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‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Trailer Breakdown: Finding the Hints in the Light and the Dark

The first trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi debuted this morning, and…wow, we’re gonna need a minute (or 20) to process, especially with Luke Skywalker’s suspenseful voiceover. We were promised we’d get to hear Mark Hamill speak, and speak he does — throughout most of the trailer, ending with a fairly chilling line: “It’s time for the Jedi to end.” But what does that mean?! Is Rey the eponymous last Jedi, or is Luke? That’s something we probably won’t know until December. For now, join us as we try to break it all down and take a closer look at the most thrilling (and possibly telling) moments with GIFs and screenshots from the trailer.

The trailer opens with Daisy Ridley’s Rey, still on the island where she found Luke at the end of The Force Awakens. We know The Last Jedi picks up right where the previous film left off. Here’s Rey, gasping for air and maybe freaking out a bit — did Luke just show her something? Did she have another Force encounter?

Star Wars The Last Jedi trailer breakdown

“Breathe. Just breathe,” Luke instructs via voiceover. (Is Luke a Faith Hill fan?)

After some beautiful shots of the island, which remind us how isolated Luke has been for however-many years, we see Rey again, standing within an outcropping overlooking a tidal pool. Her stance is confident, or perhaps she’s bracing for an imminent event:

Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm

“Now, reach out,” Luke says. And we see Rey’s hand hovering over the same stony area from the opening shot, this time apparently using the Force (and it looks cool as hell):

Star Wars The Last Jedi trailer breakdown 2

Luke whispers, “What do you see?” and the trailer cuts to a room, maybe a command / control center, where a woman gazes at a star map. We only see her from behind, but it’s safe to assume this is the late, great Carrie Fisher’s General Leia Organa. As the camera briefly pushes in on her, we hear Rey answer, “Light.”

Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm

Then we see the smoldering remains of Kylo Ren’s mask, accompanied by the faint, familiar sound of a certain villain’s breathing. “Darkness,” Rey continues.

Star Wars The Last Jedi trailer breakdown 3

And then, in the darkness, a ray of light shines on…well, what the heck is this?

Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm

They look like they could be ancient texts hidden away in Luke’s cave — if so, that’s a mighty handsome bookshelf setup. But something tells me that’s not Luke’s cave. That something would be the next shot, which shows a hand resting on a map. The hand belongs to Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o):

Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm

We overhear Rey: “The balance.” Some super-fans have already begun to speculate that Luke is indeed the last Jedi, but that Rey may fulfill (or help Luke fulfill) the prophecy of bringing balance to the Force by uniting lightness and dark, eradicating the divide between the two. More on that in a minute.

First, let’s look at that rad shot of Rey training with a lightsaber on a cliff — this is some real Karate Kid stuff:

Star Wars The Last Jedi trailer breakdown 4

And here’s a still of that shot:

Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm

Luke, in voiceover: “It’s so much bigger.” John Williams’ score swells and the action ramps up with this gorgeous shot of speeders trailed by red smoke. Everything looks cooler with red smoke:

Star Wars The Last Jedi trailer breakdown 5

 

(Side note: Can one of the new Star Wars spinoffs be a Mad Max-style road movie with more imagery like this? Thanks.)

Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm

And oh, hey, here’s John Boyega’s Finn! It looks like he’s still recovering from the events in The Force Awakens:

Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm

This is followed by a great hero shot of Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron racing with BB-8 (!) toward an explosion:

Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm

And here it is in motion because who doesn’t need a GIF of Oscar Isaac running?

Star Wars The Last Jedi trailer breakdown 6

Not to be left out, the Millennium Falcon also gets a great hero shot:

Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm

Star Wars The Last Jedi trailer breakdown 7

(The editing in the back-half of this trailer is so seamless, by the way. Whoever put it together deserves a promotion.)

Next, we see Rey running in the dark with a lightsaber, followed by our first full look at Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren, looking intense, as usual.

Star Wars The Last Jedi trailer breakdown 8

Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm

The next shot is pretty significant:

Star Wars The Last Jedi trailer breakdown 9

 

You’ll probably recall that brief flashback scene in The Force Awakens (also featured in the trailers), which showed a robotic, cloaked hand touching R2D2 while embers floated around them. That hand could only belong to one person: Luke Skywalker. The shot above from The Last Jedi gives us a little more context. We see someone, presumably Luke, dropping to his knees next to R2. In the distance, a building — a temple, from the looks of it — is burning. This is followed by a brief glimpse, through the fire and smoke, at a line of troopers with Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) marching in the middle.

Here’s a static shot:

Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm

Could this be the event that sent Luke into self-imposed exile? The destruction of a Jedi temple, where others were likely in training — including younglings! — would be overwhelming, to say the least.

More intergalactic battle:

Star Wars The Last Jedi trailer breakdown 10

Followed by this shot of Luke standing in the opening of a cave and looking back over his shoulder. Luke’s voice: “It’s time for the Jedi to end.”

Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm

And with that, the trailer also ends. But what does Luke’s last line mean? This is, of course, just a bit of fun speculation, but given what we do know and the events implied by this trailer (if we’re reading them correctly), it seems that fan theory might be right: Luke may very well be putting an end to the Jedi. Where there’s light, there’s darkness; as long as there are still Jedi, there will always be a dark side working in extreme opposition. For there to be actual harmony in the galaxies, the idea of “sides” can no longer exist. That leads to all sorts of wonderful concepts, like a full reconciliation of light and dark, not just throughout the galaxies, but within each individual.

It’s going to give us a lot to think about for the next few months, to say the least.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters on December 15.

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