It has been months of waiting, with little news surrounding Star Wars: The Last Jedi other than director shakeups that have been giving fans an uneasy feeling, but fear not: A new trailer for Episode VIII has dropped and I couldn’t be more excited!
Disney appears to be applying a different marketing strategy for this movie, which makes sense. By this point in 2015 we’d already been given multiple teasers, at least one longer trailer, and a handful of updates and press releases. In contrast, not a lot is known about this film, and even this full-length trailer is almost the same run time as the original teaser. I’m okay with these choices, though; I think it bodes well for the movie as a whole.
The more we, the audience, are left in the dark going in, the more we’ll be surprised. I don’t want to rehash all my talking-points from the previous review I did of the teaser, nor a shot-for-shot breakdown, but lets take a moment to see if any of the hypotheses I made last time actually hold water.
First, I mentioned how concerned I was that this would just be a rehash of The Empire Strikes Back but, after seeing this trailer, it feels certain that’s not the case. For one, it looks like most of Rey’s (Daisy Ridley) training will happen within the first act. Luke (Mark Hamill) is likely going to have a much bigger role than Yoda (Frank Oz) did, and then there’s that end segment which I’ll address shortly.
At the end of my last trailer breakdown I put forward the idea of an unlikely team-up between Rey and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and, after seeing that end scene where he appears to reach his hand out in alliance with Rey, I’m saying, “Called it!” Okay, so it’s not confirmed, and it could be a misdirection I’m taking out-of-context or a splicing of two separate scenes, but the possibility looks real.
Another previously floated idea was a showdown between them and Luke Skywalker after he falls to the Dark Side. Having now seen this new trailer, that can’t be fully ruled out. He’s clearly afraid of Rey’s “raw strength” as he put it, saying so himself; as a wise Jedi once put it, “Fear is the path to the Dark Side.”
Nevertheless, the primary conflict of light versus dark is going to play out in The Last Jedi, at least in the beginning, with Rey and Luke on one side and Kylo and Snoke on the other. There’s definitely a paradigm shift coming towards the end of this film. One fun hypothetical would be if Luke were to kill Snoke only to have his journey towards the Dark Side be complete—but less speculation, more reviews.
Much of this trailer makes Kylo Ren the character you should be most excited about for several reasons, first and foremost being “Kylo Ren: Star Pilot”. Both his father and grandfather were legendary pilots and, let’s be real, his mother knows her way around a speeder bike. The only real dogfight action we were given in The Force Awakens was from Po Dameron’s (Oscar Isaac) perspective (and limited at that), so bring on the spacefights! Kylo also seems to be the one with more internal conflict than anyone else.
Director Rian Johnson’s trying to make us think certain unfavorable decisions are on the horizon, but I’m still skeptical. Most notably, will he really kill Leia (Carrie Fisher)? It would be fitting, given that he killed Han (Harrison Ford) on his journey towards the Dark side last time round, and it’d give the writers an out since Fisher won’t be in Episode IX. Yet, even with all of that taken into consideration, I don’t think he’ll go through with it. Leia will begin pulling him back into the light; I’m calling it right now.
The one thing we’ll have to keep in mind is that this is, obviously, the second movie in a trilogy—the end of the second act is supposed to be the lowest point for the protagonists. There appears to be so much going on in the B-plots with the other characters that I can’t even begin to speculate on what will happen, what their mission will be, or how it’ll all factor into the bigger picture. What I do know is that there’s so much more to be quivering with anticipation over: Finn (John Boyega) versus Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), ace pilot Poe Dameron back in action, and yes, Porgs!
Not going to lie, the lack of trailers and general Star Wars news caused my excitement to kind of die off over these past few months (and I can’t be alone in that), but it’s likely that’s a good thing. We’re all going to see this movie—most of America will—given how invested in the story and characters we are now, and Disney knows that. The more they don’t want to give away, the more I think they have secrets too juicy to reveal.
It could also mean they don’t have anything else to give us this time round, but that’s highly doubtful. Just going to have to wait until Christmas to find out, but I’ll leave you with the question from the very end of my last Star Wars trailer breakdown: Are you excited to see The Last Jedi? For me, it’s a resounding, “Hell yes!”