Star Wars Celebration in Orlando has been under way for the best part of two days now, and during Friday’s special panel for new episode The Last Jedi the assembled throngs were shown the first trailer for Rian Johnson’s highly-anticipated new movie. Here are five takeaways from the two-minute teaser.
Luke finally has some lines of dialogue
Mark Hamill has expressed plenty of good natured disappointment about his fleeting, mute appearance in The Force Awakens. But the good news is that The Last Jedi seems set to give fans the Luke Skywalker-centred movie they might have thought they were getting last time out. Hamill is the only actor given lines in the teaser, and it looks like he’s doing his best to bring Daisy Ridley’s Rey – here shown practising her lightsaber moves on the cliffside in a shot lifted straight from The Karate Kid – up to speed with the Force. However, those who were expecting to see Skywalker as a Yoda-like mentor, determined to ensure that the young Jakku scavenger find herself on the right side of the ubiquitous energy field, might just be in for a searing dose of Force lighting to the cerebrum.
And it’s clear he has the Jedi in his crosshairs
Director Rian Johnson wasn’t kidding with that title, for it seems Luke has come to the conclusion that training a new generation of Jedi to fight the First Order is a pointless process. “I only know one truth, it’s time for the Jedi to end,” he says, in the process of one sentence throwing all received Star Wars wisdom into complete and utter chaos. Why must the Jedi end? Is Luke just sulking because Ben Solo turned to the dark side, murdered all his disciples and chose the way of a hideous masked Darth Vader wannabe? Or is there something more epochal about that startling statement? Might the rigidly binary system of Jedi and Sith be the reason the Force can never be truly balanced? And if so, what will replace these stalwarts of the saga?
Phasma is back, and this time she’s bringing the scorched earth tactics
The last time we saw Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma, she was about to be dumped down a First Order rubbish chute. But surely that’s the chrome-plated behemoth striding through the flames with her stormtroopers, and unless our eyes are playing tricks on us, she appears to have burned down a building Luke cares about deeply. Otherwise, why is the Jedi Knight wistfully watching its destruction with R2-D2 at his side? Is this the lost Jedi temple (which we know Skywalker set out to find) burning in the night? If so it seems likely the scene represents some kind of flashback.
Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren has ditched the mask - for now, at least
Ren’s Vader-like headwear most likely never made it off Starkiller Base, where he dropped it during that climactic encounter with Harrison Ford’s Han Solo. But quite why the ruined remains of the black mask are being given such prominence – the shot explicitly recalls the scene featuring Vader’s crumpled helmet in The Force Awakens – is a mystery. Ren still looks likely to be the main antagonist of The Last Jedi - he’s in the new teaser poster alongside Luke and Rey - but might the fact the patricidal maniac’s no longer hiding his face signify something greater in the grand scheme of things? There has been speculation, of course, that the new Star Wars trilogy will be the story of Ben Solo’s journey from the dark side back to the light.
Carrie Fisher’s Leia will play a pivotal role
Quite how Disney and LucasFilm are planning to deal with Fisher’s death in Colin Trevorrow’s Episode IX remains a mystery, but we do know the much-missed star had finished shooting all her scenes for The Last Jedi. Her appearance in the teaser, complete with ornate new hairstyle, suggests General Leia Organa will have an important part to play in the story, and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy confirmed as much during the film’s panel at Star Wars Celebration in Florida on Friday. “Carrie is remarkable in the movie,” she said. “The performance she ended up giving, and what Rian wrote, I think you guys are going to find that an amazing tribute to her talent.”
Final talking points
What are those ornate tomes embedded in the rock formations? Books of old Jedi lore that Luke’s about to throw out? What’s Chewbacca doing while Rey learns to wax on, wax off? What’s with that shot of old parchment bearing the Jedi symbol? And when on Earth are we going to find out more about the Knights of Ren?