The epic trailer for the highly anticipated eighth chapter in the Star Wars saga, The Last Jedi, was released Monday night and as expected, it’s chock-full of teases that will surely add fuel to the fire of fan theories both old and new. Will Captain Phasma finally get her revenge on Finn? Will Kylo Ren seek to reunite Leia with the slain Han Solo? What exactly has Chewie and that adorable little Porg so frightened? However, the biggest question that seems to be seared almost unanimously into the minds of fans after watching the new trailer is whether or not Rey – the benevolent force of hope and strength from The Force Awakens – will turn to the dark side.
The trailer wastes little time planting the seeds for this potential narrative twist to bloom into a full-fledged garden of intrigue, beginning with Supreme Leader Snoke’s bone-chilling words, which he presumably says to Kylo Ren: “When I found you, I saw raw, untamed power… and beyond that, something truly special.” Fast forward to just under the one-minute mark, and we cut to a scene of Rey training in the ways of the Force under the watchful eye of Luke Skywalker, who gives off a look of genuine shock, bordering on fear, when his new student causes the rocky cliffs of Ahch-To to crack beneath their feet. “I’ve seen this raw strength only once before,” says Luke, as we cut to what we can assume is a flashback of the Jedi Master immediately following his betrayal by Kylo Ren. “It didn't scare me enough then. It does now.” The parallels between Rey and Kylo Ren are clearly established, with both Snoke and Luke using similar verbiage to describe their respective pupils, but in looking back at Kylo Ren’s descent to the dark side, the writing on the wall becomes ever more apparent.
By the time he was 23, the former Ben Solo had begun training under his uncle, Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, as one of the students in a group Luke hoped would eventually restore the Jedi Order. However, feelings of abandonment resulting from Han and Leia’s tumultuous relationship, as well as his inherent Force potential thanks to his Skywalker lineage, left Ben vulnerable to the persuasion of Supreme Leader Snoke, the figurehead of the First Order that rose from the ashes of the Galactic Empire.
After embracing the dark side of the Force, Ben left everything Luke tried to build in ruins, including his Jedi Temple. He adopted the name Kylo Ren and took on the role of apprentice to Supreme Leader Snoke as a member of the Knights of Ren. Feeling responsible for Ben’s descent, Luke cast himself into a self-imposed exile, and the hope of restoring the Jedi Order was all but lost.