The long awaited trailer finally came out on Monday! After a few days digesting it, here are our thoughts and observations.
Robotical712: The biggest and most exciting surprise of the trailer was Finn doing the opening narration. His presence in the marketing to date has been fairly subdued, so his prominence in the trailer was a pleasant surprise. What was even more shocking was his narration was in regards to the Force. We here at the Star Wars Shadow Council have argued for the idea Finn is Force sensitive, but to have it strongly hinted at in the trailer was unexpected.
Han Spinel: I had actually just finished a short article on TPM prior to seeing the trailer; it focuses on Qui-Gon and his philosophy. One of the concluding quotes I used was, “Remember, concentrate on the moment. Feel, don’t think. Trust your instincts.” Which, of course, Obi-Wan adopts and passes on to Luke during his first steps into a larger world: “This time let go your conscious self, and act on instinct.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi
So when Finn opened up the trailer by saying, “It’s an instinct. A feeling. The Force brought us together,” narrated over top of Rey training and Finn looking out… MY GOD. Talk about suggesting and hinting at Force Sensitive Finn. I was hoping for anything Finn-centric, and dreaming about a hint at FS Finn, but man. Combine that with the Rey western show down shot in the teaser trailer with the Skywalker saber and Solo blaster by Rey’s side, all in the movie entitled “The Rise of Skywalker” – consider me hyped for this film. It’s JJ, baby.
Conn8d: As a Finn fan, I was absolutely delighted and pleasantly surprised to hear his voice in the opening voice over. As we’ve covered, Finn has been largely absent from much of the marketing and tie in materials, which I found incredibly frustrating. So to have his be the character that kicks off the trailer was better than I could have hoped. That he was talking about the Force as well? GAHHH. (Being, I believe the OG FS Finn fan on the council, this was AMAZING!!!)
Note: Not all of the pictures are in order. A few that belong to the same sequences were grouped together for convenience.
Robo: Rey training. The scenes of her training are likely the first of Rey in the film. Her solitude in these scenes reinforces the idea later in the trailer that she feels alone at the start of The Rise of Skywalker.
Conn8d: The glimpses of scenes that look like training for Rey were interesting as well, because though we saw two ‘lessons’ from Luke on Crait in the last film, we as an audience really haven’t seen Rey exploring and learning about her abilities in the Force in a practice (ahem, non-emergency) circumstance.
Finn: It’s an instinct; a feeling.
Robo: A neat parallel to The Force Awakens trailer with Rey again climbing the ruins of the past. Again sets up the idea she feels alone.
Finn: The Force brought us together.
Robo: Finn looking at something in the distance. This shot does not appear to be on Ajan Kloss and is not part of the sequence of Rey training. However, its placement here is significant. They subtly convey that Rey does not have to face her challenges alone, but she’s keeping those who would help her, especially Finn, at a distance.This is further emphasized by Finn’s line “The Force brought us together”, though we think that’s more likely to be spoken to Jannah later in the film.
Poe: The people will fight if we lead them!
Robo: While the voiceover belongs to Poe, Finn is actually the one talking here. It looks like they’re under a ship. The absence of Poe’s scarf and presence of Lando suggests this is after they venture to the Death Star wreckage. Note Rey is missing here.
Robo: This looks like the tailend of the cavalry charge on the destroyer. It looks like Rose, Connix and Monaghan’s character are looking at something really worrying. Perhaps Finn and Jannah ran into trouble?
On a different note, why are there unarmed Resistance personnel running around here? What are they doing on the Star Destroyer?
Rey: “People keep telling me they know me. No one does.”
Robo: Rey on the Death Star wreckage, likely during her duel with Kylo. The storm and roiling waves reflect the conflict taking place here – the physical conflict, but likely Rey’s internal one as well. This is likely after she has learned the truth of who she is (Luke’s daughter if anyone is wondering).
Kylo Ren: “But I do.”
Robo: The first time we see Kylo Ren in the trailer. His line indicates he claims to know who Rey really is, both her literal identity and as a person. Like in The Last Jedi, he offers the answers she seeks. Kylo is the metaphorical devil on Rey’s shoulder.
Conn8d: This blink and you almost miss it moment with Finn (and Jannah if you are watching really closely) is really interesting. Not only does it parallel Finn’s rush to rescue Rey from Kylo’s kidnapping, it also places him in the vicinity of the action during what might be a pivotal battle with Rey and Kylo. This is exciting to me because perhaps we’re set to see some resolution between Finn and Kylo in the final film. They certainly were framed as having a beef in TFA that was absent from TLJ.
Robo: This is actually later in the trailer, but moved here since it’s part of the Death Star sequence. Here we can see Finn running out onto the Death Star debris presumably calling out to Rey. Finn is Rey’s metaphorical angel and Rey’s pull to the light. With the storm raging, Finn is too far for Rey to hear while Kylo is close and able to influence her despite Rey resisting him.
At this point, the stage has been set for the movie’s main story. Rey must decide who she is and choose between the light, represented by Finn and the dark, represented by Kylo.
Robo: The segment in the trailer doesn’t show it, but the teaser from earlier in the day shows a bit more of this scene and reveals the TIEs are chasing the Falcon. While the context of the scene isn’t discernable, I think this is likely later in the movie when the heroes are trying to rally the large fleet shown later.
Palpatine: Long have I waited. And now… You’re coming together will be your undoing!
Robo: This throne is actually from concept art dating from Return of the Jedi. The throne itself resembles the Sith symbol is likely quite ancient. One of the rumors in Rey’s Survival Guide was that the Emperor had a throne room on Jakku. Another rumor was of a secret weapons facility. Between the throne and the fleet of destroyers, it’s highly likely the final battle of the movie will take place on Jakku.
Robo: A buried Imperial Star Destroyer rises from the ground. Presumably a member of the large fleet of ships shown later in the trailer.
Robo: An awesome shot. Others have already identified the various ships depicted. People across the galaxy are finally answering the call to stand against the dark.
Conn8d: CHAIR TOUCHING!!! #finnrey
Robo: This is a rather mysterious shot. One of the Imperial Star Destroyers is in the foreground and is likely responsible for whatever is exploding.
Robo: The pilot of this craft appears to be Rey and she’s likely traveling to or from the Death Star.
Conn8d: The size of this droid mechanic is cool, and it’s nice to see an alien of really unique look in this. I got a lump in my throat hearing C3P0 say he wanted one last look at his friends. I hope if he has a memory wipe, he can be restored in the end. Looking at this still though, I can see Rey in the background which I missed and for some reason it made me laugh.
Han Spinel: I never knew how badly I needed peanuts in coats. Seriously though, love that we are getting environmental accessories – it’s something the Sequel Trilogy has been desperately lacking in (also a function of no time skip between TFA and TLJ). Just love the look and feel of “lived in” even though it appears Rey is still in her primary white Jedi outfit.
Robo: A neat group shot. Given Chewie’s absence, this is likely during when he’s being held by the First Order.
Robo: Poe is apparently wounded at some point in the course of the film and uses his scarf to bind it. It’s a useful way to figure out scene order. Here he’s missing it which places this later in the film.
Han Spinel: people might tell you they came up with it first, but you can ask our discord members about how I was wildin on this escape before I saw anyone else talking about it, and how I think it might be an opening sequence of TRoS lol
Robo: Repeat of the Leia hug from the teaser. When this takes place is still a mystery.
Conn8d: BB-8 be like, “Freakin’ desert planets…”
Conn8d: So great to get this glimpse of Lando in the pilot seat yet again. I am so thrilled Lando is in this film. (Part of me also wonders if his cape closet from Solo has been raided or is in tact).
Robo: A cool shot. Perhaps Zorii’s Y-Wing?
Han Spinel: so happy to see this shot of the Calvary and Finn and Jannah leading the charge!! Particularly noteworthy, and we’ve written about this, but the mythical symbolism associated with Finn riding a white steed into battle was not looked over by the SWSC. Looking forward to seeing if we called that shot with Finn having special powers/unique qualities (Force sensitive)!
Conn8d: Finn on a steed! Jannah too! But also I would like to direct folks to give one hurrah for BB-8 because he’s rolling into action right there with them. Precious!
Robo: The entire battle appears to take place in an atmosphere. A cavalry charge across a Star Destroyer is certainly unexpected. One thing to note is how little presence anything identifiably First Order is in this trailer. The only sign of them are TIE fighters and stormtroopers in a few brief shots.
Conn8d: This is quite an interesting shot. The destruction of Vader’s helmet by potentially his two grandchildren, naturally is likely to be some commentary on Anakin’s legacy. But having rewatched this clip a few times, the body language is interesting. Rey seems very gung ho and forceful, while Kylo kind of seems reluctant. I wonder at what point we see this moment in the film.
Robo: Given the presence of Chewie’s bandolier, it looks like this takes place during the prison break. Poe’s scarf in the shot with Chewie tells us it’s before the Death Star ruins. Rey is holding a dagger in her offhand and there’s something spilled on the floor on the right side of the picture.
This segment is weird. On first viewing it looks like Rey and Kylo both attack the Vader shrine, but if you watch closely, Rey is the only one to actually hit it. Further, Kylo’s actions in this are bizarre. While Rey is swinging, he flinches jerkily, seems to relax his arm and then looks like he’s casually moving to remove his helmet. I have to wonder if this was shot specifically for the trailer or if it’s a botched take they decided to use.
Robo: Kylo’s presence in the trailer is quite subdued. He’s shown a fair bit, but he’s rarely shown actively doing anything. He speaks three words in the trailer and the entire second half of the trailer is dominated by Palpatine and Imperial imagery. We never so much as glimpse the Emperor’s face, but the trailer clearly wants us to focus on him as the threat. Kylo’s role in this film is left ambiguous.
The reflected light on Kylo in this segment is noteworthy.
Conn8d: Crucial moment here it seems, Rey potentially facing whoever is sitting on the throne we saw earlier. Some think its Palpatine, given his ominous voice overs, but some of us suspect this might be where that D23 footage of Dark Rey comes in.
Robo: Alternatively, the D23 footage is a vision of Dark Rey from earlier in the film and Rey winds up literally fighting her own dark side later.
Luke: The Force will be with you…
Leia: … always.
Han Spinel: careful observers will see not only teary eyes, but also the corner of Rey’s lips curl up into an innocently surprised smile. I wholeheartedly believe that this is the face, the eyes, and smile of Rey’s childhood self rising to the surface of her hardened adulthood, and perhaps witnessing a moment she has forever longed for…. May the Force be with her, always.
Robo: Leia’s echoey completion of Luke’s line is rather suggestive of her fate.