I am going to start off this article with an explanation of my views.
After The Last Jedi, I swore off Star Wars. As a die-hard Star Wars fan, this was not something I enjoyed doing. The Last Jedi was the first movie I didn’t buy as soon as it was released. As time went on, I began to despise Episode VII. Seeing what was once a fun little adventure as a trite attempt at revisiting the Star Wars Universe.
Rogue One was an acceptable anthology film meant to bridge the gap between the two trilogies. But I held to the single sola of the Star Wars Universe: Sola George Lucas. George Lucas alone. The deutrocanonical works of Episode VII and Episode VIII belong in the ash heap of history.
I am a huge fan of Revenge of the Sith and will generally defend the prequels as necessary stories with an excellent plot and poor execution. All I can say negatively about the original trilogy is that I hate Ewoks.
But the sequel trilogy is an abomination because its plot does not tie it into the existing universe. Individuals who have a passing interest in or grasp of Star Wars lore are not bothered by the sequel trilogy because the acting isn’t bad (Episode VIII is a bad movie for other reasons). The sequel trilogy squandered a vast history and a vast universe because Rian Johnson went all Somali Pirate with thinking he was the captain now.
How can you go to a casino planet and NOT go to Nar Shaddaa?
The hackneyed homages are bad too.
But let’s look at the new trailer.
Granted this is just my initial reaction to it, not knowing what other trailers may hold, but I think that they may have brought me back. Which is a considerable task when you see how much I hate what they did to Star Wars.
The trailer opens with darkness and Rey breathing.
She appears to be back on Jakku or Tatooine.
Luke narrates, “A thousand generations live in you now, but this is your fight.”
Rey is staring down an incoming TIE-Fighter. She jumps over one. Lightsaber ignited.
A ship flying on a planet that looks similar to Eadu. Though it probably isn’t, as there is a city there.
Kylo is stabbing a guy on a planet that looks like it could be Dathomir. He’s fixing his helmet in the next shot.
Finn and Poe are on Tatooine or Jakku.
Lando is back in the Falcon with Chewie.
Shot of Luke’s Yavin Medal.
Leia hugs Rey.
Luke says, “we’ll always be with you.”
Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewie and BB-8 are on a grassy planet overlooking wreckage in an ocean.
Luke then says, “no one is ever really gone.”
As the screen fades, the unmistakable laugh of Darth Sidious.
There are several things that are worth discussing. I’ll skip through most of the content from the trailer and focus on three things.
1: Let’s talk about the possibility that Kylo is on Dathomir. For those who don’t know, Dathomir was featured frequently in the Expanded Universe before Disney bought everything. It’s the home of the Night Sisters. The witches of Dathomir got plenty of screen time in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. They gave us the backstory of Darth Maul and Count Dooku’s dark acolyte, Asajj Ventress. General Grievous butchered the witches after Palpatine grew wary of Dooku’s training of Ventress. The sorcery-like aspects of the witches’ use of the dark side is certainly different than what we are accustomed to seeing in the movies. It is so different that Mother Talzin was actually a threat to Dooku.
Though I did not see Solo, Darth Maul mentions Dathomir. It would make sense to Kylo Ren to be interested in Dathomir just as other Sith and dark side users have been interested in Korriban.
Also, bonus points for taking us back to the preexisting universe (assuming it’s Dathomir and not a new made up planet like Canto Bight).
2: Leia is back despite the fact that Carrier Fisher is dead. There is talk that there is some unused footage from previous movies. Her continued inclusion in the films, post-mortem, is troubling, but also a source of relief. While her Jedi powers were far beyond those of K-2SO (they both can survive in space), we left Leia in Episode VIII with much uncertainty. Uncertainty about her future since Carrie is dead. Uncertainty about her powers since Episode VIII did a terrible job explaining anything. And there is uncertainty about what is left of the resistance and Leia’s role leading it.
It is a good idea for them to try to clear this all up.
3: Oh and now for the big one! No one is ever really gone. You’d think we were talking about Loki. Solo affirmed what was apparent in The Clone Wars and what had been suggested by the Expanded Universe and to some extent, Darth Vader’s life, and commentary by Palpatine. The dark side of the force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural. Darth Sion held his destroyed flesh together using the force. Darth Maul survived being cut in half. Darth Vader survived severe burns. And now we are faced with the possibility that Sidious survived or at least he has become a force ghost. It’s an interesting possibility since the EU said that Palpatine’s spirit survived and transferred itself into cloned bodies on Byss.
Excuse my possible fan theorizing, but I think the wreckage may be from the second Death Star and perhaps that’s why Palpatine is back. Though, if this is the case and they go back to Endor, everyone at Disney needs to be fired. You can’t have discount Tatooine and a discount Yavin and a discount Death Star in Episode VII, and call it an homage. You can’t have discount Hoth with discount AT-ATs and call it an homage. Only to go back to Endor in the next movie? Come on!
Also I am tired of wreckage.
Okay, so how did they get me back?
It’s really quite simple. The attempt to tie the movie back to the existing universe is really all it took. That’s all most devoted fans wanted. Not stupid homages, not subverting expectations, not pandering to fan theories, but rather utilizing a vast universe that has been built up since the 1970s. Star Wars is not Marvel with conflicting comic books and alternative timelines. Star Wars was cohesive. I credit that to George Lucas and Gareth Edwards.
I am also a huge fan of Palpatine. Ian McDiarmid is the best part of the prequels. While everyone criticizes the acting, nobody criticizes his portrayal of Palpatine. Palpatine is a far more convincing villain than Snoke. Even though Palpatine’s backstory was filled in by novels, the movies provided enough information for us to understand his character. Palpatine is the epitome of the dark side. Episode VII was always misguided in trying to build up Snoke in a way that made sense, and we all know that VIII wasted him.
And while I could go on about what could have happened in VII and VIII, the inclusion of Palpatine in this trailer, the narration by Luke, and some small details here and there hint that JJ Abrams is trying to correct course.
I will forever hate Episode VIII, but if IX can turn this trilogy around, it is possible that VIII will be to the Phantom Menace as VII is to Attack of the Clones, all because Revenge of the Sith and possibly, The Rise of Skywalker, were masterpieces.