together only once before Fisher died in Dec. 2016. 

“We could not be more excited for you to see her final performance as Leia,” said Abrams.

“Star Wars” will certainly continue long after this chapter ends. On Friday, Disney premiered a new chapter at D23 on Friday, showing the trailer for “The Mandalorian” series which will premiere on Disney+ streaming, along with announcing a new series featuring Obi-Wan Kenobi (starring Ewan McGregor).

“With the close of this chapter, the future is wide open,” Walt Disney Studios co-chairman Alan Horn said Saturday.

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