It’s So Much Bigger
By Jason Gibner
I can freely now admit that I have a problem. That problem is the teaser trailer for The Last Jedi. Now, I definitely do not have a problem with any aspect of that first look at the next chapter in the Star Wars Saga. My problem is that I just can not stop watching it and non stop thinking about it. I try to do work and all I can do is think about is that handful of brief images that were first shown to me at Star Wars Celebration. I try to clean the house and all I do is think about just what is happening there on Ahch-To. Ancient books about The Force in trees, weird tree caves, multiple islands… as someone who usually trips out about any kind of talk about the will of The Force, the whole thing has got me straight up bugging.
Now this morning as I replayed the teaser in my head, as all normal people do, one moment and one line in particular really hit me. Rey describes her vision into the Force as seeing the light, darkness and the balance. As we hear the old master Skywalker say, “It’s so much bigger”, we are shown the beautiful and instantly iconic shot of Rey on edge of a mountain practicing with the saber of The Chosen One as Luke stands behind and above her watching on. In this moment, Rey and Luke are shown as being very small against the massive sight of the Ahch-To waters and mountainside. As I thought about this, my mind immediately went back to my college and my endless amount of art history classes I took and i realized the rest of my day may be shot.
One of the more interesting classes was an Asian art history class where we looked at countless very old Japanese works of art where one of the overriding themes was that nature was always presented as being bigger and more powerful than people. In so many of the pieces my professor showed, if there were people in a piece they were tiny compared to the majesty of the wave or the mountain or the trees that were so often depicted in the art. Now we know the Force is an energy field created by all living things and it surrounds us, penetrates us and binds the galaxy together, right? As Luke may reference at the end of the trailer, the will of the Force in the future of the saga may be something bigger than any Jedi has ever recognized before, thus calling for a whole new way of thinking about and/or using the Force. This moment, at the side of the mountain perfectly speaks to that as an important as Rey and Luke’s story may be going forward, they are still very small next to the power of nature or The Force. Like Luke reminds us, “It’s so much bigger.” The true nature of the Force may be a greater power then any Jedi has felt before.
I admit, I’m getting carried away here but all that got me thinking too about some of the other important symbols in Japanese art like shape, balance, animals, birds, mountains and waves. The uneasy balance seen in The Last Jedi poster of Luke and Kylo’s faces with Rey’s gleaming saber of light separating the two. The combination of hard and soft lines in both Rey and Luke’s very grey costumes. The birds that rumored to be inhabiting the island with Luke. The mountain, which in Japanese art represents the unmovable and power almost being a symbol for The Force itself. The waves that crash into the island, which Rey stares out to in teaser, representing power, strength and the very unpredictable aspect of nature. Rey, perhaps being very much the unpredictable new vessel for the Force which may have the power to move the unmovable mountain?
It’s clear that this island, which may have be the location of the first Jedi temple, has quite a bit more going on in both story and symbolism then what we saw with our brief look at it in The Force Awakens. Much like Dagobah, Mortis or Moraband, Ahch-To is seemingly a planet that has a deep connection to The Force just as The Last Jedi appears to have a connection to the Japanese art and cinema style that got George Lucas going all those years ago. Until December or our next look at the film, we will have to “breathe…. just breathe…”