Analysis: 'Last Jedi' trailer hints at heady expansion of 'Star Wars' myth

Brian Truitt

ORLANDO — "I only know one truth: It's time for the Jedi to end."

That's a pretty charged statement to make in front of a packed house of Star Wars nerds. But after his quick, non-speaking appearance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) has some pretty deep stuff to say in the first teaser trailer for the next saga episode, The Last Jedi (in theaters Dec. 15).

He looks to be the Yoda to Daisy Ridley's Rey, though the old Jedi master doesn't seem as in love with the Force as he once was.

Or is he?

"There are many more layers to be revealed and much more to come, but I thought that was a really good starting point just to let everyone know this might not end up being what you expect," writer/director Rian Johnson told USA TODAY after unveiling the teaser at Star Wars Celebration Friday.

Billie Lourd, original cast honor Carrie Fisher at 'Star Wars Celebration'

Where are they now?

The Last Jedi picks up where Force Awakens left off, with Rey going to see hermit Luke on a desolate island on the planet Anch-To. And it's evident from the first second of the new footage, during which we hear a voiceover of Luke training Rey in the Force and see her experiencing the hardcore physicality involved, that it won't be an easy road for any of the characters.

"There's a big adventure to go on emotionally and physically,"  Ridley confirmed.

Former Stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) remains in a medical tank following a harrowing battle with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) at the end of Force Awakens. Meanwhile, X-wing pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and his droid buddy BB-8 are seen scrambling to their ship as the Resistance is attacked by the First Order, who are on the warpath after the detonation of Starkiller Base.

BB-8 and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac)

Skywalker and Solo family strife

The trailer offers a glimpse of a burning building and hints at what happened between Luke and nephew Ben that resulted in the old Jedi master becoming a recluse and his prodigy adopting the name Kylo and joining the Dark Side. But the focus is largely on Rey, the star of this new trilogy, as she figures out how to harness the Force to move objects and swing her blue lightsaber, much like a young Luke did under Yoda's tutelage in The Empire Strikes Back.

"I felt like my life is slightly mirroring hers," Ridley, 25, noted. While it's not always easy meeting your heroes, luckily for Rey, the actress hints that the bearded weirdo  may not be as much of a taskmaster as one might expect.

She said their relationship "could go anywhere. Who knows what Luke's been doing all this time or why he's on an island in the middle of the sea. All  the directions it could go in are very exciting, and the one it ends up going in is really cool."

Hit pause, begin obsessing over details

For those interested in Jedi mythology, Johnson's put some easter eggs in the trailer. Ancient texts are shown on a bookshelf, and there is a closeup of some sort of page with the faded symbol of the Jedi order that may be from the legendary Journal of the Whills. (Johnson's not confirming it is, but he likes the fact that fans often hit up Wookieepedia in an attempt to figure it out.)

Something for the gearheads

As is the case with everyStar Wars movie, The Last Jedi boasts new vehicles and planets that will appeal to younger fans. But Johnson has also weaved in callbacks to classic action sequences from the original trilogy for older fanboys and girls.

A scene from the Battle of Crait featuring podracer-style Resistance ships preparing to engage First Order AT-ATs as they come over the horizon hearkens back to Empire's Battle of Hoth — though admittedly, Crait's desert landscape recalls Tatooine more than the icy Hoth.

During scenes like that, Johnson marveled, "you look around and you're 10 years old again. We made the movie hoping it would take people back to that place."

But we've got bad news for Luke: No matter what their age, Star Wars fans aren't going to be ready for the Jedi to end anytime soon.

A battle on the planet Crait.