“Just breathe,” advises Luke Skywalker in the first Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi trailer, which is harder than it sounds, Luke, because Holy Kenobi this teaser X-Wings right from the get-go and doesn’t let up. Now that we’ve wound it back enough times to tell for sure it’s Luke saying “the Jedi must end” and not Kylo Ren, here’s a shot-by-shot analysis of the lightsabers and lasers and every Leia in-between:
We open on Rey (Daisy Ridley), who we last left in The Force Awakens offering a lightsaber to a bearded, disappointed dad-faced Luke Skywalker. Rey’s gasping, music-stopping introduction mirrors the first time we ever saw John Boyega’s Finn in the Episode VII teaser.
Some establishing shots to confirm we’re still on Luke’s hideaway island (the script called it Ach-to, real life calls it Skellig Michael). “Breathe. Just…breathe,” Luke whispers in voice-over, which is officially more than he said in the entirety of The Force Awakens.
Rey, auditioning for a role in Big Little Lies season 2, stares pensively into the breaking ocean waves. “Now, reach out…” Luke’s voice-over suggests, and reach out she does…
So Rey’s lessons in using the Force, an ability only hinted at in The Force Awakens, is going really well or horribly wrong here, depending on how much control she has. Either that, or she’s bringing Superman back to life.
“What do you see?” asks Luke…
…”light,” answers Rey, and appropriately enough we get a brief glimpse of the late, great Carrie Fisher in her final Princess Leia appearance. If you listen closely you can hear echoes of her “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi” speech from A New Hope, a speech we now know Fisher could recite from memory probably up until the day she passed away.
“Darkness,” continues Rey, over a shot of the smashed, smoking remains of Darth Vader’s helmet, followed by Vader’s trademark heavy breathing and, barely, the sound of Obi-Wan (Alec Guinness’ OG version) telling a young Anakin Skywalker about the dark side. Last we saw Vader’s helmet it was in the possession of Kylo Ren on Starkiller Base, a location that spoilers spoilers was blown to pieces at the end of Force Awakens.
“The balance,” finishes Rey, and it is time to go to school, kids. Textbooks and everything! It looks like we’ll be delving deep into Jedi mythology here, just in time for the entire thing to blow the hell up. You can also hear Yoda’s voice here, which is incredibly apropos because…
This gorgeous, sweeping shot is the money-maker for me, revealing Rey swinging away apprentice-style with a lightsaber and Luke looking on, officially filling Yoda’s assumedly tiny shoes. (Note: The Last Jedi will be the greatest Star Wars film of all time if Rey carries Luke around like a backpack at any point).
Remember pod racing? Of course you do, it was one of like, three (?) redeemable scenes from The Phantom Menace (Darth Maul duel still stands up, by the way). Now there’s no telling if those are actual pods, but they certainly look it, and they’re definitely racing toward an entire line-up of AT-AT walkers in the distance.
Finn’s only appearance is a comatose one. Understandable, because the last we saw of him Kylo Ren was whacking his ass with a lightsaber. “Finn will be back for The Last Jedi,” John Boyega assured the Star Wars Celebration crowd. “And he’s not playing this time.”
It straight up warms my heart to know Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron and BB-8 are still buddies (director Rian Johnson also called the rolling droid the “Buster Keaton” of this movie). Funny enough, BB8 and Poe’s “running toward an exploding spaceship” shot is nearly identical to a moment with BB-8, Finn and Rey on Jakku.
My hype for the Millennium Falcon was so real and deep it took nearly ten minutes to turn to sadness, knowing it is almost certainly not Han Solo in the captain’s chair. RIP, you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder.
Rey has a blue lightsaber (Luke’s? Her own?) and is sprinting very intensely toward…something. Not-really-so-bold prediction: she’s running fast, but not fast enough to stop Luke Skywalker’s death.
Sorry, nay-sayers, Kylo Ren is still rocking his janky-looking lightsaber cross-guard (Colbert’s got to be pumped). I thought it was Kylo himself beginning to say “I only know one truth…” but it’s pretty clearly Luke by the end.
Sidenote: If you “only know one truth” that sounds pretty absolute to me, and only a Sith deals in absolutes…
I’ve seen people speculate that’s Rey next to R2-D2, but I think this is a flashback to the night Kylo and his Knight’s of Ren savaged the rest of Luke’s new class of Jedi. Remember the robot hand/hood combo?
This shot miiiiight be from the same flashback above (plenty of similar death and fire!) but I hope it’s not, because it would confirm that Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma eventually made her way out of that garbage chute.
Lest we forget this whole thing is in fact called Star Wars: Space battle…space battle! In all seriousness, this brief shot is more fun than every second I’ve ever spent playing the latest Star Wars: Battlefront.
Finally, we have Luke, framed ominously in a cave entrance, finishing his earlier thought: “…it’s time for the Jedi to end.”
But what could he mean? With the emphasis this trailer has on the balance between light and dark, I feel like we’re headed toward Rey (and maybe even Kylo Ren) riding the line to create something entirely new, something better (worse?) than the Jedi. Or maybe Luke Skywalker is just sick of everyone always asking him to save the galaxy and just wants to take naps in his island cave. Who knows! I for one look forward to near-obsessive speculation until The Last Jedi premieres on December 15.