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Monday night, Star Wars fans and those of us who appreciate the long and difficult marketing dance that accompanies a big-ticket blockbuster tuned in to a dreadful NFL contest between the hapless Minnesota Viking and he disappointing Chicago Bears. Why? Because the latest trailer for Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi was due to drop at halftime, and the glorious sci-fi teaser immediately made us forget the 2-0 game we had to endure. We immediately were transported to a galaxy far, far away. The Force was awakened inside of us once again.
The new trailer, though light on what might consider spoiler material, provided a steady stream of GORGEOUS imagery that -- I think -- danced nimbly around the plot of Star Wars: The Last Jedi to protect most of the film's major mysteries. In fact, having watched the sequel's trailer a few dozen times, I'm convinced that so much of what is shown is blatant misdirection to knock us off the scent of what could be major plot developments in the Star Wars saga. Still, here are 10 of our favorite shots from the most recent trailer, as well as some base-level analysis of what it all might mean. Starting with:
Rey In Trouble
The trailer ends with a kicker, suggesting that Rey (Daisy Ridley) -- seeking guidance regarding her place in the universe -- turns to Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and, as a result, the Dark Side. This theory works if you imagine that Supreme Leader Snoke's monologue that starts the trailer is aimed at Rey, and not at Kylo. But when Rey stares down Snoke at some point in The Last Jedi (because that's happening, people), the powerful human/humanoid is going to inflict some serious pain on our beloved orphan Jedi-in-training, as evidenced by this terrible shot of her bent over backwards in agony.
We think this is where these books rest. Ahch-To is the official name of the island on which Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) resides. (Hides?) And it's where Rey will train, much the same way that Luke trained with Yoda on Dagobah. We have seen these books in previous trailers, and are assuming that Luke is keeping them nearby, in a cave on Ahch-To. Were they rescued from the fiery remains of the Jedi Temple, which we also see burning in this new trailer? And what information could be in them that Luke finds so important and valuable?
Even before this trailer, the Porgs have captured the hearts of the Star Wars community. These bird-like creatures live on Ahch-To, and keep Luke company while he is in exile. But now we know that one of them will leave Ahch-To on a mission with Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon. And the moment this little guy screamed out, a meme was born... and one that we don't see Twitter letting die any time soon.
Fear Is The Path To The Dark Side
A Yoda quote, but one that pertains to his former student, Luke Skywalker, and HIS current protégé. The new _Star Wars: The Last Jedi _trailer doesn't hide the fact that Rey has an extremely powerful Force connection. And as Luke says, the last time he felt it, he was basically in the presence of his father. He didn't fear it quite as much then, but he does now... now that he's seeing it surface in the presence of this strange girl. The look of terror on Luke's face when Rey begins to exert her true potential is riveting, as Mark Hamill really sells the dread that Luke's feeling. What is he going to do about it?
A Son's... Love?
I mentioned misdirection earlier. This might be the most egregious case. The new Star Wars: The Last Jedi spends a lot of time setting up "Kylo May Kill Leia." We get the above shot, of Kylo Ren with his finger on the trigger and is mother, General Leia, sensing an end. Given the fact that Kylo offed his dad, Han Solo, we think he's merely trimming his family tree. But we don't believe he's really doing that, do we? If Leia and the Resistance are under attack, how come no one in the background behind Carrie Fisher is running, in panic? Rian Johnson wants us to think Leia's in danger. I think she will be... but not yet.
Rey's Training Is Coming Along
Mirroring The Empire Strikes Back to a certain extent, The Last Jedi appears ready to dedicate a large chunk of its runtime to Rey's training. We get ample shots of her with Luke's lightsaber, perfecting her skills to the point where she's able to nearly slice this cliff to within an inch of its life. But where as Luke abandoned his trainer to rescue his friends in Empire...
A Student, Abandoned
... It is made to look like Luke will walk away from Rey in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, perhaps because he fears what her power is capable of. This seems out of character for Luke, who sacrificed so much to bring balance to The Force. If he truly were to learn that a person possessed the same Force capabilities as his father, would he not once again risk everything to keep that person from flipping to the Dark Side. However, Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley have stated time and time again that Luke is not going to welcome Rey with open arms on Ahch-To, so this one will remain a mystery for now.
Kylo Ren and Rey Last Name To Be Determined occupy a lot of space in this new trailer. You'd almost forget that there are other key supporting players in this ongoing Star Wars saga. But that comes to the forefront when John Boyega's Finn confronts his old superior, Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), in what looks to be a spectacular battle. Finn even seems to be using the weapon that the First Order Stormtrooper used on him, screaming "Traitor" in The Force Awakens. Possible?
Snow Dogs? Ice Cats?
If Porgs aren't your thing (though, we're not really sure how they couldn't be), the Rian Johnson has new and exciting creatures to catch your eye in The Last Jedi trailer. Fans have taken to social media to discuss what they think this beats might be. And the director has replied, telling them that in the debate about whether it's a dog or cat-type creature, it is "crystalline." Whatever it is, it's spectacular, and we hope it has a bigger part in the overall story, and not just this mysterious two-second cameo.
We went into detail about Supreme Leader Snoke's role in the Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer over here, but it bears repeating that -- after looking at his projected hologram for the duration of The Force Awakens -- Rian Johnson gives us a clear look at the real Snoke, played by Andy Serkis. And he has designs for Rey, though whether or not those grand plans include Kylo Ren or not remains a mystery. This can't just be a mirror image of Luke and the Emperor. The Last Jedi would get lambasted for photocopying the original Star Wars trilogy if this story plays out as such. So what is Snoke's plan? We hope to know more when The Last Jedi opens on December 15.