24. The Rise of Skywalker teaser poster
It’s been a recurring visual, time and again, for the main antagonist of a Star Wars movie to get the same spot on the poster. They’re placed towards the top of the image, usually bigger, but behind everything else on the page, in a way looming over everything else that’s happening on the poster.
Darth Vader has appeared in that upper third area on countless Star Wars posters, and it held true through multiple generations of poster design, across three trilogies. This poster takes that visual shorthand and shows how the antagonist may not be the focal point of the movie, but is the biggest threat to the heroes.
This poster, in many ways, is the final representation of that idea. Emperor Palpatine’s surprise return was the main focus of the advertising for this movie, taking his place as the main antagonist. But this time, the shadowy figure in the background becomes the central visual for the poster. While Palpatine is still made up to be an oversized image of the villain’s face, half-hidden as he towers over the rest of the poster, he’s also the image that you’re first drawn to when seeing this poster for the first time. All of the other action on the poster is placed much closer to the bottom to make sure that nothing will distract from the image of Palpatine is his usual role of hidden in the background — but this time around, he’s also finally taking center stage in the conflict.