I’m not one for trailer breakdowns and discussions but…let’s just do this. It’s Star Wars, damnit.
Calling it now, this gives us the redemption of Kylo Ren. If he was trying to kill Rey there in the opening we’d be seeing blaster bolts flying and her blocking them. Instead it looks like she’s mounting that thing to ride it into battle like a freaking chariot! I’m also pretty sure he body slams a Knight of Ren into the ground with the hilt of his lightsaber so this seems pretty blatant to me.
Repairing that helmet though…I don’t know about that. I’m super mixed on so much of The Last Jedi, but one of the things I adored was the development surrounding Ben Solo/Kylo Ren as a character. In the first film he was an angry kid wearing a Darth Vader homage, a pissy boy that was dealing with the legacy of his family and the weight that came with it. It was interesting and there was definitely some avenues I thought it would take, but at no point did I ever imagine he’d make friends with Rey and then just decide to burn everything that came before down in favor of something new. It was compelling, it was sympathetic, and it was the first time we’d ever seen someone eschew the binary system Star Wars is known for and just say, “Screw all of you, I want to do my own thing!” He went from interesting to being the most interesting character in any of the new films, developed and whole, and driven by a performance by Adam Driver that is the stuff of legend.
But let’s look at the brief montage of buddies! Poe and Finn having space adventures together is one of the most delightful things I could ask for, the chemistry between them in The Force Awakens feeling easy and entertaining. I buy them as whatever you want to see them as, but I like the pairing and I hope we get plenty of screen time with them. We also get Billy Dee in his “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” attire from 35 years ago, rolling around with Chewie in the Falcon and whooping his ass off. I missed him, and it’s exciting to see him even if the trend makes me feel like he’s going to die. Hell, even BB-8 has a buddy this time! It’s a weird little droid straight out of Wall-E, but seeing it in multiple shots makes me wonder if we’re in for yet-another adorable little buddy to join our heroes.
And what about that crashed Death Star!? In the art book for The Force Awakens we see concepts of our heroes swimming through underwater wreckage of the legendary space station in the oceans of the forest moon of Endor. The captions said it was early stages in development, when they were just tossing out ideas and having art created to see if it was something they could conceptualize onscreen. I feel like we’re going back there and using some of that discarded art.
Tying into that, though, is one of the big things I want to talk about. There’s a lot of implication in the voiceover from Mark Hamill here. Before breaking it down I typed it all out. Have a look…
We’ve passed on all we know.
A thousand generations live in you now.
But this is your fight…
We’ll always be with you.
No one’s ever really gone.
There have been a lot of casting notifications, from Keri Russell (who else is absolutely psyched about that?) to the aborted casting of Matt Smith. One of the weirdest ones, though, was Hayden Christiansen. Many were unhappy with his performance in the Prequel Trilogy, but he’s put in good work here and there outside of it and proven that with the right script and director he can be a fantastic actor. Those first three lines seem to imply that Rey has learned from all that came before her. Maybe that means she reads the Jedi texts, which Yoda has indicated are boring as hell, but maybe it means she’s getting lessons from ghosts. That would give us another Yoda appearance, Luke (Hamill is confirmed for the film), and maybe even Obi-Wan and Anakin. Given Kylo’s possible redemption I also think a visit from the granddad he idolizes is highly possible, so that’s the direction I’m leaning here.
Those last two lines, though, are followed by such a notorious cackle that the implication is going to send people into spirals of joy and rage and elation and pain. The internet is already torn on that moment, with most theorizing that good ol’ Sheev Palpatine will be returning to evil it up in the final installment. I have a different theory. I think that Abrams, to appease pissy fans that wanted a Snoke backstory (possibly in the form of a 30 minute exposition drop), will be giving us a flashback that involves them both to tell us not only where our big golden boy came from but his involvement with the Empire. It makes sense that he would have built the first order out of the remnants of the previous regime, so finding out he was partnered with Papa Palpatine would make sense and might be what our heroes are searching for in the wreckage of the Death Star – some key to balancing the Force and ending the galactic conflict. I’m not certain of this, but I’m definitely getting that vibe.
Last thing I wanted to touch one was Leia. I miss Carrie Fischer, we all do. She was a queen in her own right, ruling a kingdom of fans that mourned her death. Hell, the woman I was working for at the time asked if I was okay the next day and was honestly surprised that I hadn’t asked for a day off to mourn myself. Leia will be dead in this film when it opens, but it looks like we’re getting a gorgeous flashback with a touching moment between her and Rey. I don’t know if this will impact the plot much, but the fans will go wild and let’s be honest – most of us are going to cry.
So what did you think? There’s plenty more to talk about, from dogfights to droid buddies to what looks like Stormtroopers with jetpacks. The Force Awakens got a lot of us to believe in the franchise again, safe as it was, and The Last Jedi levelled the fandom in what was basically a holy war of clashing ideologies. Has this left everyone excited for the final installment, now revealed to be titled Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker?
PS: Whoops, forgot that I wanted to drop a theory about the title! I believe that this will be the end of the Jedi and the Sith. Luke Skywalker has completed his Christlike arc, faltering and begging to avoid his destiny before finally sacrificing himself and becoming a legendary figure in the eyes of the entire galaxy. That’s where Christianity came from, with Jesus dying for the sins of humanity and becoming the leading figure in a church. So will Skywalker now be a title, like Jedi or Sith? Just a thought, and one that I’m excited about. If we’re ending the Skywalker Saga then that’s a solid way to cap it, with the family becoming legend.