I don’t know about you, but I’m almost at the point where I want to go into a news blackout about Star Wars: The Last Jedi for fear of spoiling the film. The last couple of weeks have seen a load of pics, toys, TV spots and even leaked footage from the movie itself, and I wonder whether I’m seeing too much of it. Even Rian Johnson is unsure about whether fans should watch the trailers and Mark Hamill is urging people not to spoil the film for others. But even with all that in mind, what could one little picture of some stormtroopers hurt?
This never before seen shot (included in the gallery below along with some previously released ones) comes courtesy of Empire, who have featured it in their December Star Wars spectacular. It shows a new variety of First Order Stormtrooper, apparently in the process of invading the Resistance base on Crait, where Leia and the gang have been holed up after their hideout on D’Qar is unearthed. This monochrome shot really accentuates how imposing they are, too: a faceless, robotic looking armada that looks sinisterly free of conscience.
Their appearance, together with the white background, can only recall the attack on the Rebel base on Hoth at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back. Rian Johnson, obviously conscious of the criticisms of The Force Awakens being a retread of A New Hope, has been at pains to say that his film isn’t simply going to recycle the aforementioned sequel, but frankly, shots like this don’t exactly help. We’re not entirely sure when this moment comes in the Crait sequence, but we’ve already seen Kylo Ren leading a squad of troopers into a cave on the planet, so it’s safe to assume this occurs around the same time.
But above all that, this is simply just a great shot. Rian Johnson’s DP Steve Yedlin has worked with him on all his films, and all have looked truly stunning. This is just another pebble on the pile that indicates that Star wars: The Last Jedi is going to be a cut above most blockbusters visually and, if so, is a nice riposte to the criticisms that Disney’s overbearing influence is watering down what makes Star Wars so individualistic.