The Last Jedi Teaser Trailer Breakdown

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WARNING: Possible spoilers by way of speculation and analysis ahead.

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Much like the “Official Trailer” of The Force Awakens, the Teaser Trailer for The Last Jedi opens with what looks to be a starfield before morphing into a shot of rocky ground and…

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an out of breath Rey trying to recover from a physical and/or emotional shock. Note what may be a cave entrance behind her. Has she just experienced another Force vision? If so, this one seems to have taken a greater toll on her.

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Luke voice-over: “Breath. Just breath.” We see beautiful shots of the islands of Ahch-To, the planet where Luke has been in seclusion since the destruction of his Jedi temple and the site of the first Jedi temple.

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Rey looking out at the ocean. Reminiscent of Luke looking out at the twin suns. Perhaps meditating, perhaps contemplating her future place in the galaxy after some life-altering revelation.

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Luke: “Now, reach out.” Rey’s hand on the ground, levitating small stones in a way reminiscent of Luke’s training with Yoda. Director Rian Johnson told ABC News that there is “an element of mentorship and training” from Luke, though it won’t be an exact mirror of the training that he received.

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Luke: “What do you see?” 

Rey: “Light.” General Leia looking intensely at a star map on a ship. We can faintly hear “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi” from A New Hope.

As others have noticed, Leia’s silhouette here is reminiscent of Darth Vader, especially the above trailer image from Rogue Oneeven down to the tilt of her head. Though the voice-over says “light,” is there something darker to Leia’s arc in this film? In TFA Leia lost her husband to their fallen son, the Republic that she worked to rebuild and protect despite itself was decimated if not utterly destroyed, and her brother—whom she believes to be their only hope—has likely not returned to aid the fight. How long can her faith in the light side hold?

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Rey: “Darkness.” Kylo Ren’s shattered mask atop broken glass, reflecting the twisted remnants of the mask of Vader. Here we can hear Vader breathing and Obi-Wan saying “…seduced by the dark side.”

Who destroyed the mask? Was it Rey, Luke, Snoke, or Kylo himself? Is this a symbol that Kylo is moving beyond the mere image of his grandfather? Is it part of his training to do so? Is it a sign of his continued emotional conflict despite the “purifying” act of killing of his father, which was confirmed in the TFA novelization and J. J. Abrams’ audio commentary?

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Rey: “And balance.” What appears to be the interior of a tree with a rustic shelf holding physical books, which instantly conveys that these are very ancient tomes.

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A gloved hand lightly touches a crumbling page depicting the symbol of the Jedi Order. Is this the hand of Luke or Rey? The brown glove is similar to those worn by Rey on Jakku.

Are these books on Ahch-To? We know that after the events of Return of the Jedi Luke began searching the galaxy for Jedi knowledge. These books could be the oldest existing writings of the ancient Jedi Order. The idea of bringing balance to the Force is an old concern of the Jedi as seen in the prequels, and is reiterated in The Force Awakens by Lor San Tekka. Could these be volumes within the larger Journal of the Whills, which we know speaks of the Jedi?

What knowledge has Luke gathered from these tomes, and how has it affected his views of the Force and the Jedi?

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Luke: “It’s so much bigger!” and Rey practicing with the Skywalker lightsaber on an island cliff with Luke watching from a distance.

Apparently Luke’s understanding of the Force has broadened. Perhaps, like the Guardians of the Whills as revealed in the Rogue One Visual Guide, he sees beyond the simple divisions of the light and dark sides of the Force to see its totality. This certainly suggests that he has not totally abandoned the ways of the Force, though Daisy Ridley revealed during the TLJ panel at Celebration that Rey has certain expectations of what she will get from Luke, and those expectations aren’t met. She also told EW that “Rey hoped Luke would take the sword and return to battle. But he no longer sees himself as the warrior.”

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First Order walkers on the salt covered planet Crait. As revealed in an EW article, Crait is a mining planet and former Rebel base.

Here we see Resistance ships that are reminiscent of B-wings breaking up the salt covered surface with what EW calls “stabilizers,” creating clouds of red dust, perhaps to blind the First Order assailants. This sequence is obviously similar to the Battle of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back where the Rebels improvised with tow cables to take down Imperial walkers. It is both visually reminiscent of and distinct from that original walker assault, and hopefully it is part of a plotline that also separates it from being simply an homage to that battle.

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Finn asleep in a medical chamber and suit. We know that Finn will recover from his wounds to fight again in The Last Jedi, going on a mission with the new character Rose, who is a “big fan” of the now popular former trooper. We have also learned that Rose, who is not shown in the trailer, is a maintenance worker for the Resistance who is dragged into the larger story with Finn and must discover what her larger role is in the galaxy.

According to John Boyega, Finn is apparently still trying to decide whether to run or continue to fight the First Order. Hopefully this conflict will be resolved very quickly as that was already his arc in The Force Awakens and was satisfyingly resolved there.

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Poe Dameron and BB-8 race down a hall way. Poe’s black X-wing is destroyed in a hanger. Poor guy just can’t hang on to an X-wing for long….

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The Falcon takes out several TIE fighters. Is this still on Ahch-To? Has Rey inadvertently led the First Order to Luke, forcing them to flee?

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Luke: “I only know one truth…”

Rey running to or from something with her lightsaber ignited.

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Kylo Ren with his saber readied for battle with something burning behind him. We know that this shot takes place after the events of The Force Awakens due to his scar.

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Unfortunately, the placement of the scar seemed to have been changed for this film, something that I personally find rather annoying. The original scar went into the middle of his forehead, while this scar goes over his eyebrow. This placement change was also confirmed by an image on the Battlefront II website as seen above.

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The destruction of Luke’s Jedi temple. We finally see what Luke was looking at in Rey’s vision. The landscape looks to be a combination of rock and grassland. According to EW, “Johnson says this movie will explain why Luke’s decision to flee and isolate himself was the right one, and not an act of cowardice.”

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Captain Phasma and her First Order troops. The trailer makes it seem like this is a continuation of the destruction of Luke’s temple, but on closer examination this is likely the hanger where Poe’s ship was destroyed.

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A space battle over an unidentified planet. You can see a new style of A-wing and large ships that look like updated versions of medical frigates with gun turrets at the bottom of the vertical sections.

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Luke: “It’s time for the Jedi… to end.”

What does it mean for the Jedi to end? Is it a literal end to the Jedi Order with nothing to take its place, or is it simply an end to the rigid structure of the old Jedi and an embracing of a larger view?

Everything Luke worked to build in fulfilling his duty to restore the Jedi Order was brought down by his own nephew. Does he believe that if he hadn’t rebuilt the Jedi that the First Order would not have arisen?

I find it hard to believe that Luke would no longer believe in fighting the dark side. Why would the end of the Jedi stop Snoke and Kylo from continuing to use the dark side to destroy the Republic and rule the galaxy?

Though Luke doesn’t take the lightsaber from Rey, it seems that he does train her in some fashion, rather than refusing and turning her away. He must see some value in teaching her what he has learned.

In Return of the Jedi Luke threw down his saber and refuse to fight, inspiring his father to turn back to the light and destroy the Emperor, but Anakin did have to kill Palpatine to bring about the end of the Empire. 

I think this will ultimately end with Rey following a broader path in the Force that isn’t tied down by the dogma of the old Jedi Order, and Luke having a renewal of faith, assuming he has lost it to some degree.

In The Force Awakens Snoke seems afraid that Luke will restore the Jedi once again, but if Luke and Rey are coming from a different angle, one Snoke cannot see, then it could be the key to ending the First Order. And as Rian Johnson has promised to reveal, Luke’s decision to go into hiding was “the right one” and was not a cowardly choice, so perhaps Luke’s words mean more than even we can see as of yet.

Until next time, may the Force be with you.

Chris Miller

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