It’s not often when a big event arises that you feel compelled to walk away from the keyboard. With the theatrical trailer release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the heaviness that ensued soon after, walking away felt like a flight response. After watching the trailer several times, it felt as if a mortar shell had gone off, leaving my brain soaked with a sort of ringing in the ears you get from a concussive wave. Like Tom Hanks character on Omaha beach during the film “Saving Private Ryan.” – my mind stumbling, everything slighted muted, confusing and surreal.
Extraction of those feelings was by design of course. The cunning and brilliant machinations of Director Rian Johnson in this fabulous trailer for the next chapter of our saga. The theme for this trailer was conveyed loud and clear; the Resistance is in serious trouble. The second act of this trilogy will see the antagonists rise and strike back in a way to remove all hope. Events will get bad – then worse, and just when you think the tide will begin to turn, it will get disastrous still. Last nights trailer conveyed that with a fast-paced score with little to no high platitudes. There will be no fuzzy Star Wars Christmas feels in this trailer, and that’s the point.
There were surprises in this marketing wonder that even caught this spoiler hound out. Like Luke climbing out of the rubble of his old Academy to Rey facing Snoke at the end. We expected excellent cinematography, and we got it in spades, with one or two shots that left us breathless. The scene of Finn and Phasma facing off in the monstrous hangers of Snoke’s capital ship, my eyes still raw, like staring too long at an eclipse.
What I did miss, however, was the supporting cast of this endeavor. Rose, Vice Admiral Holdo, DJ and exotic places like Cantonica were absent. Perhaps we will see them in the International trailer that is bound to drop in the coming days. There will also be plenty to talk about in the coming days about what we just saw, from theories to screen capture breakdowns.
This was a phenomenal trailer that served its purpose for marketing this film. It was a momentous event while engaging the nervous tick to rewatch it over and over again. It was fear laid to score, and the feeling it left us with is nothing but pure dread. Like Luke said – this will not turn out the way we think it will.
I am also delighted to share this space with these remarkable individuals and their reactions to the trailer. The comments below were taken from some of the smartest minds in the Star Wars fandom, and it’s our pleasure here at the Star Wars Post to share them with you.
Ben Rowley (Staff Writer – The Star Wars Post)
I had the same feeling watching the trailer for The Last Jedi as I did for The Force Awakens, there so much going on that its impossible to absorb everything after the first viewing, or even the fifth. Needless to say, after 50 viewings (give or take) I’ve finally gathered my thoughts. What immediately struck me is how plot-heavy the trailer is. At first glance, it seemed like Lucasfilm was giving away the farm. So many different story beats unfolding over the course of a single trailer? That’s not the Lucasfilm way. But there’s more to this trailer than first meets the eye. The trailer opens with an ominous Snoke voiceover juxtaposed with a brooding Kylo Ren, but is Snoke talking about Kylo, or is he referring to someone else? Luke Skywalker is talking about Kylo Ren when he says “I’ve seen this raw strength only once before. It didn’t scare me enough then.” Perhaps it’s a hint at the trauma that forced him to retreat to his Ahch-to hideaway. If the Force awakened in Episode VII, it’s been wholly unleashed in the trailer for Episode VIII. Between Rey causing the ground to shake and split, to Snoke levitating Rey in his throne room, Rian Johnson is adding new wrinkles to what we thought we knew about the force.
Of course, the moment everyone will be talking about is the very last scene, when Rey seemingly asks Kylo to “show me my place in all this.” However, I’m of the opinion that this is something she says to Luke early in the movie, while the shot of Kylo Ren holding out his hand comes much later. Misdirection is Lucasfilm’s calling card, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of the scenes portrayed in the trailer play out differently on screen.
Drew Walden (Staff Writer – The Star Wars Post)
The Last Jedi already has an enormous success on its hands. My three-year-old daughter stayed up late to watch the trailer with my wife while I went to secure tickets at my local theater. She stayed mesmerized until one moment where a grin created across her face. “That’s a porg! Did you see the porg?” Yes, she recognized Rey and Kylo Ren, but her favorite part of the trailer: the porg. The film’s not even out yet, but already an iconic creature, and what I hope is to be a regular guest on the Millennium Falcon.
I think that this trailer has a lot of misdirection. While it’s possible that the last shot of Kylo Ren extending his hand may actual follow Rey seeking to find her place in the universe, it could also be a cleverly crafted ruse. This editing trick could also be applied to the sequence where it looks like Kylo Ren is conflicted about shooting the ship that shelters his mother, Leia. If these are indeed cut out of sequential moments in the final film, this will be an episode of extreme consequence. Regardless, come December we will still be treated to a conflicted Rey, Kylo Ren the ace pilot, the Finn versus Phasma fight (that should have been in TFA), menacing Snoke, a bristling Luke full of warnings, and most importantly, a Porg co-pilot.
Finally, for those score aficionados out there, I would like to congratulate whoever produced the trailer for managing to fit in Jedi Steps, Rey’s Theme, Kylo’s Theme, and the Force Theme into about two minutes. Most impressive.
Elizabeth Larsen (Staff Writer – Star Wars Post)
Congratulations to Rian Johnson, Lucasfilm, Disney, the marvelous trailer editors, marketing team– you’ve done it again. All the anticipation and suspense led to 2 minutes and 24 seconds of pure, beautiful cinematic bliss and hopefully reminded the world that Star Wars is back… again. There are a million things to dissect in this trailer, a hobby I will thoroughly relish over the next two months, but pure and without speculation, I want to acknowledge a few of my favorite TLJ trailer elements.
To me, music is always the emotional backbone of a trailer. The perfect soundtrack or score can maximize the minimal time and amplify the intensity of a scene. Like many star wars trailers before, this one perfectly captured the nostalgia of the great Star Wars hits while providing exciting new edits of Rey and Kylo’s theme. I would encourage anyone to just listen to the trailer– it’s a whole new experience.
However, without a doubt, the most exciting part of this trailer for me was seeing (and hearing) the most of Luke since Return of the Jedi. Luke was always my favorite, and I didn’t realize how much I missed him until this very moment. This isn’t the Luke from 30 years ago. It’s clear he isn’t imitating Yoda or Obi-Wan, Luke is a new Jedi– the Last Jedi. Even in this brief trailer, we see him burdened by guilt, regret, and fear. Luke says, “It didn’t scare me enough then… it does now,” and the audience understands there has been a character evolution, now hardened by loss and pain. This is an emotional range Mark Hamill hasn’t had the chance to play as Luke in any other film, and he looks exceptional.
My biggest takeaway from this trailer is that Rian Johnson’s emphasis on character. He took the shiny surface of The Force Awakens and shattered it. In the cracks and breaks, he is pushing these characters to their limits. Rey, Kylo, Luke, Poe, Leia– they are each presented at a crossroads, on the verge of a next step that could change the course of their life and the galaxy. I would argue at its core this trailer emphasized the emotional battles over the physical ones.
That’s it– I’m ready for December 14th and porgs now.
Pete Morrison (Editor RebelsReport.com)
“This is not going to go the way you think.” Those are the words of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, spoken to an unknown figure in the new trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Since the trailer debuted, I have watched it a few dozen times and while talking it out with folks have changed my mind as to what the story is repeatedly based on the cuts and misdirection it contains. So instead of focusing on speculation, I want to focus on appreciation.
In the trailer, we get loads of reaction shots, lots of action, and a some rather ominous dialogue. It is clear why we have heard so little rumblings of complaints from Lucasfilm because it appears that Rian Johnson has delivered a wonderfully crafted film. The sequence that captured me is the hanger duel between Finn and Captain Phasma and the moment that Finn’s reflection along with the Z6 riot control baton he is wielding appears in Phasma’s helmet is breathtaking, one of my favorite shots in the entire Saga. December 14th can’t get here soon enough.
Magnus Anton Lekaj (Author, Blogger, Lover geekfurious.blogspot.com)
Based on Rian Johnson’s previous work, it is no surprise the trailer to “The Last Jedi” looks –brace yourselves- like a Rian Johnson movie. Have you been clamoring for something “different” in Star Wars? Did you think “The Force Awakens” was too “safe” and “Rogue One” felt fragmented, with poorly developed characters, and leaned too heavily on nostalgic beats in the third act? Well, you’re about to get the movie you claimed to want. Two-minutes of footage makes it clear Johnson has no intention of playing it safe with his opportunity to tell a story in the Star Wars saga. This is going to be an exciting, weird, dark, dramatic, fun, mind-blowing, action ride with long noir-like beats, and camera-movement & editing choices heretofore not seen in Star Wars. Dammit, I’m excited!
Anyone busy hammering away at the keyboard about how Kathleen Kennedy isn’t allowing directors their vision can take a break for a few months –at least until she fires another of your favorite egotistical privileged white hetero males with maybe one mediocre (and/or insanely overrated) movie under their belt. And yet, the visuals displayed in the trailer are still very much Star Wars: lightsabers, space battles, laser blasts, melee combat, and Luke Skywalker! Plus the surviving characters from “The Force Awakens” are back to struggle and suffer for decisions made in the previous episode. Not to mention back-story! From my point of view… the trailer is gorgeous, thrilling, emotional, and I’m beyond excited to see this movie. Also, the theatrical poster looks fantastic. I have only seen things to give me total confidence in “The Last Jedi.” May the Rian Johnson be with us… always.
Jeremy Conrad (Editor at ManaByte.com)
I wasn’t one of those who had issues with the first teaser for The Last Jedi. It served its purpose well and gave you just enough new footage to make you want to see more and ask questions as to where the movie would be going. The final trailer opens up, even more, questions, and some of them are unexpected. That last shot of the trailer is going to send one segment of Star Wars fandom into convulsions, but imagine if that’s how the movie ends? Rey and Kylo going off leaving Luke and the Resistance to fend for themselves? Or perhaps it’s the first step towards Ben Solo’s redemption? See, there are lots of questions to ponder.
I loved the look of the movie from the trailer; it looks different. And that’s what you want in a Star Wars movie. You want new ships, you want new worlds, and you want it to feel different than the film before it. The Empire Strikes Back accomplished that, and doing so doesn’t make The Last Jedi an Empire clone; it makes it a Star Wars movie that knows that each installment has to introduce new stuff.
We get the first dialog from Luke, actual lines that give hints to the story. We get to see Porgs, the new Walkers, new ships, new planets. It’s a great Star Wars trailer. We only have two months to go, and this is going to see regular plays until December.
Julia Silver (writer @sithglitter and @vaapadthinktank, occasional podcast guest)
For this reaction, I am going to take the trailer at face value. I’m going to assume that this trailer represents what we are meant to see overall in The Last Jedi. That is, even though I know that scenes are spliced and then edited together, they are selected together to make a point. When we see Rey speaking, or Luke, or Kylo Ren, or Snoke, they may be talking about who we see on screen or someone else entirely. This mild deception is a given. However, first trailers are meant to convey broad themes of a movie, and introduce us to central problems our heroes will face.]
The theme of The Last Jedi is: Destiny is a lie.
That seems to be the tone of Luke Skywalker’s life. The story of Luke Skywalker and his lessons learned are going to loom large thematically in this Star Wars installment. Indeed, his figure looms over the new TLJ poster massively and ominously.
Now, if we’re going to zoom out and go philosophically broad with this, “Destiny is a lie” is a tone or lesson of almost everyone’s life at some point. The concept of a personal “destiny” is a social construct meant to fill the gaps in one’s ego, to make one feel part of a larger whole, and to help one justify their decisions. It is helpful to feel as if you’re fulfilling some duty you are “supposed to” to get along, but in a heroic journey, Luke, and Anakin before him, already know: “This is not going to go… the way you think!”
It is through use of the concept of “destiny” that Sheev Palpatine can manipulate Anakin Skywalker and his fragile, hurting ego. It is through “destiny” that the Jedi are blinded, and destroyed through their attachment to a prophesied “Chosen One.” It is because of “destiny” that Yoda and Obi-Wan believe that training Luke Skywalker is a good idea, despite all of the signs against that. It is because of “destiny” that Luke faces Darth Vader, a machine running on only his mutated “destiny” by then, and realizes that destiny shatters someone who chooses to shoulder it.
The Last Jedi will depict how Rey and her foil, Kylo Ren, like so many of them, are each obsessed with their destinies as supernaturally powerful beings. The movie will also be about how their mentors, Luke Skywalker and Supreme Leader Snoke respectively, choose how to care for and shape these powerful people according to their perspectives on destiny.
It appears to me that Luke rejects the concept of destiny, and actively runs from it because he knows it is a tool of manipulation. He would rather a powerful being find their way than play god with their “raw” emotions and egos. Snoke, on the other hand, continues to spout “destiny” rhetoric throughout the trailer as he did in The Force Awakens… and likely for no good cause.
As for Rey and Kylo Ren? Both believe they have special destinies, but Kylo Ren has been carving out what he believes to be his own — killing his past literally and figuratively as part of the process — while Rey is desperately, almost in a panic (“I need help…”, “I need someone…”), searching for clarity on the concept.
Both of our two lead characters here are ripe for an authentic rude “awakening” in The Last Jedi. And as the events of the movie progress, perhaps in being truly awakened to the nature of destiny and self-determination, Ben Solo and Rey may turn to each other for partnership and guidance on how to become whole, fulfilled powerful beings, destiny be damned!
Kevin Olsen (Writer Contributor Star Wars Post)
What an absolutely splendid trailer. The footage conveys a feeling that anything can happen to these characters. It’s dark and brooding with a sense of actual stakes. People could die, alliances may be formed or dissolved. The color Red is all the place, and I believe it holds a special significance. The action is intense and epic. I like that it doesn’t come across to spoilerly but yet sets the table for an adventure that you don’t want to miss. It was emotional to see Carrie Fischer, but I’m so glad that we have her for one more episode. The battle between Finn and Phasma looks like it could steal the show as everyone wants to take down an evil boss at one point in life. Are they teasing a Rey to the dark side turn? Or a Kylo and Rey relationship? We don’t know, and that’s just the way I want it as we slowly approach December 15th 2017…until then we only have to breathe.
Andy Wegner (Writer adwegner.wordpress.com)
The trailer was phenomenal. After being underwhelmed by the teaser, I wasn’t sure how I’d react to the trailer. I was glad to be wrong. This film will knock our socks off. We don’t know what will happen this time around.
I think there’s a lot of misdirection here. I do believe all of the dialogue is referring to Rey. I don’t think the shots with Leia and Kylo are related. The end scene with Rey and Kylo is likely two different scenes as well.
Visually, this is Star Wars, but different. Rian and DP Steve Yedlin have created something rooted in the visual language but done in a new and exciting way. Cannot wait until December 14th!