After a year and a half of anticipation, Star Wars superfans can finally heed the words of Luke Skywalker himself: "Breathe. Just breathe." At today's hotly anticipated panel at the Star Wars Celebration convention in Orlando, Florida, writer-director Rian Johnson unveiled the first teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. But while it may open with the reclusive Skywalker's meditative advice, it gets pretty breathless from there.
The teaser sets the tone with its very first image: a twinkling starfield that's soon revealed to be a patch of dirt on Luke's remote island hideaway, in which grains of sand and rock catch the light. This is the place where the elder Jedi (Mark Hamill) is training his new protégé, Rey (Daisy Ridley), in the ways of the Force. We see her training with her blue lightsaber. We share her visions of "Light" – a shot of the late Carrie Fisher's General Leia, her back to the camera in the Resistance command center; "Darkness" – the mask of her nemesis Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), shattered to pieces, with Darth Vader's trademark heavy breathing in the background; and most intriguingly, "Balance" – a huge treelike chamber that we’ve never seen before, housing an empty platform, and a map with the symbol of the Jedi emblazoned on it. "It's so much bigger," Luke tells her, making it sound like the Star Wars Universe's world-building is about to expand considerably.
A rapid-fire action montage follows, featuring dogfights between various vehicles both familiar – X-Wings, TIE Fighters, the the Millennium Falcon – and new: several low-flying ships scrape across the sandy surface of a desert, kicking up plumes of red smoke like something out of Mad Max: Fury Road. While no new characters are debuted, the whole gang from The Force Awakens is on hand: Rey and Kylo Ren grip their lightsabers, Finn (John Boyega) sleeps in what looks like a suspended animation chamber, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and his droid companion BB-8 race through a Resistance base as it comes under attack; Luke and R2-D2 gaze at a burning temple; Kylo Ren and his stormtroopers stride through the flames.
But it's the last words of The Last Jedi's first trailer that will cause the biggest uproar. "I only know one truth," Luke tells Rey, silhouetted against the opening of a cave that looks like it may be the entrance to that mysterious chamber. "It's time for the Jedi…to end."
What caused Luke’s loss of faith? What will become of the new generation of heroes and villains? And what about Rose, the new Resistance maintenance-worker character played by Kelly Marie Tran as revealed earlier in the panel? The teaser isn't saying, but there's plenty of time between now and Episode VII's December 15th, 2017 release date to find out more.
Watch the thrilling 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' trailer.