The next installment in the core Star Wars story has been named, and we can look forward to seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi this December. Now that the film has a name, we can begin the rampant speculation about what it all means.
Brace yourself — we’re about to go out on some limbs. Let’s do so together.
The movie will heavily feature Luke
Director Rian Johnson said earlier this month that the central question being asked in the film is, “What’s going on with Luke Skywalker?” Luke will be the emotional entry point of the film. It will also explore themes of family and connection.
Luke’s reintroduction into the series is what sets the events of The Force Awakens into motion, and his cameo finishes out the film. Rey’s training is likely to begin, and Luke will have to deal with a galaxy that just lost its seat of power as the Sith continue their ascension now that the Republic has been so hobbled.
His self-exile is no longer something he can pretend is a good idea, no matter how much he doubts his own abilities to train Jedi.
Which brings us to another interesting wrinkle ...
The title doesn’t tell us Luke is the last Jedi
Remember, the term “Jedi” can be both plural and singular. Luke could very well be the single last Jedi, but the title could also refer to both Rey and Luke if she has begun her training. There could be other Jedi in hiding, although it’s unlikely the film would introduce any others at this point in the series.
"I don’t know if I’m a Jedi ... I don’t think I am," Rey actress Daisy Ridley has said in the past. "We’ve had this debate as to whether Leia is because she uses her Force powers."
But we can’t assume the word Jedi is being used in the singular. For all we know, the timeline jumps forward a decade, and Luke has been training even more force-sensitive pupils as the First Order grows more powerful.
Another thought is that Kylo Ren “destroyed” Luke’s students, but we have next to no details about how or when that happened. We’re also assuming those students were killed, and we have few clues about how many there were. Here’s what Han Solo said on the matter:
[Luke] was training a new generation of Jedi. One boy, an apprentice turned against him, destroyed it all. Luke felt responsible … He walked away from everything.
The word “destroy” has a long history in Star Wars as meaning something other than “kill.”
“Your father ... was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force,” Obi-Wan told Luke. “He ceased to be the Jedi Anakin Skywalker and ‘became’ Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So, what I told you was true ... from a certain point of view.”
Just something to chew on.
We’re going to find out about Rey’s family
The question of where Rey came from — and the identity of her parents — has been one of the most commonly asked questions asked after The Force Awakens. She was abandoned on a planet where she would likely be safe from the greater conflicts of the galaxy, even if her day-to-day existence would be hard, and she’s force sensitive. Her parents were clearly someone.
We know Jyn isn’t Rey’s mother, and Ridley has hinted that the question would be answered in The Last Jedi. She was asked about her genetic connection to Obi-Wan Kenobi, and didn’t comment on it.
“We will see in a year,” she told Vulture. “Just sit tight on that question.”
It’s enough of a mystery that it’s possible the answer will be revealed in the very last moment of the film, creating a dramatic moment from which to jump into the credits and set up the third film in this trilogy.
This movie is going to be dark as hell
The title is in red. The Empire Strikes Back was famously the darkest Star Wars film in terms of events and tone, and is also widely considered to be the best. Just in general, the second installment of any trilogy is dramatically inclined to be the darkest; the higher the danger for the characters and world at the end of the second film, the higher the stakes and enthusiasm will be for the third.
My guess? Luke doesn’t survive the film. Things are going to look their bleakest if there is no one left to lead or train future Jedi, and The Force Awakens got a whole lot of mileage out of killing Han Solo.
Menace, Clones, Sith, Hope, Empire, Jedi, Force...Jedi. The Last Jedi's standout/shorthand word is a reuse for the first time ever.— Mitch Dyer (@MitchyD) January 23, 2017
THIS DOES NOT FIT THE TRILOGY NAMING CONVENTIONS!!!!!!!!! Always, there are:— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) January 23, 2017
4 Words https://t.co/PyRXf2GYAS
Carrie Fisher had already finished shooting for the film at the time of her death, and Disney has stated the company won’t recreate her digitally for the third. Seeing her onscreen in The Last Jedi is going to be a bittersweet way for fans to say goodbye to both the actress and the character in the main storyline.