The new trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi debuted last night during one of the worst football games I’ve ever forced myself to sit through. Turns out, I didn’t have to do that at all – the trailer was released across the web at the exact moment it aired on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Take note of that for the future, everyone. There’s no need to suffer through bad sportsball to get our Star Wars fix. Despite Mark Hamill and Rian Johnson telling us to avoid everything carrying the Star Wars name until The Last Jedi opens in theaters on December 14, the trailer was a knockout that didn’t spoil too much. At the most we gained an understanding of what happened to Luke Skywalker. If anything, the footage raised more questions, particularly around what is happening to Kylo Ren and Rey. I love fan theories and speculation as much as anyone, and I have some crazy ideas as to what may be happening in this sequel. Below is a breakdown of the key moments I gleaned from this outstanding second look at The Last Jedi.
Kylo Ren overlooks what appears to be the assembly of an invasion army, likely to be deployed on the mineral planet Crait. Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa considered Crait as a potential new home for the Rebellion, a story that will be told in a Marvel Comics series this December. Over this clip we hear Snoke say “When I found you, I saw raw, untamed power. And beyond that, something truly special.” I don’t think he’s talking about Kylo Ren here. It’s likely Rey.
The First Order advances on Crait. We see smaller, classic AT-ATs standing at the knees of the larger AT-M6 (All Terrain MegaCaliber Six) models. We also see Kylo Ren’s dropship leading the charge. The AT-M6’s legs are simian-like, allowing the vehicle to firmly plant itself to fire the MegaCaliber Six cannon fastened on its back.
Kylo Ren leads a small troop into a cavern on Crait. I’m guessing they found an alternate passage into the base. This moment screams of Darth Vader entering Echo Base on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back.
We then see Kylo Ren in Snoke’s red-tinted throne room. It’s Kylo Ren’s mask, but I don’t know if Ben is the one wearing it. I think it may be a female, and no, I doubt it’s Rey.
Why would Kylo Ren’s saber be lying on the ground of the throne room? You can see the Praetorian Guard’s standing idle in the background, implying no combat has happened here. Is the saber being passed on like a baton to someone else? Who would wear Kylo Ren’s gear? More on that in a second…
As Kylo Ren’s saber rises, we then see Rey ignite her new, blue lightsaber. The teaser poster shows Rey’s saber turning from blue to red, hinting at a dark side turn. I think that happens in this movie, but not with Rey. Again, I’ll get back to that later…
That awkward moment on the cliff at the end of The Force Awakens ends with actual contact between Rey and Luke. Rey hands the saber to its former owner, and he grabs it with his weird, skin-less robotic hand. Over this shot we hear Rey say “Something inside me has always been there. But now it’s awake, and now I need help.”
Luke’s island (called Ahch-To) doesn’t look huge in the aerial and pan shots, but may end up being a bit of a clown car with secret, huge areas all over the place. We see Rey traveling into a fog-covered area with what appears to be age-old tree stumps. I can’t help but think she’s about to experience a hallucination similar to what Luke experienced on Dagobah, but the next shot shows this may not be the case at all.
Ahch-To apparently houses some old Jedi or Force-related scriptures. Is this shrine built in rock or wood? It’s hard to make out.
We then see a series of shots of Rey engaging in Jedi training, first with the lightsaber and then with her mind.
She apparently has the power to split rock in two.
And Luke’s all like “Holy crap! Her Midi-chlorians count is ridonkulous!”
Luke then shows us that he may have retreated to the island because he’s scared and no longer wants to be bound to the Force or Rebellion. “I’ve seen this raw strength only once before. It didn’t scare me enough then. It does now.” Is he talking about Rey’s potential or something else? I’ll point out this: Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.
Luke says this line over a couple of shots that appear to be flashbacks to his Jedi training grounds, which were supposedly destroyed by the Knights of Ren. Luke apparently stood his ground and was left for dead in the debris.
We see him surveying the destruction with R2-D2.
Kylo Ren standing in an elevator, clearly in deep thought. He says “Let the past die. Kill it…if you have to.”
He removes his mask…
…and in another outburst, smashes it against the elevator wall. Is he done being the masked henchman for Snoke? What led to this moment? Perhaps the next series of shots give us a taste of why he may be done with this path.
Following the destruction of Starkiller Base, the First Order strike back against the Rebellion, downing a number of capital-class vessels.
The assault is led by Kylo Ren. We get our first good look at the scar on his face – a mark left by Rey’s lightsaber. A metal strip is over the deepest cut, perhaps it’s some form of a healing device. We’ll come back to that later.
Kylo Ren is a skilled pilot, a trait he picked up from his father. His unique TIE Silencer looks mighty powerful.
General Leia appears to be aboard one of the ships during the attack.
Kylo Ren targets his mother’s vessel…
…and contemplates delivering the death blow. He knows she’s there. She knows he’s there.
He’s an emotional mess in this moment. He downed his father to let the dark side further consume him. Will he do the same thing to his mother? I don’t think so. I believe this is another red herring of a moment in this trailer. My gut tells me The Last Jedi is a redemption story for Kylo Ren. A dark and twisted redemption story. It looks like Leia is confidently getting through to him with the Force. She may have saved her son.
The Millennium Falcon eventually makes it to Crait. The First Order is clearly still on the offensive.
We know Chewbacca is one of the Falcon’s passengers…er…pilots.
A porg is also along for the ride. Porgs are a species of bird-like creatures on Ahch-To. Chewbacca may be fond of this one. He may also want to eat it. We’ll see what happens to this adorable fellow on December 14.
More shots of the Rebellion getting worked by the First Order.
Poe Dameron witnesses the attack from a dropship.
He later makes it to his X-Wing Starfighter, which has been outfitted with a new accelerator pod designed to outrun First Order gun emplacements.
He rockets to safety, using the hull of Snoke’s 60-kilometer Star Destroyer, The Supremacy. “We are the spark that will light the fire that’ll burn the First Order down.”
Finn in a First Order disguise takes on his former boss, Captain Phasma. She’s wielding a new staff, which can extend in length.
BB-8 survives a hit.
Luke is down. I’m guessing he is trying to prevent Rey from leaving the island. He is fearful of her, and may want to stop her from creating further chaos in the universe. He says “This is not going to go the way you think.” That could also be a clever message to the audience.
A cool crystal fox from Crait.
Leia again using the Force to feel something. Remember, she’s still in mourning over the loss of Han Solo. We also believe she is untrained in the Force. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.
Rey diving in a cave, likely down to Luke’s X-Wing, which he piloted to this island. She’s probably looking for something that will help her find Kylo Ren.
Rey after finding what she was looking for and Luke trying to stop her. No matter what you think may be going on, this shot screams of a fight.
Finn either still in disguise, or a prisoner following the battle. Behind-the-scenes footage from the film shows him in a jail.
Snoke saying “Fulfill your destiny.” Initially I thought this was to Kylo Ren, but he may be trying to force Rey to kill Kylo Ren – a twist, but not the biggest we’ve cooked up. This could also play out in a normal way with Ren picking up his saber to fight Rey. That earlier shot of the saber may not be important after all…but we think it is. More on that in a second.
Snoke torturing Rey with the Force. He’s clearly doing something with her mind.
“I need someone to show me my place in all of this,” Rey says.
Kylo Ren (now with a mostly healed scar, implying passage of time) looks sympathetic. I don’t think this is a red herring. I believe Kylo and Rey are having this conversation.
Kylo Ren extends a hand to Rey. Again, I think this is a redemption story for Kylo Ren. At this moment, he’s trying to change who he is and wants to help Rey. What we think happens next, and I say “we” because most of what comes next is a plot twist that editor Matt Miller has suggested as a possibility: Rey strikes down Kylo Ren, believing she is doing something to help her and the Resistance’s cause. That leads to the biggest plot twist of all, something on the level of Darth Vader revealing he’s Luke Skywalker’s father. Having faced the loss of both husband and son, Leia turns to the Dark Side. No one is suffering more than her. She’s in a fragile state. Rumors swirl of her closest friends (including Vice Admiral Holdo) apparently turning on her. She can’t stop the dark side from consuming her.
She strikes down Snoke, and chooses to wear the mask of her now-dead son.
Grabbing his saber and stepping forward as the new leader of the First Order that will bring a peace to the galaxy in a different way, or perhaps leading the Resistance in a dark new direction. This big twist would allow Lucasfilm to keep Leia as a key player in Star Wars: Episode IX, now wearing a mask and with her voice disguised. Mark Hamill recently came forward and said the next chapter focused mostly on Leia, whereas The Force Awakens was Han Solo’s film, and The Last Jedi is Luke’s. With mask donned, another actress could step into the role. You probably hate this idea, but the questions you need to ask yourselves are: Why would Leia be front and center in the third film? Confronting Kylo Ren seems too simple of a plot thread. Plus, it already looks like we are getting that in this film, if that battle sequence can be believed. Secondly, what role will Luke have in this third film? A family confrontation between Luke and Leia seems perfect. We’ve always had the implication that Leia has force powers, but she has persistently resisted training, leaving her open to the temptation of the Dark Side. And consider the potential symmetry and power of a conflict framed between Leia and Rey for Episode IX. The Star Wars saga has often dealt with the danger of unchecked and untamed power, and ways that anger and suffering can bring even great heroes to a shadowy place.
Most people believe Kylo Ren blows up Leia’s ship and she dies. Again, that seems like too simple of an idea, but it may be the only out Lucasfilm has in wrapping up Leia’s story at this point. But I’m right there with Miller in thinking that Leia may be turning to the dark side, setting up a dramatic and powerful final act to this new sequel trilogy.
Let us know what you think of this crazy idea in the comments section below. If you see something else happening, jot it down and we’ll let you know what we think of it.