First, watch Yoda’s Stew you must. YB does an excellent job of dicing up the content of the trailer, and she shares some compelling theories that’ll twist yer melon.
Next, keep reading, because we’re gonna slice and dice some more.
We’ve had a few days since the epic and presumably final major trailer release for The Last Jedi has come out. If you’ve watched it a few times, like me you’ve probably struggled to unpack the menagerie of images and concepts they manage to jam into 2 and half minutes. To be sure, it was a lot. On first viewing I’ll wager you also felt like you were drinking from a full-blast fire hose. Well, I’m gonna slice it all up like your mom does your scrambly eggs in the morning, Fandom, so chillaximate yer ‘tude. In the immortal words of Tom Petty, God rest his rock n’roll soul, Let’s Break Down – Go ahead, give it to me…
00:00 – 00:22
“When I found you, …”
It’s playing over a shot of Kylo brooding in front of a large window. So it could be about him, but it could conceivably be someone else. He continues…
“…I saw raw …”
And it cuts to a beautiful shot of the new AT-M6 “Gorilla walkers” lining up for battle on the planet Crait. This shot is extremely tasty because in the first 6 seconds we get a shot of not just one but a whole row of these beasts that were only hinted at in The Force Awakens. And right off the bat, they give us a nice tidy scale comparison alongside two of the legacy AT-ATs, and the new walker looks fully twice as big. I was a little skeptical of this new troop transport, to be honest. I thought it was a little goofy to keep making walkers that look like different animals. (I mean…is there a Llama walker?) Anyway, that shot sold me. For someone who appreciates Star Wars vehicles almost as much as the story and the characters, this shot converted me from H8TR to full-on <3, whatever the hell that means.
Snoke continues speaking. I think a lot of people assume he’s talking about Kylo, but I’m going to reserve judgement on this one. Who he refers to is not completely clear, and these movie moguls aren’t above a little misdirection. Anyway, Snokey prattles on.
We switch to an overhead shot of a figure in black, presumably Kylo again, leading white clad stormies through a passage way. You’ll probably instantly recognize the nod to Anakin’s march on the Jedi Temple. Nice touch, movie moguls. But Snoke is still going…
“…and beyond that…”
Then you see Kylo Ren in full mask and garb in a red chamber. In the background are what appear to be the new version of the Imperial Guard, clad in their crimson armor. Kylo reaches down and picks up his saber. I have a certain theory about this.
When Kylo battled Rey in the forest at the end of The Force Awakens, she wounds him but I believe she also damages his lightsaber. I believe this scene is Kylo retrieving his newly repaired lightsaber after an inspection from his master, Snoke.
Meanwhile Snoke’s monologue is winding down, but he’s getting to his point.
…something Truly Special.”
From 00:19 to 00:22, it’s just you and Snoke and a pitch-black screen, and he’s whispering “something Truly Special” in your ear. “Special” is a weird word choice here. I’ve never heard the words “truly special” sound so completely out of place and somewhat ominous. “Truly Special” is something usually reserved for heaping praises on little Timmy’s macaroni sculpture or, you know,..to describe happy feelings and crap that I think some people have. I dunno. Snoke manages to make the words “Truly Special” sound like a sandpaper cut on your tongue. Which is not just..special. It’s pretty jacked up.
What has been quiet incidental music spirals up into a climax. And then it gets interesting….
In the relative silence, we see and hear Rey ignite a lightsaber. Her lightsaber? We don’t know. It looks like it could be Luke’s, but there’s some discussion about the color of the blade. It doesn’t look blue, but I also remember Luke’s blade wasn’t always blue either. It kind of shifted between a greeny-blue and bluey-green and sometimes washed out completely. It could be due to old film images.. or by the way there’s the idea that I’m totally color blind. But I’m leaning toward it being Luke’s saber. Why? Because I don’t think anyone showed up on Ahch-To with extra lightsaber parts to make another, for one. For another, Maz said the saber called to Rey. I don’t think its Luke’s lightsaber anymore.
Cue the proper trailer music and the Lucasfilm logo. The music is choice – it’s a variation on the Imperial March, which is interchangeable with Vader’s theme, or an allusion to the Dark Side in general. But this is a more urgent refrain, and a little more desperate.
As Rey completes her mission to Ahch-To and hands Luke the long lost weapon, she begins to speak.
“Something inside me has always been there. But now its awake. And I need help.”
The music swells into Rey’s theme. We see shots of her under Luke’s tutelage. She swings her saber at a boulder, and then ground cracks under her feet as Luke looks on in abject horror.
Something’s wrong. It’s all over Luke’s face: Nope. Like Big Force Nope.
The Imperial March variant and Rey’s theme are starting to merge and rise, while Rey is showing some truly remarkable powers in the Force. And now we finally get some Luke Skywalker dialog after long last. His face is drawn with anxiety, recognition, and fear.
“I’ve seen this raw strength only once before.”
A mechanical hand thrusts through burning debris. Surely this must be Luke’s hand, in the past. We can probably expect some exposition regarding the destruction of his New Jedi Temple. He continues…
“It didn’t scare me enough then.”
“It does now.”
And Rey looks back, seemingly at her new Master, lost.
The tone of the trailer now goes fully dark as the music changes again to Kylo’s theme as he takes the scene in his black mask. Then it shows him in a small room, holding his helmet in his hands. His injuries from his battle with Rey linger. He has what appear to be black synthetic grafts over his facial scars. He speaks.
“Let the past die.”
And he does something surprising with his beloved wooby helmet. He smashes it. Whut?
I took this moment to pause the trailer at 01:08 and there’s a strange thing happening here. He’s not smashing it into a wall. It apparently smashes against empty air that distorts, and sparks fly. Force field? Is Kylo in a holding cell? Is this is punishment for his failure on Starkiller Base?
The trailer now jumps into a space battle, with a trio of First Order ships in attack formation over what appear to be Resistance battleships and freighters. Two TIEs flank some new prototype that’s mixture of Darth Maul’s Scimitar, Vader’s Advanced X1, and a TIE Interceptor. It’s heavily armored and its pretty badass, folks. The footage jumps back to Kylo in the cockpit as he draws down on a target, and he continues to finish his thoughts about how to deal with the past.
“If you have to. That’s the only way to become what you were meant to be.”
Kylo’s gloved thumb hovers on the trigger. A targeting lock indicator warbles precipitously. Kylo swallows. Steels himself …hesitates. We see Leia standing on a bridge. Awareness crosses her face. Recognition, and fear.
But you have to wonder – is it fear for herself, or fear for her son?
The words appear on the screen:
And like a womprat out of Hell, here’s comes the Millenium Falcon, as usual being chased by three TIEs and flying through yet another maze of too-tight corridors, but these are made of crimson crystals. Hmmm..Kyber Crystals? Red Kyber Crystals? We already know that some of the weaponry the First Order uses is augmented with Kyber Crystals. Could this be their source?
Chewbacca lets out a plaintive wail, answered, oddly enough, by a Porg battle cry…or something. He’s got one stashed up on his dashboard like a good luck charm. Chewie, you cray-cray.
The space battle continues, and some poor ship takes a full-on shot to the FACE – fire arching out like spider legs in the vacuum.
And here’s our hero Poe Dameron (I can hear your collective swoons, fandom. Keep yer pants on.) Meanwhile an X-Wing with a nifty afterburner blasts into yet more combat with the all-important Explosions in Space. Hellz yeah. That’s pretty much why I watch this stuff. Amid some fiery cataclysms, Poe throws down some Resistance truth:
“We have the spark (BOOM) that will light the fire (kerPOW) that will burn the First Order down.”
There fandom, you got your hot Poe-Poe on. Geez, get a room.
Oh yeah. Now it’s getting truly funky. Phasma stands tall in her shining armor and brandishes a pike. Finn looks like a COMPLETE BADASS, like he went to the same store Luke did between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi and got one of those cool black outfits that only People Who Have Turned Into Badasses wear. But on closer inspection, it looks like he’s in a First Order officer’s uniform, so I think it’s possible he’s gone back to infiltrate the F.O. At any rate, he’s there to chew gum and kick ass, and he’s all out of chewing gum. He’s got an electrified baton like the one that Nines wielded when he fought Finn in The Force Awakens. Finn goes Batman on Phasma and we see them lock horns before the scene cuts away. Now THAT is a scene I’ll have to strategically plan my bathroom breaks around.
More space battle, but interspersed with a shot of Crait wildlife. It cuts to Luke, who is speaking from a prone position as if he’s been knocked down in battle. He’s pissed.
More shots of Crait, where it appears Leia again looks out expectantly from the open gates of another resistance base across a white wasteland, just like she did on Hoth, and you’re a jerk if that doesn’t tug at your heart strings just a little. Luke continues…
“…the way you think!”
A figure, apparently Rey, falls into water and pulls herself out. She stands, and squares off with Luke, who looks on none too pleased. Was she fighting with Luke? I think so. I think Luke’s training reveals the dangerous power Rey has, and it scares the Bantha squat out of him. So he shuts down her training, and she has a Force fit. They confront each other, and Luke is compelled to level the Jedi Master Smackdown on his erstwhile padawan. Troubling, to say the least, because where does she go from there? She’s got an itch she can’t scratch, and the only Jedi Master in the entire Universe refuses to train her.
As she stands up to face Luke, Snoke starts up again…
And here’s Finn again in his Bad Ass F.O. suit, but he’s flanked by stormies. Now it looks like he’s been captured, and I’ll wager dollars to donuts that’s a cliffhanger at the end of the movie. Just like we didn’t know what happens next to Finn at the end of The Force Awakens, I think we see him get marched off to rejoin the First Order. Yep. And then the closing credits come up and you’re gonna throw your popcorn at the screen. Or not, but I could see something like that going down.
Some cool shots reminiscent of Return of the Jedi come up next, with assembled formations of First Order troops in a hangar bay. In the distance to the right you see two more Imperial-era AT-ATs (maybe they only have those two?) so it’s interesting to see they’re keeping some of the old hardware around. Apparently you can still get AT-ATs at the Imperial Surplus store.
Now the ground battle on Crait is fully joined, TIEs flying air cover for AT-M6 walkers, explosions kicking up the red dust that lies just beneath the white topsoil. Both sides are drinking a big can of whoopazz. Snoke is dragging this one out. But he’s got something serious to say…
And then we get our first “live” shot of Snoke himself, no holoprojector, just old lopsided saggy Snoke himself, but his outstretched hand covers most of his face. He’s projecting some sort of power, and I think the collective wisdom of fandom says this is proof he’s a Force wielder. He finishes his terrible command…
That sounds an awful lot like Sheev inviting Luke to take his place at his side. But to whom is he directing this awesome power coupled with this command? It cuts to Rey, racked with pain and locked in terror, apparently in the throes of intense Force power. Is it her own, or his? We don’t know. Well at least I sure as hell don’t, and I’m not willing to admit anyone else is smarter than me.
The scene drops again into blackness, and we hear her voice next.
“I need someone…”
She’s in a cavernous place. Her voice echoes against walls and as the scene comes up to show her face, the scene behind her seems, for the moment, calm. I think this is important because I think the movie moguls are employing some creative license here. She goes on…
“…to show me my place in all this.”
Now the scene cuts to Kylo as if he’s listening, but he’s in a very different locale. Behind him are burning embers and what appears to be a night sky. It’s not at all clear that he’s in the same place, having the same conversation with Rey. I rather think this is Rey’s dialog with Luke in the caves of Ahch-To, perhaps imploring him to continue her training after he refuses. That being said, I think the next shot is telling, and quite possibly implies what may actually happen.
Kylo extends his open hand, as if inviting her to join him.
As the closing music climbs into the original Star Wars theme for Luke (the Twin Sunset music) and the title slowly coalesces on the screen, it occurs to me that this will be the other half of the cliffhanger, and this provides a mirror to Empire Strikes Back. At the end of ESB, Han was frozen, and the future was very unsure for both him and Luke. I think this is how The Last Jedi will leave us as well – with a completely unsure future for both Finn and Rey. It’s going to close with a pretty solid feeling that All is Lost.
I’m down with that. We need suspense for the next year or more. That’s what being a Star Wars fan is all about. We have NO idea what’s going to happen next, and it’s great.
But I’m going to close with an even further-flung idea. What if Kylo Ren is imprisoned and punished? What if he’s souring on the idea of the First Order? And what if Rey is spurned by Luke? What if she’s turning away from the Light? Is it possible that Kylo and Rey are meeting one another on their respective journeys across the void, Kylo heading toward redemption, Rey toward destruction? What will happen when they meet in the middle, Fandom? Balance, or Annihilation? Something else to chew on…
So there you go. I hope you enjoyed your bite-sized bits of Trailer Breakdown, Twice Baked. Savor it, because aside from a few stray TV spots that are usually rehash of the trailer, it’s gotta last you to December 15. See you on the other side!