'Star Wars: Episode IX' teaser trailer debuts at fan convention in Chicago

"Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" cruises into theaters on Dec. 20.
Daisy Ridley as Rey in Star Wars: The Rise of SkywalkerLucasfilm Ltd.

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By Daniel Arkin

It's finally here, "Star Wars" die-hards.

The official teaser trailer for the latest entry in the sprawling franchise debuted Friday at a fan convention in Chicago, providing the first glimpse at one of the most anticipated movie releases of the year.

The teaser for "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," the third installment in a sequel trilogy that began with 2015's "The Force Awakens," opens with shots of Rey (Daisy Ridley) clutching her lightsaber in an arid desert landscape.

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It also flashes brief images of other fan favorites, including the late Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa, Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, Adam Driver as villainous Kylo Ren, John Boyega as Finn, and the lovable droid BB-8.

The spot is narrated by Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker, who tells his protégé Rey: "We've passed on all we know. A thousand generations live in you now. But this is your fight."

The teaser closes with the sound of menacing laughter — most likely that of Emperor Palpatine, a central villain in the original trilogy and its prequels.

"The Rise of Skywalker" does not pick up immediately after the events of the most recent chapter, "The Last Jedi." That's according to the new film's director and co-writer, J.J. Abrams, who also helmed "The Force Awakens."

In a Q&A with late-night host Stephen Colbert at the Chicago event, Abrams said "The Rise of Skywalker" revolves around an adventure the main characters go on together. Abrams was joined on the stage by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and select members of the cast.

Twitter lit up with reaction to the teaser, and various "Star Wars"-themed hashtags dominated U.S. search trends.

The film arrives in theaters nationwide on Dec. 20