When a Star Wars trailer drops, it’s a bigger deal than the World Cup, World Series, and World War II combined. When I watched the latest trailer for The Last Jedi (2017) two hours after it had dropped, it already had an easy half a million views. Everyone is absolutely hyped for this movie and I’m right there with them. However, I will say that after I watched the first trailer about a trillion times, I admittedly became worried about what was in store. I recognized more and more imagery and plot elements from Empire Strikes Back (1980), and even though that film is a good template for the new trilogy to follow in terms of mood, I grew concerned about it doing what Force Awakens (2015) did and just copy+pasting the plot (’cause it needs to copy from much older movies!). This can very much still happen, but I’ve since checked my cynicism and have become hyped for what I’m sure will undoubtedly be a great movie, and this new trailer has supported that decision; even with how cryptic it is.
This new trailer clearly has an agenda, and it’s a great way to pull you into the next chapter of the franchise. It’s no longer about teasing you with the exciting action that’s to come, it’s about leaving you with so many questions about what exactly the plot of the film is going to be that you’re down right worried. We all knew that General Organa (Carrie Fisher) was going to be written out of the plot in some way, but the prospect of her getting blown up in a space battle by her own son leaves me as choked up as I did when I first saw what happened to Han (Harrison Ford) in Episode VII. This is probably the best bit of editing in the whole trailer, and the music cutting out to let this potential development sink in is brilliant. This is due in no small part to how Kylo-centric this trailer is… OR IS IT!?
Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) makes a grand appearance later in the trailer, but he opens us up with some dialogue about how he found “raw, untamed power.. and beyond that, something special” in a character that we’re at first meant to think is Kylo (Adam Driver), considering the first few shots of the trailer are of him. But when Snoke finishes saying this it cuts to black and then cuts to Rey (Daisy Ridley). Uh, what? He isn’t talking about Rey, was he? No way, she’s a good guy. This trailer has some shots assuring us of the return of some characters, like Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) (yay!) piloting the Millennium Falcon with some weird gerbil-penguin and Finn (John Boyega) (hell yeah!) looking bad-ass squaring off against Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie)…. but fuck all that, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) says he’s scared of something. What? Luke is afraid? But fear leads to the dark side, that’s not good. It looks like he’s talking to Rey, is he afraid of Rey? She makes the ground split open with the Force. Naw, can’t be, she’s a good guy. Then the trailer ends with Rey asking for guidance, and it cuts to Kylo extending his hand to her… Whoa… What the hell is going on?
This trailer is so full of possible misdirection it’s downright disconcerting. Even Luke saying “this is not going to go the way you think” just heightens the mystery of what will happen and how there’s no way we can actually know what is going on walking into the theater in December. The last two shots don’t match up location-wise, since Rey isn’t standing in front a fiery hellscape like Kylo is and her voice is echoing as if she’s inside of a cave or something, and Snoke torturing Rey doesn’t seem to match up with any implications that she’s going to turn to the dark side. However, in my opinion, even the notion that these plot points could potentially happen makes this a great trailer. There’s an ever-present air of hopelessness from the characters we are supposed to be rooting for, especially with the Millennium Falcon on the run yet again from TIE-fighters and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) looking upon ships being blown up by the First Order. Even BB-8 being electrocuted during the space battle is cause for alarm. The trailer score, a bombastic variation of the First Order theme, is the icing on the cake.
Ultimately, there’s more of a reason to pre-order your tickets now than there ever was before. Between the return of Luke Skywalker, bigger and better action, and the unimaginable possibilities for what will happen to all the characters, this is looking to be the dark second chapter for the new trilogy that we’ve been hoping for. The film has the potential to be more original than Force Awakens, but even if it decides to play it safe again by copying its plot I’m still going to enjoy the hell out of it and I’m sure you will too. Get your predictions ready, and brace yourself for a very emotional ride.
Wait… WHY IS THE FONT RED!?
The Last Jedi is in theaters December 15th, 2017.