What The Last Jedi Trailer Actually Means

The Last Jedi trailer means a lot more than we realised. Here is the actual meaning of the first trailer for Star Wars The Last Jedi.

 

The Last Jedi trailer was just released, and we are all buzzing with energy about it. (I’ve included the trailer below in case you missed it).

This trailer is so deep. And so many critics have missed the actual point of it.

Truth is, this trailer means far more than we realised. It is the evolution of the Jedi (not the end). It is the harmonising of the light and dark side of the force. And it is one of the most spiritually significant trailers ever.

Let’s take an in-depth look at what The Last Jedi trailer really means.  

The first thing you will notice about The Last Jedi trailer is that it is very obviously spiritual.

The trailer begins with a meditation session in which Luke Skywalker is telling Rey to just breathe. He is basically giving Rey a lesson in Anapanasati meditation (which is basically a breathing meditation).

Anapansati is one of the oldest and most important types of meditation technique in the world. And it is used to clear the mind.

When Luke tells Rey to breathe, he is actually helping Rey to clear her mind. This is even mirrored in the cinematography. The way the clouds part to a clear sun at 0:27 is symbolical. It is showing the cloud clearing from Rey’s mind so she can see clearly (the sun representing clarity of sight).

luke skywalker quote the last jedi
Breathe. Reach out. What do you see. Like skywalker quote from The Last Jedi

 

According to Buddhist tradition, clearing the mind like this will open you up to insight. And again, the cinematography reflects this. When Rey is standing at the shore at 0:37 it is as though she’s standing at the edge of the ocean. The ocean has long been a representation of the subconscious mind.

the last jedi rey

So far, Rey has meditated on her breath to clear her mind, and she has seen the ocean (her innermost mind).

According to Buddhist tradition, Anapanasati  (breathing meditation, which Rey did at the beginning of the trailer) leads to purity of mind. And this in turn leads to Vipassana. Vipassana is another type of meditation, and it can be translated to mean “Insight”.

Lo and behold, Rey soon discovers insight.

“What do you see?” Luke asks. And of course, he is not asking what Rey sees with her eyes (“Your eyes deceive you, do not trust them,” said Obi Wan Kenobi in A New Hope). He is asking what she sees with her mind’s eye. In other words, what is her insight (Vipassana)?

This is where things get really interesting.

Rey says she sees light. And of course she does, because she is going to be a Jedi… isn’t she?

But then she says “Darkness.” And we all think, wait, she could be a sith…?

the last jedi kylo ren

But what matters is that Rey sees both light and dark.

And then the single most important word of the entire trailer, “Balance”.

rey quote the last jedi
light darkness and balance. Rey quote from The Last Jedi

When Rey says that she sees “Light. Darkness. And balance” she reveals the entire premise of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Star Wars has always been based on Eastern philosophy (mostly Buddhism and Taoism). One of the most important rules in those philosophies is that there is no good and bad. There just is.

Buddhism teaches not to think in terms of good and bad. Instead, simply see what is. The moment you think in terms of what is good you inevitably have what is bad (because anything that is not good must logically be bad). And the moment you have good and bad you have conflict, conflict which leads to suffering (which Buddhist’s call Dukkha).

To stop suffering it is necessary to stop the conflict between good and bad. And the only way to stop good and bad is to simply accept things as they are. Accepting things as they are is the heart of Buddhism. And finding harmony (the harmony between good and bad, between “light” and “dark”, for instance), is the heart of Taoism.

Next, Luke says “It’s so much bigger”?

What is so much bigger? The answer is: The universe is so much bigger when it is not perceived through the delusional concept of good and bad.

When we let go of the idea of what is good and what is bad. When we let go of our delusional states of mind, we come to see the entirety of existence.

That is what the line means, spiritually.

What it means in terms of Star Wars is that the force is so much bigger than anyone had realised.

By cleaving the Force in two between light and dark, we only have two halves. We can only see the fullness of The Force when we have harmony. And this also mirrors spiritual philosophy, as The Force is based on The Lifeforce, or Qi, or Chi… Nearly every religion and spirituality has it’s own concept of The Force, and nearly all of them agree that when you simply accept life as it is and open your mind to the fullness of existence, you allow that Qi / Chi / Lifeforce / The Force to flow freely through you (even Yoda says, “Let the force flow through you” and the only way to do that is to stop impeding it).

When we let go of good and bad (yin and yang, light and dark), when we let those two forces exist in harmony, we achieve the highest point of being.

And this has a significance on Star Wars. Why? Because Rey will not be either light or dark.

Rey will not become a Jedi. Luke Skywalker is The Last Jedi. He does not want Rey to become a Jedi (in the trailer he says, “It’s time for the Jedi to end”).

Of course, when Luke says “It’s time for the Jedi to end” everyone thinks he is literally talking about the end of the Jedi, which is mind-boggling because Luke himself is a Jedi.

it is time for the jedi to end quote
It is time for the Jedi to end. Luke Skywalker quote. The Last Jedi

But Luke is not talking about the actual end of the Jedi. He is talking about the evolution of the Jedi.

Luke has seen the evil that comes from the dark side, because of his father, Darth Vader. But, vitally, he has also seen the evil that can come from the light side, which is half of the conflict, and which has led to the suffering of his followers (which Han Solo talks about in The Force Awakens).

Luke now knows that both “Light” and “Dark” lead to suffering because they are two opposites, two energies in conflict, and whenever there are two energies in conflict there will inevitably be war and suffering.

So where does this leave Rey?

Rey is both the dark and the light. She is the Jedi and the Sith. She is harmony. She sees both light and dark because she is both light and dark. And by bringing harmony to The Force she will bring peace, just as the Buddhist and Taoist codes speak of harmony leading to peace.

Incidentally, Star Wars fans will note that this also references the prophecy that Yoda, Obi Wan Kenobi, and Mace Windu talk about in Revenge of the Sith. Anakin was supposed to “Bring balance to the Force”. But Yoda says the prophecy could have been misread.

Rey represents the fulfilling of the prophecy, the harmonising of light and dark, the end of the Jedi and the Sith, and the beginning of a new type of Force.

 

The Last Jedi Explained

Star Wars is based on Eastern philosophy

 

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Paul Harrison

Paul M Harrison is an entertainment journalist, novelist, and blogger, and a specialist in the theory of storytelling. Paul Harrison can be contacted via his personal website or on Twitter or Facebook.

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