10 questions we have after watching the Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer

You’ve seen the first Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer. Now you have questions. Don’t we all? For every Star Wars 8 question the trailer finally answered, it gave us about two more. Why does Luke think the Jedi should end? Why is he training Rey in that case? Why did Kylo Ren smash his helmet? And, seriously, why does Luke think the Jedi should end? We ask (and try to answer) all these big questions and more below in our trailer breakdown. Enjoy. 

1. Why is Luke training Rey if he thinks the Jedi should end?

Alright, we'll take Luke's statement about bringing an end to the Jedi at face value (for now). But if that's true, why is he training Rey? Why bother trying to once again pass his skills with a lightsaber and the Force onto a new generation after what happened last time (i.e. Kylo Ren)? Even though he believes the Jedi no longer have a place in the galaxy, he's clearly still invested in some of their methods. Perhaps with Rey he's trying for something new...

2. Why has Kylo Ren smashed his helmet?

At first glance you might think it's the half-melted Vader helmet that Kylo Ren kept as a Dark Side souvenir, but no, that's definitely Kylo's helmet - just look at the little bits of silver lining. As for why it's smashed and smoking on the floor, the most obvious explanation is that Kylo Ren flew into another temper tantrum and destroyed it himself. When last we saw him, Kylo Ren was being evacuated from Starkiller Base, wounded and disfigured after his battle with Rey. Losing to an untrained Force user (who happened to be wielding his former master's old lightsaber) was probably an, erm, destabilizing event for Kylo Ren. The good news about getting slashed across the face, though? His regular visage might be scary enough that he doesn't even need the old helmet any more.

3. Are those books on the Force?

Because that would be super helpful, right? At about 1:00 in the trailer the camera focuses in on about eight books on a shelf in Luke’s cave and, considering the beam of sunlight which hits them, I’m guessing they’re pretty significant. Of course, Luke could just have placed them there because that’s the only place he gets reading light in his cave. Some fans have suggested that they could be the Journal of the Whills, which reference a ‘gray’ Jedi (more on that later) and were made Star Wars canon thanks to the novelization of The Force Awakens

4. What is Luke studying?

Okay, so we've got the books. But what's in them? Apparently this symbol, which someone lovingly strokes. It's a little hard to make out because of the faded blue wing, but that's definitely the symbol of the Jedi Order. It could be that Luke is just remembering his painful past or Rey is studying what few printed materials remain about the Order, but the way the page is laid out makes us think there's more here.

We've seen plenty of writing in Star Wars to know that it's most often read left to right just like English, so why are the symbols here arranged in a circular pattern with a spherical grid? Kind of looks like a map, right? It could be a whole lot of nothing designed simply to look cool, but it's clearly important to Luke, and if it's important to him, it should be important to us.

5. Could Rey be the gray Jedi?

There’s been lots of talk about whether The Last Jedi is going to centre around balance being brought to the Force with neither Light nor Dark being predominate. This is mostly thanks to the Journal of the Whills which states:

"First comes the day

Then comes the night.

After the darkness

Shines through the light.

The difference, they say,

Is only made right

By the resolving of gray

Through refined Jedi sight."

Many fans have suspected that Luke might be the gray Jedi - we examine all the evidence for this theory here - but after the trailer, I’m inclined to think it’s going to be Rey. When Luke asks her what she sees, she tells him “light... darkness… and balance.” Can Rey feel both sides of the Force? Could she be the one to bring balance to the Force? Is she the gray Jedi?

6. Who’s flying the Millennium Falcon?

There are three people we've seen fly the Falcon in the movies: Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, and Rey. With Han out of the picture and Rey presumably busy doing Jedi/not-Jedi training stuff with Luke, that just leaves Lando. And while it would be cool as hell to see Billy Dee Williams return to the series, we'd be surprised if that's him behind the flight stick. Of course, you could argue that Chewbacca knows enough about the ship to take on the role of captain - he did fly in and rescue Rey from an exploding Starkiller Base at the end of The Force Awakens - but then the question becomes who would his co-pilot be?

7. Is that Leia?

Chances are, you know which moment I’m talking about. At about 0.46 in the trailer we see the back of someone looking at a holographic map but little else. The obvious conclusion is that it’s General Leia Organa but it’s not entirely clear. The hairstyle in the trailer does look similar to Leia’s Star Wars 8 look and if you listen very carefully, you can hear the echoes of Princess Leia’s iconic line in the background - "Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope." This would all seem to indicate that this is indeed Leia but we’ll have to wait for later trailer to have this confirmed. 

8. What are these new speeders and what are they doing?

A new generation of Star Wars heroes means a new generation of sweet vehicles for them to pilot. At about 1:17, we see a small squadron of aircraft speeding toward a line of AT-ATs. The closest model of an existing Star Wars ship I can find is the Rebel Alliance B-Wing, which was briefly seen in Return of the Jedi. Even so, the B-Wing had two blade-like protrusions coming out of the center, not one, and it lacked the large engine on the back of whatever these are. So if these ships started as B-Wings, I'd say they've become something new.

If there's anything important to note, it's that these ships look like they can take a beating. We see one crash into the surface before it falls in line with its squad, and while it might look like the red smoke is being deployed from the ships themselves, that same crash makes it clear that it's the earth itself being kicked up. So these ships can not only wham into the ground and keep going, but drag themselves along a rocky surface at high speed without taking a tumble.

9. Did Captain Phasma (not Kylo Ren) destroy Luke’s Jedi school?

Rewind your memories to the flashback scene in The Force Awakens, where Rey is shown a series of images and memories including Luke laying his robotic hand on R2-D2. I think most of us assumed the flames the two were sitting near were from a campfire, but at 1:30 we see a building in flames as Luke looks on with his astromech buddy. The lighting, the costumes, and the environment all seem to match, so is this an extended look at what we saw two years ago?

The next shot is just as eyebrow-raising, showing Phasma and her Stormtroopers marching through burning rubble. It's hard to tell if the two are connected or if this is clever editing to make us think we're seeing Phasma destroy Luke's school. After all, we did see Poe's X-Wing get blown up earlier, so it's possible that the scene with Phasma is tied to that moment and not Luke's flashback. Regardless of whodunnit though, this is sure to be an emotional scene.

10. Why does Luke think the Jedi should end?

No really, Luke, why?! Why would you say "it's time for the Jedi to end" when we all love the robes and the lightsabers and the lofty mantras so much? Could it be because both your father and nephew turned to the Dark Side of the Force under the Jedi's supposedly watchful eye? And both of them used the power that the Jedi cultivated in them to sow fear and destruction across the galaxy? Because, um, well… actually that is a pretty good reason for the Jedi to end. It's starting to feel a bit inevitable that, whatever good the Jedi manage to do, it will always be undone by their own most trusted members. Maybe it's time to address some structural problems before we go training a new generation of ultra-powerful Force users, eh?