The full premiere of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” across the US will be on Friday, December 15. But last Saturday, December 9, was the world premiere of that long-awaited second chapter of the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy, an event centered on Los Angeles at Shrine Auditorium. All the main stars and production heads were present, with the premiere venue all dolled up in expected “Star Wars” fashion. The lucky 2,000 or so moviegoers were mostly in costume, and Imperial troops acted as honor guard for the whole event. Lastly, before the screening there was a small tribute to the late actress Carrie Fisher, for which “Last Jedi” was her final film appearance.
While of course spoilers of details are still in force, the general opinion on “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” has been extremely positive. It is also being regarded now to be one of the darkest films in the entire franchise, echoing the serious shift in tone from 1977’s “Star Wars” (Episode IV – A New Hope) with 1980s “Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.” Part of the elements being touted as making “The Last Jedi” a hit with audiences is the number of twists in the plot, many of which have been hinted in the trailers but grossly understated.
Another major point for the film was the acting chops of Mark Hamill, returning to the role of Luke Skywalker after his last outing in 1983’s “Return of the Jedi.” Now significantly older, he has also experienced so much in the interim between the Original and Sequel Trilogies that he comes off as a different person at times. It’s also him who hangs a lampshade on just how differently the movie goes from the plot of “The Force Awakens” back in 2015. As his line in the trailer states: “This is not going to go the way you think!” And it does not! Or so the audiences who watched the premiere say.
“The Last Jedi” director Rian Johnson was at the head of the small tribute to Carrie Firsher before the film began, standing at the theater stage to address the moviegoers. “I know she’s up there right now flipping me the bird, saying, ‘Damn it Rian, how dare you bring the mood down and make this night a solemn tribute.’” He joked, adding, “So let’s all have a blast together for Carrie.”
Okay, but what about those twists? We’ll have to wait until the actual US premiere on Friday. Remember, it’s set for December 15. For the moment, you’ll have to contend with the rumors (and wagering on those rumors) that have been going on in the buildup for “The Last Jedi.”