Reader, I love Christmas — but I love it very specifically from December 1 until Twelfth Night on January 5. Outside of that period, any attempt to elicit holiday cheer out of me provokes distinctly unseasonal venom. So why am I writing about a Christmas themed rom-com starring Daenerys Targaryen in August? Ghosts.
Specifically, a ghost. That’s maybe played by the potential new Snake Eyes, Henry Golding.
Let me catch you up. Wednesday, Universal released the first trailer for Paul Feig’s — who directed an entire movie about bustin’ ghosts, just saying — Last Christmas, an upcoming romantic-comedy starring Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke and Crazy Rich Asians’ Golding.
The film follows Clarke’s Kate, a down-on-her-luck young woman who’s spent her wasted life working a dead-end job in a year-round Christmas decoration store, longing for more in life, like love and a chance to pursue her dreams of becoming a singer.
Enter Golding as Tom, a charmingly goofy, seemingly perfect young man who Kate meets by happenstance one night, sparking a will-they-won’t-they-it’s-a-rom-com-of-course-they-will relationship powered by the magic of the season, and so on.
It’s all very fun and sweet and filled with enough peppermint-flavored saccharine as you’d expect from a holiday-themed rom-com. In fact, it’s almost surprisingly fun. A great cast — Clarke and Golding are joined by the likes of Michelle Yeoh and Emma Thompson, who actually wrote the script! — and there’s even a bit of George Michael music for good measure. It’s more charming than you’d expect.
But here’s the thing: The internet’s pretty dang convinced that Golding’s actually playing a ghost. Maybe one of Christmases past, present, or even future, maybe just your everyday spirit or spectre. Perhaps even a ghoul, but a ghoul carries distinctly sinister connotations that would be more in line if this was Last Halloween rather than Last Christmas. But a ghost nonetheless!
At first, it just seems like everyone’s having a bit of a laugh — what else are you meant to do when faced with a sickly sweet Christmas movie trailer in the middle of the planet roasting itself alive for summer? Our dear blogging friends Carly Lane (of SyfyWire) and Spencer Perry (ComingSoon) first brought the theory to our attention earlier today:
me after watching the Last Christmas trailer pic.twitter.com/WADFDq1vLe
— Carly Lane-Perry (@carlylane) August 14, 2019
Im just saying if you put out a trailer where a prominently featured character only ever speaks to one other character, we all know they're a ghost
— Spencer Perry (@TheSpencerPerry) August 14, 2019
But the more we thought about it, the more we became convinced ourselves. And so did social media in general:
*me trying to find even one moment in the #LastChristmas trailer where henry golding interacts with someone OTHER than emilia clarke, thereby proving he is corporeal rather than a sexy festive ghost* pic.twitter.com/S9QXYLHzbh
— emma lord (@dilemmalord) August 14, 2019
#LastChristmasMovie theory: Henry Golding is an angel, and Emilia Clarke received his heart in a transplant when she was sick. ???? Last Christmas I gave you my heart ????
— Sam Wilson (@yeahyeahsam) August 14, 2019
What if the twist in LAST CHRISTMAS is that both the audience and Emilia Clarke become convinced that Henry Golding is an angel/a ghost/all in her head but actually he's a real dude who's just improbably perfect
— Alison Willmore (@alisonwillmore) August 14, 2019
All of us when it turns out to be a straightforward rom-com about two people falling in love at Christmas and living happily ever after pic.twitter.com/KEcMmx2kGj
— Jenna Guillaume (@JennaGuillaume) August 14, 2019
Tom only interacts with Kate alone in the trailer, and always appears suddenly out of nowhere, a fact Kate actually interrogates him with at one point. He’s a little too perfect as the cure for what ails her, in a weirdly specific way that is either the work of the supernatural… or the equally ethereal power of romantic comedy tropes.
His interaction with the world outside of Kate is also kept minimal — we only really see him interacting with select objects like a bike at one point, but never anyone other than Kate. It’s as if… as if he weren’t entirely corporeal. As if his only tangible link to the world might be this poor, wayward soul. One who, as the trailer goes on to reveal, had a near-death experience that shook her entire life.
What if it also opened a connection to the other side, too? Also, the dang movie’s called Last Christmas, and not just for the George Michael licensing, no doubt. What if it was his Last Christmas before shuffling on from the mortal coil for good, and he’s trying to help someone in need from beyond the grave? What if, as Michael iconically crooned, last Christmas, he gave her his heart, and a transplant was what saved Kate from death, tying her to his ghostly presence forevermore?
Maybe we’re all fools, driven mad by a Christmas trailer in August. Maybe it’s just because it’s Thursday and we’re already ready to escape work and flee into the weekend. Maybe in this savage, unrelenting news cycle of environmental disaster, political turmoil, and corporate greed, any tiny distraction, even the form of overanalysing a fun rom-com trailer, is better than just screaming into the silent sea that is the void of our depressive little existence on this overheating Earth.
Or maybe, just maybe, the spirit of Christmas is real, and it’s actually Henry Golding. We’ll find out out when Last Christmas hits U.S. theatres November 8. It doesn’t currently have a listed Australian release.