By, Robert Davies
The trailer and poster for Star Wars Episode VIII were recently released, and there is already a lot of speculation surrounding the movie. The newest installment of the Star Wars series, entitled “The Last Jedi,” is the second installment in the new trilogy and the third Star Wars movie to come out since Disney acquired Lucasfilm. This new film continues the story, coming after “Episode VII: The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”
“The Last Jedi” is shaping up to be quite a different movie than its predecessors. To begin, this installment is directed by Rian Johnson, while “The Force Awakens” was directed by J.J. Abrams. Additionally, while “The Force Awakens” was a fun introduction to the new trilogy and new characters, with a small dose of heavier material, “The Last Jedi” appears to be a much darker story of the Resistance and First Order. The Resistance is on the offense and will face bigger challenges than in “The Force Awakens.” This harkens back to “Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back,” which told a much bleaker story than “Episode IV: A New Hope.”
The trailer picks up where “The Force Awakens” left off, with Rey on the island where she found Luke Skywalker. She appears to be in the midst of Jedi training, just as Luke was trained by Yoda in “The Empire Strikes Back.” Jedi training is not easy, a fact that is made evident by the first shot of Rey: she is on the ground, breathing heavily. The first words of the trailer are then spoken by Luke: “Breathe. Just breathe.” We then see a series of perplexing images—Leia staring at a map, a crushed helmet, and a mysterious location, with text containing a Rebel Alliance symbol. The trailer then shifts to showing scenes of the Resistance—a battle on a remote new planet which looks similar to the Battle of Hoth in Episode V, an image of an unconscious Finn, and then Poe Dameron and BB-8 running to their ship only to witness it exploding. We then briefly see the Millennium Falcon, Rey running with a lightsaber, and Kylo Ren. The next image is what appears to be a large-scale battle in space. The trailer concludes with Luke saying: “I only know one truth: it’s time for the Jedi to end.” To hear Luke Skywalker saying this is quite surprising. What could possibly lead him to that conclusion?
Speculations about the plot of this movie have been swirling around the internet ever since “The Force Awakens” was released in December of 2015. However, director Rian Johnson has dropped some hints about this movie. One thing in particular that Johnson has confirmed is that Rey’s parents, probably the biggest source of fan speculation and mystery following “The Force Awakens,” is “something that is absolutely going to be addressed.” Johnson also confirmed that the new planet seen in the trailer, on which the battle takes place, is called Crait, and it will play an important part in the film. One last thing for certain is that this film will be Carrie Fisher’s last appearance in the Star Wars franchise. There was speculation about her digitally appearing in Episode IX, and her brother once stated she would appear in it, but Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy debunked those rumors, stating in an interview that Episode VIII will be Carrie Fisher’s last. Shooting had finished prior to her unfortunate death in late December.
This trailer was only technically a teaser, so more is definitely on the way. For now, all we can do is keep guessing until “Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi” is released on December 15, 2017.