NEW YORK >> Is the Force still strong with Luke Skywalker?
The first trailer for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” dropped today, showcasing a morose and withdrawn Skywalker. The two-minute teaser , unveiled by director Rian Johnson at the “Star Wars Celebration” fan event in Orlando, Florida, offered few clues to the film. But it notably includes Mark Hamill’s iconic hero gravely intoning, “It’s time for the Jedi to end,” from a dark cave.
The trailer whetted the appetites of ravenous “Star Wars” fans who turned out in droves in Orlando and online, where the event was streamed live. Actor Josh Gad, a Disney star from another universe (“Frozen,” ”Beauty and the Beast”), hosted a panel including Johnson, producer Kathleen Kennedy and cast members Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and a new addition, Kelly Marie Tran.
“The Last Jedi” picks off where “The Force Awakens” left off, with Rey (Ridley) meeting Luke on a remote island, filmed off the coast of Ireland. Some shots in the trailer also suggested Skywalker training Rey on the island. In “The Force Awakens,” Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren has turned to the dark side after being tutored by Luke.
The presentation was mostly a game of teasing hints about the film while revealing very little about it.
“I actually can tell you some things. A small amount,” said Ridley, laughing. She said the film will go “deep” into Rey’s story and reveal how it can be difficult meeting your heroes — presumably alluding to a cranky Skywalker. “They may not be what you expect,” said Ridley to knowing groans in the crowd.
“The Force Awakens” director and “Last Jedi” producer J.J. Abrams has previously hailed Hamill’s performance in the film, suggesting it could land him an Oscar nomination. Hamill, the most raucously received star on Friday, said he drew on his own experiences for this new chapter in Luke’s life.
“I said: I have to relate to things that are real in my own life to understand where Luke is at this point in his life,” Hamill said.
“The Last Jedi” is due in theaters Dec. 15.
It will be Carrie Fisher’s last appearance in the core “Star Wars” films that follow the saga of the Skywalker family. Kennedy told ABC News Friday that Fisher, who died in December, will not appear in the planned ninth “Star Wars” film.
“Sadly, Carrie will not be in (Episode) Nine,” Kennedy said. “We’ll see a lot of her in VII, which is great.”