Ever since the teaser trailer for the The Last Jedi was released at this year’s Star Wars Celebration, fans across the world have been watching and re-watching the trailer to gleam any sort of additional clues for the film. So, being a majorly speculative person, I decided to do a Trailer Breakdown to see if I could read any more into what we see at first glance in this trailer.
With every scene in the Star Wars trailer, I have tried to look for any opportunities for hidden messages or a deliberate mi-direction in the editing. Are they trying to tell us something – are they trying to throw us off? At this point, everything is still very much open to interpretation, so join me on my journey of discovery for clues for this year’s most anticipated film, The Last Jedi…
1. Star Pattern
The fact that the trailer begins with this highlighted star section, made me think that it was a clue hidden in plain sight. In fact, thinking back on the importance of star formations and ‘maps’ in The Force Awakens, I decided to look back on the map to Luke. If you look at the both star formations closely, you can see a similar pattern emerge – the path to Ahch-to. So what does this mean for the film? To be honest, probably nothing. But then, what would be the point of having this scene? My best guess is that is connected to the First Order finding Luke’s location – which would tie into the filming reports of Kylo Ren and his First Order cronies appearing on the island.
Similarly, the ‘map’ theme continues in the trailer with General Leia’s appearance onboard a Resistance ship (who’s silhouette looks strangely like Vader’s here). If we try and connect how Kylo/The First Order finds Luke’s location, it seems like the First Order could overpower Leia’s Resistance ship and steal Luke’s location, leading them straight to Ahch-to.
2. Rey’s Training
One thing that is obvious from the trailer is that, whether willingly or not by Luke, Rey is training in the Jedi ways. Taking the trailer as a whole, Rey doesn’t seem to appear anywhere other than on the island, giving us the feeling that Rey’s training may last the entire movie.
Looking back to Rey’s first appearance in the trailer, she falls to the ground, out of breath and sweating. After replaying the scene a few times, I noticed that after falling, she turns back towards the cave behind her. The question is, who, or what, is she looking back at? Some people have speculated that the cave is the same one we see Luke silhouetted against later in the trailer, and I think I agree. But why is she so scared? There seems to be two trains of thought here – either Luke has turned dark and has surprised her with that revelation, or Rey has had another Force vision.
If we look back to Luke’s own training in The Empire Strikes Back with Yoda on Dagobah, Luke has a vision of him fighting Vader. Before he enters the cave, Luke asks Yoda: “What’s in there?”, and Yoda replies: “Only what you take with you”. Against Yoda’s advice, Luke brings his weapons for protection and sees a vision fuelled by what they represent – his fear and aggression. After defeating him in his vision, Luke sees himself reflected in the face of Vader, showing his fear’s potential to go down the path of the dark side.
Could Rey have had her very own test against the Dark Side, and what could she have seen? If we think about Luke’s vision, it was fueled by his emotions and fear. Since Rey is clearly driven by her emotions, we can only assume that as Luke faced off against his greatest fear (Vader), Rey too will face off against hers (Kylo).
Looking at Rey’s clothing, it seems to match what she’s wearing at the end of The Force Awakens, so we can surmise that this scene will take place fairly early on in the film.
As the trailer goes on, we see a continuation of Rey’s training – from seeing her use the force, to practising with a lightsaber. In the cliff scene, we see Luke watching over Rey. But interestingly, we can also see a strange rock formation next to her. Looking at it from afar, it looks like a statue of a Jedi, with their arms raised to the side (as if they were holding a lightsaber) – similar to the pose we see on the crumbling Jedi statue on Jedha, in Rogue One. If so, this would link in with the theory that Luke went off in search of the original Jedi Temple and may have succeeded on Ahch-to. Although I’m fairly confident on the statue theory, other theories that I’ve seen are that it’s merely a pile of rocks that either Luke or Rey are levitating with the force, or even that the tiny rock on top is Yoda, overwatching Rey’s training, as he did Luke’s!
3. Battle On Ahch-to
Next in the trailer, we a split second of the Millennium Falcon ripping across the scene after some TIE fighters. We last saw the Falcon dropping off Rey on Ahch-to, so it would be safe to assume that it’s still there, especially as Episode 8’s director Rian Johnson has confirmed that the film picks up directly after the events of The Force Awakens. The First Order presence on Ahch-to, would confirm my theory that the map to Luke is stolen from the Resistance during the film.
The real question is, who is in the Millennium Falcon? We’ve already seen that both Chewie and Rey are able to fly the ship alone, but the interesting point in this clip is that we see the ship shooting down TIE fighters, and it takes at least two people to drive and shoot in the Falcon. So who could be in there? Chewie seems like a safe bet as he technically now owns the ship. So, if the ship really is still on Ahch-to, then could Rey and/or Luke also be on board? If it was Luke, then this would be an amazing chance for another nostalgia-trip for fans, especially as Luke missed out on his own goodbye with Han.
I’ve linked these next images for their similarity in colour, but also because of their similarity to the colour and layout in the TFA flashback scene. Is this the big re-match battle between Rey and Kylo that we have all been waiting for? Let’s hope so! It’ll definitely be interesting to see how well Rey will do with a little bit of training, and whether or not Luke will also get in on the action.
4. Kylo Ren
Kylo Ren doesn’t appear for long in the trailer, but his scenes have caused some of the biggest reactions amongst fans. First scene up is the reveal of his crushed mask. For one, it’s still smoking, so an accidental drop on the floor is out – leaving two options: a weapon or the Force. Originally, I was fairly confident that Kylo had sliced it with his lightsaber in a typically-Kylo fit of rage, but after staring at it for a good while, it just seems a little too ‘intact’ for that to be true. If you remember back to his attack on that poor First Order control panel in TFA, it was literally melting after a couple of swings from his trusty saber. Looking back at this still, the helmet seems to have exploded, rather than been slashed by a lightsaber. The next thing to consider then, is what could have caused that kind of damage? An angry Force crush could have done it, but it wouldn’t explain why it was smoking, so, could it have been destroyed by some sort of blaster shot? Now, odds are that it wouldn’t have been a Stormtrooper, because let’s face it, when was the last time that they actually hit something? As of yet, I have no ‘real’ conclusions for this scenario… so let me get back to you on that one…
Another interesting thing to point out in this scene, which could give us a clue to where/when this scene takes place, is the shattered glass on the floor. You usually see glass in Star Wars in two scenarios – on the windows of their Starships, and in the infirmary bacta tanks. Seeing as it’s unlikely that it’s a ship window (for obvious reasons), it seems more likely that it’s come from a bacta tank in the First Order infirmary – and in this case, the one that Hux threw Kylo in after picking him up at the end of TFA. If this was glass from Kylo’s bacta tank, then it would have to happen fairly early in the film, as Kylo’s story is one of the main plot pushers and I can’t see him being kept down for long.
But, what’s also important to consider about the mask, is what this means for Kylo’s character going forward in The Last Jedi. Kylo used his mask to connect himself with his Grandfather, but also to hide his emotions. Facing a film without it, will we see a more composed Kylo, or will we see him totally and emotionally unhinged? Looking at our first ‘real’ look at him in the trailer, it looks highly likely.
Next up, is one of my favourite clips in the trailer – Kylo looking badass with his lightsaber. And, although we see what appears to be Rey cutting Kylo’s lightsaber in half at the end of Force Awakens, we can clearly see that it’s back to it old jittery goodness here. Is this a flashback? His scar shows otherwise, but again, I’m not sure what to think. Instead, we have to look at other clues in the scene to give us a better idea at what we could be seeing.
Addressing the scene around him, what I first thought was fire in the background (and in my head I was linking it to the building/Luke flashback scene), looks a lot more like dripping water. Thinking about it from this angle, it feels like this could be taking place on Ahch-to, and possibly in a cave. Could this be the same cave that Luke and Rey are seen hanging around in? Could he even be part of Rey’s force vision? I think the biggest clue to where and when this is, is Kylo’s scar.
In TFA, we see Rey savagely cut Kylo with her lightsaber. But, if we look at the placement of his scar in this clip, it has moved, and is now clearly over his right eye. The question here is, why is it different? This small, almost stylised scar is very reminiscent of Anakin’s from Revenge Of The Sith, and leads me down two trains of thought – he is either part of a vision conjured up by Rey (who knows about his injury), or this is much later in the movie, and it is a second injury.
The reason why I don’t think it is a secondary scar (with the previous healed through the magic of bacta), is because we have also been graced with two other images of Kylo and his scar from the film. The first is the black and white image that director Rian Johnson showed during his panel at this year’s Star Wars Celebration. Now, this scar’s placement is a lot more similar to what we see in TFA, but it still feels a little ‘off’. The scar is clearly running through his eyebrow, and not the middle of his forehead, like in TFA. Going on to the image below that, which was released with the announcement of the new Star Wars Battlefront II game, it looks a lot like the b&w version. So, I think it’s safe to say that this scar ‘look’ is canon.
Still, this other, randomly place scar scene is really bothering me. Could Kylo have healed from the scar and then re-cut it as a reminder? Or is this just simple a (really big) movie mistake? It seems that a mistake of that visibility would be very unlikely on a movie of this scale, so I think there must be something more to it. At the moment, however, more than anything, it seems to be a case of ‘pin the scar on Kylo’.
5. Jedi Scripture
The next bit in the trailer looks at a set of books, in what looks like under the roots of a tree (and similar to the cave we see Luke in at the end of the trailer). Could this be Luke discovering the books after he lands on Ahch-to, or could it be Rey looking to learn a little more about the Jedi? Whatever happens, it’s seems clear that the canon Star Wars mythology will be getting that little bit bigger, with the re-introduction of the Jedi Order symbol (which you can see echoed in the movie poster).
After talk about adventuring onto new planets, including a Casino planet reportedly called Canto Bight, it’s interesting to see another planet introduced in the trailer. During Celebration, director Rian Johnson let it slip that this red and white planet is called Criat. Could this be a stronghold of the First Order? Or even Supreme Leader Snoke’s hideout? Well, what we do know is that there is going to be a battle of potentially epic proportions, between massive new gorilla-like AT-AT’s and smaller B-Wing-like ships.
Johnson also said that the planet’s distinctive red dust trailing from behind the smaller ships is actually the colour of the planet, and the white is a sort of salt-like covering. It’s really cool to see The Last Jedi introducing some new locations to the Star Wars universe – especially after TFA’s had such glaringly similar planets to those in ‘A New Hope’.
In the trailer we only get a brief glimpse of Finn, recovering from his beating in the last film. What we see in the trailer, is him strapped into a machine of sorts, still in the same coma-like state he was in at the end of TFA. Could this be a special bacta ‘suit’ he’s wearing? I think it’s too big a leap to really take anything from this tiny clip, but it’s nice to know that Finn is still going strong. We know that Finn’s character will be interacting with Kelly Marie Tran’s character Rose, who has been described as: “an unlikely hero.. [who] gets pulled into this adventure.”, which echoes Finn’s story in TFA, so it’ll be interesting to see how their stories intertwine.
Another of our heroes that we see only briefly in the teaser trailer, are Poe and BB-8, who both appears to be running to Poe’s X-Wing as the resistance ship comes under heavy fire. (Really, will that guy ever get to fly his ship?!) I haven’t heard too much about what kind of storyline Poe will be following, but it’s safe to say that he’ll be doing what he does best and be getting into the middle of all the action! Also, it will be interesting to see how Poe and BB-8 interact together, and what other great comedic moments we’ll get from our favourite duo!
9. First Order
Now, a lot of people have said that this scene with Phasma and the First Order Stormtroopers is connected to the burning building scene shown directly after it, but I think this is deliberate and clever editing. If you take a careful look at the top left edge of the image, you can see the blue-ish tint to what looks to me like a strip light on a ship. This makes me believe that these two scenes aren’t connected, and Phasma and her team are instead attacking the Resistance. Another thing that backs this idea up, is that if you take a look at the debri scattered at their feet, the pieces look like metal. Whereas, if you look at the building we see Luke sitting outside with R2-D2 looks more traditionally built, with stone or wood. Furthermore, looking at it next to the image with Poe and BB-8 in the exploding hangar above, the similarities in the scene setting seem to connect these two scenes, unravelling the story a little more. Burning debris – check. Exactly the same blue lighting in corner – check. This would also tie into my theory that the First Order overpower Leia’s Resistance ship to get Luke’s location.
Now doesn’t this look familiar? Anyone who remembers Rey’s vision from TFA, will immediately recognise this scene. We see two figures, R2-D2 and (presumably) Luke, looking on as a building (a Jedi temple?) burns to the ground. Is this Luke destroying the Jedi temple to ‘end the Jedi’? I think from his dramatic knee-drop, that it’s probably not the case. So, could this be a flashback to Kylo and the Knights of Ren turning on Luke? I think it’s a lot more likely, especially if we think back to Rey’s vision and how the group shot of Kylo and his Knights comes immediately after Luke and R2-D2.
Another thing that I noticed in the clip is that the figure next to R2 is small. Whether that is a trick of the camera angle, or just a trick of the editing, it would be interesting if that figure wasn’t who we expected it to be (Luke) and was instead someone completely different. The real question is, i it’s not Luke, then who else could it be?
11. Space Battle
It wouldn’t be Star Wars, without a few battles in space! Will this scene connect to us seeing Poe running to his X-Wing, or will this be an entirely new battle scene? It’s also interesting to see an A-Wing re-introduced into the Resistance fleet!
12. The Last Jedi
Finally, the biggest thing that we get from this trailer is Luke’s final definitive statement: “I only know one truth. It’s time for the Jedi to end.” Tying this in with the title of the film, ‘The Last Jedi’, it makes it clear that this is going to be the overall story-arch for these final Episodes. It’s also sad to see Luke, who was once such a beacon of hope, turn foreboding and sombre.
It also introduces the potential to delve into the much rumoured ‘Grey Jedi’ mythology that has appeared previously in the now non-canon Star Wars Extended Universe. Could we see a new group of Jedi coming forward that balances both the light and dark sides of the force?
This storyline might also mean introducing the Journal of Whills – an ancient book that referenced the history of the Jedi – a plot device that George Lucas had originally intended to appear in the original Star Wars films. However, it is interesting to note that the Journal was made canon after being directly quoted from at the beginning of TFA. Could this be one of the books we see earlier in the trailer?
First comes the day
then comes the night.
After the darkness
shines through the light.
The difference, they say,
Is only made right
By the resolving of gray
Through refined Jedi sight.
Journal of the Whills, 7:477
Another interesting thing to notice about the scene itself, is that the walls of the cave seem to have roots coming out of the rock. Could this location be the same location as where the books are being held? And who is Luke talking to? Personally, I don’t think it’s Rey. Rey doesn’t know anything about the jedi, so why would Luke be discussing something as important as the future of the Jedi with her? I think this cave, not only hold the holy jedi texts, but it is also where Luke connects with force ghosts – and in this case, Yoda. This would tie in to the reports that a new Yoda puppet has been commissioned for the film, and Frank Oz (the voice and puppeteer for Yoda) seemed to unintentionally confirm his involvement in The Last Jedi when he said in an interview with Variety: “I have to say I’ve been asked not to talk about it.” Now, why would he have been asked to not talk about it, unless he had actually been involved? And if Yoda comes back as a Force ghost, could we see others also return?
I think we’ll need to wait for the next trailer before we can speculate any more, but for now, let me know your thoughts on my theories in the comments below, and any others that you come up with!