Crystal Ball: Visions Of The Force – The Five Biggest Things We Learned From The Star Wars: The Last Jedi Teaser

So the plan this month really wasn’t to feature TWO Star Wars posts (let alone two virtually back to back).

But, as I lack Jedi clairvoyance, I wasn’t able to foresee the arrival of the Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi teaser trailer earlier this week, and thus realise that my intended next post would soon be headed the way of the Death Star.

Still, what you lose in variety, we all gain in excitement – because The Last Jedi teaser is exciting. VERY exciting.

This first sneak peek at director Rian Johnson’s new adventure offers fleeting, tantalising glimpses of 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.

Even so, these brief moments – whilst undeniably cool – are virtually nothing compared to what else is on show, which is why I’ve pulled together this rundown of the biggest talking points across the galaxy (or at least, the internet) surrounding the teaser, and what they might mean when The Last Jedi hits cinemas this December!

5. SCHOOL’S IN
Last-Jedi_Rey
Lucky this isn’t exactly like Luke’s training, or Rey would be hauling Luke around in a backpack

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, and – as evidenced by her startling telekinetic rock shaker impression – her Force powers are growing even stronger under Luke Skywalker’s (Mark Hamill) tutelege.

Even if Master Skywalker seems to be a fairly reluctant teacher (more on that later), Rey seems to have drastically advanced from when we last saw her, both in her skills with a lightsabre, as well as her understanding of the philosophical, less flashy aspects of the Force

It also looks as though she will be consulting the Journal of the Whills – first mentioned in early Star Wars script drafts and essentially made canon in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story last year – the teachings of which may forever alter how Jedi are trained (or rather NOT trained) forever (more on that even later!)

4. THE FIRST ORDER STRIKES BACK
Last-Jedi_Kylo-Ren
Kylo Ren is probably the only person in any galaxy actually excited about gaining a facial scar

Whilst the First Order copped a pretty solid pummelling in Star Wars – Episode VII: The Force Awakens, these bad guys seem to be following the lead of their Imperial forerunners, using their first sequel to get back in the saddle and bring the pain for our heroes, the Resistance.

Indeed, Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and her goons have fighter pilot Poe (Oscar Isaac) and his plucky pals quite literally on the run, judging by the extensive pyrotechnics the former is throwing at the latter.

Darth Vader-wannabe Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is also still very much on the scene and wreaking havoc after his trouncing by Rey in The Force Awakens, only this time around he’s ditched his cosplay headgear – one wonders if a shot of his smashed helmet is the result of one of his trademark tantrums, or something more dramatic – instead opting to model his new facial scar for all to see.

Not present and accounted for in The Last Jedi teaser are fellow nogoodniks 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 Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope (occasionally to a fault), it seems that The Last Jedi is set to style itself more closely after Star Wars – Episode V: 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 particularly special when The Last Jedi arrives this Christmas.

3. RETURN TO THE JEDI TEMPLE MASSACRE
Last-Jedi_Massacre
Remember, kids: Playing with fire can have dangerous consequences

Whilst so much of what we see in the The Last Jedi teaser can only really be speculated upon, there’s at least one super-quick scene that all but confirms that we’ll be returning to the events of the past glimpsed in Rey’s vision in The Force Awakens.

Specifically, it appears we’re on course to revisit the slaughter of Luke’s previous Jedi-in-training and the destruction of his new Jedi Temple at the hands of Kylo Ren and the Knights of Ren.

For starters, the tableau of a robed figure collapsing to their knees beside R2-D2 as a fire rages in the night air is pretty much a dead ringer for what Rey witnessed when peering at Luke’s past previously, only from a different angle.

Then, there’s the confirmation in The Force Awakens script that the unseen source of the blaze before Master Skywalker in Rey’s vision was a temple, which is a good fit for the structure we see making like a fireplace in The Last Jedi, which sure looks temple-like.

So will The Last Jedi allow us to finally see what exactly happened on that horrific night, and learn what – aside from the obvious – made the experience so soul-destroying that our once determined, fearless Jedi Master abandoned his friends, and the galaxy itself, in favour of self-imposed banishment?

2. BALANCING ACT
Last-Jedi_Journal
Jedi tomes look suspiciously like children’s picture books…

Aside from the always-perfect John William’s score, the most effective audio element in The Last Jedi teaser trailer is the dialogue exchanged by Rey and Luke, particularly when the old Jedi Master hints that there’s a lot more to the Force than the darkness/light dichotomy of the previous films in the Star Wars saga.

It’s possible that Skywalker picked up this knowledge thanks his time spent meditating on the nature of the mystical energy field whilst in exile (it’s not like he had Netflix), or maybe it’s thanks to knowledge gleaned from the aforementioned Journal volumes (or both).

Regardless, it marks a welcome new development in the mythology of the galaxy far, far away, even as – thanks to Rey’s comment related to “balance” – it might just be harking back 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 spoke of a need for balance within the Force.

Thanks to Skywalker’s dismissive response when Rey mentions balance between the Light Side and the Dark Side, we could potentially be about to discover that there’s more to harmony – which is actually what franchise creator George Lucas really meant by “balance”, as opposed to implying a maths equation – than simply enshrining good as the dominant power in the universe.

In fact, 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?
Last-Jedi_Luke
Is Luke doing his best Peter Parker impersonation?

Perhaps the most discussed (and controversial) moment of The Last Jedi teaser trailer comes at the end, when the sole remaining Jedi Master intones, “I only know one truth: it’s time for the Jedi to end”.

Could this mean that Luke is going to hang up his lightsabre, 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 instead lend credence to the popular “Grey Jedi” theory – that Luke (and eventually his star pupil) will embrace a new, less dogmatic and binary approach to the Force that incorporates elements of both the Light and Dark Sides?

This would make them neither Jedi nor Sith, but something new, and again, bring some meaning to The Last Jedi’s title.

That’s it from me – now it’s your turn! Agree? Disagree? Have a Star Wars: The Last Jedi theory of your own?

Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook!

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Crystal Ball: Visions Of The Force – The Five Biggest Things We Learned From The Star Wars: The Last Jedi Teaser

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