The much-awaited trailer of the most eagerly anticipated Star Wars film, The Last Jedi came out on Monday night, and it showed a lot of visuals which have set the fandom buzzing with new and old theories. Will we see Captain Phasma exact revenge on Finn? Will Kylo Ren be instrumental in the reunion of Leia and the late Han Solo? What is it that has frightened Chewie and little Porg to that extent? In fact, the most crucial question which is now haunting all Star Wars fans is whether Rey – the symbol of hope and future from The Force Awakens, will now switch over to the dark side or not.
The latest trailer has successfully and quickly seeded the doubt about this scenario in the minds of the fans by making the Supreme Leader Snoke utter the following words: “When I found you, I saw raw, untamed power… and beyond that, something truly special.” This assumes further significance when we see Rey getting trained by Luke Skywalker who has a frightened expression on seeing his pupil make the Ahch-To rocks crack under their feet. “I’ve seen this raw strength only once before,” says Luke and then there is a flashback of probably the moment when Kylo Ren had betrayed Luke. “It didn’t scare me enough then. It does now.” This establishes the similarity between Rey and Kylo Ren, and we hear both Snoke, as well as Luke, describe their pupils in the same terminology. Reflecting on the outcome of Kylo Ren’s case, we feel Rey’s future is pretty clear and dark.
Ben Solo had started training under the tutelage of his uncle and Jedi Master Luke Skywalker by the age of 23, and he was one student with whom Luke had high hopes of the restoration of the Jedi Order. But, the young man was cultivating emotions of desertion which were caused by the fragile relationship between Han Solo and Leia and also his natural Force potential which he inherited due to his Skywalker bloodline, Ben couldn’t hold fort against the temptation of Supreme Leader Snoke who was the head of the First Order that was created from the ashes of the Galactic Empire.
Once he joined the dark side, Ben destroyed everything that Luke had tried to create and that included the Jedi Temple. He took up the name Kylo Ren and became an assistant to Supreme Leader Snoke and a member of the Knights of Ren. Luke felt guilty about Ben’s switching over to the dark side and went on a self-imposed exile as his hopes of re-establishing the Jedi Order were nearly nullified.
Rey’s character in The Force Awakens is an outcome of her own conflicts about being an abandoned child who has apparently been discarded on a scrappy planet called Jaaku by her parents. This is also clear that Rey is someone who has an extraordinary connection with the Force that is so powerful that it managed to scare the veteran Jedi Master. Not only that, but we also need to recall the last visuals of the trailer which showed a perplexed Rey state, “I need someone to show me my place in all this,” a request that was followed by an extension of his hand by Kylo Ren in a very persuasive manner.
Don’t be mistaken! This is quite easy to put the pieces provided by the visuals in place and figure out the suggested direction in which The Last Jedi appears to be headed, however, it is not common for there being multiple methods in which you can get to point B from point A. The aim of any good trailer is not to let you know what the film has in store, but, to entice you by giving false notions, highlights and Red Herrings which are carefully mixed to create a bouquet that compels the viewers to go to the cinemas. Therefore, it won’t be surprising if this trailer is nothing, but, a clever cinematic manipulation of visuals and dialogues which keeps the fans on edge. The other possibility is that the best way to keep something hidden is to display it brazenly so that nobody notices the obvious.
Whatever may be the situation, but, a twist as powerful as making Rey go dark would substantiate the claim of director Rian Johnson about The Last Jedi being much more than a rehash of The Empire Strikes Back which had caused the biggest shock among fans by revealing that Darth Vader had fathered Luke. Both these films had tremendous story twists, but, beyond that Rey’s unimaginable confluence with Snoke and Kylo Ren against Luke has the potential of making The Last Jedi a standout Star Wars movie.
It can also set up the base to create a superb homage to the Dark Horse miniseries titled Star Wars: Dark Empire. That was a story by Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy which dealt with the revival of Emperor Palpatine who managed to bring Luke Skywalker over to the dark side as his new assistant, and that’s how things remained till the time Leia managed to redeem Luke by invoking the good inside him.
We know that Dark Empire is not canon. Still, it is not the first instance of the Star Wars Universe taking cues from Legends after the Disney takeover. This has earlier been seen by the debut of Grand Admiral Thrawn in the Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels. This will also be helpful in clarifying the direction in which the J.J. Abrams-directed Episode IX will move and at the same time, will leave enough space to create a fresh interpretation of the storyline as we will be dealing with almost all new characters.
No matter what happens in The Last Jedi, irrespective of which side Rey decides to choose, the next two months will see a fierce debate among the Star Wars fans. There is a great chance of several new conjectures and theories coming forward till the time The Last Jedi comes to the theaters. You know why? Because this is Star Wars we are talking about.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is written and directed by Rian Johnson, and it features the following:
Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata, Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma and Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke, joined by franchise newcomers Kelly Marie Tran as Rose, Benicio del Toro as “DJ” and Laura Dern as Vice Admiral AmilynHoldo. The film will release on Dec. 15.