The final trailer for the latest installment of the Star wars franchise, The Last Jedi dropped Monday night and also kicked off the online ticket sales to the movie which, still months away, has been eagerly anticipated by many fans. I’m no exception. Tickets are bought and the countdown has started.
The trailer provided some new visuals, more character-driven than the teaser which flooded us with new tech and new characters. Some would even say that this latest preview seemed to drop some serious spoilers in our laps. Even director Rian Johnson hinted that we might want to avoid the trailer if we don’t want some big spoilers. Having been tricked by trailers for Rogue One (which heavily implied a Donnie Brasco style undercover infiltration, and not the, admittedly amazing, Dirty Dozen in space we got) I can hold out hope that there’s a little misdirection involved and that there’s more to Monday’s reveals. As for the rest of the trailer, here’s our takeaways, for better and for worse.
The Narration. Hey, look. I love Andy Serkis, but despite the fluke success he had with voicing a handful of ominous lines from The Force Awakens in that film’s teaser, I don’t think his somewhat cartoonish Snoke growl can hold a full movie trailer. I found myself just wanting to hand him a glass of water and a Ricola.
New vehicles. I said this after TFA – I’m pretty sure we all did, especially any of us who bought repainted Tie Fighters in order to continue updating our X-Wing miniatures tabletop game collection – but we really can handle new vehicles and ships. I swear! We won’t get confused. The original trilogy gave us new stuff all the time as our view of the galaxy expanded. And though J.J. Abrams was playing it incredibly safe with TFA, this time around we can do better. But so far, what I see are
Imperial First Order AT-M6 Walkers that bear more than a passing resemblance to giant gorillas, a mega-super-hyper-uber star destroyer, Resistance Ski Speeders that, while cool, look a lot like ground B-Wings. And Kylo’s got a new TIE Fighter, which on principle I want to hate, but looks pretty damn awesome.
Rey has been given a lot of heady dialogue this time around, at least in voiceover form. None of it is terribly insightful. We have known she is special, but maybe this time around we get to understand more about what that means. She has powers that grab the attention of basically every force-user left in the galaxy and apparently strike fear in her new trainer, Luke. But that she seems so desperate for belonging that she would (seemingly?) turn to Kylo Ren to train her … that’s a lot to unpack.
The Last Jedi. I’ll be honest, I was more Team Hamill when it came to the rumors about what director Rian Johnson had in store for Luke. Post Return of the Jedi, Luke was not exactly handled well within the Expanded Universe books, constantly tempted and tugged to and from the dark side, with increasing artlessness, so for me the movies were a way to rectify that. Hearing him expressing fear of Rey’s powers (after learning the lesson from having been utterly defeated at the hands of Kylo Ren) didn’t give much dignity to the Jedi Master. It’s hard to say why, it just didn’t sit well with me. Fans who imagined the black-clad, already-somber Luke aging wisely like Obi-Wan over the course of 30 years will have to wait and see if this direction pans out well for Luke. Fingers crossed!
The action sequences still look amazing. The Millennium Falcon still looks amazing. And the porgs look cute and cool. Yeah, I said it. Fight me, bro!
Poe and Finn. Sadly underused in the last trailer, both are seen more prominently this time.
Finn is back. Seeing him back and charging at underused TFA First Order muscle Captain Phasma was both exciting and a tiny bit disappointing, since it means we can all but abandon hope that Finn will be featured as a prominent force-user. The era of Jedi Highlanders is apparently still in full swing. But still, welcome back, Finn! Now stay alive!
With all the TFA faces pushed forward, we will have to wait for the movie to see the new characters we glimpsed the last time around, along with the two played by Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro.
General Leia protégé, and the best pilot in the galaxy – with the best hair, Poe Dameron is becoming the de-facto voice for the Resistance, a necessary step after the loss of Carrie Fisher.
The General. Long steady shots of our departed Carrie Fisher hinted at the painful connection between the erstwhile princess and her son, Kylo Ren who has already dispatched his own father in order to purge the pull to the light side. Whether this will lead to him killing his mother too remains to be seen, also whether this was a direction originally intended before Fisher’s death. Either way, those shots also served as a somber moment for fans like me. Her powerful steel gaze into the camera was a last chance to remember what she brought to the franchise and outside it.
Star Wars trailers always seem to do their job perfectly. They do just enough to get us all talking and speculating. I’ve got hope that The Last Jedi can measure up to the success of The Force Awakens. And since I have already bought my ticket, I’m going to find out one way or another.