At long last, director Ryan Johnson unveiled the long-awaited teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi at Star Wars Celebration. The Last Jedi teaser delivers the sights, sounds and spectacle fans have craved since Rey (Daisy Ridley) stood opposite Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) at the conclusion of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and held aloft the fabled Skywalker lightsaber. The teaser ends with Luke speaking words that may well rock the balance of the Force and the Star Wars galaxy as we know it: "I only know one truth... it's time for the Jedi to end."
Though Luke's ominously cryptic declaration will be dissected from now until December, the Star Wars saga is bigger than Rey's quest to become a Jedi, Luke's ultimate plans are for his new protege, the ancient Jedi Order. The rampant speculation surrounding who the titular last Jedi may be just one element of a galaxy full of endless intrigue.
The events of The Force Awakens shook things up in a big way. The Last Jedi picks up on those threads, and thanks to the what we learned from Ryan Johnson and actors John Boyega and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran, we now know a bit more about the state of the galaxy and what's to come for its heroes and villains.
In the teaser, we glimpse Finn still recovering from the injuries he suffered on Starkiller Base in The Force Awakens, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and BB-8 racing into action, the Millennium Falcon soaring through the skies, and Resistance ships engaged in battle both in space and on the mining world of Crait, one of the several new planets to be revealed in The Last Jedi.
Johnson was quick to remind the audience at Celebration that in The Force Awakens, while the Resistance inflicted a major blow to the First Order by destroying Starkiller Base, the First Order struck the first - and much more devastating - blow by destroying the Hosnian system and the worlds that were the seat of the New Republic. With the New Republic wiped out, the galaxy has been plunged into even greater turmoil than it found itself in when the Empire rose to replace the Galactic Republic.
Even without Starkiller Base, the First Order retains the leadership of Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie). The First Order is poised to make "big moves," according to Johnson. The nature of those moves remains to be seen, but wiping out the Resistance, still led by General Leia Organa (the late Carrie Fisher), once and for all has to be high on he First Order's agenda, as well as getting their hands on Rey and Luke, the Last Jedi.
It seems the Resistance can hardly rest on its laurels after their victory destroying Starkiller Base. They've suffered major losses as well, on the personal and symbolic side, with the murder of Han Solo by her son Ben/Kylo Ren, Leia must be deeply affected, and her ability to lead the Resistance may be in question. Although it wouldn't be the first time she's been asked to work past the grief of loss. After discovering the whereabouts of Luke, Rey left with R2-D2, Chewbacca, and the Millennium Falcon. As Rey seems to commence Jedi training immediately upon meeting Luke - Daisy Ridley's comment that Rey learns "never meet your heroes" is eyebrow-raising - it appears Luke is in no rush to jump across the galaxy to fight in another civil war.
We learn from Boyega that Finn does recover from his injuries and now must decide what his future will entail: will he join the Resistance (and perhaps become the big deal in the Resistance he once pretended to be) or will he continue to run from the First Order? However, Finn and Poe's friendship will "continue to blossom;" the former Stormtrooper and the Best Pilot in the Resistance inherited the core Star Wars movie bromance once enjoyed by Luke Skywalker and Han Solo.
Some new characters introduced in The Last Jedi were teased by Johnson during The Last Jedi's Celebration panel, but the teaser's spotlight was reserved specifically for Rose, the first Asian female lead Star Wars character portrayed by Kelly Marie Tran. A mechanic for the Resistance, Rose is "not a soldier and not looking to be a hero," but this is Star Wars, and Rose falls into a greater adventure and the dangers that ensue alongside Finn. Rose is meant to be an all-new audience surrogate and, as Johnson described her, Rose is someone who proves that anyone can rise up and become a hero if the situation demands it.
Of course, BB-8 makes his inimitable presence felt in The Last Jedi. The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams advised Johnson that the more BB-8 the better, and Johnson apparently took this to heart. Plenty of comedy with BB-8 is to come, with Johnson describing the one-of-a-kind little orange and white Droid as "the Buster Keaton" of The Last Jedi.
Though The Last Jedi seems to center around the multitude of questions surrounding Rey and Luke, they are but a part of the far-reaching scope of the space opera of Star Wars. The drama of humans, Droids, and assorted alien races share equal heft with that of Force-users in the Galaxy far, far away. Even if Luke's words are proven prophetic and the Jedi do end, The Last Jedi will certainly challenge our heroes Finn, Poe, Leia, Rose, BB-8, and the rest of the Resistance in new and surprising ways when the next chapter in the Star Wars saga has unleashed this December.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017