In just two months-time, we’ll finally get to see the second chapter of the latest Star Wars trilogy, The Last Jedi. The first full-length trailer for the new film was dropped last night during Monday Night Football, bringing the internet and, indeed, the world, to a virtual standstill for two-and-a-half minutes. As with every Star Wars trailer, it was billed as an event filled with pomp and circumstance; this time, it felt pretty worth the hype.
Without giving too much away—and with what little was given away feeling an awful lot like misdirection—the trailer did seem to tease a darker story this outing, which makes sense given that it’s a second act. Things feel more dire this time around, and the stakes feel as high as they’ve ever been for the Star Wars universe. The power of the Dark Side appears to be growing, and with it comes the weakening of Luke, the last remaining Jedi.
If I had to guess, I would say that this film—perhaps, ultimately, this entire trilogy—will hinge upon the battle for Rey’s soul. The trailer does hint at a possible fall to the Dark Side for the young heroine introduced in The Force Awakens. The ending clip that appeared to show her about to take Kylo Ren’s father murdering hand and walk with him towards the path of evil sent chills down my spine and gave me a cold feeling in the pit of my stomach.
Of course, as I mentioned above, that could just be misdirection. Star Wars is known for teasing fans and playing with their emotions in order to keep its secrets, and it’s entirely possible that this moment was created just for the trailer with some careful editing of footage. It makes sense, however, considering the parallels drawn between the previous film and A New Hope, each of which are firsts in their trilogy. The Empire Strikes Back found its hero tempted by the Dark Side for the first (although not last) time, and while the trailer for The Last Jedi didn’t strictly give off any Empire vibes, the darkness of the trailer does feel like a forbear of things to come.
While it was certainly good to see Luke in a larger role this time (which is to say, any role at all) the brief glimpse of the late Carrie Fisher was enough to bring tears to the eye of many Star Wars fans. Contextually, it certainly seems as though her fate might ultimately lie in the hands of her son Kylo Ren, the same way her ex-husband Han’s was in the previous film. The trailer hinted at the possibility of her destruction at Kylo’s hands, which would certainly seal his fate as irredeemable.
What’s sad about that is how the next chapter in the trilogy was said to be focused on Leia (in the same way that The Force Awakens was focused on Han and this film seems focused on Luke). Fisher’s unfortunate death late last year put a damper on the plans for the trilogy, forcing LucasFilm to retool a bit. If Leia goes out this time around, I hope they give her a massive sendoff worthy not just of the princess she was but of the general she became.
Beyond that, the trailer looked fantastic. Director Rian Johnson seems to have brought a unique style to the Star Wars world in much the same way J.J. Abrams did with The Force Awakens and Gareth Edwards did with Rogue One. He looks to have managed to walk the line between staying true to the Star Wars house style and to himself, and what we’ve seen so far looks positively stunning from a cinematic point of view.
In the end though, like always, we’ll just have to wait and see. All signs point to The Last Jedi being another hit for the Star Wars universe (that is to say, galaxy) but even they have been known to take a misstep here or there. We’ll know soon enough but, in the meantime, we can always just watch the trailer on repeat and stare at this glorious new poster.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens on December 15. Tickets are on sale now.