Now, this is quite a different feeling.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens delivered a message of potential. Rey and Finn, practical nobodies held back and tormented by their pasts, were driven by fate into an adventure that made them heroes.
Rey in particular realized her strong connection with the Force, and resisted even the highly trained Kylo Ren. By the film’s end, she was off to Ahch-To to seek the guidance of Luke Skywalker, the most experienced Jedi in the galaxy.
Judging by The Last Jedi’s latest theatrical trailer, it seems that Luke is not whom she thought he was. And with an outstretched hand, Kylo signals that he may not be, either.
This trailer is dense and offers plenty more surprises, so we’ve dissected it to our hearts’ content. Here’s everything we gathered from this latest sneak peek.
THE TWO PRODIGIES
The opening shot is of Kylo standing in front of a window, overlooking what appears to be a weapons plant manufacturing dozens of combat walkers.
One might assume these to be AT-M6 models, the First Order’s riff on an old classic. A second glance shows that they look more like the familiar AT-AT and AT-ST walkers fans will remember from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
The trailer then cuts to Crait, the mineral planet that now serves as a base of operations for General Leia’s Resistance. The old AT-ATs are on the march, side-by-side with their behemoth successors, as well as Kylo’s personal shuttle. Could the First Order be looking to the past to determine the future? Perish the thought!
The next few shots show Kylo again, first leading a garrison of stormtroopers through a craggy black rock formation, then kneeling in a blood-red room and reaching for his lightsaber. Remember this room.
As this all plays out, we hear Supreme Leader Snoke declare, “When I found you, I saw raw, untamed power. And beyond that, something truly special.” Just as we think he’s talking about Kylo, we see Rey ignite her own lightsaber on Ahch-To … could Snoke be referring to her?
Rey approaches Luke, as she did at the conclusion of The Force Awakens, to cash in on the longest overdue lightsaber fine on galactic record. We then see her walk toward what looks like a giant, decayed tree trunk. Inside the tree, she finds a modest bookshelf first shown in the teaser trailer.
Fans have speculated that this tree was sprouted from the remnants of the Great Tree, a strong conductor of the Force that rested in the courtyard of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Once the Emperor seized power, he had the tree destroyed, save for two twigs which were sealed away in a hidden base. The 2015 comic miniseries Shattered Empire showed Luke recovering the twigs with the help of Shara Bey, a daring Rebel pilot who just so happened to be Poe Dameron’s mother.
Fans have their own theory on the books, too. Starting with George Lucas’ earliest drafts of the first film, various Star Wars stories have referenced the Journal of the Whills, a historical record and icon of the Force. Rogue One’s Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbus, once sworn to protect a Jedi temple, were referred to as “Guardians of the Whills.” The Journal’s true nature and the definition of “Whills” remain a mystery, but it would make sense that the only printed books ever to appear in a Star Wars film would be old, indeed.
If this petrified husk and some musty old tomes really are all that’s left of the Jedi, we can see why Luke may have wanted to run away for an extended island vacation.
Rey then demonstrates her will over the Force, sending cracks through the ground as she meditates. Her theme music bellows as it’s brought to the foreground.
“Something inside me has always been there,” she says, “But now it’s awake. And I need help.”
But Luke isn’t impressed with her demonstration. In fact, he’s terrified.
“I’ve seen this raw strength only once before,” he responds, as the trailer cuts seemingly to a flashback. Luke’s mechanical arm breaks through fiery splintered wood. “It didn’t scare me enough then.” His knees buckle at the sight of a temple ablaze. “It does now.”
Luke turns away from Rey, leaving her grasping onto a rock face. Kylo failed Luke before, and he doesn’t want to risk giving Rey the chance to do the same.
A close-up of Kylo’s face shows that the scar Rey gave him is now covered by a black metallic strip, possibly healing or just accentuating his new facial feature. He smashes his helmet against a wall, echoing the shot in the teaser of its shattered remains. Is he renouncing his dark rule, or is he merely trying to destroy a part of his aesthetic that he’s deemed superficial?
“Let the past die,” Kylo insists. “Kill it if you have to. That’s the only way to become what you were meant to be.”
As he says this, he’s shown in his new TIE silencer, ripping through Resistance capital ships. Clearly he learned his fancy flying by studying his grandfather Anakin, who originated spinning — a good trick. Snoke’s Mega Star Destroyer, the Supremacy, is visible in the background. Now it’s Kylo’s theme that’s blaring.
The Supremacy looms in space as the First Order tears into the Resistance
We then get our first look at General Leia, Kylo’s mother and leader of the Resistance, who is witnessing the carnage herself. Kylo brings the bridge of a ship in his crosshairs, his grip tightening around the firing mechanism. It’s implied that Kylo is trying to muster the will to kill his mother, as he did his father, Han Solo. But is she really his target?
A SOLDIER DETERMINED, A DESERTER VALIANT
The Millennium Falcon zips through a cave of red crystals, possibly minerals on Crait that the First Order is after. Kyber crystals, involved in the creation of lightsabers and the Death Star’s superlaser, have been featured prominently in Star Wars lore, but they naturally appear bluish-white in color, not red.
Chewbacca lets out a triumphant roar as a delightful porg chirps on his dashboard. The camera doesn’t show us who’s in the Falcon’s pilot seat.
We’re then treated to our first sight of hotshot pilot and intergalactic beefcake Poe Dameron, who seems much more steely than he did in The Force Awakens. He witnesses a huge blast, possibly from the Supremacy itself, that destroys a Resistance transport ship. We then see the new afterburner on his customized X-Wing.
“We have a spark,” he says, with a touch of desire for vengeance, “that’ll light the fire that’ll burn the First Order down.” In the background of Poe’s close-up appears to be Kaydel Ko Connix, played by Billie Lourd, daughter of the late Carrie Fisher.
Cut to Captain Phasma holding a silver pike. Finn, her former favorite chewtoy, charges at her while wielding a First Order riot control baton — the same weapon used against him in The Force Awakens. These two have some serious beef to settle after Finn left her to die in a trash heap, and it looks like it’ll all come down to a head-to-head clash.
It’s worth noting that Finn is in disguise here as a First Order officer, and the two seem to be fighting in the crumbling, blazing remains of that walker factory, where Kylo was in the trailer’s opening shot.
A FINAL PLEA
The trailer ramps up with a flurry of shots from all different perspectives: BB-8 shakes off an electric shock in an X-Wing, Luke lies down in the rain, warning, “This is not going to go the way you think.” On Crait, a creature that resembles a crystalline fox runs toward what looks like a Resistance base. It’s possible the foxes have some connection to the red crystal caves that the Falcon was flying through earlier.
General Leia stands before the massive doorway of the base as it slowly creeps down to close. This mirrors the sequence on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back, where she is forced to shut the doors of the Rebellion’s Echo Base, leaving Luke and Han stranded in below-freezing temperatures.
Rey plunges into a pool of water and emerges in a grotto. Luke stands over her wearing his darker robes, first revealed in August by the Hungarian magazine Cinemánia Mozimánia.
In another look at the First Order walker complex, a massive battalion of stormtroopers and officers is shown presiding over the factory. Finn enters in the same disguise he wears as he takes on Phasma. It seems like Finn’s mission may be to infiltrate this facility, potentially along with the engineer Rose Tico, who has also been shown wearing a First Order uniform in other promotional material.
After a few more glances at the battle on Crait, we find Snoke in his new gold smoking jacket with his arm outstretched. “Fulfill your destiny,” he intones. A wider look at the scene shows that Snoke is pointing his arm at Rey, who is bent over backward, shaking and screaming in agony. Also visible is one of Snoke’s Praetorian Guards. Remember when we told you not to forget that red room in the beginning? Yeah, looks like it’s Snoke’s throne room. Uh-oh.
After a cut to black, we hear Rey’s voice: “I need someone to show me my place in all this.” Her face is lit by an orange glow. The camera switches to Kylo, surrounded by sparks and ashes, with his scar noticeably lacking that metallic stripe. Kylo offers her his hand.
Star Wars trailers have certainly misdirected fans before. The Force Awakens trailer implied that Finn, not Rey, would carry on the Skywalker legacy with the family lightsaber. Rogue One’s trailer depicted scenes that were straight up not in the movie. This exchange between Rey and Kylo could just be a dream or some sort of Force test, a la the cave in Empire. Maybe they aren’t even in the same place at all.
What this closing scene and this whole trailer does imply, though, is that Kylo and Rey’s relationship will play a key role in The Last Jedi. Here are two immensely powerful people who chose to take radically different paths. Both seem to be more conflicted than ever.
Luke, on the other hand, comes across as totally ineffectual against these supercharged youngsters. Star Wars has trained us to lean on noble, kind heroes in times of strife, but the only real words of encouragement in this trailer are spoken by Kylo Ren and Supreme Leader Snoke. The question is, just how thin is the line between Rey’s path and Kylo’s?
Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be released on Dec. 15.