More Things To Expect From Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi
As brilliant as the movie was, it’s hard to argue against the fact that The Force Awakens was indeed a loose remake of A New Hope. Thematically and structurally it hit many of the same notes as its iconic predecessor in many different ways, the most obvious probably the inclusion of Star Killer Base and the similar trench run the X-Wings navigate to reach the core. There was also Harrison Ford in the classic mentor/guide role, very similar to the classic Alec Guinness portrayal of Obi Wan Kenobi whilst the centre point of the movie dealt with the isolated and frustrated Rey, aspiring to become something more amidst the backdrop of a desert planet. Luke Skywalker anyone?
The first teaser trailer for The Last Jedi arguably suggests more of the same of that retreading of old movies, none more so than the shot of presumably resistance ships bellowing red smoke towards the horizon. And what’s on that horizon? The suspiciously similar silhouettes of the infamous AT AT walkers, of course making their memorable debut in the battle of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back. There’s also a shot soon after of Poe Dameron running towards an X-Wing that promptly explodes. Is the resistance in more trouble than ever before? Are they fighting a losing battle? If we’re going to see some recycled elements from The Empire Strikes Back, we could be in for a treat.
Rey's Jedi Training
Not much of a surprise to anyone because as soon as we ended The Force Awakens with Rey face to face with Luke Skywalker, there was the assumption that Rey would thus begin training to become a Jedi. And, as such, the new trailer suggests this will be a focal point of the new movie.
The very first shot of the trailer sees Rey presumably amidst her Jedi training. This is accompanied by beautiful panning shots of Ahch-To, the place of Luke Skywalker’s current exile, before an epic long shot of Rey training with a light sabre under the eye of a cloaked Luke. So as well as complying with the theory that The Last Jedi will recycle many elements of The Empire Strikes Back as mentioned above, the movie will give much of its focus to the training of Rey similar to that of Luke under the guidance of Yoda. There’s even a shot of small rocks levitating from the ground very reminiscent of Luke attempting to achieve this on Dagobah.
Luke's Character Arc
We knew there may be a reluctance of Luke to train any more Jedi, especially after what happened with former pupil Kylo Ren, but we probably weren’t prepared for Luke’s closing line that ‘the Jedi should end.’ Whilst we clearly know that Luke is indeed training Rey in the ways of The Force, there’s undoubtedly the aura of a man broken to a point as to believe in such a statement about his beloved Jedi order. The shot of Luke darkly silhouetted against the opening of a cave also adds to this impression of maybe a darker attitude.
The statement made by Luke could mean several things but taken out of context nobody can say for certain what his true intentions are here. Will Luke see enough light in Rey to restore his faith in the Jedi? Indeed, could this be his character arc throughout the movie, gradually morphing from a beaten, sceptical soul to firm believer in the light side once again?
A New Look For Kylo Ren?
Kylo Ren made for a very compelling villain in The Force Awakens. Displaying signs of an internal fight between the light and dark, Kylo seemed emotionally torn in moments throughout the movie, none more so than in the slaying of his father Han Solo. His costume also depicted the look of a young man in idolization of Darth Vader, of course, his grandfather.
But one shot in the trailer seemed to raise more questions than answers, that shot being Kylo’s broken mask lying on the ground amidst shattered glass. Are we being very explicitly told that Ren will change his appearance for the new movie? Will he cease to wear the sinister, Vader esque mask that made him so much more menacing previously? And what is the significance of this? December 2018 can’t come quick enough.
The Balance Between Good And Evil
Ok, so this theme obviously isn’t exactly anything new for a Star Wars movie but what the new trailer does is to drive home the theme of a ‘balance’ between the dark and the light, perhaps more so than any other previous Star Wars entry. There’s a shot of what looks like some ancient stone carving relating to The Force in conjunction with the intentional juxtaposition of images of Rey and Kylo, the blue to the red, one side balanced with the other. Is there a closer link between these two characters being teased here? Cough, brother and sister, cough. Again, time will tell.