If you were fortunate enough to be one of the poor saps watching the pitiful Monday Night Football contest between the Bears and Vikings on ESPN last night, then you got to see the premier of the latest Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer. If you weren’t tuned in you’ve probably seen it on one of the many social media platforms since it aired about 15 hours ago.
If you’ve been hiding under a rock and haven’t had the chance to catch the trailer yet, here it is:
So, this is the second official trailer for the latest Star Wars flick. It packs in a ton of content and perhaps a few red-herrings (misleading scene sequences) into just two and half minutes. Here I’m going to overanalyze the crap out of the trailer because what else is an overly obsessed Star Wars fan boy to do?
But first, let’s take a look at what Rian Johnson, the director of the eighth film in the Star Wars saga, had to say about the trailer release in regards to whether or not he wants fans to watch it:
Does Rian want fans to avoid watching the trailer because it gives too much away? Because it’s scene sequences are misleading? A combination of both?
Either way, there’s no way to know – that is until we get to see the movie ourselves.
You’re probably saying to yourself “I thought this article was going to overanalyze the trailer, not what the director had to say about!”
I digress. So, let’s get to it!
The trailer opens with the voice of Snoke (the overarching evil in the latest trilogy) saying “when I found you I saw raw, untamed power. And beyond that, something truly special”. These words are presumably being spoken to his apprentice Kylo Ren. There’s a lot to break down in just those few words. If Kylo Ren is the subject of Snoke’s profound statement, is Ren the “something truly special” that Snoke is referring to? Or could it be Rey, who most assumed to be the Last Jedi, that Snoke is talking about? As Snoke says the words “something truly special” the video quickly jumps from Kylo Ren to Rey. Might Rey be the object of the evil Snoke’s affection? Is he aiming to turn Rey to the Dark Side? The final scene in the trailer would seem to suggest so. In that scene Rey appears to be controlled by someone, presumably Snoke, and is being told to Fulfill her Destiny. With the quick jumping around between scenes it’s rather impossible to tell the true context of what is shown and what is heard. So, while it appears that Snoke will attempt to turn Rey to the Dark Side it’s unclear what will actually happen in that regard.
Now that we’ve looked at the beginning and the end, let’s take a look at what lies in between. Rey and the exiled Luke Skywalker pick up where they left off at the end of The Force Awakens. Luke is training Rey in the ways of the force and teaching her how to master the coolest weapon in the galaxy, the light saber. It becomes apparent throughout her training that Luke becomes fearful of just how powerful Rey will become.
“I’ve seen this raw strength only once before. It didn’t scare me enough then. It does now”
-Luke Skywalker (presumably reflecting on Rey’s power)
In the trailer it appears that Luke is saying this to Rey directly, and perhaps abandoning their training, thus leaving Rey without a mentor or spiritual guide. What’s not entirely clear is who Luke is referencing when he says he has “seen this raw strength only once before”. Is it Vader? Palpatine/Sidious? Ren? Skywalker had dealt with all three first hand. Vader would make sense, considering he had the highest midiclhorian count that many had every seen. Palpatine seems to be the least likely as his strength wasn’t raw, but highly refined. But to me, the most likely candidate is Kylo Ren, who Luke trained prior to exiling himself. Ren, like Rey, has been referred to as raw and unrefined. The idea of one person harnessing so much raw strength appears to break Luke Skywalker’s will to train with Rey.
And now we’ve gotten through about one minute of the trailer. Stay with me here, folks!
Next, we jump to a Kylo Ren monologue (which would again suggest to me that he is the subject of Luke’s speech regarding raw power).
“Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to. That’s the only way to become what you were meant to be.”
This melancholy monologue from a heavily scarred Ren could, and likely does, have multiple meanings. The obvious being that he feels the need to remove himself from his life as Ben Solo, the son of Han and Leia – In The Force Awakens Kylo kills Papa Han, and now (if we are to trust this scene sequence) it appears, he will kill Momma Leia. Carrie Fisher, the beloved actor who portrayed Leia passed away during the filming of this movie, so it would certainly make sense logistically if Ren were to kill her in the story as well. It would be a full break from his past. But several situations throughout the films so far, seem to suggest that Kylo Ren might not be entirely evil. Could it be that Ren is actually abandoning the past by abandoning his affinity for Darth Vader and the Dark Side as a whole? A later scene in the trailer seems to suggest that might be possible. In said scene Rey says (seemingly to Kylo Ren) “I need someone to show me my place in all this”. Subsequently Ren extends his hand. Does Ren abandon the Dark Side in order to align with Rey? Or does Rey fall victim to the seduction and power of the Dark Side? It seems likely that one of the two scenarios will come to fruition. But perhaps this is the greatest red herring of all, and neither story line will actually come to fruition.
After this there is an extremely vague speech from the the best pilot in the resistance, Poe Dameron, regarding taking down the first order. While the speech reveals little, but for the fact that the Resistance believes they have something that will lead them to victory over the First Order, we do have the sighting of one of the cutest new characters in the galaxy! Chewbacca appears to be flying into battle (and of course making his usual Wookie noises) and is accompanied by a tiny cute creature called a Porg. We’ve now learned that Porgs are a sea bird from the planet Arch-To, the same planet where Luke stayed in exile.
After this we cut to a one on one battle between Finn, formerly known as the First Order Stormtrooper FN-2187, and his former superior, Captain Phasma. Phasma is wielding what appears to be a one of a kind saber (not light), while Finn carries what appears to be a First Order Riot Control Baton (The same weapon that a stormtrooper kicked his ass with in The Force Awakens). This battle is sure to be a highlight of the film – after Finn abandoned his post as a stormtrooper he caused major headaches for Phasma and the entire First Order.
Next we cut to Luke Skywalker, who appears to be trembling on the ground out of fear and disgust, saying “This is not going to go the way you think”. It’s unclear (like everything else in this damn trailer) who he is speaking to. Perhaps Rey, who is searching for her place in the galaxy? Or more likely his sister Leia, who appears in the next scene? What isn’t going to go the way she expects it to?
Finn is then seen walking through a First Order ship or base. He looks most unhappy to be there. Is he captured by the First Order? Or perhaps he rejoins the evil First Order (No!)?
We already broke down the final two scenes in which Rey is being controlled(?) by Snoke(?) and then seemingly asking Kylo Ren for guidance.
WOW! That was a lot to unpack! What does it all mean? I have no freaking clue. I do, however, believe that there is quite a bit of misdirection in this trailer. What I do know to be 100% true is that I can not wait to see this film in December.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters December 15th, 2017.