The theatrical trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi has now been unleashed upon the world, and there is a lot to talk about. First off, if you haven’t seen the new trailer yet, check it out below:
Writer/director Rian Johnson wasn’t kidding when he said that The Last Jedi would take the series in a different direction than its predecessor, The Force Awakens. Things have gotten dark in the world of “Star Wars” since we last left our heroes. While there isn’t much context to the clips we’re shown here, we get Supreme Leader Snoke addressing someone with “raw” power in need of guidance. While we’re initially led to believe he’s addressing his pupil, Kylo Ren, the trailer strongly implies that he’s in fact talking to Rey.
We get a brief shot of Snoke apparently torturing Rey, calling back to a similar situation at the end of Return of the Jedi in which the Emperor tortured Luke with his diabolical Force lightening. Perhaps most jarring is Kylo — having gotten some sort of cosmetic work done to repair the scar he received from Rey in the last film — flying a First Order fighter into the vessel of a large ship. This may be deceptive trailer editing at work, but it seems that Kylo is flying a solo mission into the heart of a Resistance cruiser in order to kill his mother — General Leia. Will Kylo Ren, a.k.a. Ben Solo, kill both his father and his mother?
Also noteworthy is new dialogue from Luke Skywalker, a character we haven’t properly heard from in 34 years. He tells Rey (or at least, the trailer makes it look like he’s talking to Rey) that he hasn’t seen a power like hers in a long time, and that the last time he did, he underestimated its true potential. This is a key detail here — while it doesn’t exactly make it crystal clear who Rey is, or what her lineage is, she clearly comes from someone or something very powerful. If anything, it lends more credence to the early rumor that she’s a reincarnation of The Chosen One, or Anakin Skywalker, whose power Luke would have underestimated if he believed it to be vanquished with the death of his father three decades earlier.
The trailer shows us brief footage of various side characters — Finn, Poe, BB-8, Chewbacca, and the Porgs — but the final shot of the trailer is a real doozy. Rey apparently wants guidance, and she’s asking for it from… Kylo Ren? While a romantic connection isn’t implied, there’s clearly a new layer to their relationship that will be added by The Last Jedi. Are they now allies fighting a common enemy, or perhaps relatives now working towards a common goal?
There are a lot of similarities to The Empire Strikes Back, including awesome shots of AT-AT walkers approaching a base, training montages between a Jedi master and pupil, a mysterious tree shrouded in fog with hidden secrets about the ways of the Force, and so on. The filmmakers are doubling down on the parallels between the new films and the Original Trilogy. Having said that, Johnson is a self-proclaimed fan of the Prequels, so don’t be surprised if we see some parts of Star Wars lore from those films pop up in the new one, especially since rumors have circulated for months that Hayden Christensen may be making an appearance in The Last Jedi.
With just over two months left until Episode VIII hits theaters, the marketing blitz will only crescendo from here. I applaud Disney and Lucasfilm for crafting a trailer that gives fans a lot to talk about without spoiling anything. It’ll be interesting to see where this new film takes the franchise, and judging by what we’ve seen tonight, for better or worse, it doesn’t look like they’re going to play things safe.
Also, check out the official theatrical poster for Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, opening December 15: