It has become a tradition for Disney to prepare Star Wars fans for the upcoming film by a series of “Journey to…” materials. There is a reason why “Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” might be a bit more interesting than its predecessors.
The previous materials tended to be more of a marketing trick than actual content. That is not to downplay the effort put into novels like Aftermath or The Lost Stars, or any other material. The problem was that the materials had little to do with the films themselves.
On the one hand, that is understandable. Disney did not want to reveal too much of the backstory of The Force Awakens. In the case of The Last Jedi, on the other hand, there was not much to show given that the film takes place almost immediately after the events of The Force Awakens. However, in both cases, both “Journeys to…” failed rather miserably when it came to portraying what should have been made clear immediately: the background of the rise of the First Order and the Resistance, who is actually Snoke and where did he get his power (since the films did not show that) and likewise what happened to Luke’s Jedi academy (at least in vague terms – unless the whole thing is going to get shown in The Rise of Skywalker).
Sadly, I do not believe we are going to get the answers to these answers that have been long omitted, at least not yet. What “Journey to The Rise of Skywalker” might give us, however, is some insight into the upcoming film itself.
Hints About The In-Between
One chief reason for that is because now we know that some time is going to pass between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. Disney, therefore, has got the chance to introduce several “in-between” adventures, in the forms of adult and young adult novels, but also other supplementary materials. And even though these are going to get slowly released throughout the rest of the year (especially during autumn), we can deduce several things just from their covers.
Or should I say, some of their covers. A few book covers are intentionally left blank in the preview, presumably as they consider “spoilers”. For now, we can speculate whether this or that cover might feature something harmless like Chewbacca’s family, or something big like old Ezra Bridger from Rebels.
Other materials provide some information by themselves. The middle-grade novel “Spark of the Resistance” by Justina Ireland will cover a story about Rey, Poe and Rose answering a distress call on an isolated planet of Minfar. “Allegiance”, a comic mini-series, will revolve around Leia contacting her old allies, the Mon Calamari, to help with supplying the Resistance.
Probably the most interesting of all is the Young Adult novel “The Force Collector”. The description says that in this story, “set just before The Force Awakens, a restless teenager sets out to discover what connection his mysterious Force powers have to the fabled Jedi and what the Force has in store for him.”
That means a lot: it solidifies Luke’s claim that he “will not be the last Jedi” and opens the door for seeing more Force-users in the upcoming film.
The Plot Shall Thicken
Overall, the overview of the stories presented tells a lot about the role of the Resistance between TLJ and TROS. The Resistance will be stirring dissent against the First Order and aiding those who are threatened by it. We can therefore assume that the film won’t be dealing with such “trivialities” much anymore and instead will focus mainly on the heroes’ mysterious quest showed in the trailers, and then perhaps on the final battle against the First Order itself. The heroes will also have all interacted with each other and could be assumed to be well-acquainted with each other (even the likes of Rey and Rose or Poe and Rey, who had not spent time together before).
The film itself can then neatly sum up all of it in the opening title. But we at least roughly know what to expect.