Lucasfilm this week unveiled the official title for Star Wars: Episode VIII, opening up a can of worms, so to speak, regarding its meaning. Does The Last Jedi refer to Luke Skywalker, who we saw briefly at the end of The Force Awakens? Or is Rey included in that conversation now that we know she’s Force-sensitive?
Star Wars titles typically provide clues as to what the respective movie is going to be about. In Episode VII, the Force was jostled from its slumber when Rey became aware of her potential. Return of the Jedi, meanwhile, refers to Luke Skywalker’s victory over Vader and the Emperor. So what does The Last Jedi mean?
A formidable duo
In The Force Awakens—approximately 30 years after Episode VI—Jedi are merely a myth after it’s revealed Luke Skywalker has gone into exile. Apparently, Luke attempted to train a new generation of Jedi, only for Ben Solo (aka Kylo Ren) to kill his disciples.
It’s easy to interpret Skywalker as being the “last Jedi.” After all, the few remaining Jedi in the original trilogy, including Yoda and Obi Wan, perished, literally making Luke the last remaining Jedi known to exist across the galaxy. The title could be as simple as that. But we’re betting Lucasfilm is looking beyond the obvious.
By the end of The Force Awakens, after Rey becomes aware of her Force sensitivity, she seeks out Luke and confronts him on Ahch-To, which is said to be where the first Jedi Temple was built. We don’t get to see how their first interaction unfolds—Episode VIII will pick up directly after Episode VII—but he sure doesn’t look happy to see her.
According to director Rian Johnson, Episode VIII will primarily focus on the relationship between Rey and Luke. After seeing the First Order’s evil first hand, and getting a taste of what the Force is capable of, Rey will no doubt want to become Luke’s Padawan. But Luke went into hiding for a reason. Chances are he’ll have reservations about imparting his knowledge on another student, something Yoda previously instructed Luke to do.
With Luke and Rey together, the title likely refers to both characters as being “the last Jedi.” The noun is both singular and plural, meaning it can refer to just one person (Luke), or multiple people (Luke and Rey). After much hemming and hawing, it’s likely Luke will see the potential in Rey and teach her the ways of the Jedi. Perhaps they’ll form a duo and start searching for others sensitive to the Force.
Which brings us to our next question: Does the title indicate what might happen in The Last Jedi?
Fans have already started digging into the possibilities what happens in The Last Jedi, from Luke dying to Rey turning to the Dark Side. However, both scenarios are very unlikely. First of all, Luke is an integral part of the franchise and fans have waited thirty years to see him back on the big screen. Lucasfilm isn’t just going to kill him off. Han is already dead and there’s no telling how the franchise will manage now that actress Carrie Fisher has passed away.
As for Rey turning to the Dark Side, that scenario is also unlikely. She is already a favorite among young fans and has even rebuffed Kylo Ren’s offer to let him teach her how to utilize the Force. It would make for a lame twist, especially after seeing her kick so much ass in The Force Awakens.
Fans are also suggesting Kylo Ren is involved in the conversation. Although he’s seen succumbing to the Dark Side in Episode VII, he constantly grapples with the Light. The influence of Rey and Luke may eventually convince him to change allegiances—killing his father might also have sway—which brings us to our next point.
Color is important
Finally, it’s worth discussing the color of The Last Jedi logo, which wasn’t made red on accident. Lucasfilm typically uses red for the third film in its trilogies—see Revenge of the Sith and Return of the Jedi. So why is The Last Jedi, the second film in the newest trilogy, red? The choice of color suggests there’s a common thread connecting the films (beyond the obvious).
One reading into the red color could be how these characters react to the Force. In Return and Revenge, both movies featured a character turning from one side of the Force to the other. In Revenge, Anakin is consumed by the Dark Side; in Return, Vader redeems himself by killing the Emperor. There’s a theme here that could indicate a change of allegiance.
In The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren’s relationship with the Force saw him constantly pulled between both the Light and Dark Side. We still don’t know what made him turn to the Dark Side though we know he wants to finish what Darth Vader started. Perhaps we’ll see him reconsider his allegiance and shun Supreme Leader Snoke, who acted as the puppet master in Episode VII.
There’s the slimmest possibility Luke could be the one who turns to the Dark Side, but Lucasfilm has already been down that road. It would be a major Star Wars cliche to see Luke follow in his father’s footsteps—almost like a copout. I doubt Luke will be seduced by the powers that tore down the Jedi Order, but there’s certainly a possibility.
We’re still 11 months from the movie’s release, and very little has been revealed about what to expect. Now that we know the title, however, it appears Lucasfilm is ready to start drip-feeding information. Hopefully, that includes more hints about what The Last Jedi means.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi will hit theaters on December 15, 2017.