Return of the Jedi? Thoughts on the new trailer for ‘Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi’

Let the analysis begin! The first teaser trailer for “Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi” premiered last week, and fans immediately began dissecting it, puzzling over it, and speculating where the franchise is heading.

The fascinating thing about the new Star Wars trilogy is that fans have no idea where the franchise is heading. With the prequels and even “Rogue One,” we knew where the story was ultimately going: the fall of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader and the construction and destruction of the Death Star. But with “Episode VIII,” Disney and Lucasfilm are venturing into uncharted waters. Literally anything could happen. However, the new trailer offers plenty of tantalizing clues as to where this journey might take fans.

The trailer opens on the island where Luke has spent his exile. Rey has come to him to seeking training, though we can perhaps deduce that Luke is a somewhat reluctant mentor. We don’t see a lot of Kylo Ren, who is probably still struggling with his inner battle of light versus darkness. We see some really cool shots of ships flying over a planet with red dust, Finn in stasis (maybe?), and Poe surviving an explosion. We see the Falcon in an epic space battle, and Luke offering the ominous pronouncement that it’s time for the Jedi to end.

“The Last Jedi” teaser trailer does exactly what a good first trailer should do — tease more than reveal. It hints at the storyline without giving too much away, and lets us know that this will probably be a darker chapter in the Star Wars franchise (the use of red instead of yellow outlines for the “Star Wars” lettering is further evidence of this).

While some fans thought the J.J. Abrams-directed “The Force Awakens” played things too safe and was too close an echo of “A New Hope,” I actually thought it struck just the right balance between new and nostalgic. The Star Wars franchise needed to get back on firmer footing after the more divisive prequels. Now that the franchise has been successfully reintroduced, Lucasfilm is safe to venture in a riskier direction.

I really like the idea of Luke as a reluctant mentor. In the original trilogy, he’s a stubborn idealist, full of hope and joy in the Force. Yet Kylo’s turn to the dark side has changed him, and possibly forced him (no pun intended) to reexamine the Jedi code. Although I love the Jedi and stories involving the Jedi, I think it would be fascinating to explore Luke training Rey as a Force-user but not necessarily as Jedi, helping her to finding a new kind of balance in the Force. This could be what Luke means by suggesting it’s time for the Jedi to end. I really don’t want Luke to completely fall to the dark side, though, because that would undercut the power of the original trilogy.

I also hope we learn more about Rey’s background. I’ve since abandoned my original theory that she’s Luke’s daughter. I think her origin is going to be a little more mysterious than that. I really believe the theme of her character is going to be “balance” and carrying on Anakin’s legacy as the Chosen One selected to bring balance back to the Force.

I’m really curious to see where they take Kylo Ren’s character in the next two films. Despite what he may believe about himself, there is still good in him, and the war between light and dark continues to torment him. Perhaps the end game is that somehow he and Rey rise up to bring balance to the Force together — but hopefully they don’t team up before getting a chance to have an epic lightsaber rematch (or two).

So, what did you think? Did you like the trailer? What are your theories about what will happen in Episode VIII?

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