If you know me, I’ve had today marked in my calendar for quite some time (two days?). Orlando is hosting a 40th Celebration of Star Wars’ franchise this entire weekend and today was the panel for Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017). Now that Rogue One (2016) is out on DVD/Blu-Ray/streaming/torrent sites (remember when there were only like two ways to watch a movie in your home?), Disney can focus on their campaign for the follow-up to The Force Awakens (2015) and answer the fifty questions we had at the end of it that will still probably go unanswered (I still don’t think Luke is Rey’s father). Everyone and their grandmother knew a trailer was going to drop today, and while I was already excited about Kendrick Lamar’s new album coming out, my anticipation for this was on a different level. Anything Star Wars related is on a different level for me. Star Wars is probably (definitely) the reason I got into film and story-telling, and trailers are what got me into editing and assuming the position of the GBT’s hype train conductor. So, I sat in a meeting and had to see the GBT brainstorm committee (our FB group chat) blow up as the trailer dropped. Then my boss gave me 15 tasks to do at the same time. Then, I finally had a precious few moments to watch, so I did… five times in a row.
Between my first view and my typing out this analysis, I have to have watched this trailer upwards of 15 times; and I still can’t collect all of my thoughts. Incredible, that we literally haven’t heard Luke Skywalker speak words in 34 years. That gave me chills. Along with just about every shot in this trailer. Cinematographer Steve Yedlin looks to have outdone any of his previous work and it’s great that he and director Rian Johnson have worked so closely together since the success of Looper (2012). The scenery looks great and it looks like not only are we going to pick up where Rey and Luke left off at the end of TFA, but the First Order is about to come back with a vengeance against the Resistance. I’m curious how much Rey’s arc will line up with Poe, Leia, Finn, and the rest of the Resistance – if at all. I would not be surprised if Rey goes the Frodo route and isolates herself from the other characters and storylines because she has this little, minuscule responsibility of bringing balance to the Force.
The sound mixing in this trailer brilliantly incorporates voiceovers and samples of dialogue from past films and familiar characters. It’s great to see that, despite this being a trailer, these movies are all intimately woven together. Not sure if John Williams did the score for this trailer, but when it really turns up, I can’t help but get wide eyed – especially with the beautiful scenery on display. AT-ATs on the horizon with weird new ships kicking up red dirt – take my money. Kylo Ren’s fresh new scar – take all my money. LUKE-FREAKING-SKYWALKER training Rey in the mountains like this is a goddamn Kurosowa film – take my children’s money. Luke seems to be in a terrible place and my guess is he wants nothing to do with training Rey, probably a result of Kylo going AWOL and destroying Luke’s hard work trying to recreate a Jedi Order. Luke’s intentions in this movie no doubt peak my interest the most, and I can’t tell whether he’s about to turn to the Dark Side, if Rey will be seduced by it, or if one or both of them somehow harnesses both sides of the Force to accomplish something greater than good vs. evil.
The beauty of Star Wars is for every question you think you know the answer to, you’re given about 30 follow-up questions as a result. When the trailer ended, I had this feeling of pure joy about how little I know. It’s great that the past month or so of trailers really went in order of what is to be hyped for the remainder of 2017: Justice League (2017) crapped out their trailer; then Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) came along to stress me out a little less; Thor: Ragnarok (2017) showed them how it’s done; but then The Last Jedi cordially asked for Thor to hold their beer and here we are. Last year we were given a Star Wars movie where we went in knowing exactly how it would end, and it was a complete success. Now we have the opposite, and it looks like director Rian Johnson seamlessly took the baton from JJ Abrams and has kept this film shrouded in complete secrecy. We know next to nothing, just like TFA, and I’ve never been more excited to come back, once again, to my favorite franchise of all time.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) hits theaters December 15th, 2017.