When this teaser debuted at Star Wars Celebration Orlando I was on the show floor looking at a $2,200 Jawa action figure (and then laugh-sobbing at the fact that I had the same one when I was a kid). There was a stage on one side of the floor for The Star Wars Show Live that had a huge viewing screen. As people started to notice the new trailer was playing on it, they stopped what they were doing and payed attention. By about 15 seconds in, the whole convention had stopped and were all staring at the screen. It was a sight to behold. I know all of the convention goers were there for Star Wars-related reasons, but this still shows how effective the trailer is. Even the merchants that were there to sell us $2,200 pieces of our childhood stopped hocking Wookie backpacks and Vader plate sets to watch in relative awe.
On top of all that, it looks good! I like The Force Awakens but I can see it’s flaws. It has too many call backs and feels all too similar to A New Hope. But the small amount of footage we see here in The Last Jedi looks fresh and new. It got me excited to reconnect with these new characters on their journey with the Skywalkers. I will say that there is a bit of an Empire Strikes Back feel thematically to the story, but it doesn’t seem to be beat for beat. I think a lot of this has to do with director Rian Johnson‘s vision taking over from where J.J. Abrams left us.
Ok, enough stalling, Let’s Talk About The First Star Wars: The Last Jedi Teaser!
- We open on a star field. Presumably where some of these wars take place.
- The image fades up and it turns out that star field is actually a cave floor.
- Rey (Daisy Ridley) falls into the frame gasping for air. I wonder if this cave is similar to the one on Dagobah where Luke (Mark Hamill) trained with Yoda.
- The Lucasfilm logo with a new piece of John Williams score behind it never fails to give me chills.
- Luke can (finally) be heard telling Rey to breathe before a sweeping shot of Ahch-
To (bless you) the island he has been in self imposed exile on.
- Rey is standing at the shores of Ahch-
To (geshundheit) as the waves crash into the rocks. She appears to be meditating or focusing herself to be more in control of The Force.
- Doing her best Man of Steel impression Rey causes the pebbles around her to float while Luke tells her to reach out and asks “What do you see?”
- We cut to images of what Rey describes she sees. She says “Light” and we get a shot of General Organa (Carrie Fisher) standing in front of one of those glass screened star maps. There’s also a very faint “Help me Obi-Wan” in the background.
- Rey says “Darkness” as we see Kylo Ren‘s mask shattered and smoking on the ground. If I had to guess I’d say that Ren (Adam Driver) now thinks he doesn’t need the mask to be intimidating after being scarred by Rey in TFA so he destroys it in one of his tantrums. “…seduced by the Dark Side of The Force” can be heard faintly along with Vader breathing in the background.
- A shot of a row of books that might be in the cave from earlier or could be one of the (I shit you not) “Force Trees“. In the book a gloved hand, which might not be Rey’s, scans over the symbol for the Jedi Order. Rey’s voiceover says “a balance”. “Surrounds us, binds us” can be barely heard in the background.
- I really hope the balance Rey is talking about is leading us to the idea of a Gray Jedi. Essentially Force wielders that take the teachings of both the Jedi and the Sith into their own. Luke has always felt more like a Gray than a Jedi Knight like Obi-Wan or a Sith like Vader. He can take the teachings of his mentor and his father and become a totally new type of Jedi. That would be an interesting direction for his take at teaching to go in.
- Rey is shown practicing lightsaber forms by a statue on Ahch-
To (salut) as Luke looks on. His voiceover says “It’s so much bigger”.
- The music swells and a title card reminds us that Christmas is for Star Wars now. I don’t care what the Han Solo movie says.
- We get a cool shot of B-Wing-esque speeders flying over what looks like a salt flat. They are kicking up red dust, it’s a hell of a visual. If you look into the distance it looks as though there might be some suped up First Order versions of AT-ATs.
- Next it’s a shot of Finn in a medical pod to remind us that he’s still around. John Boyega has confirmed to not just be in stasis the entire movie, so we’ll see where his character ends up.
- Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and BB-8 try to run to the hangar of what looks to be a Starship, but before they can get to Poe’s black and orange custom X-Wing the hangar is hit and the ships blow up.
- A quick shot of the Millennium Falcon flying and shooting down TIE Fighters is always welcome. Also this gif is almost perfectly looped.
- This is followed by a quick shot of Rey running with her lightsaber. It’s kinda dark out, like in the meditation on the beach shot. I’m going to wildly speculate and say that while she was meditating the First Order shows up to attack Skywalker. “But how do they know where he is?” you ask. I would imagine it’s from Finn and Rey telling anyone and everyone that they have a map to Luke during The Force Awakens.
- Next is another quick shot (that’s how trailers work, after all) this time of Kylo Ren and his cobbled together lightsaber. You can see the scar that Rey left on his face.
- We see more of the shot that we got in the TFA trailer of Luke’s school after being burned down by the Knights of Ren. Luke drops to his knees in defeat next to R2-D2. This is most likely when he tells R2 where he will exile himself.
- The briefest shot of Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) walking with her troops through another fire. I don’t think this is from the scene before because that’s a flashback. I hope we get a lot more from Phasma in this movie.
- This all leads into a space battle where X-Wings are flying past capital ships that also look a bit B-Wing inspired. I’m glad we’re getting an actual space battle in this movie. All of the cool dogfight scenes in TFA were in atmosphere.
- The last shot of the trailer is a fade up from darkness to Luke standing at the mouth of the cave. He says “I only know one truth, it’s time for the Jedi to end.” This could sound ominous, but I think it really has something to do with my above theory about the Gray Jedi. Either way it’s a great visual that leads into the title card and ends the trailer.
Wow. Modern Star Wars trailers are pretty much always great and this one fits right in. It does all the right things by reintroducing you to the characters and the storylines left after The Force Awakens but leaving you wanting more. Needless to say I’m very excited for this movie and will probably be talking about it way too much from now until it opens, and likely for a long time afterward.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens everywhere Christmas 2017