Star Wars Episode VIII: The last Jedi is shaping up to be the darkest and most anticipated addition to the series. That darkness was on full display during the new trailer, released during Monday night football on October 9th. After watching the new visual around ten times, I have analyzed it enough to release my full thoughts and impressions. So, let us dive right into it.
The trailer opens with Kylo Ren overlooking what seems to be an airship hanger. We hear Supreme Leader Snoke speak the first lines in a deep, raging voice: “When I first found you, I saw raw, untamed power” as scenes of the young Sith lord race across the screen. A shot of him, mask and all, covered in black, kneeling in a red room surrounded by soldiers in all red caught my attention fairly quickly. I thought to myself that must be Snoke’s throne room, given the guards surrounding the area and the sheer size and dark aura radiating from that scene.
Suddenly we cut to a much brighter visual. We are placed on a green island surrounded by water. One familiar to those who have seen ‘The Force Awakens’. Rey pops up on screen, wielding Luke’s famous blue lightsaber in her hands. Now, the way this opening sequence was delivered makes me wonder if Snoke was actually talking about Rey in his previous statement, given how the scenes were cut together almost simultaneously, but we will come back to that.
The next segment brings us to a montage of Rey, training with Luke on the island. Her skills with a lightsaber have improved dramatically since Episode VII, coming across as more balanced and confident. Luke is visibly shocked, even afraid of the power that Rey holds within her. While she is focusing within the force, she cracks the ground beneath her. The look of terror on his face after witnessing how strong in the force Rey is, is something to take note of: “I’ve seen this kind of raw strength before. It didn’t scare me enough then, it does now,” Luke speaks as we see a scene of his former Jedi school burning down before him, implying that Kylo once showed that same type of power that Rey is displaying and he chose the path of destruction and malice. Luke is afraid that if he trains Rey, then he will fail her as well, pushing her to follow the same path, right into Snoke.
The mood then shifts back to Kylo Ren as he speaks, “Let the past die, kill it, if you have to”. We see him flying a fighter with remarkable skill, much like his grandfather once did. The ship he is attacking seems to be that of his mother, Leia. He visibly struggles with the choice of pushing the missile button and killing her, as well as wiping out the resistance. Was Ren perhaps implying that killing his mother and cutting ties with everything involving the light was “letting the past die”? In order to ascend completely to the dark side and complete his training, he has to do just that. Given Carrie Fisher’s untimely death, that might be the route they are going with this film, especially after killing off Han Solo at the hands of Ren in Episode VII.
The next few scenes show us glimpses of new landscapes and returning characters. Fan favorite Poe speaks, “We have a spark, that will light the fire, that will burn the first order down”. Finn then appears on screen, fully dressed in a First Order officer uniform, visibly angry as he squares off against Captain Phasma once again. We are then shown the enemy approaching the base of the resistance. Then shown a rain covered scene with Luke yelling to Rey: “This isn’t going to go the way that you think”. Rey also seems to have some sort of encounter with Snoke as well. We see a full shot of the supreme leader’s face as hisses “Fulfill… your… destiny”. His hand reaches out towards Rey who is floating in the air in front of him, screaming in pain. This made me lean out of my seat a bit. Just how strong is the Supreme Leader and who exactly is he? Why was Rey with him?
The very last shot in the trailer is what brings the entire visual and narrative together. In it, Rey seems to be undergoing some sort trial like Luke once did while he trained with Yoda. I say that because of the look and feel of the environment she was in, as well as the fact that she was sporting the outfit she wore at the end of Episode VII. We know now that she and a few other charcters recieve new looks for Episode VIII. The screen then goes black and we hear Rey: “I need someone, to show me my place in all this,” she speaks as the camera fades over to Kylo Ren, his hand open towards Rey.This definitely has to be a vision, much like the one Luke saw of Darth Vader during his training, tempting him to lean towards the dark side. Why else would she be speaking to Ren, the man she wounded terribly in a fight for her life? In other scenes from the trailer, Ren’s scar is covered with a sort of medical tape, but in the final scene his scar is clearly healed. Maybe this is Disney and Lucas Film’s way of throwing us off the path, creating confusion and excitement for more details. Perhaps Ren will find his way back to the light and Rey will take his place beside the Supreme Leader. Light and darkness are nothing more than opposite sides of the same coin, after all.
After all the things we were shown in this visual I can confidently say that I can no longer contain my excitement for Episode VIII. There are too many questions that need to be answered. Like everyone else, a two month wait is something that must be endured. I hope after this analysis you all are sharing my excitement as well.
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi hits theaters December 15th, 2017. Tickets are now available for purchase through all theater venues. Get yours now!