Star Wars The Last Jedi Teaser Discussion
Back in January I shared my thoughts about the revealed title for Star Wars Episode VIII with some near baseless speculation about what we could expect from the next "main story" film. Well, here we are in April with the Teaser Trailer and now that my adrenaline levels have finally dropped back to normal it's time to pick the trailer apart a bit and see just what we have in store for us. I'll be going through some stand out moments.
We open with Rey's training as Luke is showing her how to properly open herself to the Force and become its conduit. We've been seeing this form of thought in practice with the past two Star Wars films with characters like Maz and Chirrut. Non-Force users that none-the-less implicitly trust the flow of the Force and allow it to guide them rather than use it themselves as the Jedi once strove to do, but consistently failed at. This actually harkens back to an idea from what is now called the Legacy Timeline. The idea is that Luke recognized the flaws that had become ever more pronounced within the old Jedi Order. That too much they valued their position within the Republic and just assumed their actions were in line with that the Force wanted rather than truly letting go and trusting in it. You see this in the Prequels quite a bit, especially when it comes to the Clone Wars. The Force is given strength through life, is it the will of the Force that it's champions lead an army of slaves in a political war? No, but that's exactly what Palpatine banks on. That the Jedi will be more concerned about their position in the Republic than they will be paying attention to, or even be attuned to, the will of the Force. We are told and shown time and again how corrupt the Republic has become, really, why should the Jedi be supporting it this way? The trailer seems to be showing Luke training Rey to open herself to the Force and allow herself to be guided by it.
Luke mentions that the Balance of the Force is so much larger than either the Light or Dark side of it. The symbol on burnt paper that Rey caresses is actually very similar to something from the old Legacy stories. It's the symbol for the Legacy of the Force series of books which follow the later days of Luke's New Jedi Order. This is interesting because it is actually in line with some of the Expanded Universe lore about Snoke. That he is not a Sith, nor is he training Kylo Ren to be one either. Opening themselves to the wider spectrum of the Force allows Kylo Ren and Rey to access a wider range of power and understanding of the Force, something borrowed from Jacen Solo of the old Legacy timeline. Where Snoke uses the internal conflict of Kylo Ren to make him into Snoke's muscle, Luke seems to be showing Rey how to become an agent of the Force itself. This also coincides with Season 3 of Rebels which just wrapped up, which heavily featured The Bendu. A titanically powerful Force user that also spoke about the Balance more so than either Light or Dark side.
We see what is likely the First Order's retributive attack against the Resistance while Finn is still recovering from his wounds at the hands of Kylo Ren. This opens up an interesting secondary story that will likely mirror what we saw in Empire Strikes back. Namely of Finn and Po on the run as the Resistance scrambles to take stock. Seeing Captain Phasma leading the First Order forces on a campaign of vengeance would be really cool and make for a satisfying story to follow. That of Phasma holding a personal vendetta against the only First Order Trooper she's ever had break ranks. She also appears to have been present at the fall of Luke's new Jedi Temple, itself an event that we will no doubt get more answers about in Episode VIII if Luke's flashback and the burned remains of his library are any sort of a hint.
We also got to see the broken remains of Kylo Ren's helmet along with a brief look at the errant Solo with an eye scar reminiscent of the one his grandfather sported in the waning days of the Clone Wars. With Snoke completing Kylo Ren's training could it be that he is coming into his own and moving past the emulation of Darth Vader as the shattering of his helmet would symbolize?
Now, to the juicy bit. Luke saying that it is time for the Jedi to end.
Back in January I had listed this as one of my hoped for stories. That Luke realizes the way of the Jedi is itself flawed. Yoda foretold that Luke would be the last of the Jedi and that makes sense. With Luke finally defeating the final two Sith the Jedi themselves no longer serve a purpose. They had always been the balance point AGAINST the Sith but without the opposition of the Dark Side they have no role. Just as the Sith were finally defeated, so too was the need for the Jedi to come to an end. Couple that with Season 3 of Rebels spending so much time with The Bendu, itself a being that served the balance between Light and Dark but belonged to neither, and you have the thematic elements to support Rey being trained as a neutral party.
Then again, this may be the film where Rey convinces Luke to come to his senses. That while the destruction of the new Jedi Academy broke him, the Galaxy still needs the Jedi and his work is not yet done. Force Awakens trailers fed us Finn with a Lightsaber as a massive Red Herring until the film's release so this could well be the case. I really hope it isn't the case. Seeing a shakeup for the established conventions could be very rewarding from both a narrative and character point of view and the whole "You can't give up, please train me" story is both lazy and overdone.
We still have until December for more information to be released and a theatrical trailer might give us some information we badly need. Namely Kylo Ren's new status after his maiming at the hands of Rey and some more info on the Knights of Ren and Supreme Leader Snoke.
All in all this trailer was the perfect blend of action, narrative hints and showcasing of action/visuals to both excite and entice audiences and I CANNOT wait until we have more to pick over.