By Dan Flegg
The teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode VIII has arrived!
We’ve been eagerly awaiting footage from the next film ahead of its arrival in December, and finally a trailer has been revealed at the annual Star Wars Celebration event in Orlando.
If you are yet to catch the trailer, check it out!
There’s a lot to unpack, so here’s a breakdown of what’s on show.
The opening sequence returns us to the mysterious planet where Luke Skywalker was discovered at the end of Episode VII.
A beautiful array of establishing shots flash across the screen, and John Williams’ score does an impressive job of creating a sense of mystery and unease. He’s done it again.
It looks like Rey has begun her Jedi training, and it seems as though Daisy Ridley’s character is being put through her paces as she sucks in the big ones. Skywalker’s voice echoes in the background, telling her to “just breathe.”
Rey had the same look of shock and astonishment when she first picked up Luke’s lightsaber in Maz Kanata’s cantina and had those terrible visions in The Force Awakens.
The next shot shows Rey’s hand touching the ground as rocks begin floating in the air! It would seem Rey has begun mastering the ways of the force.
Luke can be heard whispering to Rey, urging her to “reach out”, before he asks “what do you see?”
Next we see what looks like a New Republic base, and one can only assume we are seeing a silhouette of General Leia Organa.
Carrie Fisher’s character is peering into a galaxy map of sorts, perhaps plotting the Republic’s next plan of attack. We hear Daisy Ridley whisper “light.”
We are then shown what looks to be Kylo Ren’s shattered helmet. Fans would be forgiven for thinking it’s Darth Vader’s mask, but the Sith lord’s iconic breathing apparatus is absent in this shot.
The video shows a thin wisp of smoke rising from its broken pieces, suggesting the helmet has only just been destroyed. Rey whispers “darkness.”
What does it mean? Is it a reference to Adam Driver’s character embracing the dark side and no longer feeling the need to hide behind the mechanical trappings his grandfather made so iconic?
The next scene is perhaps the most intriguing of the entire trailer. Here we see someone’s fingers run over aging parchment embossed with the symbol of the Jedi order.
It would seem someone has discovered an ancient document connected to the Old Republic, but its relevance is unknown.
While speculation, it’s fair to say one of the ‘good guys’ has made the discovery. Whoever is running their hand over the pages is wearing a brown glove, and the franchise has always used colours to define good and bad (Luke wore white, Vader wore black, Han Solo sat on the fence for a time and wore both colours).
We hear Rey whisper “and violence.” Perhaps she’s referencing the Clone Wars and the eventual genocide of the Jedi at the hands of Emperor Palpatine. Time will tell.
Williams’ score hits a crescendo as Skywalker is heard saying “it’s so much bigger.”
A panoramic shot shows Luke observing Rey as she practices with her lightsaber!
It’s obvious she’s far more proficient with the ancient weapon than she was during her duel with Kylo Ren at the end of Episode VII.
There’s also a statue in shot, which looks like a smaller version of one of the statues seen on the planet Jedah in Star Wars: Rouge One.
One would assume the planet has some connection to the Jedi order, and perhaps that’s part of the reason why Luke has chosen to exile himself here.
Let the action sequences begin! We are hit with succession of action shots showcasing some brand new ships, which look a little like Y-Wings.
That’s interesting, considering those particular fighters are bombers used by the Rebel Alliance. We can see what looks like at least a dozen AT-ATs in the distance too. This is going to be a massive set-piece by the looks of it.
However there’s a good chance these fighters aren’t New Republic at all. Whoever is piloting the central ship in this shot is struggling to keep it in the air, suggesting it’s not standard issue.
What’s more, this particular type of spacecraft seems to hover – as seen in this next shot.
Next we get our first look at Finn. It looks like John Boyega’s character is in stasis in this shot, and we can also see what looks like clouds darting past in the reflection of his pod.
It seems likely whatever he is inside of is quickly moving through the atmosphere. He is lying on a pillow, so there’s a very good chance he’s in some sort of escape pod.
He’s also wearing a space suit of sorts. It does beg the question; is Finn still injured following his clash with Kylo Ren at the end of The Force Awakens? Has the New Republic been forced to jettison his pod due to an attack?
Maybe Finn has become part machine like so many of the big players in the Star Wars franchise?
Here we see Poe Dameron and BB-8 darting through what looks like a New Republic base under attack.
There’s sparks coming from the roof, which certainly suggests the base has been targeted, and Oscar Isaac’s character is suited up in his rebel pilot’s uniform and looks ready to hit the skies in his trusty X-Wing…
Which is then blown to bits. Again. Man, for a bloke who’s meant to be the best pilot in the New Republic he sure struggles to keep his ride in one piece.
The next shot shows the Millennium Falcon in action for the first time as it attempts to escape two TIE Fighters.
It looks like a fairly standard aerial sequence, but don’t forget Rey and Chewbacca took ownership of the Falcon before flying off to find Luke Skywalker at the end of the last film.
This could mean one of two things; either the First Order eventually discover the mysterious planet where Skywalker has been training Rey, or that Rey eventually leaves the planet to rejoin the fight.
The latter is the most likely answer. The best bet is that the narrative will continue following in the steps of the original trilogy and Rey will leave before completing her training in the same way Luke left Dagobah before finishing his tutelage with Yoda.
We next see Rey running with her lightsaber ignited. Luke Skywalker can be heard saying “I only know one truth.” Daisy Ridley looks battle-ready.
That’s quickly followed by our first shot of Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren. It looks like he’s in the middle of combat.
If you look closely you can see he’s now sporting a scar across his eye following his fight with Rey in the previous installment. Star Wars tragics will all agree it’s a bit of homage to Anakin Skywalker, who had a very similar scar during the last two prequel films.
Next we see what can only be Luke Skywalker and R2-D2 as the Jedi falls to his knees as a building is engulfed in flames.
It’s speculation, but one would guess this has some connection to Luke’s efforts to rebuild the Jedi order. It could even be the new Jedi Academy, considering how he’s reacted to the inferno. One can only wonder if this scene is set before the start of Episode VII.
Captain Phasma and a squad of stormtroopers are then shown walking through fire and debris. It’s unclear if the squad is walking through the remnants of the same building seen engulfed in flames in the previous shot with Luke and R2, or whether this scene is from some place different.
Considering how little screen time Gwendoline Christie’s character had in The Force Awakens, it stands to reason she may have played a much larger role in halting Skywalker’s efforts to rebuild the Jedi order. Methinks she’ll be a big part of Episode VIII.
Next we have a hectic battle sequence in space, as New Republic ships go up against a heap of TIE fighters. The franchise has always done a fantastic job with its space sequences and no doubt we are in for more of the same this time around.
Chills! Luke Skywalker stands in the mouth of a cave entrance, before saying “it’s time for the Jedi to end.” What does this mean? Why does he feel as though the order now has no place in the galaxy? It’s certainly been touched upon throughout the episodic films. Are the beliefs of the Jedi too absolute? Do the teachings of the order only offer black and white answers in what’s a complicated universe?
The trailer finally ends with the classic title card, leaving us salivating for the film’s arrival in December. So, what did you think? Will the next instalment in the franchise live up to the hype?
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Images/Video: “Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi” – Copyright – Disney