We finally have real footage from Episode VIII, and as mysterious as it is, there are a number of details hidden in there that give us some clues as to what’s in store for Rey, Finn, Poe, and the rest when The Last Jedi arrives this December—and we’ve broken it all down for you, frame-by-frame.
We open—and we spend a lot of time—on Ahch-To, the planet where Rey (Daisy Ridley) met up with Luke (Mark Hamill) at the end of The Force Awakens. Behind Rey you can clearly see an entrance to a cave, which could be a coincidence, or she could be having that training moment where she comes out of a Dark Side-infested cave, just as Like did in Empire Strikes Back. I’d almost say this is related to the image later of some hidden Jedi information, but the hand in that shot is gloved and here we can clearly see that Rey’s isn’t.
Now we come to the voiceover, which is shared almost entirely by Luke and Rey. Also, more shots of Luke’s sad island on Ahch-To.
Luke: “Breathe. Just breathe. Now, reach out.”
Luke: “What do you see?”
Luke’s voiceover here is reminiscent of when Yoda had Luke look into the future in Empire. Hopefully, Rey doesn’t see her friends in trouble and leave before her training’s done, like Luke did.
Rey stands on Ahch-To, and it’s just pretty. It also has a very similar vibe—sky and color-wise—as a later shot we see of Rey running with her lightsaber.
Is Rey making the rocks fly, or is she simply connecting to everything through the Force, to the point where time is seeming to slow? I kind of think the latter—that this symbolizes her reaching out with the Force—because of the way Luke’s voiceover seems to be more about what she sees than what she can do.
Rey replies “Light” to Luke’s questions as the trailer comes up on Leia (Carrie Fisher) looking at a map that very much resembles the one we saw of Luke’s location at the end of The Force Awakens.
Over Leia’s shoulder you can see what looks like Ackbar. This scene seems to be on the same set at least as a lot of director Rian Johnson’s set pictures, which shows the bridge of this ship more clearly.
And when you compare those photos to images from Return of the Jedi, it looks very much like a Mon Calamari cruiser we’re on. I doubt it’s the exact same one seen in Return of the Jedi—Ackbar’s ROTJ flagship Home One would be pretty old by now—but it makes sense that he’d command another one of his people’s starships.
Rey’s voiceover continues: “Darkness.”
Now, all that glass kind of hints that this is Kylo Ren’s (Adam Driver) prized possession of a burnt helmet of Darth Vader, smashed out of a display case. But when you look at the helmet close up, there are some telltale silver lines that make me think this is actually Ren’s helmet instead.
You can also see by comparing that image to this shot of Ren from the last movie that the eyeglass part is smaller in Ren’s than in Vader’s, so they match up.
Also, when Rey says “Darkness,” there’s a voice faded in the background that I think is Yoda (might be someone else, it’s very distorted. It could even be Palpatine. There’s also a hint of Vader breathing mixed in.) saying something about “the Dark Side.”
This may be related to the “Force tree” rumors that say Kylo is using this important Jedi location to lure Luke out of hiding. Force trees are definitely a thing, and Luke and Shara Bey (Poe’s mom) recovered the twigs of one in Shattered Empire.
Rey continues: “A balance.” Please, god, let’s not talk about the Jedi prophecy about a Chosen One bringing “balance to the Force.” That worked out poorly last time. I bring it up only because we see this weird tree/bookshelf thing light by a shaft of light and a hand passing over this:
A book that clearly has the symbol of the Jedi Order on it.
See? There’s also another very muted background voice here that sounds even more like Yoda than the previous one, but is less intelligible. So all of that combined hints to me that the “balance” line is more than just a throwaway bit.
There’s also a non-zero chance we’re seeing a copy of the Journal of the Whills, an old George Lucas invention which describes the Jedi and the Force in poem form.
Update: Commenter Hands of Orlok helped decipher the voices:
“Help me Obi-Wan (Kenobi)” during the Light scene. It’s Leia, obviously.
“(Vader was) seduced by the Dark Side of the Force“ during the Darkness. Obi-Wan is speaking.
Finally “Surrounds us. Binds us.” in the Balance scene. I’m pretty sure it’s Yoda.
Luke: “It’s so much bigger.”
What was, the balance? Bigger than what, Luke? You are a terrible teacher.
Anyway, Rey’s training with a lightsaber on a cliff, presumbly as Luke looks on. Rey also seemed to be practicing next to an altar or statue.
It looks like there’s a First Order (what I’m calling the Alt-Empire) and Resistance showdown happening on what is, thankfully, not an ice planet. It’s covered whatever the Star Wars universe-equivalent of salt flats are, though. And if you look carefully, there are walkers in the distance.
These ships, which skim the sand and bring up these very photogenic red dust lines, are brand new. They kind of look to me like a hybrid between a pod racer and a B-wing. See?
This planet, by the way, is called Crait. Rian Johnson has said that it’s an out-of-the-way planet that used to house a Rebel base—now abandoned—and that the Resistance shows up with these skimmers to deal with a “very pressing and immediate” situation.
Poor Finn (John Boyega). All we see of him in this trailer is that he’s still healing from the events of the last movie. But Boyega promised he’d be back and doing more than just taking a nap.
Meanwhile, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and BB-8 race down a corridor (one that looks a bit like the set Daisy Ridley was on for the Force for Change videos). I think this is on a ship, since the hanger has those outlines that usually indicate a force field keeping the vacuum of space out, but I’m not completely sure. It could be a new base that the Resistance relocated to after the First Order tried to wipe them out on D’Qar.
If you freeze-frame right before the explosion—which, luckily, I have—you get a better look at the hanger. There are other pilots on the right rushing to planes and spare parts on the left. Poe, by the way, is Black Leader and this is his X-Wing, Black One... or at least it was.
The Millennium Falcon shoots down some TIE Fighters. Either Chewie dropped Rey off and then took the ship back to the Resistance after TFA, or Rey eventually leaves Ahch-To to join the fight against the First Order, or the First Order discovers where Luke’s hanging out and makes a visit and makes a visit.
The First Order TIEs we saw in The Force Awakens, had more color to them than the old grey and black of the original trilogy. They were black with red embellishments, and now these TIEs have some orange on their solar array wings.
As I said before, Rey running with her lightsaber looks like it’s taking place on Ahch-To. We do know that set reports say the Knights of Ren and Rey and Luke have a confrontation on Ahch-To, so this could be from that sequence.
This is the only shot of Kylo Ren we get in this trailer, and all the burning in the background is meant, I think, to make you believe it’s part of the burning set seen in the next scene. There’s a very well placed cut and you can see the scar he got from The Force Awakens, which casts a lot of doubt on the flashback thing.
But this looks very much like a flashback to when Luke lost all his Jedi students to the Knights of Ren, as hinted at during Rey’s vision in TFA. It’s also clearly another angle of...
...this iconic shot from The Force Awakens’ trailer that gave us all so much consternation.
More burning, and I think that’s Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) leading troopers into the wreckage. The sheen on the armor is so quintessentially her, but I guess it could also be one of the Knights of Ren. This could also be from the assault on Crait rather than a flashback.
This big space battle is above a planet that could be Ahch-To, but it’s hard to tell. We’ve got all sorts of classic ships flying around, though.
The trailer ends with Luke saying, “I only know one truth: It’s time for the Jedi to end.”
There is a marked difference in the quality of the two lines being said, which makes it sound like the “one truth” and the “time for the Jedi to end” bits come from different parts of the movie. Or, you know, one of them could have been recorded specifically for the trailer.
Also, Luke is standing in a cave entrance (in what looks like this outfit, and not the one from the end of The Force Awakens) that looks very much like the opening that’s behind Rey in the opening shot of the trailer. Is what Luke said what caused her to run out gasping? Is it even Luke? Could it be a Dark Side vision?
It makes a certain amount of sense that Luke, after watching the Jedi get wiped out again under his watch, might feel the Jedi’s time is over. But does anyone think he means it literally? Or is it more likely he thinks the Jedi need that to be reconceptualized and modernized as a group? Or is this just a big fat red herring introduced in the trailer to throw us off?
I think it’s pretty clear that most of the scenes here come from early in the movie, which is standard early trailer practice. Rey training on Ahch-To and Resistance are separate threads that will probably collide in the end of this movie.
We’ll find out December 15, when The Last Jedi arrives.