God bless Star Wars Celebration, is all I can say.
The Last Jedi panel at the convention was fine as far as news goes; Mark Hammil’s willingness to say *almost* whatever comes to mind is always delightful, but beyond that we didn’t learn much new about the film there.
The biggest punches of interesting came towards the end, with the reveal of a new poster and the trailer.
It goes without saying that the poster is plenty evocative and captivating. Anakin’s/Luke’s/Rey’s blue lightsaber spearing upwards, transforming into a red dividing line between Luke’s and evil Kylo Ren’s faces, calls to mind the poster for A New Hope way back when. Those faces, the general red hue and the overall starkness of the poster makes it seem that we’re in for some seriously heavy stuff in the movie.
Then there’s that damn teaser — if it’s job was to build up hype while not revealing much, consider it a success.
It’s been widely said that this would be the Empire Strikes Back of the sequel trilogy — the one where everything really starts to go to hell for our heroes. This teaser does point heavily in that direction, with the foreboding score and shots of Rey, Poe, Luke and the Resistance in general in less-than-stellar circumstances.
Its arguable that most of the darkness in Empire stems from the series of victories, big and small, that the Empire scores against the Rebellion: the fall of Hoth, everything that happens in Cloud City, Darth Vader toying with Luke’s mind. Mostly with that last point, there’s still a fair amount of inner turmoil in Empire, but Luke’s struggle isn’t what gives the movie it’s dark edge.
But with Last Jedi, Luke might just be the source of a lot of struggle. We know that he’s gone through some hard times since Return of the Jedi, but he seems heavily tormented in the trailer. Hell, he says it’s time for the Jedi to end.
Rey actress Daisy Ridley mentioned during the Celebration panel that sometimes our heroes aren’t what we’d thought them to be when we meet them. It surely seems that’ll be the case when Rey gets to know Luke. What effect will his negativity have on our heroine? Will she question her role in the universe, perhaps even play with the dark side?
Then there’s Finn, who actor John Boyega says will be struggling to decide whether to fight or flee for his life. Throw in the hardships sure to hit Poe and Leia as the Resistance faces its hardest times yet, will anybody’s mind escape unharmed?
Back to the trailer specifically, the First Order plays is reveling in its role as empire-ascendant, trampling towards our heroes left and right. The space battles look tremendous in the trailer — in fact most of the shots in the trailer are tremendous. The scene of speeders/fighters flying over salt flats (?), kicking up rich red dust as they charge toward a line of enemy walkers, was gorgeous.
Despite that beauty, though, it’s impossible to escape the sense that some really dark stuff is going to go down. I, for one, couldn’t be more excited.