'Star Wars' trailer promises a dark, different movie in 'Last Jedi'

Updated 10/9/2017 9:31 PM
  • Rey (Daisy Ridley) trains with Luke Skywalker in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."

    Rey (Daisy Ridley) trains with Luke Skywalker in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi." Associated Press

Two things are made abundantly clear by the new trailer for "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," the eighth episode in the Skywalker family saga that debuts in theaters Dec. 15:

• The heroic upstart Rey (Daisy Ridley) and the murderous Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) are still the main focus of the sequel trilogy, not classic characters Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Gen. Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher, in her final screen performance).

• Like "The Empire Strikes Back," the middle installment of George Lucas' original "Star Wars" trilogy, "The Last Jedi" appears to divide our heroes and push them to the limits. This won't have a happy ending.

The trailer debuted Monday night at halftime of the Bears' game against the Minnesota Vikings and premiered online immediately after. Tickets for opening weekend are now on sale at all online outlets.

Director Rian Johnson ("Looper," "Breaking Bad") paints his frames in deep reds and blacks.

The enigmatic Snoke (Andy Serkis), the new trilogy's Emperor-like figure, delivers prophetic dialogue that first appears to reference his apprentice, Kylo Ren, but a cut to Rey training with Luke suggests he has dark plans for our protagonist.

Luke looks and sounds like a defeated, fearful shell of a man, not the fresh-faced farmboy who won us over in 1977.

The trailer goes in for the kill in its final frames, wherein Kylo Ren extends a hand to Rey, inviting her to, perhaps, learn the ways of the Dark Side.

"The Last Jedi" looks like a game-changer for the franchise narratively, visually and perhaps philosophically. The humor that carried 2015's "The Force Awakens" is all but absent -- Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and his tiny, cuddly new friend (called a porg) give us a fleeting moment of levity -- and the dominating image is Adam Driver's beautifully brooding face. Could Kylo Ren end up being a more monstrous villain than his grandfather, Darth Vader?

We'll find out in about two months.

• Sean Stangland is a Daily Herald multiplatform editor who saw "The Phantom Menace" nine times in 1999. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanStanglandDH.

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