The final trailer for The Last Jedi dropped just a few days ago, leaving all of us with some mixed feelings. For me, this is Carrie Fisher’s last movie, and part of me doesn’t want to believe that she’s really gone. The possibility of seeing her die on screen also gives me pause. Nevertheless, I’d go see this movie just for her, even if I wasn’t a giant Star Wars nerd. Carrie Fisher, the world did not deserve you. Rest in peace.
I loved The Force Awakens, but the one character that I came out hating more than any other was Kylo Ren. The movie didn’t go all that deep into his backstory in order to explain his relationship to Snoke, he killed Han Solo, and his actions toward the heroes had a creepy, rapey feel. He brutally invades not only Poe’s mind, but Rey’s as well, and he came across as the entitled asshole that can’t take a hint and won’t leave you alone at the bar/library/college campus/wherever women exist. Even more so, after the movie, Kylo/Rey fanfiction, known as Reylo, started flooding the internet, and it didn’t help that a great number of people tried to find reasons to excuse and justify his actions.
Unfortunately for me, the last shot in this new trailer has sent the Reylo shippers atwitter. It looks as though Rey asks Kylo to teach her, and we see him holding out his hand. This might not mean much. I hope it doesn’t mean much. I’m all for a redemption arc for Kylo if done well, but his first interactions with Rey were abusive—using the Force, he takes control of both her body and mind—so a romantic relationship between the two of them would need to be handled with extreme care, care that I don’t trust the writers to know how to take. If I’m being honest with myself, I can’t even think of a way that I would want it done if I shipped this. Reylo is one thing in fanfiction, and if you ship it, good for you, but it’s quite another in canon and it’s not appropriate, particularly in these times.
It’s also entirely possible and likely that any kind of relationship between the two of them won’t be romantic at all—Rey could just feel tempted by the dark side of the Force and we know from TFA that Kylo feels tempted by the light. A platonic team-up between the two of them could be fascinating and allow the movie to further explore the differences between the two different sides and what they mean in the grand scheme of things. The Last Jedi is also the middle movie of the new trilogy, which is generally the darkest. The characters should reach their lowest point—maybe they can even lose to the bad guys, like they did in Empire Strikes Back. So a movie where Rey gives into the dark side of the Force would fit in nicely. This is what I’m hoping the hand gesture means. After all, if it is supposed to be romantic, I am certainly not happy that a problematic white het ship gets more attention than Finn/Poe or Finn/Rey or even Finn/Rey/Poe.
Star Wars has a real problem with characters of color, especially women of color. Having both Finn and Poe as lead characters of color is great for representation, but most other actors of color are either buried underneath a bunch of CGI or makeup, or in the animated series, usually voiced by white people. Sabine Wren’s character is thankfully voiced by an actress of color, especially since her character is coded Asian, but I’ve come across more than my fair share of people who believe she’s Obi-Wan’s white daughter.
The Force Awakens introduced a woman of color, Korr Sella, who worked as Leia’s envoy to the senate, but nearly all her scenes got cut and the only time we see her is when she dies. The Last Jedi also tried to make progress by casting Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico, but she doesn’t even appear in this trailer. If I hadn’t heard about her beforehand, I wouldn’t even know her character existed. I know Rey is the main character, and Kylo is supposed to be our oh-so-interesting and tormented villain, but actors of color should not be shoved to the side like this. The Star Wars universe is big enough for everyone, not just straight white faves, and it’s time for the movies to reflect that.
Minus these issues, and other than Carrie Fisher, I will say that I’m looking forward to just about everything else. The Star Wars universe is so vast that the movies and shows can introduce new species and planets all the time, and I love that it takes advantage of this. We see a couple new “Pokémon” this trailer, such as an ice wolf and the porg, an adorable ball of cute hanging out in the Millennium Falcon. As an artist, I can’t wait to start drawing these.
I also really want to see how Chewie handles the death of his partner at the hands of someone he probably helped raise and also loves, and I want someone to tell Luke Skywalker to get the fuck off his rock and go hug his sister. I get that Luke is also suffering and coming to terms with his own loss, but that doesn’t mean he has to ignore what the rest of his family is going through. I want Leia at some point in time to catch a damn break and experience something happy before she goes. She lost her planet, adoptive parents, husband, and son, only for her brother to abandon her. Leia is the strongest person in this entire galaxy, and she doesn’t deserve this much bullshit.
No matter what heartbreak I have to endure, I do plan to see this movie when it comes out on December 15th. Unfortunately, I plan to see it with our resident Reylo shipper, Syng, who has blown up my phone a couple times since this trailer’s release. Syng, I understand your ship even if I don’t like it, and since we’ve been arguing about this for two years now, I give you gloating rights if Reylo becomes a thing. I mean, I ship Kylux, so it’s not like I have any room to judge whatsoever.