Costume Design

Deconstructing The Rise of Skywalker Trailer

I’m going to talk about Rey’s costume design in the trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

I love Star Wars, and I love the costume design of the original trilogy. The original three movies were always very specific with their costume design and Star Wars: A New Hope took home the 1978 Oscar for costume design. The original Star Wars trilogy referenced a lot of old sci-fi and other films, but keeps to a lot of specific rules. Over those three films, the costumes tell us a lot about the arc of those character’s stories, and in particular the big three–Luke, Leia and Han. We’ll talk about them in a different post. Today, we’re just going to focus on Rey, and what her costuming tells us when compared to the original Star Wars trilogy. Let’s begin!

Rey has always been designed to visually reference Luke. In The Force Awakens she’s wearing a costume that references Luke (and even Leia a bit) in A New Hope.

In The Last Jedi, her costume references Luke’s on Dagobah and just a tad of Leia in Cloud City.

So here’s what’s FASCINATING to me about the new trailer–we see Rey in her original The Force Awakens costume. Complete with the same hair.

Compare that with Luke’s costuming in Return of the Jedi. The costume designer for Jedi was quoted as saying “Gun-slingers wear black when they mean business”. Luke’s palette goes from off-white to black during the three movies to show him becoming an adult, but also to make the audience wonder if he is going to the dark side in Act 3.

So, what the costume designer is telling me by putting Rey back in her Act 1 costume is that Rey isn’t tempted by the dark side in Act 3. That’s not what this story is about. What the design tells me is that Rey is accepting who she is, and where she came from. I’m curious to see if she stays in this the entire movie. I’m even more curious if there is a specific reason she is back in that costume.

Getting back to Luke in Jedi–he basically wears the same black under costume the whole movie, with things thrown over it. He starts the movie in a brown Kenobi Jedi cloak to face Jabba the Hutt, which he quickly loses.

Same costume, just with a camo poncho for Endor…

When Luke goes to face Vader, the costume designer takes away the Kenobi cloak, as well as the Jedi vest from above. There is nothing to visually tell us he is a Jedi, which feeds our anxiety that he really may turn.

Now compare this to Rey’s Act 3 costume. This version of Rey’s costume is a bit different than Act 1, but not much. It’s much more white..and the collar is different….

…looks like a hood has been added to this costume…where have we seen that construction before?


“Feeling cute. IDK, might destroy the Empire later.”

That’s all for the moment on Rey and The Rise of Skywalker trailer!