Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has a different title in Japan, but not for the reasons one would think. Over the past handful of years, Lucasfilm has been very secretive about their tentpoles, but Episode IX was more guarded than most. Even though principal photography on the film wrapped in February, fans didn’t learn the official title until Celebration Chicago in April, where the teaser trailer made its highly-anticipated debut. In the immediate aftermath, everyone conjured up their own theory about what it meant.
Of course, people need to wait until the movie comes out in December to learn all, but that won’t stop viewers from scouting the internet for any possible clues in the meantime. It goes without saying Star Wars 9 will screen in a plethora of countries around the world, even getting a different name in certain countries. But before people try to read too much into these, it’s worth pointing out that international titles largely amount to nothing much at all.
Today, the 41st anniversary of the original Star Wars’ premiere in Japan, the official Star Wars Japanese website announced Episode IX will be known as Star Wars: Dawn of Skywalker there. In essence, this swaps two interchangeable words (rise and dawn) and could be considered an Anglicisation. Remember, this is the English translation of the Japanese title, and subtleties could get lost in translation.
Fans may recall the debates that stemmed in the wake of The Last Jedi’s international titles. Many countries used the plural form, leading some to believe The Last Jedi referred to multiple characters. In Rian Johnson’s mind, however, the name was only in reference to Luke Skywalker, making it singular. That illustrates how tricky international titles can be, and why English-speaking fans usually shouldn’t read too much into them. After all, the Chinese title for Solo: A Star Wars Story was Ranger Solo – eliminating Star Wars for branding purposes since The Last Jedi bombed in the Middle Kingdom. Each country is different and needs to find ways to appeal to their separate moviegoing audiences.
What viewers shouldn’t expect to find in international titles are spoilers for the movie. Particularly with something as big as Star Wars involved, Disney and Lucasfilm are going to make sure the film’s name and all of its global variations keep key plot points under wraps. Even if Star Wars 9 was Dawn of Skywalker in America, there would still be questions about the Skywalker being referenced in the title. Is it a person? Is it a new order of Force users? Is it a title Rey will assume by the movie’s end? The debates will continue until Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker comes out.