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Dissecting the Trailer from The Last Jedi

Star Wars Celebration was last week in Orlando, Florida.In addition to the general awesomeness of all the panels, interviews, live shows, and Q&A sessions, the masters at Lucasfilm treated the world to the very first trailer for Episode 8: The Last Jedi.

The trailer is packed with beautiful imagery, timeless John Williams musical moments, and hints about the future (and past) of the galaxy far, far away. As Yoda would say, “Much to learn, you still have.”


The trailer opens with some classic John Williams tension music: a mysterious chord twinkles with percussion, strings quietly but ominously distract in the background, and then everything slides down into the rumbling jump scare.

The “Force Theme” (AKA “Binary Sunset” in the original trilogy) rings out on the French horn as the world hears Luke Skywalker speak for the first time in close to 35 years. The theme has some new musical DNA, though—“Rey’s Theme” can be heard in the percussion, strings, and flute, functioning like a newer counterweight to the classic theme.

Williams did not give Kylo Ren a full musical theme of his own in The Force Awakens, but he did write a short melody that plays whenever Ren is on screen in TFA. This line can be heard in the trailer as Rey talks about the dark side.

The trailer ends with a very dramatic version of the “Force Theme”/“Rey’s Theme” medley before fading away to a male chorus wordlessly droning in the background. This brief choral effect sounds very similar to “Snoke” from TFA and “Palpatine’s Teachings” from Revenge of the Sith.


The foreground dialogue between Luke and Rey is fascinating, of course, but the subtext—the barely heard lines, fading even as they’re heard—hints at the past and present of the Force. As Rey describes her Force vision, several different speakers can be heard faintly, as if from a distance of time.

  • Leia’s plea to Obi-wan for help in A New Hope echoes.
  • Obi-wan says, “…seduced by the dark side,” his description to Luke of Anakin Skywalker’s fall in Return of the Jedi.
  • Rey sees “a balance” in the Force, and
  • Yoda’s explanation of Force’s omnipresence (“It surrounds us, and binds us”) whispers in the background.
  • Luke’s final statement in the trailer—“It’s so much bigger. I only know one truth. It’s time for the Jedi to end.”—leaves a ton of room for debate in the months to come.

Stray Observations

  • The opening jump scare is a nice callback to the iconic first trailer of The Force Awakens.
  • Rey is growing stronger in the Force, and she’s increasingly in control of her powers.
  • The lone shot of Leia appears to be on the bridge of a Mon Calamari ship.
  • The smoking helmet is either Vader’s (perhaps in a flashback appearance by Hayden Christiansen?) or Kylo Ren’s (post-injury?). Make your own conclusions here.
  • The books in Luke’s sanctuary look to be inside a giant tree (Luke can be seen standing at the entrance to this space at the end of the trailer). It’s reminiscent of the “Magic Tree” on Dagobah that forces Luke to confront his fears in Empire Strikes Back.
  • The first appearance of AT-ATs in the sequel trilogy happens in the desert battle scene.
  • Luke’s manner of speaking, his desolate hideaway, and his mystical words about the Force ring heavily of Yoda.
  • The flickering light around Finn’s pod looks rather like the effects of lightspeed.
  • The brief shot of Poe Dameron’s X-wing before its destruction looks like the hanger of a large ship.
  • R2-D2’s only appearance in the trailer comes during what looks like a flashback sequence to the destruction of Luke’s school by Kylo Ren and Knights of Ren.
  • The big space battle at the end of the trailer features new cruisers that resemble gigantic B-wings and some new-body A-wings as well.

This first look at The Last Jedi is catnip for Star Wars fans, and Lucasfilm made sure to give us plenty to talk about between now and Christmas. We can’t wait!

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