Star Wars The Last Jedi trailer: Luke Skywalker is right, it's time for the Jedi to end

Ben Skipper

As expected, Lucasfilm released the first trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi on Good Friday following a panel at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando with writer-director Rian Johnson and stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Mark Hamill.

The trailer, embedded above, will be inescapable this Easter weekend as the enormous Star Wars hype machine kicks into gear for another year, hurtling towards The Last Jedi's release on 15 December.

Prior to the trailer's release fans had been wondering what the film's title means, who it refers to, and also how the 30 years between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens have been treating Hamill's Luke Skywalker.

Trending: Trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi reveals 'It's time for the Jedi to end'

In the trailer Skywalker talks to Ridley's Rey, training her but also offering a belief that will shock both her and fans of the series.

"Breathe... just breathe. Now, reach out. What do you see?" Luke asks.

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"I only know one truth," Skywalker says at the trailer's conclusion. "It's time for the Jedi to end."

Luke is troubled by all that's happened to him. He may have been all smiles at the end of Return of the Jedi but over the course of that original trilogy his aunt and uncle were killed, his mentor Obi-Wan was killed, he learned that his father was the evil Darth Vader and in the end, he caved into anger and hatred, lashing out at Vader and taking him halfway to his eventual death.

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In those 30 years we know he tried to train a new generation of Jedi but that his nephew, Han Solo, and General Leia's son Ben betrayed him and turned to the dark side, deciding to call himself Kylo Ren. One shot in the trailer might even depict that very event (below).

Luke went into exile and wasn't seen again until Rey found him in The Force Awakens.

To say he's troubled is an understatement but he may also be right. Maybe it is time for the Jedi to end.

Star Wars The Last Jedi
Star Wars The Last Jedi

Given it is the pivotal line of dialogue in the trailer and links to the film's name, this is sure to be a crucial plot point. Rey might be able to persuade him that the Jedi are a force the galaxy needs or Luke might be proven right. It's that latter possibility that offers the most potential for the series, and its future.

People like to think of the Force, that sci-fi magic that courses through the series, as a binary thing. There is the light side, there is the dark. Throughout the series however the line between the two has always been blurred.

Anakin Skywalker began his Jedi training in the light, turned to the dark but by the end a glimmer of light in him saved his son's life and redeemed him —if only a little bit. Luke too was never the paragon Yoda hoped he would be. He was passionate, often driven to anger.

In Empire Strikes Back his love for his friends caused him to run from his training and he ended up losing a hand. In Return of the Jedi, he's unable to defeat Vader until he gives in to the dark side and attacks him. That he doesn't strike a killing blow is a sign of his regret and true nature, but it doesn't undo the damage he's done.

In The Force Awakens, Adam Driver's Kylo Ren admits feeling the "pull to the light", and during the film's climax, Rey thinks fleetingly about killing Ren after their duel, herself feeling a pull to the darkness.

Star Wars The Last Jedi

That the lines between them are blurred like this is a more realistic portrayal of good and evil, light and dark. This is what Luke might be referring to, not the end of the Jedi so much as the end of such simplistic thinking about the galaxy and the people in it.

Nobody is purely good, nobody is purely evil. Perhaps Luke intends to teach "the balance" between light and dark that Rey notes in the trailer, to put an end to the virtuous teachings of Yoda and Obi-Wan that led to a sheer divide between Jedi and Sith. The teaching that you're either one, or the other.

The concept of Force-users operating between the light and dark sides already exists in the Star Wars lore. "Gray Jedi" operate in such a way, believing in using the Force without strictly adhering to Jedi teachings or, prior to the Empire, the Jedi Council.

It's an area that hasn't been explored yet in the films, but was introduced in the "expanded universe", which was removed from the official canon after Disney bought Lucasfilm and The Force Awakens was announced.

In terms of storytelling it also makes sense. There are greater stories to tell in the grey areas, more thoughtful decisions and mistakes to be made by characters showing uncertainty when tasked with doing bad things for good reasons, or good things that may have bad consequences.

Last year's spin-off prequel Star Wars: Rogue One displayed a little of this. It may not have featured any Jedi, but it starred characters plagued with regrets and doubts. After the seven films before it, perhaps it and this new trailer are signs of where the Star Wars series is and should be heading.

Maybe it is time for the Jedi to end.

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