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Star Wars: The Last Jedi Trailer – A Closer Look

The trailer for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi has finally arrived, and hoo-wee, what a trailer! A lot of content was packed into the two-and-a-half-minute preview, and since it pays to take things slow and look at things frame-by-frame, we decided to take another deep dive into a new look at the Galaxy Far, Far Away.

 

 

There are two things I wanna get into before I get started. The first is that you guys should seriously consider checking out John and Val’s piece before – or after – you read my article, as they did a great job on it. My article will be a bit more on the technical side of things. The second thing is below, as I’d like to point out that what we don’t see in the trailer is also important.

 

 

What’s Not In The Trailer

 

 

None of the new major players in The Last Jedi – Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose Tico, Benicio Del Toro’s “DJ”, and Laura Dern’s Amilyn Holdo – are seen at all, and neither is the presumed minor player BB-9E. Of the major characters that are returning, we do not see C-3PO or General Hux, and R2-D2 does not appear in any new shots (though he’s in the scene where Luke collapses to his knees). Nor do we get a closer look at Cantonica and Canto Bight, in spite of that location being crucial to Finn and Rose’s mission. Also worth mentioning is that, unless I’m missing something, we don’t get a look at the First Order Scout Walker that’s been previewed in LEGO form. But we do get a good look at the First Order’s artillery, which brings me to the first official point…

 

 

The First Order Repurposes Old Imperial Designs

 

 

Let’s forget about the gargantuan AT-M6s for a moment and appreciate the fact that the First Order has a love for the Galactic Empire’s old stuff. Not everything needs to be a super-spiffy, bigger and badder reimagining of what came before in order to actually be effective. Case in point – both the AT-AT and AT-ST designs look to be similar to the original models, only slightly sleeker in a few places. In fact, if you look closely at the opening shot, you can see a First Order AT-ST and a First Order AT-AT march forward.

 

 

I think I’ve read that somewhere in the new canon, it’s outright stated that the First Order repurpose old Imperial tech because it’s cheaper for them to do so – they are, after all, only a fraction of the size of the actual Galactic Empire. If that’s the case, then expect to see some really cool, really varied designs for the space battles to come between The Last Jedi and Episode IX, as it’s entirely possible that these fleets will have some familiar designs snuck into them.

 

 

Like Grandfather, Like Grandson

 

This part isn’t my observation, but one from fellow SWNN contributor Wayward Jedi. He noticed that a lot of scenes of Kylo Ren drew upon similar images seen in the Prequel Trilogy with Anakin Skywalker. Almost all of this has to do with Hayden Christensen’s take on the character (someone that Adam Driver more closely resembles than either Harrison Ford or Carrie Fisher). I’ll let these images speak for themselves:

 

 

 

On a less serious note, Kylo Ren surprisingly takes after the Jake Lloyd version of Anakin, as seen here:

 

 

 

My day will be made if Ben says “This is TENSE!” at any point in the dogfight. Extra points if it’s under a voice modifier, but it’s delivered the exact same way that it was said in The Phantom Menace.

 

 

A War Of Attrition

 

 

Some fans have admittedly been a little antsy over the Crait battle since the teaser dropped – after 3 seconds of footage showing that there would be a sequence involving tiny speeders going up against giant walkers on a white planetary surface, some overzealous fans took to pearl-clutching and claiming that, even with the radical differences presented in the rest of the teaser, The Last Jedi was absolutely a remake of The Empire Strikes Back. It was kind of ridiculous then, but it’s really ridiculous now.

 

 

Looking at the actual trailer, we seem to have a better kind of idea of what situation the Crait battle is meant to represent, and while the scenery’s similar, the difference between the two battles is as different as night and day – and the battle presented in The Last Jedi is shaping up to be the darker of the two. Unlike the Battle of Hoth, it’s not a First Act evacuation that happens to lead to a crushing defeat; this is a Third Act story element, and it’s in a much more dire context with regard to the good guys. The Resistance is deliberately holing itself up in a bunker and are trying to stave off the First Order as long as they possibly can, most likely hoping – however desperately – for reinforcements that may or may not arrive.

 

 

How do I know this? Well, look at the state that the Resistance is in – we already know that a lot of their fleet has been picked off based on the events of the trailer. It’s pretty clear that Poe, Leia, and Holdo’s leg of the movie is going to involve them being on the run from pursuing First Order forces before they decide to hide in a base on Crait, and at that point they’re operating with artillery that goes all the way back to the days of the Clone Wars. Our heroes are not in good shape here. To make matters worse, it’s likely that Kylo Ren will be looking for another way into the base…

 

 

Luckily, Star Wars is a franchise with a history of the good guys sweeping in at the last minute to save the day.

 

Kylo Ren Completes His Training And Changes His Costume

 

 

I’d actually argue that the reverse to what I put in the headline happens in terms of actual chronology, but that’s not quite how the trailer puts it. I believe that the first scene of The Last Jedi, in order to keep in line with the established formula of sticking to having an opening shot focus on space, will show Kylo Ren being taken to the Supremacy by General Hux at Supreme Leader Snoke’s command. After being healed, we’ll then see Kylo Ren get up and smash his helmet in a fit of rage. Before he’ll actually begin training, however, I think that he’s going to be sent out to lead the counterattack on the Resistance fleet (unless he’s not part of the initial attack, but the second one – more on that in a bit).

 

 

The reason for that is that the patch over his scar – which, like Kylo Ren’s helmet and the costume itself, give us an idea about when this scene takes place. We know he’ll have it from his first scene and he won’t lose it until he goes to Ahch-To at the latest. But since we know that he hesitates to take the killing shot against Leia, Snoke will know about this and demand that he get his act in gear to do the deed right later on – which is why I think he ends up heading to Crait with a squad of flametroopers.

 

 

 

Let’s Give Luke A Hand

 

Attention to detail is something that the people at ILM clearly love, and it’s on display here. If you look at the wrist to Luke’s cybernetic hand…

 

 

…You can see that there’s a dent in it at approximately the same location where it was shot in Return of the Jedi.

 

 

Another subtle detail that’s also worth noting is that Luke’s hand is visibly trembling as he’s taking hold of the lightsaber – which was his father’s and his own, and now, Rey’s – indicating just how much emotional weight this object holds for him. Subtleties in a performance can really make all the difference, so I’m glad that Mark Hamill was able to include that in his performance.

 

 

The First Jedi Temple

 

Or, as we fans have colloquially taken to calling it, the Force Tree. It’s… Kinda dead.

 

 

The continuity of this shot, which directly precedes a more familiar one, suggests that this gloomy place is where Luke’s little library of Force-related literature is held. Said place looks different from the cave where Luke says “It’s time for the Jedi to end.” at the end of the teaser. However, continuity can be deceiving, as I will point out much later in this post.

 

 

Why this temple is in such poor condition raises a number of questions, but perhaps the state of things here could be symbolic of how terribly out-of-balance the Force itself is. Poor Luke can’t come around soon enough.

 

 

Why No, That’s Not Yoda’s Shadow

 

 

Some fans mistook this shot in the teaser, which has a rock face at the top that likes like a little green munchkin could sit upon it, to presume that Yoda’s Force Ghost was present. Even though he’d, y’know, be a fluorescent blue space-magic-ghost as opposed to a silhouette. This is put to rest with the shots of Rey’s lightsaber practice which establish that it is indeed a rock:

 

 

Still, don’t rule out the possibility that we could see our Little Green Friend make a return elsewhere…

 

 

More Context For The Jedi Tragedy (Plus – Why Luke Isn’t Head-Over-Heels For Rey)

 

 

We now know that when things fell apart at Luke’s Jedi Enclave, Luke was incapacitated. But by the time he came to, it was too late – his nephew had fallen into the Dark Side and his life’s work was in ruins. Knowing that Luke was actually there and unconscious – instead of being too late to stop the massacre, as some had presumed – presents an interesting situation. It implies that before Ben went on a rampage, he was sure to attack his uncle. And though he killed his fellow students, he spared Luke for whatever reason – which is presumably why Snoke ordering him to kill Han was presented as being a crucial test, as he didn’t have it in him then to kill his own family.

 


 

The reasons behind Luke’s reluctance to train Rey seem to boil down to his own guilt of being unable to stop Ben from turning evil and his fear that if he trains Rey, she could be just as dangerous. And that fear is somewhat justified – Rey is absurdly gifted with the Force as it is without any training (something the movie looks to actually explain). But it seems as though Rey will ultimately help Luke understand that he still has a role to play in this war, and maybe, just maybe, she’ll help him realize that he can forgive himself.

 

Oh, and that one shot with Rey in the teaser (shown below) seems to directly follow the above shot. It’s likely that this is where Rey sees the flashback with Luke and Ben.

 

 

 

Spaceships Ahoy

 

Ironically, while the First Order seems to make use of repurposed techniques, it’s the Resistance that gets the shiny new spaceships. From what glimpses we get at the space battles, we can see updated versions of the GR-75 medium transport and the EF76 Nebulon-B escort frigate:

 

 

And we’ve also got some new ships, such as the Raddus and whatever that thing on the right is called:

 

 

And here’s a closer look at the Mandator IV-class warship:

 

 

And there’s even a brief shot of what looks to be the Supremacy behind the TIE silencer’s attack on the Raddus:

 

 

Also of interest is that the footage shown appears to be a composite of at least two different space battles – one over the evacuated Resistance base on D’Qar, and one in that appears to be deep space where the Supremacy is hot on the tail of the Raddus. Poe is the key to determining which is which here – in the former, he’s in his signature X-wing (before it gets blown up later, as evidenced by the teaser), and in the latter, he’s aboard a different sort of transport. Kylo Ren only seems to be involved with the D’Qar battle, which I’m guessing has a lot to do with the fact that he obviously can’t spend the entire movie chasing the Resistance if he ends up going off to Ahch-To to settle the score with Rey and Luke.

 

 

One other thing: Kaydel Ko Connix is in the background of this shot. Her role is said to be greater than it was for The Force Awakens, and in light of recent events, I think it’s likely that she’ll have an even bigger role in Episode IX.

 

 

Red Crystals

 

 

One of my favorite scenes in the trailer from a purely visual standpoint, I get the feeling that this could top the flight over Jakku in The Force Awakens. This scene seems to be connected to the shot of the Millennium Falcon taking flight in the teaser, and my guess is that this is part of the same sequence:

 

 

What’s interesting to me is that depending on how the story plays out, this could take place on either Crait or Ahch-To. On one hand, the emphasis on red fits in quite nicely with the crimson dust just under the surface, and the planet itself is apparently an outpost well-known for having an abundance of resources for mining. But on the other, we know that Luke has a small, red crystal on a pendant, and he may have got it from the planet he’s called home for the past few years:

 

 

It’s most likely Crait that we’re looking at here, but still – it pays to keep an open mind when it comes to speculation. Hopefully, that upcoming comic where Luke visits Crait in the OT era ought to help clear things up.

 

 

Finn Challenges Phasma After Infiltrating The First Order

 

 

It’s already known that Finn and Rose go on a secret mission to infiltrate a major First Order Outpost in order to do… Something. (The details aren’t clear right now.) This involves the duo donning First Order Officer disguises, as seen in the BTS reel:

 

 

As I mentioned earlier, Rose is nowhere to be found in this trailer – something I think is rather interesting considering that she has the largest part of the three new major characters in this movie. But that absence presents an interesting implication as to why Finn is so determined to take Phasma down in this fight scene (which appears to take place in the big AT-AT/AT-ST factory after some kind of attack) – one wonders if Phasma did something to Rose to elicit such a response.

 

 

Looking at the BTS reel again, I have suspicions that this part of the movie is going to involve the Executioner Stormtroopers – as there’s more than enough room for a handful of them to appear among the ranks of the various stormtroopers seen in the hangar (pic’s at the top of this article). The scene above certainly looks like it was filmed on a set and not a location.

 

 

Also, I just want to take a moment to appreciate this still. Finn was hardly in this trailer, but this glimpse at the major fight scene easily ended up being the hypest moment. (Also, yay, Phasma gets to do something!)

 

 

The Leviathans Of Ahch-To

 

 

Almost every Star Wars movie has had a major creature encounter play a role in the overall narrative (save Revenge of the Sith, which was going to have the Nos Monster attack Obi-Wan after Order 66 – before George Lucas decided to streamline the narrative – and Rogue One, which had Bor Gullet, but that doesn’t quite count since there’s not a real fight with it). In the lower-right corner of the image shown above, you can see the skull of some kind of sea creature – one which personally reminds me of the Colo Clawfish from The Phantom Menace. With Rey spending some time underwater on Ahch-To, one has to wonder if the big creature battle on the planet will take place underwater.

 

In a somewhat related note, it appears that this shot of Luke and Rey, which is shown after she gets out of the water…

 

 

…Directly precedes this close-up of Luke.

 

 

There are stone huts in the background of the first shot, while it’s not clear if they’re in the second – though the area Luke is positioned in certainly makes it feel like it’s one and the same. It would certainly make sense if Rey gets angry at Luke if this is right after she nearly got eaten by some monster, as I’d imagine that her patience would wear thin at that point – the lack of any kind of lightsaber glow indicates that this is a confrontation of words, not of violence.

 

 

Snoke Unleashed

 

 

Some of us were worried that Snoke would be getting the short end of the stick when Rian Johnson stated that we won’t get his full backstory. Worry not – from this trailer, it’s now clear that he’ll end up having a personal encounter with Rey that involves him tapping into the Dark Side. While Snoke is clearly not the type of villain that we’re going to see do corkscrew jumps, our quick look at the villain does make it clear that he’s actively able to manipulate the Force.

 

 

There’s a bit of debate as to whether or not Snoke’s monologue at the beginning of the trailer is directed at Rey or Kylo Ren. My guess is the latter, although “…Something truly special” sounds like it might come from a different conversation (and one that could be directed toward Rey). It’s also interesting to note that while he’s doing whatever he’s doing to Rey, he’s remaining seated in his throne.

 

 

Possible Misdirection

 

 

What seems to be the talk of the town with this trailer is actually the final shots, where we see Rey talk about how she’s in need of guidance and how Kylo Ren seems all too willing to help her with that:

 

 

However, I’m going to present an alternative argument – namely, this might just be misdirection based on footage of two different scenes that have similar lighting. Take, for instance, the shot of Luke falling to his knees in the teaser (which also appears in the trailer):

 

 

In the teaser, it was immediately followed by this:

 

 

Thusly, a few people who saw the trailer and didn’t look at it closely came to the conclusion that Captain Phasma was part of the assault on Luke’s Jedi Enclave, an event that takes place years prior to The Force Awakens. However, since we know that she and Finn will throw down in a burning hangar, and that’s what was in the background of that scene, it’s abundantly clear that “TrooperBowl” is what the teaser was alluding to, not Phasma’s involvement in the flashback. Not to mention the neon lights in the upper left-hand corner.

 

So with this in mind, we go back to the shots with Rey and Kylo Ren at the very end. Here’s what’s a little suspect about these two shots: the background with Rey’s profile looks pretty tranquil, all things considered. In the meantime, the scene with Kylo Ren involves something big catching fire, with embers and soot falling around him. Now, don’t get me wrong – I totally think that Kylo Ren is extending his hand out to Rey here. It’s just not in the context that’s being presented. What I think they’re doing is splicing two scenes together.

 

The first, with Rey sounding unsure and being in need of someone to guide her, comes across as a line that happens after initially being rejected by Luke (who, as we’ve seen, is anxious about getting back into the swing of things). Where I think it fits in is this scene shown in the BTS reel, where Chewbacca has a campfire going in front of the Millennium Falcon:

 

 

Whether she’s talking to Chewbacca or R2-D2 here isn’t certain – for all we know, Luke might be curious how she got there and could be more willing to listen to her after a reunion with two of his old friends. The background here is much “softer” than the “by the Force this entire planet is on fire” aesthetic that Kylo Ren’s scene has. And, more tellingly, she has her first outfit in this scene – we know that, at the point where Kylo Ren would arrive on Ahch-To, she’d be wearing her second outfit like she is on her way to the First Jedi Temple and when she’s taken a dive.

 

I believe that both of Rey’s quotes in this trailer are part of the same conversation in spite of being split up. Furthermore, I think that Kylo Ren’s monologue about how he believes the past should be discarded is a comment aimed at Rey, because there’s no other character it really could be aimed at. And she will probably end up going with him – like it or not – because we now know that she ends up at Snoke’s place before she somehow gets to Crait. We know she will from her costume change and these two shots in the BTS reel:

 

 

Man, this is gonna be an eventful movie. We have Rey spending a lot of time on Ahch-To, ending up on the Supremacy, and then heading to Crait in time for the final battle – all while Finn starts on a Resistance ship, goes to Cantonica, infiltrates an First Order base, and still has time to meet up with Rey on Crait. And that’s not even getting into Poe Dameron and Kylo Ren’s respective stories.

 

 

One More For The Road – A Hidden Message In The Poster

 

 

As a side note, I’d like to close out this article with one little thing on the poster: the way it’s designed is quite deliberate – yes, I know Poe Dameron is randomly on “the Dark Side” half of the poster, but bear with me – and our pals over at r/StarWarsLeaks decided to show off why it’s shaped the way that it is.

 

 

Darth Vader helmet X TLJ Poster…see for yourself….. from StarWarsLeaks

 

 

BAM! I don’t think this is a coincidence at all – the Sequel Trilogy fundamentally seems to be about the legacies of Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and their father, Darth Vader himself. So this subtle way of alluding to the character’s iconic helmet seems like a clever way to subconsciously remind fans about the bigger picture. The Skywalker Saga is fundamentally about the rise and fall (PT), redemption (OT), and legacy (ST) of the Jedi known as Anakin Skywalker, and it’s important that the franchise emphasizes this wherever it can.

 

Anyway, those are my extensive thoughts on this trailer. If there’s anything you’d like to discuss, add to, or refute, you’re welcome to do so whether you’re on the board or in the comments section.

 

 

Grant has been a fan of Star Wars for as long as he can remember, having seen every movie on the big screen. When he’s not hard at work with his college studies, he keeps himself busy by reporting on all kinds of Star Wars news for SWNN and general movie news on the sister site, Movie News Net. He served as a frequent commentator on SWNN’s The Resistance Broadcast.

 

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