What kind of fan experience do you want to have with Star Wars: The Last Jedi? Wanna devour every new screenshot, trailer, and parcel of footage in the build-up to December 15? Well, tonight is a big moment for you because Disney just released the film’s long-awaited second trailer, and, yeah, it’s amazing.
Rather go into Last Jedi as cold as possible and avoid all trailers and TV commercials? You’d better have some serious self-discipline because in the coming hours and days the internet will be buzzing with reactions and obsessive, frame-by-frame analyses of this trailer. Hell, in the mere minutes it’s taken me to write this opening paragraph hundreds of YouTubers have already posted their real-time Last Jedi trailer reaction videos. Collider’s reaction video instantly racked up 2 thousand views.
So, if you’re someone wanting to maintain a pure fan experience for The Last Jedi get ready to do a lot of this:
I’m caught somewhere in-between. I know I shouldn’t watch the new trailer, yet at the same time, I am suddenly overwhelmed with a need to geek out over it and debate its various reveals about the film’s plot. So, without further adieu:
I can’t wait to see what the Emo Kylo Ren Twitter account has to say about real Kylo’s Last Jedi attempt to add matricide to his list of achievements. He’s already killed his dad. Why not add mom for good measure because maybe then Snoke will truly love him and he’ll finally quiet those inner voices which keep telling him he’s not dark or tortured enough. Except, of course, those voices are probably never going away.
But I digress.
As with last April’s teaser trailer, Last Jedi has the look of an Empire Strikes Back-like series of down notes, the part of the trilogy where our heroes lose more often than they win. Force Awakens‘ mythical search for Luke will translate into a far more damaged and less self-assured Jedi mentor than we’ve seen before in this franchise. Rey won’t get to enjoy the steadying hand of Obi-Wan or sneakily effective tutelage of Yoda. Instead, she’ll have sad Luke looking on her with terror and flashing back to how poorly things went with his last student (I’m assuming the moment of him climbing out of rubble is the aftermath of Kylo’s Knights of Ren rebellion).
All of that, though, we could have guessed already. The new wrinkle is this trailer’s implication that at some point Rey might join forces with Kylo.
Or that might just be two completely different scenes spliced together to mislead us.
Or it’s a real scene but one which will have a far different meaning once viewed in context.
I don’t know. We should never completely trust trailers, but the narrative Disney’s marketing department seems to be spinning here is that in The Last Jedi Rey and Kylo’s relationships with their respective mentors will sour and turn them toward each other, thus circling back to The Force Awakens’ finale when Kylo offered to train her.
I’m not completely opposed to the idea of our presumptive chosen one joining sides with our presumptive villain, although I don’t completely trust that’s actually what’s happening in the trailer. Kylo killing Han Solo seemed to close the book on him as a redeemable character, and we haven’t seen enough to understand how Rey could ever even dream of siding with him. However, these films have so often been about the bad guys trying to tempt the good guys into joining them. The one time we saw a good guy give in he became Darth Vader. What if Last Jedi is trying to do something different with that familiar dynamic?
It could also just be that Rey is lying, and that’s thing Luke warns her won’t go as well as she expects, which is why we also see her apparently being tortured by Snoke at one point. Or Kylo is actually the one switching sides in that moment, not Rey.
I clearly don’t really know what is happening there, but damn is it ever intriguing, so much so that it overshadows the rest of the trailer for me. So, briefly, we see Finn lock swords with Captain Phasma, Poe delivers a rousing hero speech, Leia helplessly hopes Kylo doesn’t blow her ship to smithereens, this holiday season’s new favorite toy makes an appearance alongside Chewie on the Millennium Falcon….
…and Snoke makes his first non-hologram appearance. Plus, there are probably dozens of others quick shots and little things I missed, but it’s the ending that has me hooked. I can’t stop thinking about it.
All in all, an intoxicating set of images and sounds from a movie we’re all going to be seeing just over 2 months from now.
What did you think? I say all of this has someone who loves both Force Awakens and Rogue One, but despite those films respectively clearing 2 billion and 1 billion worldwide not everyone is down with where Kathleen Kennedy and company have been taking the franchise. So, to those Force Awakens critics did this trailer do enough to win you back? Let me know in the comments.