For a trailer so brief — it's less than 150 seconds in length — and so purposefully vague, there's a lot to unpack in the first glimpse of Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi, beyond the last line cliffhanger. Who knew that the Jedi might have preferred Luke Skywalker to stay quiet? Here are some highlights from the new trailer, and the questions they raise for the future of Star Wars.
The opening, of course, echoes the opening of the first Force Awakens trailer, in which a an empty scene is suddenly interrupted by Finn (John Boyega) popping into the screen, panicked. This time, it's Daisy Ridley's Rey, panting and drenched in sweat. Apparently Luke's Force training is harder than we might expect — but now we can start wondering who is going to break into the otherwise quiet scene of the first Episode IX trailer: Poe or Kylo Ren?
What is that crushed object, surrounded by glass? The shot is, again, reminiscent of one from the Force Awakens trailer, of Darth Vader's helmet — and the sound of Vader's breathing in the back of this new shot suggests a connection again. But it doesn't look like Vader's helmet this time around. In fact, it almost looks like Kylo Ren's faceplate. But why would that be crushed and smoking?
Balance, Promised (Again)
What, exactly, is going on with this image that someone — Rey, potentially? — is touching? It looks like both a star chart and a modified version of the logo of the Jedi Order, which doesn't feel entirely out of place considering the dialogue in the voiceover at the same time. ("Lightness … darkness … a balance.") Could this image give a clue about what has changed Luke's feelings toward the Jedi Order?
If it's a Star Wars movie, it's probably a desert planet. But look at the horizon, beyond the new speeders that seem to leave a red trail behind them (The result of breaking the sand dunes beneath them, perhaps?): Those are AT-AT Walkers or some derivative coming toward them. The First Order might be trying to expand its reach after losing Starkiller Base.
Although we know that Finn plays an active role in the movie thanks to his appearance on the panel, it's interesting that his only appearance in the trailer sees him remaining comatose after events in The Force Awakens. Will his recovery process play a large part in his story arc through The Last Jedi?
Why are things exploding inside the Resistance's hanger? Is the First Order launching a direct attack — something potentially hinted at by the earlier appearance of AT-AT Walkers — or is there someone working undercover to sabotage the Resistance from within? Kelly Marie Tran plays Rose, someone who works in maintenance for the Resistance, according to the panel; could her involvement in the story come from trying to find someone undermining the organization from within?
And just in case we thought that we weren't going to get payoff for the teases of backstory in The Force Awakens, the sight of a cloaked figure beside R2-D2 in front of a burning building feels very much like it's an expansion of a scene only teased in the last movie — the destruction of the Jedi Academy Luke founded after Return of the Jedi. Just as intriguing is the show that follows, showing Captain Phasma and Stormtroopers walking out of the smoke. Will audiences get to see a secret Phasma, or is this just smart trailer editing of two different events?
And Luke's final words leave everything in question for the movie ahead. Why is it time for the Jedi to end? What has made Luke's feelings on the subject change? Is he the bad guy now? Has he renounced the Jedi Order himself, making Rey the titular Last Jedi? Why is December so far away?
Star Wars: The Last Jedi will arrive in theaters Dec. 15.