Star Wars: the Last Jedi Trailer Breakdown


The latest trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi dropped last night, and we’re going to try and break down the trailer and explore all the awesome details it contains. First, let’s look at it again – because there is so much to discuss.

“When I found you, I saw raw, untamed power. And beyond that, something truly special.” – Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) speaks the first words of the new trailer and the dark and ominous voice sets the tone for the rest of the trailer. We see Kylo Ren overseeing a First Order factory of some kind. The Starkiller base was destroyed in The Force Awakens but the First Order is definitely more powerful than we thought, because the war machine is in full effect. The editing suggests that Snoke is speaking to Kylo, but it very well could be that he’s speaking to Rey instead. Let’s keep going and get back to that in a bit.

We go to the new planet of Crait that is home to one of the oldest Resistance bases in a remote section of the galaxy. It’s a planet with red-colored soil that has a layer of white salt over the top, and it will witness a stunning battle between the Resistance and the First Order. We see new and improved Walkers that now walk on knuckles like gorillas, which will make it harder to trip with tow cables. We also see Kylo Ren’s command shuttle from The Force Awakens above them. It’s obvious that the First Order is moving to crush the resistance, and our heroes will have to pull together with all they’ve got to survive.

Rian Johnson continues to bring stunning images to us, and we can assume that the white and red streaks on the rock below means we are still on Crait. Kylo Ren seems to be leading a team of storm troopers into the old Rebel base that the Resistance has recently reclaimed.

This shot almost looks like it’s lifted straight out of a graphic novel. The deep and ominous red sets off against the stark black of Kylo Ren. Red is obviously the predominant color for this film, as it’s been all over the posters, and throughout this trailer. It’s not a color that has been used a lot in previous films, and this gives The Last Jedi an instant visual cue that sets it apart, and excites me as a viewer.

Now we see Rey hesitatingly igniting Luke’s lightsaber, and then the moment we have all been waiting for – Luke reaching out with a shaking robotic hand to take his lightsaber back. It’s obvious that he’s not excited to see Rey or his old weapon back from his past, and that is only accentuated in the very next shot.

Is Luke afraid? Angry? He exiled himself to this island after the destruction of the new Jedi academy which resulted in the death of his students, and Ben Solo turning to the dark side. He obviously didn’t want to be found, and being given back his old lightsaber is not making him happy.

“Something inside me has always been there. And then I was awake. I need help.”

Rey has felt the Force awaken inside of her, and she’s seen her previous mentor and hero Han Solo killed. She is scared and hurt, and seeks out the one person in the galaxy that can help her. Unfortunately, the old adage of “You never want to meet your heroes in real life” seems to be the case here too. She’s wandering through the mists and ruins of Ahch-To, and it’s similar in feel to Luke exploring the swamps of Dagobah back in The Empire Strikes Back.

We saw this image in the first trailer, but we are obviously revisiting for a reason. There are a few ancient books that are placed on an old and gnarled tree. We can assume these books hold Jedi wisdom, and for fans of the novels and comics, there is an important canon story line about Luke rescuing a Force tree from Palpatine’s collection of Jedi relics after the Battle of Endor. Was the tree transplanted to Ahch-To? What is the significance of the tree on the same planet that is home to the first Jedi temple?

The ground cracks while Rey is meditating, and it’s from the same shots we saw in the first trailer where Luke tells her to breathe and she uses the Force to lift some pebbles off the ground. She’s obviously strong with the Force, and her raw power is shocking to Luke. In Return of the Jedi he was a master Jedi that was at one with the Force after bring redemption and forgiveness to his father. To see him this upset sends a strong signal that Rey is incredibly powerful, and enforces the idea that Luke is hesitant to train her.

“I’ve seen this raw strength only once before. It didn’t scare me enough then. It does now.” Luke is talking about his nephew Kylo Ren and the look of terror on Luke’s face sends a chill down my spine.

We saw glimpses of this in The Force Awakens – the aftermath of Kylo Ren’s betrayal and the destruction of Luke’s Jedi academy. From this shot, it looks like Luke was left for dead, buried in the rubble by his former apprentice and nephew.

“Let the past die…” Kylo says as we witness a space battle where Resistance ships are being attacked by Kylo Ren’s new ship the “Tie Silencer” and Tie Fighters. The Resistance is very much on the losing end here and it seems to be a continuing theme in “The Last Jedi.”

We get our first look at the late Carrie Fisher here as she stands at the bridge of the ship. “Kill it, if you have to. It’s the only way to become who you were meant to be,” says Kylo. It’s cut to make it look like he’s about to kill his mother, and her worried look along with her being Force sensitive has me worried here. There’s a long and lingering shot on her that seems to suggest she is sensing her son through the Force, and Kylo senses her which is making him hesitant to pull the trigger. There has been a rumor floating that Leia is gravely injured during a First Order attack that then requires Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern) to lead the Resistance while she recovers. This is said to cause conflict within the Resistance as the spread out group struggles to decide how to move forward against the First Order. This rumor makes sense and I doubt that Leia dies here. She died after completing work on the film, and Lucasfilm has confirmed that they had plans for her in the next film. She is obviously in grave danger however, and if Ben is willing to pull the trigger – it emphasizes how far to the Dark Side he has gone. If he does start the road to redemption, a common Star Wars theme, he’s got a long road ahead of him.
More red as the Millennium Falcon flies through a cavern full of red crystals while being chased by Tie Fighters. Are we still on Crait?
Now comes the shot that may be the most talked about in the whole trailer. Chewbacca and a Porg scream. Porgs are native to Ahch-To, and the internet has already adopted them as their mascot. Disney has already made a ton of money off these little guys, and the licensing has only just begun.

“We are the spark…that’ll light the fire…that’ll burn the First Order down.” We don’t see a lot of Poe Dameron in this trailer, but we see several shots of him piloting his X-Wing – now with a special after burner to make it even faster. If we go back to the rumor regarding Admiral Amilyn Holdo taking over the resistance while Leia recovers – does Poe disagree with Holdo’s actions and disobey her?

Take a moment and just savor this GIF. Captain Phasma is back, and she’s going toe to toe with Finn who is wearing an Imperial disguise. Phasma is armed with spear and Finn comes with a stun baton fighting among fiery wreckage. Note, this appears to match the hangar bay that Kylo was looking at in the start of the trailer, so this doesn’t seem to be the same scene where Phasma and Storm Troppers marched into a Resistance hangar bay in the first trailer. It’s going to be very interesting to see how Phasma reacts to seeing her former trooper again. Hopefully she gets a lot more to do in the sequel because she was very under used in The Force Awakens.

“This is not going to go the way you think.” Luke definitely appears to be speaking to Rey because we see them together in this same location a few moments later. It appears that he is putting her through training and trials similar to what he experienced with Yoda back in Empire. Luke is definitely not happy about Rey pursuing her Jedi training.

These crystalized foxes seem to inhabit Crait and run towards the formerly abandoned Rebel Alliance base. There is a large ship leaving in the background, and Leia is left behind and watches the doors close. It appears to be after the attack on the Resistance’s fleet, and maybe Leia who is rumored to be injured, comes here to recover and fight against the First Order against Admiral Holdo’s orders. Here Leia is alone, and the look of worry and defeat on her face just breaks my heart.

Rey dives into a pool of water

She comes to the surface and seems surprised/shocked…

And here’s Luke in the cave we saw a few minutes earlier. This appears to be on Ahch-To and maybe is a Force cave similar to the one Yoda had on Dagobah? Maybe Rey has seen something similar to Luke seeing Vader’s helmet containing his own face, and it’s shocked her? Maybe Luke forbid her to come here and she disobeyed? It appears Luke telling her this isn’t going to end the way she thinks takes place after she emerges from the water.

Here we see once again how strong the First Order really is. Finn is still undercover and enters a huge hanger that has Storm Troopers, Tie Fighters, and At-AT’s. This is probably on Snoke’s personal battleship because of how large it appears to be. It also looks like the same room that Kylo was observing and also where Finn fights Phasma. During that fight, the place is in flames and falling apart, so Finn’s undercover work obviously succeeds.

The battle on Crait is definitely going to be a visual feast. The white salt, the red mineral clouds, the new AT-M6’s, the Tie Fighters, the Resistance Skimmers that are creating huge dust clouds; it’s going to be amazing. We also know from publicity stills that both Poe and Finn are in a couple of those skimmers, and it seems that this takes place towards the climax of the film.

Personally, this is my favorite shot in the trailer. We finally see Supreme Leader Snoke in the flesh, and he screams out “Fulfill your destiny!” That could be dialogue from another scene – maybe he’s speaking to Kylo, but my money is that’s he’s speaking to Rey. I feel that his dialogue from the start of the trailer is part of the dialogue here, and that Rey is the one he wants most. Here Rey is being held in a far more powerful and painful version of the Force hold that Kylo had her in on Takodana in The Force Awakens. This appears to be taking place in Snoke’s throne room, so did Rey seek Kylo and Snoke out after Luke refused to train her? Or was she captured? There is rumor of a battle between Rey/Luke and Kylo/Knights of Ren on Ahch-To, so maybe they capture her then?

Now here’s a huge moment. Our first look at Supreme Leader Snoke in the flesh, as he reaches out and cries “Fulfill your destiny!” But while the dialogue could be from another scene and he’s talking to his protege Kylo… he’s torturing Rey, in her new “Jedi training” outfit and being racked in a much more powerful, painful version of the Force hold Kylo gripped her in on Takodana in The Force Awakens. We can see Snoke in the background, and this is taking place in his Throne room, so it seems like Rey could get captured during her return from Ahch-To and the Crait battle. What is Rey’s destiny and why does Snoke know about it?

“I need someone to show me my place in all this.” Maybe she’s talking to Luke. That would be the kind of thing you would say to the Jedi you want to train you…

Or is she seeking a new and darker path with a new mentor after Luke Skywalker refuses her?

The Star Wars trailers are famous for intricate editing and overlapping sound to confuse viewers and lead them away from key story points. On initial glance, the lighting and character placement suggest they are from the same scene. On closer inspection, Rey is wearing her “Resistance” outfit from when she first lands on Ahch-To, and not the Jedi clothing she is wearing when being tortured by Snoke. Kylo is also no longer wearing the bandage from his facial wound that is mostly healed. Who he is reaching out to remains a mystery, and my guess is that these are two different scenes cleverly edited together to make us go crazy. Regardless as to how this plays out in the movie, it’s a brilliant way to finish the trailer. It’s a shocking moment and leaves us speculating and wanting more.

Despite us getting 2 minutes 34 seconds of mostly new footage, we still don’t have a real clear picture as to the actual story of the film. This is because of some masterful editing and we also didn’t see or learn about major characters like Laura Dern’s Holdo, or Benicio Del Tror’s DJ, or Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose Tico. We also don’t see anything from Canto Bight, a city we know plays a major role in the film. I for one am grateful to the marketing team at Disney. I love when I can get a trailer that teases me and makes me think, while still saving major surprises and plot points for me to enjoy when watching the film. Blade Runner 2049 is a recent example or giving out little pieces in the trailer without spoiling the entire film. We won’t get another major trailer before the film’s release – but we will get some new footage in smaller TV commercials. I am more excited than ever to see what Rian Johnson has in store for me in a galaxy far, far away, on December 15th.

What are your thoughts? Disagree with any of my thoughts? We want to hear from you in the comments below!

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