We have all waited patiently and now it’s here. We got our first taste of The Last Jedi at Star Wars Celebration 2017 and the 2 minutes we were given did precisely what it was meant to do. It let us see just enough to leave us clamoring for more without really giving anything away.
This new, full trailer has treated us to new sights, sounds, and thrills. It is masterful in the way that it bombards us with new information and never answers a single one of our questions. In fact, by giving us more, this trailer has only served to create MORE questions. This is NOT one of those trailers that gives away the plot and blows every good action sequence or laugh. This trailer both taunts you and feeds your sense of hope and wonderment. This trailer says “Let me treat you to some sensory overload. Let me give you more music and scenes and characters and locations and quotes. Let me show you just how MASSIVE this movie and the universe that it is set in actually is. And when it is all done, I will not only leave you without answering a single question you had coming into this experience. I will leave you with EVEN MORE questions. I bet you want answers, but so do a billion other people out there….. Did I mention that tickets go on sale riiiiiiiiiiight…… NOW?!” And by so doing, the trailer will most certainly fulfill its primary objective; it’s going to sell crazy number of tickets.
Now, who’s up for some conversation about what we just saw? As the trailer opens, we get an image of Kylo Ren with his back turned to the camera, overseeing military preparations for First Order in a massive hangar. While I was unable to make out the larger, gigantic pieces of hardware, I did notice some old friends in the form of some AT-ST and AT-AT walkers. While the First Order employs new weapons, stormtrooper armor, TIE Fighters, and Star Destroyers, they are still employing some older tech.
In the very next image, we see some of that new tech in the form of hulking AT-M6 walkers. Let’s take a second to delve further into these bad boys. Just as the AT-ST moves like a chicken and the AT-AT moves like an elephant, the AT-M6 moves rather like a gorilla, appearing to walk on its “knuckles”. Did you get a load of the size of these things? On Hoth, the AT-ATs towered over the Rebel troops. If you look closely, this scene features some AT-ATs which are dwarfed by the gargantuan AT-M6 walkers. That is going to be one nasty fight for the Resistance.
What follows are some looks at Kylo Ren leading what resembles the First Order’s take on the Snowtrooper, or perhaps some new Flametroopers, and some shots of young Ben looking angsty, brooding, and ominous. What really grabs my attention here is the voiceover by Snoke:
“When I found you, I saw raw, untamed power and beyond that, something truly special.”
Because the line is accompanied by images of Kylo Ren, it is natural to assume Snoke is referring to Ben Solo, however, is that necessarily the case? As Snoke speaks, the screen fades to black. The moment he finishes, the trailer bursts back to life with an image of Rey igniting her lightsaber and then cuts right back to black. Sith Masters are forever scheming to replace their apprentices with the newer, shinier model and their underlings never seem to last very long. Is Snoke referring to Rey? Could he be trying to turn her as his next conquest? Or…. Could it be Luke? I’ll dive further into that rabbit hole later.
After the Lucasfilm logo, we pick right up where The Force Awakens left off with Rey offering Luke his old lightsaber. At the end of Episode VII, it is unclear as to what Luke will say or do and the teaser led us to believe that Luke had no interest in having anything to do with the Jedi. But here Luke takes the weapon from Rey and appears to have agreed to train her. We are treated to a little training montage as Rey trains in swordsmanship and discovers the books seen in the teaser trailer. It is unclear what they are, but they seem to be important to Rey’s development as a Jedi. Perhaps “The Force for Dummies”, “Chicken Soup for the Padawan Soul”, “7 Habits of Highly Effective Jedi”?? And, of course, “Oh the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss. Or could they be the fabled Journals of the Whills, which contain a written history of the galaxy and the Jedi Order? And where does she find said books? They are resting in the gnarled roots of a tree. In the previous scene, Rey is making her way through some foreboding fog towards the remnants of an ancient tree. Could this be inside a cave beneath the tree? And where else did see a young Jedi-in-training enter a spooky cave beneath a tree? Could this be a cave beneath a Force Tree, like the one we saw Luke enter on Dagobah? If it is, I submit to you that it could very well change all that you thought you knew about The Last Jedi. I’ll explain that later, too.
As Rey is training to use the Force, she cracks the very stone on which they are standing leaving Luke visibly startled and dismayed.
“I’ve seen this raw strength only once before. It didn’t scare me enough then, but it does now.”
We can safely assume that he is referring to Kylo Ren. Luke appears to be second guessing his decision to train Rey and I drew a parallel to Yoda’s apprehensions about training Luke. We know what caused Yoda’s concern. He saw some bad stuff go down. In this trailer, we get what may be a clue about what happened to Luke to cause him to go into hiding. Luke’s prosthetic hand bursts up from underneath flaming rubble and a cloaked and hooded Luke collapses in exhaustion, agony, and/or defeat beside R2 before a field of debris, bodies, and a flaming edifice. Before The Force Awakens, we never got flashbacks. Exposition was handled through characters relating stories and history. We got to hear people mention things that had happened, but we never got to see it. The action always remained in the here and now. In The Force Awakens, flashbacks were managed by giving us a glimpse at visions had by the Force sensitive Rey. Will these images of a defeated Luke be another of Rey’s Force visions?
Something that I simply must mention is the always EPIC Star Wars score. We are treated to a piece that I have to believe was crafted specifically for this trailer. The ad campaign for this movie has heavily promoted the idea of the Light and Dark sides of The Force and this music serves that end marvelously. As we watch Rey train as a Jedi, we are given the haunting melody that we heard at the end of The Force Awakens when Rey finally finds the legendary Luke Skywalker. As Rey’s scenes end and we switch to the scenes centering on Kylo Ren, the music changes to feature the sinister tones of Kylo Ren’s theme. We even get a listen at some original music that will be new to the film as we are treated to scenes featuring Poe, Finn, and the Resistance. The trailer caps off with the theme of the Jedi Knights, which is used to devastating effect. I’m gonna say it; If you didn’t have goosebumps, you might be a bad person. John Williams is a treasure and his music has helped define Star Wars for several generations of fans. If this trailer is any indication, he is not going to disappoint with his offerings for Last Jedi.
After Rey’s scenes wrap up, we switch over to Kylo Ren. I got a lot of vibes from the Son of Solo, but NONE of those vibes were evil or sinister. Ben Solo is CONFLICTED. We get his inner conflict. His frustration. Yes, even a little mourning and remorse.
“Let the past die. Kill it if you have to. That’s the only way to become what you were meant to be.”
These are not the words of a hardened, too far gone villain. These are the words of a man trying to convince himself of something that he knows deep down aren’t true. We get a truly fascinating look at this character here. He is seen punching walls, flying a badass new customized TIE Interceptor, and sporting a super legit space bandaid. We see his mother and our princess, Leia Organa Solo, on the bridge of her cruiser. Look at the sadness in those eyes. These are the eyes of a woman who didn’t just lose her son, but that son killed her husband, and is now targeting the command bridge of the ship she is on. He clearly knows Leia is on that ship and she clearly knows that Ben is flying that fighter. Is she reaching out to him with The Force? He is definitely hesitating and wrestling with the idea of killing his mother. The scene is cut perfectly, leaving us freaking out and wondering if he will be able to go through with it.
From there we get a shot of Chewie piloting the Falcon through some caverns. What is it about the Falcon and flying it through tunnels? Chewbacca lets out his mighty and familiar roar and we are introduced to a little creature that you are no doubt going to be seeing in toy form everywhere you look this holiday; the porg. Now, you may be one of those fans that hated the ewoks and you are terrified that these little guys are going to hurt the movie. I respond to you thusly: Screw that noise. That thing is FREAKING ADORABLE.
We get a look at transports being fired on. The Resistance is on the run. We see Poe piloting an X-Wing that has some sort of improvised engine rigged to the back of it. Was his ship damaged? Has the additional engine been added as part of an important mission? Moments later we see his fighter in combat without the engine. One thing I noticed is that while other ships are fleeing, Poe is piloting his fighter directly towards the oncoming Star Destoyers. Damn, that guy is cool.
Now we finally get to see it. The grudge match we have been waiting for. The Battle for Redemption! In the Resistance Corner we have the guy who’s out to prove that he’s not just a whiny coward who, despite years of intensive combat training at the hands of the New Order still manages to punk out and/or get himself utterly owned in every combat scenario in which he finds himself, but only after running away proves futile! And his opponent, in the New Order Corner, the shiny armored lady stormtrooper desperate to show the galaxy that she is more than just a flash in the pan destined to succumb to Boba Fett Syndrome. That is, a character that looks really cool, but in the end, doesn’t really do jack. While she may not have been knocked to her death by a blind man into the gaping maw of a desert butthole monster, she most certainly was tackled by a wookiee and unceremoniously thrown in the garbage. Hardly badass.
That’s right. In the fiery wreckage of an New Order hangar (and yes, I can show that is a New Order hangar), a battle staff wielding Phasma faces off against Finn, dressed in a First Order officer’s uniform and swinging a riot control baton. Apparently the Resistance has a great health plan. Finn is up and fighting just a short time after being filleted like a fish by Kylo Ren. Both of them look formidable and confident and determined. This is a new Finn and this fight is going to be a major payoff for the fans.
From this point, the trailer comes at us fast and furious with images and scenes. We get a look at the new Resistance Bombers, the battle between First Order walkers and TIE fighters and Resistance ski-speeders, and I don’t know what those crystalline cat-foxes are, but I want one. We see Finn, dressed in an officer uniform, led into a hangar filled with assembled legions of stormtroopers. If you compare carefully, it’s pretty clear that this is the same hangar that will later be the flaming wreck that serves as the stage for Finn and Phasma’s duel. Is Finn on a secret mission to infiltrate the First Order? Was he recaptured?
We see Rey dive into some water. At first glance, this doesn’t seem like much, but look harder. For a split second, you can just make out a large, alligator like creature in the water with her. What they hell is that about??!!
When Rey first found Luke on that cliffside on Ahch-To, he was clad in lighter white and tan robes. In the trailer we see Rey approaching Luke in a dark, foggy cave. In the dreary setting the dark robed Luke almost looks sinister. A lot of the promos for this film have been toying with the possibility of Luke turning to the Dark Side. Several posters show him both bathed in the white or blue light of the Light Side as well as the dark red of the Dark Side. So far, in these trailers, Luke has yet to say anything remotely encouraging, hopeful, or heroic. He’s been a total downer. Is the stage being set for Luke to follow in his father’s footsteps down the road to Red-Lightsaber Town?
Next, we get our first real look at Snoke. That is one ugly dude. I, for one, really want to know how he got himself so messed up. Snoke is torturing Rey with the Force as his guards look on. Was Rey captured? Where is Luke? Did she go to confront Snoke on her own? Whatever the answer, Rey certainly seems to be regretting the encounter.
Our final scene shows Rey asking an unknown figure for help finding her place. We soon see that person to be Kylo Ren who offers her his outstretched hand. Is Rey going to turn? Or is this a case of skillful trailer editing? I wondered if they are even in the same place. While the lighting is similar, Kylo is surrounded by smoke and falling flames while Rey is not. But even so, I noticed something interesting. The face I saw was not the face of a malevolent Kylo Ren or even and angst and doubt filled Kylo Ren. I saw Ben Solo. There truly IS good left in him. Will something happen to prompt Ben Solo to start his turn back towards the Light? Notice that in this scene is bandage is gone, implying that it may happen later on. I also noticed that in all of Rey’s scenes with Luke, Snoke, and Kylo Ren, she is wearing her hair up and tied back and wearing the same outfit we saw at the end of Force Awakens. But we know that later in the film, she will don Jedi robes and let that hair down. What scenes happen when? Clocking in at around two and a half hours, this is not going to be a short movie. There is a lot of ground to cover.
With all the great stuff we got to see, I am excited by the stuff they kept from us. What of Laura Dern’s Vice Admiral Holdo? How about Benicio Del Toro’s mysterious character that we know only as DJ? The Ahch-To Caretakers? We know that the diminutive Maz Kanata will make an appearance and we have heard rumors that Anakin and Yoda may show up in a scene or two. We don’t get to see newcomer Rose or the “evil” BB-9E droid? There is a ton of material that Disney is keeping under wraps here. That is a good thing.
This trailer has succeeded in showing us a ton of new material and we are left with no answers and more questions than we had before! Who will live? Who won’t make it? Will Rey turn? Will Kylo Ren? Will Luke? Who is the Last Jedi? It could be Rey, Luke, or Kylo Ren. How about Leia or maybe even Snoke? Consider the fact that Jedi can be used as both a singular or a plural. In fact, the Spanish translation of the title clearly indicates that Jedi is being used in its plural form.
Let’s go back to that moment in the tree. If Rey is having an experience like Luke had on Dagobah, it is entirely possible that any number of the scenes we just saw might be a vision and part of her test. Some of those scenes may or may not be real. There is a moment where Luke growls out the line “This is not going to go the way you think”. In that moment, I am sure he is talking to Rey or some other character, but for the purposes of this trailer, Luke is breaking the 4th Wall and giving us a message; YOU KNOW NOTHING. If you think you have a handle on what this movie has in store, then hold on tight. This movie will not just surprise you, it will shock you and knock you on your butt. I, for one, CANNOT WAIT to get knocked on mine.