Warning: possible SPOILERS for Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi.
Traditionally, the middle act of a play is the bleakest, since it places the protagonists we’ve (hopefully) grown to love into the worst possible situations. The Skywalker saga is no different. Seeing as Star Wars runs in cycles of three, and the middle film tends to be the darkest (although not necessarily), The Last Jedi, much like Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, is the second act of the third trilogy, representing the dusk before Episode IX dawns.
From the first two trailers, The Last Jedi looks every bit as dark as Empire, perhaps even more somber at times, if action-packed. Luke is already shown back in black (or at least a deep brown), and actors John Boyega and Daisy Ridley teased it was a much more ominous film as well. Could director Rian Johnson have fashioned one of the grimmest – although probably not Revenge of the Sith scores-of-dead-Padawans horrible – Star Wars film yet?
"A Domain of Evil It Is"
Since the First Order knows where the Resistance’s secret base is, though, Episode VIII will feature the obligatory escape from D’Qar sequence – one which will test Kylo and Poe’s piloting skills. In addition, it looks like the First Order forces will take out several of the Resistance's limited capital warships during their assault. Later on, both groups will face off on the salt-covered ruddy world of Crait, a battle which hearkens back to Empire as well. There, the plucky rebels will meet the neo-Empire’s state-of-the-art AT-M6 “gorilla walkers” with antiquated ski speeders. Suffice to say, the First Order can probably chalk up another tally in the ‘w’ column after this skirmish.
On top of that, the Resistance may have defeated the Order’s solar system killer, but it appears they’re also in for some internal strife. Rumor has it Laura Dern’s character, Vice Admiral Holdo isn’t keen on General Leia or her direction with the breakaway forces. Plus, Snoke, Kylo, and General Hux – not to mention Captain Phasma – are down one superweapon and looking to take it out on the Resistance. Of course, they may do so in many, more subtle ways too.
Kylo Ren's Dark Side Connection Strengthens
Of course, since Leia was scheduled to have a larger role in Episode IX before Carrie Fisher’s tragic passing, perhaps Kylo chokes up (pun sort of intended) on his would-be matricide. Even if she survives, there are many more disturbing elements to unpack in The Last Jedi.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017