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Saturday, July 15, 2017

'The Last Jedi' Behind-the-Scenes Reel Review

Disney's annual D23 expo has arrived, and as expected, it's brought some exciting news about Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro, and Mark Hamill took the stage with director Rian Johnson to discuss the film and introduce a new behind-the-scenes reel, similar to those released for The Force Awakens and Rogue One.
The video is full of fun and heartwarming moments with the cast and crew of The Last Jedi. Here's a review of the most revealing shots we saw:
  1. Chewbacca sits by a fire next to the Millennium Falcon on Ahch-To. Last we saw him, he and R2-D2 were waiting with the ship while Rey ascended the island to find Luke. Several hours must have passed since then and Chewie's looking pretty lonely, but hopefully his friends will come down and join him.
  2. General Leia faces Rey in a vast, rocky expanse. This is most likely on Crait, the mineral-rich world first glimpsed in the teaser trailer, which houses a Resistance base. Leia and Rey shared very little dialogue in The Force Awakens but clearly had a special connection through the Force (and family, depending on what theory you believe), so any scene with these heroines reunited is sure to be a powerful one.
  3. Luke accepts his lightsaber from Rey! Obviously this is a big moment at the very beginning of the film. It would seem to answer The Force Awakens' cliffhanger – whether Luke would accept his lightsaber or not – but all of the marketing for The Last Jedi has suggested that Luke will still ultimately reject it and it will officially become Rey's lightsaber.
  4. Executioner stormtroopers ready their weapons. This is our first live-action look at the First Order's latest trooper variant. Their weapons (which will most likely have a computer-generated electric component in the film) are a step up from TR-8R's baton in The Force Awakens.
  5. Tran praises the creatures and special effects in Star Wars, and we see an animatronic white canine. This is very reminiscent of the giant white wolf that appeared in the Rebels Season 4 trailer and is closely associated with Ahsoka Tano. Lucasfilm Story Group executive Matt Martin confirmed on Twitter that the creature seen here is "more of a fox," so we can't get our hopes up for an Ahsoka appearance just yet, but both the fox and the wolf must be strongly connected to the Force itself. Either way, this will make for a nice Rebels tie-in.
  6. Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo and Leia shake hands. Though Dern's character has a warm smile, Holdo will reportedly clash with both Leia and Poe Dameron. She must be showing respect for the veteran princess upon meeting her for the first time, before Holdo and Leia realize their differences and things sour between them. Those in attendance also saw a behind-the-scenes image of Holdo wielding a blaster pistol, so we know that she'll be a hands-on type of leader.
  7. Chewbacca stands in a Resistance war room. We've seen multiple images of Leia and Poe in an identical room (most notably, this shot from the teaser). Once again, we're seeing the Ahch-To gang – Rey, Luke, Chewie, and Artoo – meeting up with the Resistance, which could very well lead to the long-awaited reunion of the Skywalker twins.
  8. The dome over Finn's recovery pod retracts. Finn's sole appearance in the teaser trailer showed him unconscious in this same medical capsule. This must be an important moment for him, when he finally wakes up from his coma and gets back in action.
  9. Captain Phasma and her troops raise their blasters. We saw them walking through this smoke and fire in the teaser trailer, and now they're opening fire. Boyega strongly hinted that he and Phasma will indeed face off in the film. This battle will surely test Finn's mettle and finally demonstrate his former commander's skill.
  10. Benicio Del Toro's character, "DJ," stands in some kind of ship. BB-8's head in the lower right corner indicates that DJ is in the company of Finn, Rose, and/or Poe. His true identity is definitely being kept secret for a reason, so we probably won't learn too much about his character until the film hits theaters in December. There's a strong fan theory that he's playing Ezra Bridger from Rebels.
  11. Ridley trains for a lightsaber battle with three opponents. At first glance, there's no telling who these guys are standing in for, but if Rey is squaring off with multiple assailants who wield melee weapons, these are most likely the Knights of Ren or Snoke's Praetorian Guards.
  12. We get a glimpse of an animatronic Porg. This completely matches Making Star Wars' sketch of these adorable creatures who live on Ahch-To with Luke. You can bet that these guys will be every little kid's obsession come December 15.
  13. Rose and Finn stand in First Order officer uniforms. There's a long history of heroes disguising themselves to go behind enemy lines in Star Wars (most notably in A New Hope and Rogue One), and this pretty much confirms that The Last Jedi will continue it. Finn's knowledge of First Order protocol will allow him to blend in easily, while Rose's crooked cap suggests that she'll be struggling a little more with espionage.
  14. We get a look at a massive casino set. This is most likely in the city of Canto Bight, where Finn and Rose will visit as part of their adventure. Similar to Maz's castle in The Force Awakens, these scenes will give us a plethora of exotic creatures and costumes.
  15. Boyega and Ridley fool around on a white, rocky set. Based on the terrain, this is probably Crait again. A leaked Lego set revealed that Rey will end up battling the First Order's Walkers on Crait with her lightsaber, mirroring Luke and the AT-AT's on Hoth.
In addition, beautiful character posters for Rey, Finn, Luke, Leia, Poe, and Kylo Ren were all released online, each in The Last Jedi's distinctive color of red, with a white background. Curiously, both Luke and Rey are shown with Anakin's old lightsaber; either they're both going to use it in the film, or the marketing simply doesn't want to spoil that Luke's green lightsaber from Return of the Jedi will reappear.

The Last Jedi's full-length (and final) trailer will most likely drop in October, as with The Force Awakens and Rogue One. What did you think of this behind-the-scenes reel? Which character poster is your favorite? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all.

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