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The most jarring thing about the new trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi isn’t Kylo Ren and Rey’s potential unholy alliance, but instead, the existence of regular-looking wooden boards in that galaxy far, far away.
In the trailer, when Luke Skywalker tells Rey about how afraid he is about her potential to be a powerful badass or whatever, we glimpse what appears to the aftermath of Luke’s old Jedi Academy getting torched. In a shot that looks like it could be from a horror movie, Luke’s robot hand shoots up in a pile of burning wooden boards. It’s an awesome shot, but it’s also jarring because there’s something so ordinary about the wooden boards to the point where this feel anachronistic inside of the Star Wars universe.
For the most part, structures in Star Wars either feel extremely high-tech or extremely low-tech. The halls of most buildings on Coruscant feel gleaming or metallic. While, more simple dwellings — like the Lars Homestead — look like huts made of adobe brick. The Ewoks have wooden dwellings, but those don’t look like manufactured boards like the ones glimpsed in The Last Jedi trailer. They look primitive like they were constructed by outer space teddy bears because they were. Up until this point in Star Wars, we’ve never really seen structures that were in between high-tech and low-tech. We’ve never seen prefabricated wood; or if we have, not to the point where such a big deal was made about it.
This isn’t to say the Star Wars universe isn’t devoid of wood. A quick look on Wookieepedia will reveal all sorts of different types of wood: Kriin-Wood from the planet Alderaan, resinwood from the planet Mandalore, and so on. Famously, Anakin Skywalker also carved that little necklace for Padme out of something called a “japor snippet,” though to be fair, it doesn’t really look like wood. Wood exists in Star Wars, but it hasn’t been shown in the same, everyday ordinary way these planks that Luke’s robot hand is gripping. Plus, when he and R2-D2 survey the destruction, they walk by a giant pile of outer space lumber.
The introduction of prefabricated planks of wood into the Star Wars universe feels strangely connected to the introduction of paper in the previous Last Jedi trailer. Prior to those shots of ancient books in both trailers, we’d never seen any paper products before in a Star Wars film. While there’s no reason to believe The Last Jedi will introduce planets which are exclusively devoted to milling wood into boards and pulp for paper, something is clearly up with these new trailers. The Last Jedi is totally hung-up on wood and how it’s used to create everyday objects like paper and burning houses which fallen Jedi are forced to escape.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits everywhere on December 15.
Written by Ryan Britt