One of the biggest criticisms that 2015's Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens received was that it borrowed too heavily from the 1977 original movie; Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope. As such many critics have been pre-empting that this holidays seasons sequel will likely follow all too closely the narrative of 1981's Star Wars, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, a movie considered by fans and critics alike to be the best of the saga. Early indications from behind-the-scenes reports and the teaser trailer that was released in April suggests that the forthcoming Star Wars, Episode VIII: The Last Jedi will indeed share some similar elements, such as Rey (Daisy Ridley) being trained by Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) on Anch-To mirroring the latter's training by Yoda on Dagobah, Canto Bight mirroring Cloud City, and the AT-M6's on Crait mirroring the AT-AT's on Hoth.
However, despite some initial similarities the popular belief among fans is that director Rian Johnson (Looper) is intentionally using such criticisms to lure fans and audiences into a false sense of foreknowledge before throwing a series of curve balls, twists and unforeseen reveals that could leave many reeling in the aftermath of our initial viewing of the movie, inviting repeat viewings for those eager for more clues as to what we will have learned upon the movies release and what we think we can expect in the movie's sequel, the as-of-yet untitled Star Wars, Episode IX, due in theaters in 2019. While some may suggest such beliefs are the naive hopes of the fans, the recently released trailer is already starting its campaign of misdirection, leading fans and audiences to expect certain narrative beats through the clever and expert use of editing. The truth, however, could see The Last Jedi become one of the best movies of the saga.
The first such misdirection seen in The Last Jedi's trailer is the opening monologue from Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), which with the accompanying footage one would presume to be in reference to Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). However, most outlets suspect, as do we here at Scified, that Snoke's speech is likely from the same scene in which we presume we are witnessing Snoke torture Rey. Look again at this scene (pictured above) and one will notice that Rey is neither armed nor bound. But why would Snoke risk himself in the presence of someone so powerful in the ways of the Force, who has been trained by Luke Skywalker?
The answer may lie in another clever use of misdirection in which it is inferred that Kylo Ren may be responsible for his mother, General Leia Organa-Solo's (the sadly departed Carried Fisher) death. In the opening moments of this scene we presume to see Kylo Rens TIE Silencer escorted by two TIE Fighters, but if you pay very close attention, you will notice that the TIE Fighters are actually firing at Kylo Rens new fighter, with one of the laser shots from the TIE Fighters actually hitting one of TIE Silencers 'wings'. Together with the TIE Silencers solo entrance into the Mon Calamari freighters hangar and the emotions shared by both Leia and Kylo in this scene, it may actually be that Ben Solo may be seeking redemption and sanctuary from the First Order, following events on Anch-To.
Reys meeting with Supreme Leader Snoke and Ben Solo's (AKA Kylo Ren) possible redemption could suggest that these two opposing characters may swap roles by the end of the movie, with Ben Solo joining the Resistance and Rey becoming Snoke's new apprentice. Possible evidence of this can be found in the footage of Luke Skywalker lying exasperated in a muddy, moonlit scene. Not only does this scene heavily suggest that Rey's vision of Kylo and the Knights of Ren in The Force Awakens was prophetic and not from memory as initially speculated, it also raises the question, as to why we have not yet seen any footage of Luke Skywalker within a setting that could not possibly be on Anch-To.
Now refer to the trailers closing moments, in which it is inferred that Rey is asking for Kylos help. In this exchange the background behind Rey looks like that of a cave, suggesting the footage is from before her training on Anch-To, whereas amidst Kylo's extended hand of assistance we can see falling embers, suggesting the footage may be following the destruction of the first Jedi Temple, and that he is, in fact, extending his hand to assist his former master and uncle Luke Skywalker. This may explain why we may have seen Kylo kill one of the Knights of Ren in Rey's vision from The Force Awakens; together these could be the moments when Ben turns away from the Dark Side, following the revelation that Snoke wishes to replace him with Rey.
This scene may also be Lukes last, with his evident exhaustion possibly being signs of something more fatal. With Kylo possibly accepting the light, and the Knights of Ren likely incapable of defeating the Jedi Master, the only remaining possibility could be that Luke meets his end at the hands of Rey, which may have understandably been the narrative direction that Mark Hamill was initially objected to, that is until one asks the most important question of all - why would you abandon a young child to a life of slavery on a desolate desert world?
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker December 20th, 2019
More about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (movie)
Approximately a year after the events of The Last Jedi, the remnants of the Resistance face the First Order once again - while reckoning with the past and their own inner turmoil - altogether bringing the Skywalker saga to a definitive end.
Directed by J. J. Abrams, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker's release date is December 20th, 2019.
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