The 'Star Wars: Episode 9' Trailer Just Dropped, Confirming The Return Of This Iconic Villain

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

It's been almost two years since Star Wars fans got a glimpse of the Skywalker family saga in Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi. And with the final entry into the newest Star Wars trilogy on the horizon, the time has finally come for a Star Wars: Episode IX trailer.

The trailer premiered at the 2019 Star Wars Celebration in Chicago, during the Episode IX panel on Friday, April 12, and boy is it good. The trailer teases the final showdown between Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), while also giving fans a glimpse at General Leia (Carrie Fisher), and a few new characters. Moreover, the trailer also confirmed the title, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. But, most importantly, it also teased a few major returns: with Luke Skywalker and Emperor Palpatine making voice over cameos.

Earlier in the panel, moderated by Stephen Colbert, director J.J. Abrams teased the importance of Episode IX. He called it the "end of three trilogies" and teased that it would be the culmination of the series' epic battle between light and dark. "As they face the greatest evil, are they prepared?" he asked. "Are they ready?" Of course, when pressed, Abrams refused to say who this "greatest evil" was, but it seems safe to assume that it might just be Emperor Palpatine.

Although he doesn't appear in the clip physically, a voice heard laughing at the end led to speculation that Palpatine would be part of Episode IX's narrative. After hearing the evil cackle, fans quickly jumped to social media to rejoice over evil emperor's surprising return.

Although sad that the saga is coming to an end, fans can't wait for the film's debut and seemingly thinks that Palpatine's laugh is just the icing on the cake.

But how will Palpatine fit into the story? In the Star Wars timeline, the last time Palpatine was seen, he was being thrown to his death by Darth Vader in Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi. But his cameo in the Episode IX trailer definitely suggests that he's not as dead as we thought.

Palpatine's return would certainly throw Rey (Daisy Ridley), Poe (Oscar Isaac), and Finn (John Boyega) a huge curve ball. Especially with Luke Skywalker's death at the end of The Last Jedi. (If, that is, Luke really is dead.) He's a formidable opponent who has made a habit out of turning those strong with the Force over to the Dark Side. But it's impossible to know what his return will mean based solely on this trailer.

That said, the Episode IX trailer isn't all just returns and theories. It's also bittersweet. In some ways, it marks the beginning of the end for this phase of Star Wars films that began with 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Now four years later, the time has come for the stories of Rey, Poe, Finn, and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) to come to an end. At least, for now.

According to Disney CEO Bob Iger, the Star Wars films will take a bit of a break following the release of Episode IX. "We will take a pause, some time, and reset," Iger said during an appearance on Bloomberg Television Thursday, April 11."The Skywalker saga comes to an end with this ninth movie," he added. "There will be other Star Wars movies, but there will be a bit of a hiatus."

Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise Of Skywalker could be the last Star Wars movie fans get to see in theaters for a while. So, bring on the theories, and be sure to make 'em count.

Additional reporting by Nina Bradley.