The trailer for Star Wars Episode VIII or The Last Jedi has dropped and we’re gonna take a look at the major talking points. FIVE OF THEM.
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Empire Strikes Back, back?
One thing that struck me watching this teaser was how many call backs there seemed to be to Empire. Of course, one of the main criticisms of The Force Awakens was that it was too similar to Episode 4 which was unfair in my opinion. If you strip back the plot of pretty much any sci-fi/ fantasy story, you’ll find the major plot beats are pretty consistent throughout centuries of storytelling. However, The Last Jedi certainly needs to move forward with the franchise rather than look back on past successes. The Force Awakens got the balance of old and new right whereas Rogue One leant so heavily on fan service it felt like a fan film.
Let’s hope The Last Jedi gets it right.
There’s some specific shots in this trailer that are homages to Empire like this one of an impending AT-AT battle which is very reminiscent of the battle on Hoth.
There’s also the obvious Jedi training theme going on. In Empire it was Luke and Yoda and here it’s Rey and Luke. The first shot in the trailer is of Rey looking out of breath and scared and there’s also a cave behind her. Has she just done her equivalent of the dark side cave in which Luke battled Vader… who was actually a metaphor…?
It’s probably just a cave.
Nonetheless there are obvious parallels between Rey and Luke’s journey up until this point. There’s a lot of talk about the light and the dark and the balance of the force by Luke in this trailer which reflects what Yoda and Obi Wan told him on Dagobah. One thing I loved about The Force Awakens was Kylo Rey’s battle with the dark and light, in The Last Jedi I’d imagine we’re now going to see how Rey deals with the fight just as Luke did in Empire.
However, it looks like there’s going to be one key difference here. Luke, seemingly wants to end the Jedi, which begs the question…
What’s going on with Luke?
We waited over thirty years for Luke to return to our screens to wait an extra two hours and fifteen minutes for him to only appear for a few seconds without uttering a single line of dialogue. We know that Luke established some kind of Jedi temple after Return of the Jedi and that said temple was destroyed by Kylo Ren and his cronies presumably under the influence of Supreme Leader Snoke. But we don’t know an awful lot more about what’s been going on in the thirty years after Luke defeated the Empire.
We know, thanks to the Shattered Empire comic book that Luke, along with Poe’s mother, went to retrieve some trees from the Empire that were originally growing at the Jedi temple in Coruscant. Poe’s mother took one of these trees and Luke took the other but what happened after that is unknown. Whether these trees are relevant or not remains to be seen but I’d be surprised if we didn’t at least get a mention of them.
These important looking books are on a tree-like structure…coincidence?
There’s probably more than one tree in Star Wars. I’ve not counted them but I think there’s at least five.
There’s thirty years of Luke’s backstory to get into. Where was his temple? Why did he give up and go into hiding? Who survived the purge of the Jedi? And perhaps most importantly, why does Luke want to end the Jedi?
Also, I think this is the cave we see in the first shot of the trailer (above) so maybe this is just Luke’s new abode and not a metaphor for being your own worst enemy.
Back to the question in hand; why does Luke want to end the Jedi? Perhaps we can take clues from the expanded universe. In the Star Wars films we’ve only ever seen light and dark sides of the force with not much ambiguity. However, in the Star Wars canon there are Jedi who dabble in both sides of the force and there are Jedi who do not abide by the code set out by the Jedi council and these groups are generally referred to as the gray Jedi.
Now, it’s more than likely that Luke has not turned to the dark side or is using the dark side of the force but instead, through years of study he has figured out that the Jedi code way of doing things was a bit shit. I think of it like an old religion too stuck in it’s own ways to realise that change sometimes needs to happen for the greater good. Maybe Luke thinks (probably correctly) that the Jedi are often responsible for creating their own worst enemies.
Look at Anakin as a prime example. He wasn’t allowed to properly realise his power, instead he was shunned and ended up murdering a load of children and his wife. Maybe with more guidance and less “just do what you’re told” Anakin might not have turned to the dark side. Maybe Luke saw the same thing happen to Ben (Kylo Ren) and figured that asking a frustrated young man with incredible powers to be celibate for life is a recipe for disaster. In seriousness though, the Jedi council in the prequels are so obsessed with rule following and box ticking that they allowed the Sith to take over the republic and turn it into the Empire. Good job.
Perhaps Luke has realised the limitations of living to a strict mantra and has taken it upon himself to learn more dangerous aspects of the force in order to fully understand them. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how his training of Rey differs from Yoda’s training of Luke.
What’s in those books?
Books have never been a huge part of the Star Wars universe. You don’t see many people reading. It’s curious then that we get a couple of shots featuring some pretty important looking tomes. These are likely to be old Jedi texts but a theory I have is that one of them might be the journal of a certain Ben Kenobi. Although one of the books actually has the logo of the Jedi Council on it.
In the Marvel Star Wars comics Luke discovers Ben’s journal which has a note saying “For Luke” on it. The journal tells of Ben’s time after Revenge of the Sith while in exile on Tatooine.
Time for tin foils hats, folks.
My theory is: Ben is actually Rey’s grandfather. This is written in his dairy and this is how Luke knows exactly who she is. This is why she’s on Jakku, to hide her from the Empire, in a very similar way to how Luke was hidden on Tatooine. There’s also a suggestion that Kylo Ren knows who she is perhaps indicating that she was one of Luke’s pupils at this Jedi temple.
I’m also predicting the announcement of an Obi Wan Kenobi anthology film once this information is revealed.
So that’s my theory. It seems weird for the books to be important enough to focus on in such a way unless the information within them is particularly vital which makes me think they are more than just ancient Jedi texts.
For the first time in a Star Wars film, TFA had flashbacks, or forcebacks as JJ Abrams called them. These forcebacks, experienced by Rey, were supplemented with dialogue from previous films. Most notably including dialogue form Ewan McGregor and Alec Guinness (more evidence for the Kenobi theory?)
In this trailer we hear dialogue from Leia (“help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope”), Alec Guiness again and Yoda. Is this evidence that we’re going to be getting more force backs? Perhaps via Rey’s training with Luke? In TFA we got a brief glimpse of Kylo Ren and his Knights purging the Jedi temple. Are we finally going to see the Knights of Ren in action? I certainly think (hope) so. These two images are from TFA (top) and TLJ trailer (bottom) and I’m pretty sure they’re both from the same scene. It’s Luke and R2 at what remains of his Jedi temple.
Like I said, I’m pretty sure we’ll get this via a ‘forceback’. I suggested earlier that Rey might have been at the temple so perhaps we’ll see her ‘remembering’ this event as a small child.
More ambiguous force users?
I mentioned earlier about gray Jedi. Jedi who practice both light and dark sides of the force or those who just operate outside of the Jedi council. I’ve spoken about my thoughts regarding Luke maybe becoming a bit more ‘grey’. But what about our other force users?
Kylo Ren spoke about the temptation of the light in TFA and I’m guessing we’ve not seen the last of that. It’ll be interesting to see whether killing Han has pushed him over the edge to the dark or whether it’s clouded his judgement even more. He still looks pretty angry in this shot, though.
Then we’ve got Rey. Criticised for being a Mary-Sue in TFA could Rey potentially feel the draw of the Dark Side? One clue to this might be the poster for TLJ. Take a look below. Rey’s lightsaber turns from blue to red. Is this a sign of things to come? I can’t see it happening personally, given Rey’s character arc in TFA but there are things that could be taken for clues, rightly or wrongly. The lightsaber clue, the red tinge to the poster and of course, the red text used for the title all point towards The Last Jedi being considerably darker than The Force Awakens.
Thanks for reading this article and I really hope you enjoyed it. Agree with my thoughts? What is Rey’s heritage? Will she go dark?
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