Breaking down the latest Star Wars: The Last Jedi behind-the-scenes video

We’re just about 50 days from Star Wars: The Last Jedi!

Today, we got a few new looks at the film via a behind-the-scenes video released by USA Today, which you can view here.  Additionally, they released a promo image of Luke Skywalker in front of several books, which you can see here (it’s the picture at the top of this article).   The video is framed around Rian Johnson, the director who has been widely praised by the cast.  So we see a lot of Johnson and hear the cast talking about the job he’s done, but we also see a lot of other interesting shots too.

It’s important to keep in mind that with BTS videos we can never be totally sure of conclusions, since we’re often left without any context for the shots, but at the same time there are several interesting aspects of the video that we’ll break down here.  And while there’s not any spoilers per se, if you don’t want to know about the movie ahead of time it’s best not to read any further.

Rey is in Snoke’s throne room

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One of the shots in the behind-the-scenes video is of Rey – in her Jedi Training/Crait outfit – talking with Rian Johnson on the set of Supreme Leader Snoke’s throne room.  This seems to be even further confirmation of the fact that Rey winds up on board the Supremacy at some point and comes face-to-face with the Supreme Leader of the First Order, as first shown in the trailer released a few weeks ago.  Also, notice that off to the right of the image is a Praetorian Guard with his mask off in-between shots, so we know these guards aren’t CGI.

Here’s a wider view of Snoke’s throne room:

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And here’s a shot of Ridley smiling against the red background, which presumably is also the throne room:

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Another shot of Daisy Ridley – seen with John Boyega and Billie Lourd – shows off the bruise on Rey’s face, which we’ve seen in some other promotional material.  Considering the fact that she has the bruise/injury in some shots and doesn’t in others, it seems like this happens at some point in the movie… but how?

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Rey confronting someone on Ahch-To?

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We also got another new shot of Rey in her Resistance outfit wielding her staff and looking quite mad.  The setting is very likely Ahch-To (based on her outfit) and we see that it’s raining, making it easy to wonder whether she’s confronting Luke.  Remember, in the most recent trailer we saw Luke laying on the ground in a darker/rainy setting (seen below) saying, “This is not going to go the way you think,” so could these two images be from the same scene?

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Rey and Poe on Crait together

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In the first behind-the-scenes look released by Lucasfilm this summer, we saw Daisy Ridley and John Boyega in costume on Crait, and in this behind-the-scenes look we see Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac in costume in what looks to be a base of some sorts, most likely on Crait.  It’s looking more and more likely that we’ll see Rey, Finn, and Poe together on Crait at some point.

Poe fleeing a crashing speeder?

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Speaking of Poe, remember that in the first BTS reel we saw Oscar Isaac sliding int oa trench of some sorts on Crait, and we got more context to that shot in this BTS reel.  We see Poe sliding into the trench (which seems confirmed as a Resistance trench on Crait by the pilot and the red surface), but he does so just ahead of a crashing ski speeder.  So could it be that for whatever reason Poe had to eject and get back into the trench ahead of the oncoming AT-M6 walkers?

Leia sees Poe as the future leader of the Resistance

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One of Rian Johnson’s approaches to the movie was to ask how each of the main characters could be most tested, and it seems that for Poe Dameron it will be as a leader.  We know that he’s an ace pilot, and we know that his skills are well-known and well-established.  But it seems Leia sees more in him than just a pilot, as she sees him as the future leader of the Resistance.

“Yeah, I think so,” Johnson agreed in an interview with USA Today’s Brian Truitt.  “He’s also got some growing to do.  Poe’s got to grow.  She definitely saw that potential in him and in The Last Jedi, we dig into that more.  We’ve seen how heroic he is and now we’re going to see him challenged in terms of stepping up to the next level.  It takes more than heroics to be a leader, or so I’m told.”

Though the movie wasn’t planned as Carrie Fisher’s final Star Wars film, the tragic reality is that it will be – meaning that in Episode IX someone else will have to step up to lead the Resistance and try to fill the un-fillable void left by General Leia.  Poe – a great pilot and a loyal soldier to Leia – seems like the most logical choice to step up, and it seems The Last Jedi was always going to push him closer to that role.

Carrie Fisher kicks butt as Leia

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No surprise here, but Rian Johnson said that Carrie Fisher kicks butt as Leia in Episode IX.  Speaking with Truitt about this being Fisher’s final film, Johnson said, “Having these scenes in the film recontextualize tragically with her not being here anymore, it’s incredibly emotional.  For the next few months, seeing the fans … process the loss and celebrate her as Leia one last time, it’s going to be intense.  I think it’s going to be really sad but really joyful, I hope.  She really kicks [butt] as General Leia, and I’m happy for that.”

That’s great to hear, and it surely will be an emotional time for Star Wars fans to say goodbye to the beloved General in The Last Jedi.  Based on what we’ve heard so far, we won’t be disappointed by her role or performance in the film, though.  It doesn’t sound like Fisher was disappointed with Johnson, either, as in the BTS reel she says, “He has flaws in other areas, I just don’t know about them.”  The cast has been incredibly kind in their praise of Johnson, who has a tremendous reputation as a writer and director.  It seems that the people associated with the project really think highly of the work he’s done.

D.J. undercover with Finn and Rose?

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One of the most interesting and significant potential revelations in the behind-the-scenes video was this shot of Finn in his Imperial Officer disguise, followed by Rose (right) and another character (left)… who looks a lot like Benicio Del Toro.  We can’t see clearly enough to tell that it’s for sure him, but it certainly looks like it.  If that’s the case, that means that his character – nicknamed D.J. – actually goes undercover with Finn and Rose to infiltrate the First Order.  We’ve known that he’s a shady character who apparently helps Finn and Rose on their mission, but this would be the first confirmation we have of him actually going undercover with them.  And considering the fact that he’s quite shady, we’ll have to see whether that’s a good thing for the heroes or not.

R2-D2 and C-3PO reunited on the Falcon

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At the end of The Force Awakens, R2-D2 went with Rey and Chewbacca to find Luke Skywalker, while C-3PO stayed behind on D’Qar with his new golden arm.  But it looks as if the two droids will have a reunion in The Last Jedi, as the behind-the-scenes reel showed R2 and 3PO together on what appears to be the Millennium Falcon.  So here’s what we know: Rey leaves Ahch-To to head to Crait at some point, as does Chewbacca piloting the Falcon.  Assuming 3PO doesn’t travel to Ahch-To, we also now know that R2 travels off of Ahch-To along with Rey and Chewie.  So… we seem to have confirmation that Rey, Chewie, R2, and the Falcon all leave the island (presumably winding up on Crait), leaving only Luke’s fate as uncertain.  I think it’s safe to make a guess, but we don’t have confirmation yet.

Luke has a lot of books

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In the image released by USA Today today as well, we see Luke Skywalker standing in front of the table of ancient old books inside the tree on Ahch-To.  We see his gloved hand – the same one seen in the first trailer – resting on one of the books.  Many fans assume that these books are the Journals of the Whills, and I think that makes a lot of sense – especially considering this is supposedly the site of the first Jedi Temple.  It means that Luke’s had some material to read during his self-imposed exile, and Rian Johnson promised that Luke hasn’t gone crazy.  Here’s the snippet that Truitt wrote about The Last Jedi in a listing of the 10 must-see movies of the holiday season:

Luke Skywalker (Hamill) has been in exile for years when Rey (Ridley) finds him on the island of Ahch-To, but the Jedi’s ancient tomes don’t look like easy reading.  “It would be funny if you zoom in on that bookshelf and it’s all Robert Ludlum thrillers,” says Johnson, whose first duty was figuring out why Luke was there.  “So when you see it in totality you’re like, ‘Oh, OK, this is why the galaxy’s greatest optimist and hero would be doing this.’”  Johnson promises that Luke’s still strong and the years of isolation haven’t dulled his mind at all.  “(Hamill’s) always been handsome and he’s just in this place now where he’s got so much gravity: You point a camera at his face and you feel depth and wisdom.  He’s seen some stuff.”

In other words: Luke hasn’t gone crazy, and his mind is still sharp – meaning that he must have some pretty good reasons for going into exile, at least from his point of view.

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