Boolio, the Ovissian spy allied with the Resistance whom Finn met in the beginning, is voiced by Mark Hamill under pseudonym "Patrick Williams".
Billie Lourd, already playing Lt. Connix, also physically played Leia during the flashback to her training with Luke, with her late mothers younger face digitally superimposed on her.
Besides reprising his role as Wicket W. Warrick, Warwick Davis also has an uncredited role as a background character named Wizzich Mozzler, a Cyclorrian who works in the Resistance as a technician.
Acting in the Dark: Daisy Ridley claims that Abrams was flip-flopping over whether Rey should be made Palpatine's granddaughter or stick with the previous film's reveal of not being connected to anyone important, to the point that for most of filming, she had no idea which one would end up being in the film.
All-Star Cast: The cast is already star-studded with the actors who appear prominently in the film, but then there's all the voice cameos, especially from dead Jedi talking to Rey at the end, with their actors from all sorts of Star Wars media. Also Harrison Ford via One-Scene Wonder.
Author Existence Failure: The death of Carrie Fisher in late 2016 caused major problems with the original plans for this movie as there was to be much focus on Leia, like how The Force Awakens focused on Han and The Last Jedi focused on Luke. When he was brought on board to direct, J. J. Abrams decided to repurpose unused footage of Leia from The Force Awakens, and wrote Leia's scenes in the movie around what was available, with use of a Fake Shemp in some shots from the back.
Billing Displacement: As with The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, top billing is given to original trilogy leads Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa) and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), and sequel trilogy antagonist Adam Driver (Kylo Ren) is also credited before Daisy Ridley (Rey), the actual lead of the film and trilogy. The Rise of Skywalker, however, is the most blatant case of the three because the top-billed Fisher has only brief appearances through formerly unused footage and Hamill appears in just two scenes, with only one prominently featuring him. Fisher's top billing was presumably a tribute to her and recognition of how the film was supposed to focus on Leia, like how The Force Awakens focused on Han Solo (which gave top billing to Harrison Ford) and The Last Jedi focused on Luke (which gave top billing to Hamill), before her death dashed these plans.
Blooper: As detailed here, during the shot in the trailer where Rey and Kylo are dueling on the wreckage of the Death Star, a close look at the latter's reflection reveals that his cape is in fact CGI. It was fixed in the final product.
Christmas Rushed: There are reports that the production team lost three months of time to work on the film and ended up having to rush it through since Disney insisted on the December 20th release date. This was later given credence with editor Maryann Brandon saying the film's editing process was a rush job that affected the entire production.
Content Leak: Every major plot point was leaked on Reddit months before the film premiered, with many not believing them until the film released (partly because of a number of other "leaks" which contained false information that came out around the correct one). John Boyega's shooting script was also (allegedly) stolen and placed on eBay, but in this case it was recovered before any damage could be done.
Creator Backlash: John Boyega and Oscar Isaac have made it adamantly clear on social media and in interviews that they dislike how Finn and Poe were handled in this movie. Boyega also got into a Twitter spat with Reylo shippers when he implied he felt the ship came out of nowhere (by juxtaposing the scene of their kiss to screenshots of their previous interactions- Rey cutting open Kylo's face, Kylo kidnapping and torturing Rey, etc.). Isaac later admitted that he had little real interest in reprising the role of Poe unless he desperately needed the money, while Boyega was exceptionally frank about how disappointed he was to see Finn's role reduced after The Force Awakens. Boyega also stated that some of his co-stars, including Daisy Ridley, were supportive of his criticisms.
After the announcement trailer went live, Twitter went down for a minute or two due to the overload of fan excitement.
The release of the first real trailer for the movie also caused several sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even AT&T's own cell service, to crash for a few minutes from too many people trying to watch it.
Dyeing for Your Art: The 81-year-old Billy Dee Williams went through a strenuous workout routine to get back into shape for the film. It was actually reports about it that first stirred excitement that Lando might be in the film, months before it was officially confirmed.
Enforced Method Acting: Joonas Suotamo really drew upon his own grief about Carrie Fisher's passing for the scene where Chewie breaks down in sorrow over Leia's death.
Executive Veto: Oscar Isaac claims that the Disney "overlords" stepped in to prevent Poe and Finn from becoming a couple, which he was enthusiastically campaigning for since The Force Awakens.
In 2012, a fan managed to guess this movie's title and that the Emperor would return, although they were speculating about the recently-announced Episode VII at the time. Read here.
That Rey would get to wield a double-bladed lightsaber ala Darth Maul. Although most speculations thought it would be a "light side" color (like blue), not that it would be a very Dark Sidered. Though that's ultimately a vision. Those who thought that the first lightsaber she constructed of her own would be a color other than blue or green were also correct, (twice over if you count Dark Rey's double-sided saber), with yellow as one of the most popular choices.
Regarding Rey's family, congratulations if you were among those who weren't thrown off by J. J. Abrams' statement that she's not related to any previous character of the franchise and theorized she's a Palpatine by blood, more specifically Sheev/Sidious's granddaughter. For example, this guy guessed it correctly even before The Last Jedi premiered.
As far back as The Force Awakens, some fans had noted that the two ends of Rey's staff looked suspiciously similar to lightsaber emitters. Sure enough, the golden lightsaber she has on Tatooine is clearly made of those two pieces.
A lot of fans correctly guessed that General Hux would betray the First Order at some point out of his hatred and enmity for Kylo Ren.
In Memoriam: A dedication to Peter Mayhew, Chewbacca's original actor, appears in the ending credits.
Following the release of Solo, a fan theory that gained some traction was that Qi'ra (portrayed by Emilia Clarke) could be Rey's mother. The Rise of Skywalker josses this due to Rey's mother (portrayed by Jodie Comer) being confirmed to be a completely different character.
It was widely assumed that the thing Finn needed to tell Rey before he dies would have been a Dying Declaration of Love, but J.J. Abrams has stated definitely that Finn would have told her that he's Force sensitive.
In the lead up to the film's release, it was speculated that Zorii Bliss could be related to Rey or that she was even Mara Jade. It turns out that neither of these theories were true; she's a spice smuggler from Kijimi and apparently Poe's ex-girlfriend.
J.J. Abrams stated that while making The Force Awakens, his intention was that Rey wasn't related to anyone important from the rest of the franchise. Comes Rise of Skywalker, and she's Darth Sidious/Sheev Palpatine's granddaughter.
At the 2019 Celebration and building up to the films release, Abrams claimed that Rose would receive a lot of screen-time, but she ended up suffering Demoted to Extra status in the film (amounting to less than two minutes of screentime).
Meaningful Release Date: The final trailer was released October 21, 2019, which would've been Carrie Fisher's 63rd birthday.
No Stunt Double: Daisy Ridley did 95% of her own stunts in the film, with only the most risky stunts (such as the shot of Rey backflipping over Kylo Ren's TIE fighter) being reserved for her three stunt doubles. Adam Driver also insisted on doing his own stunts, as he was very protective of Kylo Ren's body language and didn't want a double changing the way he carried himself.
Hassan Taj and Lee Towersey play R2-D2 instead of Jimmy Vee.
In the Japanese dub, Shin Aomori replaces Takashi Inagaki as the voice of Palpatine.
In the Latin American Spanish dub, Victor Covarrubias replaces Arturo Mercado as Lando. This is especially a relevant case, as another SW role played by Mercado in the previous film (Yoda) was voiced by a Brazilian Portuguese voice actor, and many fans already expected that Mercado could at least return as Lando.
In the Hungarian dub, Kanan Jarrus' single line is spoken by a different actor, as his regular dubbing actor from the series Star Wars Rebels, Csaba Zöld, is already the voice of Ben Solo/Kylo Ren in the film.
As with the previous two films, both Carrie Fisher (Leia) and her daughter Billie Lourd (Kaydel Ko Connix) appear in the film (though the footages of the real Carrie date back to The Force Awakens).
For the first time in the history of the Star Wars franchise, both Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi) and his uncle Denis Lawson (Wedge Antilles) appear in the same film, if only as a voice cameo for the former and a brief cameo for the latter.
Warwick Davis reprises the role of Wicket W. Warrick. The Ewok standing next to him is Wicket's son Pommet, played by Warwick's son Harrison.
Víctor Covarrubias, who voiced Lando in the Latin American Spanish dub, is the nephew of the late Jesús Barrero, who voiced Luke in all of his previous appearances until The Force Awakens.
The revelation that Snoke was actually a Puppet King created and controlled by Palpatine may have been inspired by the early drafts of A New Hope, where the character of Cos Dashit (who ultimately evolved into Palpatine) served as a figurehead of the New Galactic Empire, which was in reality ruled by the Moffs.
Palpatine being the Final Boss of the ninth and final installment of the Skywalker Saga actually hearkens back to Lucass original plans for a Sequel Trilogy, in which he wouldve only debuted in the final installment of said trilogy. Lucas eventually decided to shelve his Sequel Trilogy and work on the Prequel Trilogy instead.
Some concepts for Rey's homeworld in The Force Awakens included an ocean world and/or a world riddled with debris from one of the Death Stars, which we see reused in this film. In addition, Rey can be seen holding what appears to be a breathing tank for diving, which was also a part of the scrapped ocean world concept.
A major element is the return of the Emperor. In addition, during the climax he actively takes part in the battle by using the Force to attack and nearly destroy the Resistance fleet and their allies. Both plot points were previously used in Dark Empire.
According to Abrams, making Rey a Palpatine was a very early idea during the writing of The Force Awakens.
J.J. Abrams: "And though I completely understand 'you're nobody' is a devastating thing, to me the more painful, the more shocking thing was the idea that you're from the worst possible place."
The concept of two people inextricably bound through the Force, to the point that they are able to share each other's senses, strongly resembles a concept from the Legends backstory of General Grievous of all places.
Release Date Change: The film was moved from a Summer 2019 release to December 20, 2019 in order to accommodate the change of director. Box office pundits noted it made sense to do so, as the previous Disney-produced Star Wars films benefitted greatly from the Christmas season box office.
Billy Dee Williams returns as Lando Calrissian after being absent from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Similar to Palpatine, this marks his first big screen appearance as the character since Return of the Jedi. Prior to this, he has lent his voice to the character in some voice-over projects such as Star Wars Rebels.
The same happens in the Japanese dub with the same character, as Norio Wakamoto returns again as Lando.
In the Hungarian dub, Gábor Reviczky returns as Palpatine, having last voiced him in the 1997 Special Edition dubs of the Original Trilogy (Palpatine's voice actor from the Prequels, Hugó Gruber, died in 2012). Károly Gesztesi, who sadly passed away shortly after the film's release, also returned for a final time as Lando, who has previously been dubbed by random other actors in other media.
Troubled Production: The film hit several snags during pre-production. Carrie Fisher, who reportedly had a much larger role as Leia than the prior two films, died in December 2016, requiring the script to be heavily rewritten.note It was later revealed that there was actually very little forward planning being done with the franchise, meaning they'd lost one of the very few things they were working towards. In September 2017, director Colin Trevorrow and writer Jack Thorne left the project only a few months before filming was set to begin. Rian Johnson was first asked to stay on after completing The Last Jedi, but turned down the offer. J. J. Abrams later signed on as director and the release date was pushed back from a Summer 2019 release to December 20, 2019.
Why Fandom Can't Have Nice Things: In the wake of the movie's ending with Ben Solo's death several reylo shippers took to Twitter to campaign for Disney to retcon his death or otherwise resurrect him by getting hashtags such as #SaveBenSolo, #BringBackBenSolo and #BenSoloLives trending, primarily posting them as replies to posts from Star Wars' official Twitter account. Eventually, Star Wars account administrator Michelle Buchman informed them (from her personal account) that flooding the replies with those hashtags was being seen as spam and "negative engagement" and asked them to tone it down. But most of them didn't listen and a few of them started attacking Buchman on her personal account, which led her to take a break from her personal account. At present, there is a Vicious Cycle in the Star Wars Twitter account: the reylo shippers are aggressively demanding reylo content/Ben's resurrection which is dissuading the Star Wars account from posting said content which makes the shippers more aggressive in their demands.
Abrams revealed that Finn is Force sensitive, which explains the multiple instances in the film where he has a "feeling" and how he was able to realize that Rey was still alive during the final battle on Exegol. Abrams also said that his would-be dying declaration to Rey in the sand pit would have been to tell her about it.
Working Title: The initial working title of this movie was Star Wars: Black Diamond. In June 2018, the working title was changed to trIXie.
Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: As with previous films in the trilogy, many members of the production crew have admitted that very little of the story was planned out in advance of the film's production; Rian Johnson and J. J. Abrams both admitted prior to release that they did not actually have any specific ending in mind when writing the previous two films. Especially notable is that the original script didn't include Palpatine at all, and Abrams simply threw him in after being brought back. The death of Carrie Fisher also necessitated that many aspects of the film be suddenly rewritten. Daisy Ridley also revealed on a livestream in September 2020 that the subject of Rey's parentage was constantly in flux and went through numerous revisions. Even when the movie was being filmed, the idea of Rey being a Palpatine was something that even Abrams wasn't fully committed to at the beginning of production.