After Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4.05 billion, the acquisition revived the “Star Wars” franchise in ways fans of the original films never imagined. “Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens” revamped the story picking up 30 years after “Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” left off, bringing back some of the most iconic characters in film history. This was done in addition to putting new characters in the fold and freshening it up with a story for the modern age.
During ESPN’s Monday Night Football game on Oct. 9, the first official trailer for “Episode VIII: The Last Jedi” dropped at halftime. A teaser trailer was released earlier this summer, but this was the first true look at where this story is headed after director Rian Johnson (“Looper”) took the reigns from JJ Abrams, who is returning to the franchise in 2019 to direct “Episode IX.”
“The Last Jedi” looks darker and much more intense than “The Force Awakens,” similarly to how “Empire Strikes Back” was tonally more mature than “A New Hope.” One worry with this is that “The Last Jedi” will be a nostalgic-rehash of “Empire Strikes Back.” Sure, “The Force Awakens” was great and still felt like its own thing, but if this entire new trilogy hits the same story beats as the original trilogy then that would be Disney playing it too close to the chest and a major mistake.
Anyways, as evidently shown above, “Star Wars” is a big deal. People care about these characters and the flight path they are zooming down, which is why the anticipation for “The Last Jedi” is at an all-time high.
Below is a breakdown of “The Last Jedi” trailer, referring to the previous films, especially referencing “The Force Awakens.” For those not familiar with “The Force Awakens” and the other “Star Wars,” this may contain spoilers. For those who are, let us journey back to a galaxy far, far away…
The trailer opens with various shots of The First Order, from new Stormtroopers to new planets and vehicles. A voiceover of Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis, “War For The Planet of The Apes”), presumably speaking to Kylo Ren (Adam Driver, “Girls”), kicks off the trailer. “When I found you, I saw raw, untamed power. And beyond that, something truly special.”
When Snoke hits that word “special,” the trailer cuts to Rey (Daisy Ridley, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) who was last seen tracking down Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill, “Star Wars” original trilogy). Skywalker has exiled himself to the planet of Anch-To after Ren betrayed his Jedi training, destroying Skywalker’s Jedi academy and murdering his fellow students.
Rey narrates “Something inside me has always been there, then I was awake. But I need help.” In “The Force Awakens” it was shown that Rey has a strong way with the force. Many fans have been theorizing her lineage. Is she a Skywalker? Or maybe a Kenobi? Either way, we know she is powerful and capable of a lot more than she has tapped into yet. This is another reason why she has sought out his wisdom and expertise.
The trailer quickly focuses on this artifact embedded in a large tree-like structure. Did Luke bring this to Anch-To? Is it significant? Was it already there and that is why he has stayed here?
After a few shots of Rey training, her wielding a lightsaber and causing the ground to crack beneath them, Luke looks blown away by what she is already capable of doing. “I’ve seen this raw strength only once before, it didn’t scare me enough then… It does now,” Luke narrates. It can be presumed that he is talking about Ren, but is Luke scared of Rey’s power because of his experience with him? Or is Rey that much more powerful than he was during his training?
Luke’s robotic hand bursts from the rubble and he falls to his knees as the Jedi temple is burning. It seems as if “The Last Jedi” will flash back to when Kylo betrayed his master and the carnage that unfolds at his hands.
“Let the past die. Kill it if you have to, that’s the only way to become what you are meant to be,” Ren narrates as he punches his helmet through a wall and flies through and around a Resistance ship with General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher, “Catastrophe”) aboard. For those that need a reminder, Kylo Ren is the son of Leia and Han Solo (Harrison Ford, “Blade Runner 2049”). He was known as Ben Solo to his parents and killed his father in “The Force Awakens,” this showdown between Leia and her son hints that he may murder his mother as well. There is a certain pain in the both of their faces during these shots. Will Kylo actually fire his blasters?
Looks like Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) has made a new friend, a Porg!
The long-awaited showdown between Finn (John Boyega, “Detroit”) and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie, “Game of Thrones”) is going to happen. Phasma was Finn’s former “boss” when he was a Stormtrooper. The last time the two were together Finn was helping Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac, “Suburbicon”) escape the First Order’s clutches. It is nice to see Phasma again as she seemed underused in “The Force Awakens.” Finn was unconscious at the end of “The Force Awakens” and it is a relief he is back in action.
Luke is on the ground in the rain looking up at someone else. He almost seems defeated here. “This is not going to go the way you think.” Is he talking to Kylo? Has Kylo finally gotten the best of his former master? Maybe Skywalker has confronted Supreme Leader Snoke? The possibilities are endless here.
This is actually the first time Snoke is shown. In “The Force Awakens” he is projected as hologram when Ren and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson, “American Made”) need to communicate with him. As a hologram, Snoke is massive. He towers over the two as he sits in a large throne. Is Snoke actually a giant? No other major “Star Wars” character has this kind of height. He also comes off like an older being. Snoke is by far the most intriguing and mysterious part of the new trilogy and this trailer.
After Snoke says “Fulfill… Your… Destiny,” Rey is shown suspended in the air and screaming in pain. It appears as if Snoke and his yellow robe are behind her. The two must come face to face in “The Last Jedi.”
Rey and Kylo are face to face. In “The Force Awakens” the two collided both mentally and physically. Their last interaction being an intense lightsaber battle near Maz Kanata’s (Lupita Nyong’o, “The Jungle Book”) castle at the end of the film. The planet was corroding from the First Order’s weapon and the ground separated between the two. “I need someone to show me my place in all this,” Rey said before Kylo extended his hand in what seemed like peace. Trailers for “The Force Awakens” were edited in certain ways that did not appear in the final cut of the film, but this is surprising. Is Rey turning to the dark side? Or is Kylo fighting back the forces of evil and turning back to the light?
What a way to end a trailer. So much to dissect, so many emotions, so much going on. Rian Johnson seems to have created something truly special in the “Star Wars” universe, but audiences will not know for sure until Dec. 15.