New Rise of Skywalker Images on Star Wars Authentics
True to their word promising new image releases on March 31st, and as The Rise of Skywalker (TROS) has started to be released for streaming purposes (though not on Disney+ as of this typing), Topps Star Wars Authentics has released over 100 images from the film. These images feature scenes from the movie that have been oft-requested by both members of the Star Wars Autograph Universe and non-members alike, and should be well-received by autograph collectors and movie fans alike.
Sometimes criticized for their selection of images, we know that Topps is limited by what Disney allows them to take from the movie archives and reels. This time, however, I think that Topps hit a home run with many of their image selections. Among those published, we have scenes featuring the reborn Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), we have scenes depicting a raging Kylo Ren while also having image choices of a redeemed Ben Solo (Adam Driver), and we have images of Rey (Daisy Ridley) during her training, while fighting Ren, and while fighting Darth Sidious himself.
Many of these images are only available in 8x10 at this time, but with the success of them printing and being released in that size, we have faith that they will be released in larger sizes in due time as well. Let’s take a look at some of the images that Topps has given us!
The absolute star of the movie, Adam Driver gets featured heavily in the images released by Topps. We have multiple renditions of his characters to select from, including a full frontal headshot that showcases the redeemed Ben Solo, a lightsaber-wielding Kylo Ren as he seeks out the Emperor, Ren again in the wake of destruction as he hunts the Sith Wayfinder, and a newly-helmeted Ren, with Domhnhall Gleeson in the background. There are even more options on the Topps site itself, giving fans and autograph seekers of Driver plenty of options to select.
Driver co-star Daisy Ridley once again was featured heavily in the released images, with some absolute gems chosen for her as well. Many people requested images of her fighting Darth Sidious, and Topps delivered with two images of her fighting off the force lightning, including the two-saber shot just before she defeats the Emperor. We also get one of the final scenes of the movie in a Rey Skywalker close-up, Light Rey crossing sabers with Dark Rey, and some Force lightning action while Rey taps into her Palpatine lineage. We also got photos of her in her Jedi training as well, so fans of Rey can add to their collections with a wide variety of options. Whether you’re a fan of action, lightsabers, or still-frame photos, Topps has you covered.
Of course, these two stars cross paths in the movie more than once, and Topps covers their bases with those encounters as well, with multiple images from the Rey/Ren fight in the water along the remnants of the second Death Star, images from the fight aboard Ren’s ship above Kijimi, and finally giving fans their most-requested TROS image, at least in SWAU- the double blue lightsaber image of Rey and Ben Solo pairing up to take on Sidious. These image, in addition to others offered, would be fantastic dual-signed projects that can be completed in our own signings with Adam and Daisy, and will pair well with other dual-signed shots from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.
Not to be outdone by his younger counterparts, Ian McDiarmid shined in his return to the Star Wars silver screen, and Topps made sure to include images of the reborn Emperor/Dark Lord of the Sith in their release as well. Four images of McDiarmid’s character were released, including a scene before his rebirth via the dyad in the Force , his iconic Force lightning as he fights off his granddaughter, and an incredible profile shot of a reborn, younger Darth Sidious than we’ve ever seen before.
Iconic characters from the Original Trilogy were brought back to us as well, including Mark Hamill as Force Ghost Luke, Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa, Warwick Davis as Wicket the Ewok, and Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian.
There were a handful of images that I wish were done slightly different, or at least that I feel the mark was just missed on. The first two images above, where Ren and Rey are fighting over the First Order ship, would have been an amazing scenic shot if printed together. Similarly, the image of Rey with her new lightsaber would have been perfect had it just been a little wider of a shot to get more of the blade in it, similar to what we saw in theaters. Mark Von Ohlen of Star Wars Authentics has been very clear that they do not have the allowance from Disney to alter, widen, or compress images, so this may be another example of that restriction at work. The images are sure to please some fans still, but we can’t help but wonder what full, complete images would look like in larger sizes, such as the classic 11x14 or even the old 10x20 size that some collect.
In all, though, this publication by Topps is a slam dunk. Many of these images were requested by fans, and the shots that were produced appear right in line with what we as viewers got from the movie, and what we as autograph collectors look for when considering images to get signed. These images will also be available for pre-order for the Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley signings later today.
I commend Topps for an outstanding release, and look forward to seeing what images fans and collectors choose to get signed in the near-future!