This Christmas, the next highly-anticipated installment in the “Star Wars” saga will arrive with “Star Wars: Episode VIII-The Last Jedi.” While anticipation for the film has remained high ever since the massive critical and commercial success of “Star Wars: Episode VII-The Force Awakens” in 2015, a new trailer for the film has generated further hype for the film ahead of its opening on December 15.
The first trailer bears many similarities to the first trailer for “The Force Awakens”: even though details on the plot itself are scarce at this stage, Rian Johnson definitely looks to not only build on what was given to him, but advance the story of the saga further in honor of its 40th anniversary this year.
Picking up where the events of “Episode VII” left off, the film will follow Rey (Daisy Ridley) as she learns the ways of the Force from Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill); who has been in hiding in the 30 years after the events of “Return of the Jedi.” However, the sinister First Order will stop at nothing until Luke is destroyed, and the Resistance will face further challenges from villains such as Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie). With the conflict rising, it will be a series of growing challenges for the likes of Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega) and BB-8 (voice of Bill Hader).
Even if the trailer has generated further speculation about the film, it hints at many secrets the film holds; including an ominous narration that ends with this phrase: “It’s time for the Jedi to end.”
Since the trailer was first uploaded to YouTube as part of the annual “Star Wars Celebration” this year, it has been viewed over 32 million times. It is also part of a massive marketing campaign that coincides with the 40th anniversary of the release of “A New Hope” in 1977. The video game “Star Wars Battlefront II” will also contain a host of elements tied into the film, some of which hint at redesigned costumes for Rey and Kylo Ren. The film will also be the final appearance of Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa, which she completed work on before her sudden death in late 2016 at age 60. Lucasfilm is also in the process of reworking “Episode IX” to reflect her absence before the film’s release in 2019.
Given the building hype, the first trailer for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” has further stoked excitement for one of the most-anticipated films of the year. It appears the film will make good on its aim to emulate the tone of “The Empire Strikes Back,” regarded by many to be the best film in the original trilogy. Even with the task of following up on the massive success of “The Force Awakens,” director Rian Johnson has risen tremendously to the occasion. The Force should definitely be with “The Last Jedi” when it releases on December 15.
Column by Steven Pryor