The teaser trailer for The Last Jedi dropped recently and it’s exciting – very exciting. This first peek at director Rian Johnson’s new entry in the Star Wars saga offers tantalising glimpses of Rey, Luke, Kylo Ren, Leia, Finn, the Millennium Falcon and at least one breathtakingly epic space battle, all of which are enough to give fans genuine goosebumps of anticipation. Here, I’ve pulled together a rundown of the biggest things we learned from the teaser, and what they might mean when The Last Jedi hits cinemas this December!
5. School’s in for Rey
If there’s one thing The Last Jedi teaser makes clear, it’s that Rey (Daisy Ridley) is pushing herself to the limits as she trains to be a Jedi. What’s more her Force powers are growing even stronger under Luke Skywalker’s (Mark Hamill) guidance – forget levitating rocks, this girl crushes them!
So even though Master Skywalker seems to be a fairly reluctant teacher (more on that later), Rey has drastically advanced from when we last saw her. It’s not just her telekinetic powers that have grown either; she’s even more capable with a lightsaber and it also looks like her understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of the Force has matured, too.
This might be because she’s started consulting the Journal of the Whills – first mentioned in early Star Wars script drafts and made canon in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story last year. These teachings may forever alter how would-be Jedi like Rey are trained – or rather not trained – forever (more on that later, as well!)
4. The First Order strikes back
Although the First Order copped a pretty solid pummelling in The Force Awakens, these bad guys are clearly back in the saddle and bring the pain for our heroes, the Resistance, in the Last Jedi teaser. Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and her goons have fighter pilot Poe (Oscar Isaac) and his plucky pals quite literally on the run, and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is also still on hand to wreak havoc, only this time around he’s ditched his cosplay headgear – opting to model his new facial scar for all to see.
Not present and accounted for in The Last Jedi teaser are fellow villains General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and everyone’s favourite cipher Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), but presumably they’re still a major force behind all this chaos (not to mention being saved for the inevitable full-length trailer).
On a wider note, what’s most interesting about all the carnage being rained down by the First Order in the teaser is how much it points to a shift in tone for this new trilogy. If The Force Awakens mostly aped the plot and tone of A New Hope (occasionally to a fault), it seems that The Last Jedi is set to style itself more closely after The Empire Strikes Back. Given Empire Strikes Back is widely regarded as the best of the Star Wars films, this could be a strong indication that – provided Johnson brings more to that table than just a rehashing of that movie’s greatest hits – we could be in for something special when The Last Jedi arrives this Christmas.
3. Return to the Jedi Temple massacre
Thanks to one blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot in the Last Jedi teaser, we now know for certain that the new movie will revisit the slaughter of Luke’s previous Jedi-in-training and the destruction of his new Jedi Temple by Kylo Ren and the Knights of Ren. Will The Last Jedi show us exactly what happened on that horrific night? And will we learn what – aside from the obvious – made the experience so soul-destroying that our once indomitable Jedi Master abandoned his friends, and the galaxy itself, in favour of self-imposed banishment?
2. A (Force) balancing act
One dialogue exchange between Rey and Luke in the Last Jedi teaser hints that there’s a lot more to the Force than the darkness/light dichotomy of the previous films in the Star Wars saga. Now, it’s possible that Master Skywalker gained this knowledge while meditating in exile (it’s not like he had Netflix), but it’s also possible he gleaned this info from the Journal of the Whills mentioned earlier.
Either way, this would be a welcome development in the mythology of the galaxy far, far away, especially since it might be a callback to ideas introduced in the prequel trilogy. As most fans will remember (no matter how much some have tried to forget), a core element of Episodes I-III was the mysterious Jedi Prophecy, which was based around the idea that the Force needed to be brought back into balance.
In the teaser, Luke is dismissive when Rey mentions balance between the Light Side and the Dark Side. Could we be about to discover that there’s more to balancing the Force than simply enshrining good as the dominant power in the universe. Such a revelation would call into question the whole Jedi ethos. But then, this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, considering Luke’s haunting closing words…
1. Jedi, no more?
The most discussed (and controversial) moment of The Last Jedi teaser comes at the close, when Luke Skywalker ominously intones: “I only know one truth: it’s time for the Jedi to end.” Is Luke is going to hang up his lightsaber, renounce his teachings and give up on mentoring Rey or any other students, becoming the “last Jedi” of the title in the process?
Or do his remarks lend further credence to the popular “Grey Jedi” theory which contends that Luke (and eventually his star pupil) will embrace a new, less binary approach to the Force that incorporates elements of both the Light and Dark Sides? From a purely dogmatic perspective, this would make them neither Jedi nor Sith, but something new – and again, bring some meaning to The Last Jedi’s title.