The Last Jedi Trailer – A Shot-by-Shot, Spoiler-Filled Breakdown

Okay, I can tell that I’m going to get no peace until I’ve got this out of my system, so I’m going to aim to do a shot-by-shot breakdown of the brand-new and absolutely flipping fantastic Last Jedi teaser trailer.

This breakdown will be heavily informed by spoilers from sites such as Making Star Wars, and I cannot stress it enough that you should not proceed if you want to remain pure.

(n.b. I don’t touch upon the dialogue here – none of it is part of the scenes shown, and the dialogue really deserves a breakdown of its own.)

With that said, proceed to the breakdown – if you dare…

Shot #1 – Rey appears to have just come out of the small cave behind her. She’s distressed and overcome by what she has experienced. She is still in her Resistance outfit and has the three buns hairstyle (from toy packaging, we know that she later has long hair with a single bun and different clothes). I’m guessing this is a shot from the first act, just after Rey has her equivalent of Luke’s vision of beheading Vader in the cave from ESB.

Shot #2 – A lovely establishing shot of Ahch-To as the sun sets. My guess is that this is an establishing shot used to set the mood for the sequence where Kylo and his cohorts pay Rey and Luke a visit.

Shot #3 – Another Ahch-To establishing shot. It wouldn’t surprise me if this is one of the first shots in the film, as the colour grading reminds me of that of the final scene of The Force Awakens.

Shot #4 – Rey facing the sea on Ahch-To. She seems to be tense, as if she’s preparing for something. My guess is that she knows Kylo is coming, and is preparing herself for his arrival and the inevitable battle. The fight takes place at dusk, according to reports, which matches well with the darkening sky seen here. Some people have speculated that this is tied to the scene where Rey fights a sea monster, but I find this unlikely since MSW have reported that she wears a black cloak for said sequence. This is presumably the black cloak/poncho Rey is seen in below:

(A photo of Rey in The Last Jedi shown at the SWCO TLJ panel.)

Shot #5 – A training shot of Rey levitating rocks. This again seems to be from early in the film, since the sleeve belongs to Rey’s Resistance outfit.

Shot #6 – I’m 99% sure this is Leia (seen from the back) at some kind of Resistance command centre. The silhouette, intriguingly, calls to mind far more sinister imagery – in particular, the silhouettes of her father Darth Vader and her son Kylo Ren. It’s possible that this is about her acknowledging her dark-side lineage through her clothing, in the sense that she’s not denying it anymore (I don’t for a moment think Leia is turning to the dark side in this movie) – I expect there to be a general theme of characters learning about their lineage and coming to embrace it, rather than suppress it. (Remember Lor San Tekka’s “you cannot deny the truth that is your family” line? I think that’s going to prove highly prescient.) Her costume here seems to be a good match for what Carrie is wearing in this behind-the-scenes shot shown during the panel:

(Rian Johnson directing Carrie Fisher on the set of The Last Jedi.)

Shot #7 – As far as I’m concerned, this is one of the most intriguing shots in the trailer. Kylo’s mask has been shattered, and is surrounded by shards of broken glass. You can also see smoke curling up from the fragments, indicating that the mask was attacked with a lightsaber or a blaster. Since Kylo’s mask was left on the bridge in TFA, this is presumably the upgraded or modified version brought up by MSW here. The glass suggests to me that the helmet might have been kept in some kind of display case, perhaps being perceived as a relic of an ancient Force user. It certainly points against its having been in regular use. The fact that the helmet has been shattered into fragments might – and I really mean might – represent Kylo abandoning the mask for good, especially if it comes to pass that he rejects Snoke and the First Order and decides to fashion a new identity for himself.

I have also seen it suggested that the destruction of the mask could indicate that Kylo rejects the mask because he now considers himself to be a stable embodiment of darkness, and no longer needs to wear a mask to affect evil. I don’t agree with this interpretation, the main reason being that Kylo has previously been shown to attack/destroy things when he is in a state of heightened rage or distress (e.g. attacking the console when he learns the droid has escaped/attacking the interrogation chair when he learns that Rey is gone). The mask represents and embodies the Kylo Ren persona, so – as far as I’m concerned – an attack on the mask represents an attack on Kylo Ren himself. This reminds me of an old comment Adam Driver made to Larry King. When asked if Kylo Ren survived The Last Jedi, Adam replied “Depends on what your idea of living is” – based on that, my bet is currently on Kylo Ren’s death and Ben Solo’s return.

Shot #8 – This appears to be the interior of the tree on Ahch-To, which can be seen clearly in the behind-the-scenes shot of the Longcross backlot below. Inside the tree is a collection of books. We know from the EU that Luke has been hunting for lore on the Jedi and the Force ever since ROTJ ended. It wouldn’t surprise me if these books represent Luke’s most significant find – the Dead Sea Scrolls of the Force. In relation to this, I strongly recommend reading the recent Star Wars News Net article on Luke’s lore-hunting adventures, and the dramatic and transformative impact of what he discovers. The spoilers we have about the importance of ancient lore to this movie – along with Luke’s “it’s time for the Jedi to end” line – offer strong support to the idea that Luke discovered something massive about the nature of the Force that caused him to completely modify his understanding of it and lose his faith in the righteousness of the Jedi.

(The Force tree photographed at Longross.)

Shot #9 – This is presumably what’s inside one of the books previously shown. It reminds me of two things – the star maps that Empire’s End keeps on harping on about (please see @holocroning’s excellent post on this for more info), and the symbol of the Jedi Order. I’m guessing that this manuscript in particular is the key to ancient knowledge of the Force that turns Luke’s world upside down and causes him to reassess everything he thought he knew. The owner of the gloved hand is unknown, but it’s possible that it’s Luke (given that he would presumably need a glove to cover his mechanical hand).

(The symbol of the Jedi Order.)

Shot #10 – Luke is seen training Rey on the cliffside on Ahch-To. Again, it appears to be first act stuff, going by Rey’s silhouette. As others have pointed out, zooming in on the image reveals what seems to be a tiny figure perched atop the tall rock beside Rey. It’s well within the realm of possibility that this figure is Yoda’s Force ghost, participating in the supervision of Rey’s training. (Frank Oz has previously strongly indicated that he’s part of The Last Jedi, so this is really no surprise.)

Shot #11 – This is Crait, the Resistance planet recently discussed by Making Star Wars in a spoiler report. The Resistance ships are flying towards the AT-ATs (most likely the gorilla-esque ones described by Making Star Wars here) seen far in the distance. The ships appear to be splitting open the earth to release the brilliant red gas contained beneath the surface. Location filming for this was done on salt flats in Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia. Rian Johnson cleared up what’s going on here in an interview with Entertainment Weekly:

“It’s way out there. It’s very remote. It’s uncharted,” says Johnson. “It’s a mineral planet and so there are mines on it.” The director (previously best known for Brick and Looper) noted how there are some “beautiful design elements and I hope some really unique ones that we’re able to bring into it.”

The shot of these small ships darting toward gigantic walkers mimics the snowy Hoth battle sequence from The Empire Strikes Back, but this white crust is salt. “The white dusting of salt over this red, ruby-ish mineral base,” he says.

According to Johnson, Crait is the site of an “an old rebel base there that’s now abandoned” and the planet was one of the first things he had in mind when planning The Last Jedi.

“It ends up playing a key role in the movie,” he says, adding that the Resistance fighters — flying in the skimmers seen in the trailer — “show up where they have to deal with a very pressing and immediate threat.”

Shot #12 – This is Finn in his recovery suit. This is pretty much guaranteed to be a shot from right at the start of the film, when we see him recovering from his injuries. Making Star Wars describe this scene here.

Shot #13 – This is clearly a Resistance outpost (in SPAAAAAAACE) under attack. Poe and BB-8 run towards the danger as others run away. I’m guessing the Resistance start the movie here, having abandoned D’Qar. Poe, going by his flight suit, is presumably running to get to his ship…

Shot #14 – … only to encounter a little trouble when said ship is blown up in front of him. MSW have recently discussed how Poe has an upgraded X-wing in The Last Jedi, and this shot does a good job of summarising why he had an excuse to get an upgrade.

Shot #15 – This appears to be the Millennium Falcon taking down First Order TIE fighters. The most interesting thing here is the setting – you can see the sea here, so I’m pretty confident that this shot shows a battle in the skies of Ahch-To (though it’s also possible that it might be Canto Bight (the planet/city represented by the location filming in Dubrovnik), which we know is on the coast). If this does happen in the skies above Ahch-To, I’m guessing this sequence is nothing to do with Kylo Ren’s arrival, which appears to happen as the sun is going down and darkness is closing in. I could see this shot representing the First Order storming the planet after Kylo Ren’s defeat/capture, but that is largely my conjecture.

Shot #16 – Notice the dark sky again here – my bet is on this showing Rey heading in to fight Kylo Ren after he arrives on the island. Again, Rey is still in her Resistance gear, which supports our pre-existing belief that the Kylo/Rey battle takes place in the first act.

Shot #17 – MA BOY. Kylo is obviously looking very menacing right here. I also find it interesting that he looks exhausted, as if he hasn’t slept for days (a state Celebration attendees can probably empathise with). It wouldn’t surprise me if he chases after Rey as soon as he is sufficiently recovered to move, but isn’t recovered/prepared enough to face both Rey and his uncle. There is a huge blaze behind him. MSW have speculated about Kylo setting the tree on Ahch-To on fire, and while I wasn’t sold on that before I now think that’s more likely to be the case. I’m becoming more convinced that there’s going to be a substantial time skip between act one and act two of the movie, with the burnt-out tree representing the passage of time (along with Rey’s change in costume/hairstyle).

Kylo turns his lightsaber slightly here as if he’s making a demonstration/taking a stand. I expect this shot will probably precede a highly dramatic confrontation with Luke and/or Rey.

However, it’s also worth nothing that there’s something very odd going on with Kylo’s scar here, and that is that it seems to be in a different place from where it is seen in other shots of him in The Last Jedi. In this screencap, the scar bisects Kylo’s eyebrow. In other shots (see below), it seems to be more above his nose, which is more accurate to the position of the lightsaber strike in The Force Awakens. It’s possible that the image of Kylo above is actually from some heightened, anticipatory vision, where Rey imagines an almost demonic Kylo chasing her to Ahch-To to take his vengeance. It’s also possible that the screencap shows Kylo back at the destruction of Luke’s temple, which we know was set aflame. (All wild theories aside, it’s also possible it’s just a continuity error.)

(Kylo in The Last Jedi – an image from Battlefront II is above, and an image of Kylo from TLJ panel is below.)

Shot #18 – This proves that we’re returning to the moment from the vision in The Force Awakens where Luke places his hand on R2. Luke appears to have sunk to his knees besides R2, presumably heartbroken upon discovering that his temple has been burnt and his students murdered. The scale of the destruction here says to me that this is not a one-man job. I don’t believe Kylo pulled this off alone – there was either some kind of large-scale student mutiny or Kylo had the firepower of the First Order behind him.

(The flashback to Luke and R2 from The Force Awakens.)                                                                                                  

Shot #19 – Phasma is shown storming (what I guess is) a Resistance base with a squad of what I’m assuming are the Executioner Stormtroopers described here by MSW. I expect that this is a continuation of shot #14, serving as a parallel to Vader sweeping into Hoth just after the Rebels have abandoned the outpost.

Shots #20 and 21 – These shots seem to tie into a recent Making Star Wars spoiler report on Laura Dern’s character, which reveals that she is a fashionista/Resistance Admiral (named ‘Holdo’). MSW describe the ships and the battle they’re involved in as follows:

However it also sounds like the new Resistance ships [Admiral Holdo] brings to the fleet are formidable. They’re sort of an abstract design but they have ball turrets on them just like the Low Altitude Assault Transports from Attack of the Clones. Supposedly you can see the Resistance fighters in them as they blast TIEs and go up against Supreme Leader Snoke’s Mega Destroyer.

Shot #22 – This shot appears to be from the interior of the cave that we see the exterior of in shot #1, and may be part of the same scene. When you alter the contrast of this screencap, it becomes clear that this shot shows the interior of a tree rather than the rocky walls of a cave – that makes it likely that its the same location as the one with the library with ancient manuscripts seen in shot #8. You can also see Rey’s staff leaning against the wall, which suggests that Luke is probably looking back at her. Luke has clearly changed his costume from what he was wearing at the end of The Force Awakens – the costume appears to be more practical than the quasi-ceremonial robes he was wearing at the end of TFA and will be wearing at the start of TLJ, which suggests that some time must pass between the start of TLJ and this scene.

5 thoughts on “The Last Jedi Trailer – A Shot-by-Shot, Spoiler-Filled Breakdown

  1. Thanks for the detailed post! Absolutely agree with all your points! I’m still convinced as ever that the force back vision with Kylo saving Rey from that Knight of Ren is a scene taking place in the future during their battle in TLJ, but we’ll see!

    The biggest reveal for me was the poster actually, not the trailer, because with a poster, they are really making a statement. The fact that Kylo is there, unmasked and bathed in the same red light as Luke, with Rey standing in the middle, holding the only source of blue light which is merging with Luke and Kylo’s red to form purple in the middle, is really intriguing. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say about it. So psyched!


  2. Your points about Rey’s appearance are spot on – I’d forgotten that picture of her with a new hairdo and costume so obviously these shots of her in the trailer are early on in the film. And yes, Kylo looks worn out – it’s the face of a man who’s been through hell, either because of his wounds, Snoke’s ‘training’ or the terrible psychological trauma he’s enduring post Han gate.
    Luke shows more and more signs of being somewhat scary here – his very voice sounds sinister. I’m pretty sure he isn’t Rey’s long lost father.

    And finally….I’ve mentioned this on the reylo forums but I’m very intrigued as to just how badly Kylo is going to be scarred.There was a shot of him at the SW celebration where it showed his scar and it seemed very slight but…
    Why in both this trailer and the poster are they going to such lengths to keep that side of his face hidden? Even the slight glimpse of it in the trailer looked wrong, as if it was superimposed and clearly in the wrong place. I wonder if it’ll start out looking pretty bad and improve over time, as so many of us have speculated?
    Or if Rey heals him?


  3. I’ve recently started following your podcasts (which I love), and this article is excellent. I’m an old Star Wars fan, and I’ve just recently forgiven Kylo for killing his father. I look forward to more articles.


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