There was a lot of talk about the question of whether one should watch the new trailer for Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi. Is it better to enter the film with your mind unsullied by preview imagery? There’s an argument to be made for that position, but if you were to avoid the clip — which just premiered during Monday Night Football — you’d miss out on a bevy of scintillating new visuals and tantalizing plot teases. If you’re willing to take the dive and not go into the film totally clean, read on as we break down what happened.
We open on eeeeeeevil in the form of the First Order and its worst odor, Kylo Ren. While he gazes at rows of war machines, we hear the voice of his master, Supreme Leader Snoke, telling someone he saw “raw, untamed power” in them. Is he talking about Kylo? Now, now, let’s not get presumptuous.
These suckers here are some of the First Order’s AT-M6 “gorilla walkers.” The red dust beneath their steely paws suggests that they’re on the mineral-rich planet of Crait. That looks like Kylo’s cruiser above ’em, but it could just be a ship resembling it.
Time for some visual parallels, kids! Snoke’s voice-over bit concludes with him saying he saw “something truly special” in the person he’s addressing, and, against the backdrop of some Elite Praetorian Guards, we see Kylo picking up his lightsaber, then there’s a cut to black, and then someone else — perhaps the true recipient of Snoke’s words? — picks up a lightsaber. Who could it be? Why, it’s none other than …
… noted Jedi trainee and mononym Rey! She’s hanging out with Luke on the planet where we last saw them at the end of The Force Awakens: Ahch-To, site of the first Jedi temple.
In his self-imposed exile, Luke appears to have gone au natural with the robo-hand he gained after losing the real one to his dad in The Empire Strikes Back. “Something inside me has always been there,” Rey says …
… “but now it’s awake,” she concludes, while we see her hike up to see some curiously sunlit books. What is this, Myst?
Lightsaber training montage! When it comes to swinging her blade around while not hitting a cliffside, Rey truly is the best around.
So good is she that her Force abilities cause the earth to crack, which leads Luke …
… to look like me when I see my cat barfing on my Turkish rug.
“I’ve seen this raw strength only once before,” Luke grumbles. “It didn’t scare me enough then. It does now.” Presumably, he’s talking about how Kylo — then just lil’ Ben Solo — went and …
… burned Luke’s Jedi school to the ground. Let this be a lesson to you: Always get renter’s insurance.
“Let the past die,” Kylo muses, sounding like a 12-year-old who just got dumped at summer camp, while we see him contemplate whether his helmet is to blame for all his troubles.
In attempting to cover the scar he got during the fight at the end of The Force Awakens, Kylo appears to have entered his Aladdin Sane phase.
“Kill it, if you have to,” he says of the aforementioned past, flying through Star Wars’ distinctively sound-filled space.
He’s in a modified TIE fighter known as a TIE silencer, and he faces a dilemma. He’s soaring through some Resistance cruisers, one of which contains …
… his mom, who just wants her little goth to be happy. Trouble is …
… he has a clear shot to blow her up real good.
Is he gonna cry? It’s not a matter of Kylo if, only of Kylo when.
In an unrelated chase, the Millennium Falcon — presumably piloted by its current owner, Rey — soars through a crystal cavern while pursued by First Order fighters, in a shot that evokes the fight in the Second Death Star.
Oh boy, here it comes. Yeah, so, the movie’s gonna have these little puffinlike creatures from Ahch-To called Porgs. They’re gonna do all kinds of cute nonsense, so just … Look, if that’s your thing, then have fun, but otherwise, gird yourself for a lot of moments like this one, where Chewie yowls and then a Porg yowls and then you suddenly find yourself feeling an urge to buy a plush doll. It is what it is.
Oh, hey, right, the other characters from The Force Awakens! Poe Dameron is all like whaaaaaat, then we cut to …
… Captain Phasma, who’s got an extendable thwacking-thing. That’s a technical term.
Before the thwacking can begin, here comes Finn, going anti-thwack with an electric hitty-thing. Hey, I don’t make up the terminology, folks.
Speaking of electric things, poor BB-8 is here and they’re all effed-up. I say “they” because I’m still not entirely clear on BB-8’s gender.
“This is not going to go the way you think,” a wet Luke growls, directly quoting what I say to my cat when he’s thinking about putting his paw on the stove while I’m cooking.
Wait, why am I talking about cats? If I’m gonna talk about four-legged creatures, I should be talking about this fox whose fur is made of freaking crystals, which we first saw in the behind-the-scenes clip a few months back, but which doesn’t get any real explanation here.
Lonely Leia looks low. It’s somewhat surprising that we get no dialogue from Carrie Fisher in this trailer, but perhaps that’s for the best, as it’s hard to see a release date through tears.
Rey dives into some water and comes up for air, looking quite concerned. Is this pool the source of Luke’s previously seen dousing? Mayhap it’s a Midi-chlorian hot spring?
Finn! No! Your shoulder pads are too fashionable to be confined to a First Order prison!
“Fulfill your destiny!” Snoke snarls while Force-choking Rey. Eeesh, are we gonna do another “will the lead character of this Star Wars movie go to the Dark Side” thing? Well …
“I need someone to show me my place in all this,” Rey intones. But who is that someone?
B-b-b-but … that’s Kylo! He’s bad!
Stick your face close enough to your computer monitor and you just might be able to smell the glove. Hey! Where the hell were Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro? What about the Galactic casino? And we’re really not gonna get any of Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose? I suppose, when it comes to them, we largely will go in unsullied, trailers be damned.