The Last Jedi is still more than two months from its mid-December release, but Star Wars fans have been digging for information about the sequel for years. On Monday night, a trailer for Episode VIII aired and despite Rian Johnson’s promise/warning we were left with even more questions about the direction of the film. So, with nine weeks to go until the premiere, Ringer staffers came together to talk about the Dark Side and porgs.
1. What is your tweet-length review of the ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ trailer?
Andrew Gruttadaro: If Kylo Ren blows up Princess Leia, we riot.
Michael Baumann: It's so pretty. And you know what? I'm into Chewbacca's anthropomorphic guinea pig buddy. I like when Star Wars goes cuddly. Go Ewoks.
Amanda Dobbins: How many people used the lil porg screenshot already? Can you put me in line with the rest of them? I support these memes.
Miles Surrey: Rian Johnson should direct every film in this franchise.
Sean Yoo: The Force is strong with the trailer. I can feel the hype coursing through my veins. LET IT RIAN!!!!
Jordan Coley: Take my money, Disney! Take all of it!
Ben Lindbergh: As expected, The Last Jedi looks like the unsettling, Empire-esque middle movie that will end up being the linchpin of the trilogy sandwiched between two able but less inventive and beloved Abrams entries.
2. What is the best moment of the trailer?
Gruttadaro: If it’s not Kylo’s face scar, which looks weirdly sort of similar to the stripe on the Seattle Seahawks helmets, then it’s the final shot, which is either extremely enticing or an extremely good fakeout. (I super want Rey and Kylo to become friends; I am not sure why.)
Baumann: Give me space combat. It's in the name of the series, for God's sake. Can't get enough space combat.
Dobbins: Everyone’s got one of these stories, but: My friend took her 4-year-old niece to see The Force Awakens, and when Rey finally grabbed the lightsaber, her niece yelled “Girls can be Jedis, too!!” in the middle of the theater. So I liked it when Rey had the lightsaber.
Surrey: The porg gasping (or whatever alien sound that was). Sorry, I know it’s a contentious point, but I’m a porg stan.
Yoo: The angry outburst from Kylo Ren. It brings back fond memories of this hilarious SNL sketch.
Samman: FINN AND PHASMA IN A SPACE SWORD FIGHT. Neither has a lightsaber (lame), but Finn has the Star Wars equivalent of a shock baton, and Phasma is rocking a First Order epee (or maybe it’s a sabre? I always get those confused). Things are on fire in the background. Some electrical wiring explodes when their blades meet. I am extremely here for it.
Coley: I love the split second when what appears to be some sort of ice-crystal-snow-lynx creature stops in the middle of the frame as we hear Luke say, “This is not going to go the way you think!” He’s right. I sincerely did not think there would be any ice-crystal-snow-lynx creatures in this upcoming edition of Star Wars.
Lindbergh: A scarred Kylo losing it and trashing more First Order architecture. Maintenance crew to the turbolift, please.
3. Which moment has you extremely concerned?
Gruttadaro: I do not need Star Wars to be cute, so I can’t say I’m thrilled to see that shot of the little animal guy doing Chewbacca’s howl.
Baumann: Do we need for Rey to go through the same rote Temptation of the Dark Side arc Anakin and Luke went through? Is this like how the Warriors won once and the Cavs won once so they needed to face off in the Finals a third time to settle it once and for all?
Dobbins: What is that fake fox thing?
Surrey: … Where to begin? There’s definitely some misleading shots in this trailer, but Kylo Ren firing a missile at his mom’s ship and Luke Skywalker’s ominous reading of Rey’s Jedi powers has me concerned. Also, what if people are right about the porgs being a dumb addition to the canon?
Yoo: There's nothing more alarming than seeing a terrified Luke Skywalker. Why is he so afraid of Rey? Is she as powerful as he says she is?
Samman: Some of my colleagues will probably bad-mouth the porg—the little furry thing screaming in unison with Chewy on the Falcon. Those people hate fun. Porgs are dope, and aren’t concerning in the slightest. Something that is concerning? How about that snippet when Finn looks like he’s been taken prisoner and is being led through a hallway by some troopers. A central hero being captured is concerning.
Coley: The end! Rey? The Dark Side?? That would never happen! … Would it?
Lindbergh: The Kylo-Leia portion of the trailer might be a misdirect, but even more than the potential for plush toys and motion capture to undermine the movie’s intense tone and lived-in look, I fear the threat of Leia’s death (in the wake of Carrie Fisher’s) wrecking me emotionally.
4. Which character did you not see enough of?
Gruttadaro: I’m in on the non-hologram Snoke. It is always a good strategy to make your villain have skin that looks like it would be excruciatingly gross to touch. Give me more of this guy.
Baumann: Poe. Oscar Isaac was in The Force Awakens for about 10 minutes and they were the best 10 minutes of the movie. He needs to do more than look out a window.
Dobbins: I’m a fan of Oscar Isaac’s work.
Surrey: Poe Dameron. Give the people what they want.
Yoo: We needed more shots of the Poe-Finn bromance.
Samman: I know he had a lengthy voice-over, but give me more Poe Dameron. The Resistance pilot had some of the best lines in the new trilogy’s first installment, and his absence in the greater part of this pilot is upsetting. The people (namely me) demand more Poe Dameron.
5. Predict the plot of the movie based on this trailer.
Baumann: There's gonna be one big battle, then Poe and Finn are gonna do some stuff while Rey trains on Luke's island, then there's gonna be another battle, then somehow Rey's gonna get tempted by the Dark Side.
Dobbins: Rey is tempted by the Dark Side, but Kylo Ren is tempted by the Force, because they are siblings and we as human beings carry the whole spectrum of existence within. There is also a star war of some sort.
Surrey: Rey’s corporate retreat to Ahch-To doesn’t go as planned (her instructor is a dick). Finn is conflicted about sharing his true feelings for Poe while planning his surprise birthday party on D’Qar. Kylo Ren throws a tantrum after Hux scratches one of his My Chemical Romance vinyls. Chewbacca accidentally eats one of the porgs, hilarity ensues.
Yoo: My theory: Rey experiences both the light and the dark of the Force, and uses both those experiences to end the war between the First Order and the Resistance and create peace in the world of Star Wars. (Or this could all be a trick and Kylo is the protagonist with Rey being the antagonist, IDK.)
Samman: Luke Skywalker reluctantly trains Rey to be a Jedi after a scene and a half of hesitation more than we needed for an outcome we all know is coming. Finn is captured by the First Order in some convoluted assault on the base (shout-out Han Solo and the carbonite crew) and Leia and the good guys take a major L when Kylo Ren blows up their hideout, setting up Kylo vs. Rey 2. In the end, the heroes look lost, and the First Order gains control of everything they seek. In other words, it’ll be an Empire Strikes Back remake.
Coley: Fighting between the Resistance and the First Order continues to intensify. The film culminates with a Rey-Ren showdown for the ages in which Ren offers Rey a chance to join the Dark Side, but she promptly refuses and slices off one of his hands, saying, “Look, I know we’ve been here before, but this is one of the most successful film franchises in history. We know what the people want. Just ride this out and you’ll have a new mechanical hand by next film. I promise.”
Lindbergh: Clearly, Kylo gets a scolding from Snoke, Rey’s raw power gives Luke flashbacks to bad apple Ben Solo, the First Order strikes back in response to the Resistance destroying Starkiller Base, and Finn infiltrates a First Order facility (most likely Snoke’s flying-wing flagship, the Supremacy) in a valiant attempt to give Captain Phasma more screen time, but the Rey-Kylo connection must be more complicated than this footage makes it look—and for now, that’s where I’d like to leave it. As Luke says at the end of the trailer, “This is not going to go the way you think.”