It was quite the heavy cliffhanger at the end of the (somewhat) long-awaited Episode VII of the “Star Wars” saga that was “The Force Awakens”. The Resistance may have succeeded in destroying the First Order’s “Star-killer” base, but the worlds of the New Republic have been devastated and the old Rebel hero Han Solo (Harrison Ford) was murdered by his own son (Adam Driver) who has fallen to the Dark Side of the Force. Meanwhile, the solitary junk-rat and powerful Force-sensitive Rey (Daisy Ridley) has finally managed to track down the missing Jedi master Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to give him back his father’s light-saber. Fans waited with bated breath for Episode VIII, due out for this year’s holidays, to pick up where that scene left off. For now, Disney’s teasing the world with an initial trailer.
As Vox tells it, the first significantly long trailer for “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi” has been released, and it’s looking to be promising a pretty grim and dark experience in the audience’s return to the Galaxy Far, Far Away. Some analysts of this teaser have even compared this tonal shift to that of the second film in the original trilogy (“Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back”) to the first one in 1977 (“Episode IV – A New Hope”). It follows certain beats rather closely, such as quickly undoing the victory in the preceding movie for a much direr situation.
The trailer begins with a similar cinematic surprise in “The Force Awakens”, with an exhausted Rey suddenly falling to her knees into view of the camera, just as the storm-trooper Finn (John Boyega) abruptly rose into view in the trailers of Episode VII. We quickly learn the reason: Rey has convinced the hermit Luke to teach her the way of the Force and the Jedi. This is accomplished visually in her levitating bits of rubble from the ground, while a voiceover between Rey and Luke has her meditating and visualizing Light and Darkness, and “Balance”. The money shot has to be a sweeping distant shot of Rey practicing with a light-saber on a mountainside with Luke watching.
But things aren’t peachy elsewhere. Another scene shows the First Order mounting a vicious assault against the Resistance. We see the X-Wing of ace pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) being totaled, while Finn remains in a healing pod after his injuries from the previous film. Meanwhile Kylo Ren (Driver) is searching for something while honing his own fighting skills. And then the trailer ends with old Luke dropping a bombshell on Rey: that he thinks the Jedi must come to an end.
Directed by Rian Johnson, “The Last Jedi” will be released on December 15. It’s the last film with Carrie Fisher in the role of Princess Leia, having completed work on it before her death in December 2016.
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