Star wars: The Rise of Skywalker premiere

The Epic Premiere of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Was a Celebration of the Star Wars Family

By Jocelyn Buhlman

This past Monday, an event the size of a supernova was being contained inside a tent next to the El Capitan Theatre: the Skywalker Saga was ending. Cast, crew, and fans alike made the hyperspace jump to Hollywood, California, for the world premiere of Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, and we were no exception! D23 hit the blue carpet to see the stars, spaceships, and droids who were attending to celebrate the end of a legendary era.

The night opened with an intimidating march of stormtroopers down the blue carpet, including the new red-armored Sith troopers that were first revealed at Comic-Con.

Star wars: The Rise of Skywalker premiere

 Of course, where there’s the First Order, you know the Resistance isn’t too far behind…

Human-Cyborg Relations

Star wars: The Rise of Skywalker premiere
BB-8, D-O, R2-D2, and C-3PO pose for a quick blue carpet pic

The blue carpet festivities continued with some intergalactic superstars—namely, some of our favorite droids from the Star Wars galaxy, including BB-8, R2-D2, newcomer D-O, and C-3PO! Later on in the evening, we had the chance to catch up with the actor behind C-3PO himself, Anthony Daniels, who is one of the few to have been in every single movie in the Skywalker Saga! With a more than 40 year-long history with the galaxy, we needed to know how he felt about the saga concluding tonight:

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Intergalactic Friends Forever!

Star wars: The Rise of Skywalker premiere
Daisy Ridley and John Boyega sharing a silly moment

One thing we can’t wait to see develop in The Rise of Skywalker is the friendships between Rey, Finn, and Poe during this final adventure—and seeing the three of them on the carpet was already taking our excitement to intergalactic levels! (And that’s before the movie even started.)

We weren’t the only ones who were excited—we had the chance to chat with John Boyega (Finn), and he agreed: “It’s the best thing about it! I love Oscar, I love Daisy,” he told us when we asked about sharing a Star Wars adventure with the actors across three films. He added: “We’ve had such a solid friendship.”

That wasn’t the only thing Boyega was excited about in The Rise of Skywalker—check out our video below to find out how he feels about the end of the Saga and to find out which character he was most excited to see in the film.

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New Faces with Big Smiles

Star wars: The Rise of Skywalker premiere
Naomi Ackie, wearing a gown fit for a princess

Out on the carpet and looking as dazzling as the iconic Star Wars starfield itself were newcomers Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant, who play brand-new characters in The Rise of Skywalker.

 Ackie—wearing an elegant white dress that Princess Leia would definitely approve—was beaming as she shared her excitement to join the ranks of Star Wars heroines as her character, Jannah: “I had such good examples to follow from Leia to Rey to Rose, and I felt like I was just adding to what has been a brilliant legacy for women in this franchise.”

She had firsthand experience with some of these role models—Kelly Marie Tran, who portrays Rose Tico in the film, was spotted palling around with Ackie throughout the night, providing a warm welcome into the ranks of Star Wars heroines.

Star wars: The Rise of Skywalker premiere
Naomi Ackie, center, poses with fellow The Rise of Skywalker castmates. L-R: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Kelly Marie Tran, Anthony Daniels
Star wars: The Rise of Skywalker premiere
Richard Grant poses with a stormtrooper

Over on the Dark side, Richard E. Grant portrays the villainous First Order officer Allegiant Admiral Pryde. While his character promises to be a stern force of villainy, Grant was grinning ear-to-ear to be at the premiere. Why? Well, as a huge Star Wars fan, he’s absolutely living his dream. “It’s off-the-charts exciting,” he explained of walking onto the film’s iconic sets and seeing the world come to life. “I loved all of it. Like a complete geek!” You’re not alone there, Grant!

Star wars: The Rise of Skywalker premiere
We’d be smiling like that, too, if we were standing with Han Solo! Richard Grant poses with Harrison Ford.

An Animated Selection of Special Guests

Everyone from the Star Wars family was out to celebrate the finale of the Skywalker Saga, which meant we got to catch up with some very animated friends—namely, some of the cast from the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Resistance!

Star wars: The Rise of Skywalker premiere
Ashley Eckstein poses in her custom-made Ahsoka Tano suit

Ashley Eckstein, voice actress of Ahsoka Tano (and judge for the D23 Expo Mousequerade costume contest!), stopped by to say, “hi!” and show off her extremely cool custom suit inspired by the character and design of Ahsoka. “I wanted to look Ahsoka-chic for the occasion,” said the actress, who will be reprising her voice role of Ahsoka for season 7 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, set to debut in February 2020 on Disney+.

Ahsoka’s adventured far and wide across the Star Wars galaxy—and been essential to many parts of the Star Wars story that are coming to an end with The Rise of Skywalker. As a self-proclaimed geek, we needed to know how Ashley felt about the Saga’s end:

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Star wars: The Rise of Skywalker premiere
Catherine Taber and James Arnold Taylor stop by to talk with D23

Ashley wasn’t the only familiar face—er—voice at the premiere! James Arnold Taylor and Catherine Taber, the voices of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Pamdé Amidala in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, stopped by to say, “Hello there!” to us on the blue carpet. They called the night “bittersweet,” as they were ringing in the end to many stories—season 7 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars will be the final one of the series, on top of the main Skywalker Saga coming to a close with Rise of Skywalker.

“I’m in denial about that,” Taber admitted. “The Saga’s not over!”

Taylor also offered a tantalizing hint for sharp-eared listeners attending the screening of the film: “Listen for my voice in the film! There might be a couple stormtroopers, good guys, or bad guys.” (Plus, if you plan on riding Star Wars: The Rise of the Resistance over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you might recognize him as the voice of Lieutenant Bek, as well.)

Representing the cast of Star Wars Resistance, Myrna Velasco, the voice of the spunky pilot Torra Doza, stopped by to talk about what being in the Star Wars Saga meant to her—and reveal that her very first Stars Wars movie was Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure.

See what she has to say about being part of the Star Wars universe:

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Mandalorian Mania

Also joining us on the carpet from the Star Wars family were two ladies leading the action in The Mandalorian, one on-screen and one off-screen. Disney Legend Ming-Na Wen, who just wowed fans with a fun turn as the devious Fennec Shand on The Mandalorian, stopped to tell us about her first Star Wars movie—which just happened to be the one that made her a massive fan of the franchise. See what she said in the video below:

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Deborah Chow, director of Chapters 3 and 7 of The Mandalorian, stopped to chat about joining the Star Wars universe: “It’s been pretty special—it’s felt a lot like joining a family,” she told us. When asked if she was personally more team Dark side or Light side, she admitted to being “kind of a goth kid growing up,” but while she’s usually Dark side, she has moments where she’s called to the Light.

Star wars: The Rise of Skywalker premiere
Deborah Chow’s premiere night ensemble makes us understand why she said she used to be goth

Too see more of the dazzling moments from the night, check out our gallery: