Star Wars: The Last Jedi Trailer Breakdown & Analysis

The first Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer revealed many secrets about the movie. Here's what we found!

Star Wars Celebration Orlando gave us our first look at Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the next chapter in the saga. A two-minute teaser was shown at the end of a panel that featured director Rian Johnson and many of the film’s stars, and it has more than a few hints and teases about what we should expect from Episode VIII.

We’ve sat down and picked apart this trailer bit by bit to unravel its secrets. What we’ve discovered is a lot of interesting stuff about Rey and Luke’s story as well as what’s going on with the war between the Resistance and the First Order.

Before we get into it, check out the trailer if you haven’t seen it already:

We’ve gone through shot by shot, and will continue to update this analysis as we discover more stuff. If we missed something, let us know in the comments or hit up @johnsjr9 on Twitter!

If you’ve only got a couple of minutes, you can check out a short version of this analysis in video form right here. If you want more details, then keep reading!

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Okay, here we go…

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While we don’t get Luke’s very first line in the Sequel Trilogy in the trailer – I really doubt it’s “Breathe” – it is confirmed that he agrees to train Rey in the Force.

The very first shot of the trailer is Rey on Ahch-To during some sort of breathing exercise. It is undoubtedly what Luke is referring to in his voiceover. This reminds me of Yoda telling Luke to breathe on Dagobah. Luke’s method looks more extreme, though. 

The next shot is, of course, a better look at Ahch-To, home of the first Jedi Temple. Something about their being TWO islands in this specific shot seems significant to me. It seems to symbolize the split in the Force – the light and dark sides. Could one island be home to the light side while the other holds dark side energy?

I’m SERIOUSLY speculating here, but what if Rey has to go to the dark side island on some sort of quest to find balance? It would be reminiscent of Luke’s venture into the dark side cave on Dagobah. There will be at least a few nods to Luke’s own training in this movie. Mark my words. 

ALSO, the way the sun is rising in this shot. Remember that image. Scroll down.

The first couple of shots are pretty much a montage of Rey’s training.

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I’m pretty sure a big chunk of this movie will be about Rey’s training with Luke. I actually think she’ll spend most of the movie OUT of the action – just like Luke did in The Empire Strikes Back. There’s definitely a middle sequel vibe here, since everyone is split up in this movie. Attack of the Clones and The Empire Strikes Back split up the main characters as well. 

I just want to point out that this shot of Rey using the Force to levitate those little rocks is stunning. Rey is who I want to be when I grow up. 

“What do you see?” Luke asks Rey. This is the start of the talk about balance in the trailer. This is VERY significant, and we’ll get to that in a second. For now, Rey sees both light and dark sides of the Force during this particular exercise. 

The light side is represented by a shot of Leia in a Resistance base. This doesn’t look like the same base on D’Qar from the first movie. I assume the First Order took care of that base at some point between the two movies. Unless we’re going to see that at the beginning of the film…

The map Leia is looking at? I’m not sure if that’s the map to Ahch-To from the last movie or what… Let me know in the comments, please!

The dark side is represented, of course, by Kylo Ren’s shattered helmet. We can hear Vader’s breathing in the background, too!

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So this brings up something interesting about Kylo. He doesn’t appear with his helmet in this movie. We even see his face at one point. Now that Kylo has completely shed his past self by killing his father, does he need the helmet at all? It would seem to me that the mask served to hide his inner conflict. 

Although it seems that Kylo has fully turned by the end of The Force Awakens, there are hints in Alan Dean Foster’s novelization that indicate that the villain’s inner turmoil hasn’t fully subsided. I guess we’ll see. 

That’s a lot to unpack about a single shot of a helmet. Whatever. 

Ah, we’re back to the talk about balance. Okay, so what we see in these next two shots is a bit confusing. That LOOKS like a collection of books inside of a…Force tree? The reason I say Force tree is because we’ve been teased with these particular plants for several years now. It’s no accident that the only canon post-Return of the Jedi story featuring Luke Skywalker to date (the Star Wars: Shattered Empire comic book miniseries) is about the hero trying to recover fragments from the tree that stood in the old Jedi Temple on Coruscant from the Empire. 

These Force-sensitive trees are ancient and have some sort of significance to Luke’s story. We know that Luke went out in search of Jedi knowledge after the Empire’s defeat on Endor. We could assume that this tree holds some sort of secret about the Force? 

In a very literal sense, this tree holds a bit of knowledge within it…

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Rey describes a balance in this next shot, in which a gloved hand touches a very old book with a symbol on it. Several of you have pointed out in the comments that the symbol looks a lot like the Old Republic Jedi symbol, which makes perfect sense. 

ALSO, doesn’t the symbol look a lot like how the sun is rising in the earlier shot of the two islands on Ahch-To? Sorry, I’m an obsessive person.

Anyway, does Rey wear gloves at some point in this movie? A miniscule thing I don’t want to obsess about at all. My point is that that might not be Rey’s hand at all. So who’s found this book and what does it say?

Is it… the mysterious Journal of the Whills, perhaps? (Thanks, Mike Cecchini, for the theory!)

This, to me, is the most iconic shot of the entire trailer: Rey practicing with her lightsaber on a cliff while Luke watches from above. It looks like this movie, like all of the recent Star Wars films, is beautifully shot. I can’t wait. 

I can’t tell if it’s Luke saying, “It’s so much bigger” or if it’s another character. In terms of context, I’ll say it’s Luke, although I’m not sure he’s saying this in the same conversation, either. 

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But all of these shots bring up a big theory about Rey’s role in this story. Her talk of balance and the tease that “It’s so much bigger” would seem to indicate that Rey might be that balance. That she’s the actual Chosen One who is supposed to bring balance to the Force. Luke might be explaining to her that the Force is much bigger than just the light and the dark side, and that true knowledge might be gained from the gray. 

I’m speculating hard here, but we know the saga has always been headed in this direction. The balance is not the Jedi winning or the Sith winning. I have a final point about that, but I’ll get to that at the end…

Okay, these next two shots are bonkers.

I don’t know what kind of fighters those are. Sand surfers? A better name? EW, who learned from Rian Johnson that this planet is in fact named Crait, referred to these fighters as “skimmers,” but it’s unclear if that’s the official name.

What I do know is that they’re charging towards a bunch of AT-ATs, which means there’s some sort of battle going down. Johnson revealed to EW that Crait is home to an old, abandoned Rebel base and that the planet plays a “key role” in the movie.

“It’s way out there. It’s very remote. It’s uncharted,” Johnson told EW. “It’s a mineral planet and so there are mines on it.”

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Johnson also revealed that the planet’s surface is made up of a “white dusting of salt over this red, ruby-ish mineral base.”

Finn’s in some sort of medical pod! Not a bacta tank because I guess those are outdated at this point? Thirty years of relative peace in the galaxy have probably allowed for some medical advancements…

Okay, so back to the Resistance. It does look like they’ve moved from D’Qar and have a fleet – not unlike their predecessors. We see Poe running down a hallway during what I assume is a surprise attack by the First Order. 

I’m guessing that things don’t go well for the Resistance during this battle, since even Poe’s X-wing doesn’t seem to make it off the ship bay. Is this going to be a running thing in the Sequel Trilogy? Poe’s X-wing always blows up?

We’ll definitely see the Millennium Falcon in this movie! I’m not sure who’s piloting it, but we can assume Chewie is one of the characters in the cockpit. Rey seemed to inherit the Falcon at the end of The Force Awakens, but I don’t know how that’s going to work in this movie if she’s also training with Luke. Maybe she leaves Luke at some point or Luke leaves with her? 

I can’t tell where the Falcon’s battle with the TIE fighters is taking place. It looks like it’s a beautiful day out, so I want to say it’s Ahch-To. Does the First Order find Luke’s hideout at some point in this movie and decide to attack? If so, we’re in for a heck of a fight.

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Rey’s charging towards battle in this next shot and she looks badass. She’s clearly going to wield Luke’s old lightsaber in this movie. 

I don’t know if it’s a tease or a red herring, but the trailer teases that Rey and Kylo are going to have a rematch at some point. What I find most interesting from this great shot of the villains is that his face doesn’t look all that scarred from his last fight with Rey. The small scar he does have really resembles Anakin’s in Revenge of the Sith.

I have a theory about this next shot. It looks like a flashback. Will we see how Luke’s Jedi Order fell in this movie? That burning building was probably Luke’s temple. We know that R2-D2 was with the Jedi Master when he decided to go into exile. I think we’re going to see how Kylo betrayed his uncle in this movie. 

Oh, and was Captain Phasma part of that attack on Luke’s Jedi? Up until now, we’ve known that the Knights of Ren, led by Kylo, were responsible for the obliteration of Luke’s students. But maybe the First Order took part in the attack, too?

SPACE BATTLE! And hopefully no giant, globe-shaped superweapon!

This might be the attack on the Rebel ship we saw earlier in the trailer. That almost looks like it could be D’Qar below? Does the First Order attack right as the Resistance is escaping? I simply don’t know. 

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“I only know one truth. It’s time for the Jedi to end.” This is BY FAR the most iconic line in this trailer. It will probably be the most iconic line of the entire movie. The entire trilogy? Luke’s words throughout this trailer seem to indicate that he wishes to be the last Jedi in the galaxy. 


Simple: because as long as there are Jedi, there will always be a dark side equivalent. You could deduce that after his new Jedi order falls at the hands of the Knights of Ren, Luke realizes that having a light side and a dark side of the Force will always bring disaster to the galaxy. The only way to have peace is to bring balance. That means no factions. Just the Force. 

There’s a lot more to be said about this, but I’m going to tackle that in a separate piece. For now, what you need to know is that Rey might be the balance of the light and dark sides – which is perhaps why Kylo also takes an interest in training her in The Force Awakens.

All of this stuff is certainly unclear, and I could be completely wrong, but Rey is the protagonist in a Star Wars film, which means that she has a destiny. That destiny could be to finally bring balance to the Force. 

Again, let me know if I missed anything or hit me up on Twitter!

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John Saavedra is an associate editor at Den of Geek US. Find more of his work on his website. Or just follow him on Twitter.