A new TV spot for Star Wars: The Last Jedi seems to suggest a shot of Rey on Ahch-To has been altered, but it actually shows two different scenes with similar blocking. With just a month to go until the highly-anticipated sequel reaches theaters, Lucasfilm has cranked up their marketing efforts, releasing a handful of television commercials to complement the theatrical trailer that was released in early October. While these promos have primarily covered the same beats as the previews, some have unveiled new footage - most famously, a shot of Luke Skywalker back on the Millennium Falcon for the first time since The Empire Strikes Back.
The latest spot, which you can watch above, has some fresh snippets of its own. Perhaps the most notable comes at the very beginning, where Rey is in the midst of physical training with her staff in hand. What makes this so interesting is that the shot seems to be identical to a sequence in the Monday Night Football trailer, where she performed similar (or the same) maneuvers with the Skywalker lightsaber. In the wake of Thor: Ragnarok changing the location of Mjolnir's destruction during reshoots, it's obvious that no film is complete until it's been released in theaters. Did Rian Johnson do the same trick as Taika Waititi and make some last-minute changes? We can safely say the answer to that question is no.
What's most telling is that the aforementioned shot of Rey with the lightsaber (where she points the blade at the camera) is also included in the spot, which is the first giveaway that the two images are different. Studios aren't averse to repurposing previous footage in new marketing materials, but it seems a bit odd to recycle identical shots in the same 30-second advertisement. Additionally, a side-by-side comparison reveals Rey's head is at a slightly different angle when she's holding the staff. You can see the evidence for yourself in the space below:
The way the spot is edited also clears this matter up, showing a progression of Rey's training as she grows stronger in her abilities. Initially, she's using her trusty staff that helped her survive the harsh environment of Jakku, but after taking a look at the lightsaber, she realizes that's the weapon she has to use. Some of the earliest Last Jedi rumors indicated that at the outset, Rey is not yet fully confident in her Force abilities, which would explain her hesitancy to use the lightsaber. This may sound strange to viewers who saw her defeat an emotionally and physically compromised Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens, but as Rey says to (presumably) Luke in Last Jedi, she needs help mastering her powers. Trading the staff for the lightsaber is a symbol of her continuing evolution and shows she's ready to take the next step.
It should be very interesting to watch Rey's training take shape over the course of Episode VIII, as it looks like whatever lessons she learns pay off in a meaningful way. One of the earliest Last Jedi TV spots ended with a shot of a determined Rey igniting the lightsaber with distinct purpose as she eyed an opponent - who may or may not be Luke. Some fans are convinced certain aspects of marketing are purposely misleading fans to keep them off the scent of spoilers (though, the extent of that is overstated), but this is an instance where Lucasfilm is being transparent and honest with viewers. Rey's first choice of weapon is her Force Awakens staff, but if she is to fulfill her destiny, she has to be willing to use the lightsaber, which she's already handled with great skill before.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019